The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 6, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 6

Judge Briscoe smiled grimly and leaned on his shot-gun in the moonlight by
the veranda. He and William Todd had been trampling down the elder-bushes,
and returning to the house, found Minnie alone on the porch. "Safe?" he
said to his daughter, who turned an anxious face upon him. "They'll be
safe enough now, and in our garden."

"Maybe I oughtn't to have let them go," she returned, nervously.

"Pooh! They're all right; that scalawag's half-way to Six-Cross-Roads by
this time, isn't he, William?"

"He tuck up the fence like a scared rabbit," Mr. Todd responded, looking
into his hat to avoid meeting the eyes of the lady. "I didn't have no call
to toller, and he knowed how to run, I reckon. Time Mr. Harkless come out
the yard again, he was near out o' sight, and we see him take across the
road to the wedge-woods, near half-a-mile up. Somebody else with him then
--looked like a kid. Must 'a' cut acrost the field to join him. They're
fur enough towards home by this."

"Did Miss Helen shake hands with you four or five times?" asked Briscoe,
chuckling.

"No. Why?"

"Because Harkless did. My hand aches, and I guess William's does, too; he
nearly shook our arms off when we told him he'd been a fool. Seemed to do
him good. I told him he ought to hire somebody to take a shot at him every
morning before breakfast--not that it's any joking matter," the old
gentleman finished, thoughtfully.

"I should say not," said William, with a deep frown and a jerk of his head
toward the rear of the house. "He jokes about it enough. Wouldn't even
promise to carry a gun after this. Said he wouldn't know how to use it.
Never shot one off since he was a boy, on the Fourth of July. This is the
third time he's be'n shot at this year, but he says the others was at a--
a--what'd he call it?"

"'A merely complimentary range,'" Briscoe supplied. He handed William a
cigar and bit the end off another himself. "Minnie, you better go in the
house and read, I expect--unless you want to go down the creek and join
those folks."

"Me!" she responded. "I know when to stay away, I guess. Do go and put
that terrible gun up."

"No," said Briscoe, lighting his cigar, deliberately. "It's all safe;
there's no question of that; but maybe William and I better go out and
take a smoke in the orchard as long as they stay down at the creek."

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