Page:Post - Uncle Abner (Appleton, 1918).djvu/111

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Uncle Abner

my uncle got down from his horse and tied the bridle rein to a sapling.

"What now, Abner?" cried Randolph, like a man swept along in a current of crazy happenings.

"I am going in to arrange about the payment of the money," replied my uncle.

The justice swore a great oath. If my uncle was setting out to interview desperate assassins—as his acts indicated—alone and unarmed, it was the extreme of foolhardy peril. Did he think murderers would parley with him and let him come away to tell it and to lead in a posse? It was a thing beyond all sane belief!

And it is evidence of the blood in Randolph that in this conviction, with the inevitable end of the venture before his face, he got down and went in with my uncle.

The path lay along a sort of dike, thrown up in some ancient time against the swamp. Now along the sides it was grown with great reeds, water beech and the common bush of wet lands.

They came to the old tobacco house noiselessly on the damp path. The tumble-down door had been set in place.

My uncle did not pause for any consideration of finesse or safety. He went straight ahead to the door and flung it open. It was rotten and insecurely set, and it fell with a clatter into the abandoned house.