Page:Triangles of life, and other stories.djvu/245
THE STRANGERS' FRIEND
(By the mattress we reckoned that a kid, or a death, was expected out there.)
Jimmy got down, took a bucket that was slung under the tailboard, and, seeing something peculiar about us, he came over.
"What's up here?" he demanded, in the tone of a boss whose men have gone on strike, or left off work without warning.
We told him as much as we knew, and that the man seemed very bad. Then, for the first time, I saw what might be likened to the shadow of a smile of satisfaction on Jimmy Noland's face. But the next instant his face was severe, and I thought I was mistaken.
"Here!" he said to me, as if I were one of his hands, and he had an urgent appointment elsewhere. "Here!" he said, handing me the bucket, "water my horses while I go and see what's up with the man."
He went over and squatted down by the sick man's side.
I'd finished watering the horses when he came back.
"That's right," he said. "Now, help me shift some of these boxes over, and get the mattresses out in the side of the trap. I'll cover the soft 'un with the baggin', and you'd best roll a swag out on it, for it's for some one at the station and it mustn't get dirty. … Now come and help us lift the man on. … Not that way, I tell yer. Lift him this way—I never seed such orkard men in me life."
And so we got the sick man on to the mattress in the trap.
"Chuck up yer swags," he said to us, "and jab yer