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"Why?" he asked.

Mr. Briarley glanced toward the house uneasily, and also up and down the road.

"Le's get out o' th' way a bit," he remarked.

Murdoch walked on, and he shuffled a few paces behind him. When they got well into the shadow of the hedge, he stopped. Suddenly he dropped upon his knees and crawling through a very small gap into the field behind, remained there for a few seconds; then he re-appeared panting.

"Theer's no one theer," he said. "I would na ha' risked theer bein' one on 'em lyin' under th' hedge."

"One of whom?" Murdoch inquired.

"I did na say who," he answered.

When he stood on his feet again, he took his companion by the button.

"Theer's a friend o' moine," he said, "as ha' sent a messidge to yo'. This here's it—Look out!"

"What does it mean?" Murdoch asked. "Speak more plainly."

Mr. Briarley became evidently disturbed.

"Nay," he said, "that theer's plain enow fur me. It ud do my business i' quick toime if I——"

He stopped and glanced about him again, and then, without warning, threw himself, so to speak, on Murdoch's shoulder and began to pour a flood of whispers into his ear.

"Theer wur a chap as were a foo'," he said, "an' he was drawed into bein' a bigger foo' than common. It wur him as getten yo' i' trouble wi' th' stroikers. He did na mean no ill, an'—an' he ses, 'I'll tell him to look out, I'll run th' risk.' He knowed what wur goin' on, an' he ses, 'I'll tell him to look out.'"