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Chapter 3 Lodge 341, Vermissa

  • On the day following the evening which had contained so many exciting events, McMurdo moved his lodgings from old Jacob Shafter's and took up his quarter_t the Widow MacNamara's on the extreme outskirts of the town. Scanlan, hi_riginal acquaintance aboard the train, had occasion shortly afterwards t_ove into Vermissa, and the two lodged together. There was no other boarder, and the hostess was an easy-going old Irishwoman who left them to themselves; so that they had a freedom for speech and action welcome to men who ha_ecrets in common.
  • Shafter had relented to the extent of letting McMurdo come to his meals ther_hen he liked; so that his intercourse with Ettie was by no means broken. O_he contrary, it drew closer and more intimate as the weeks went by.
  • In his bedroom at his new abode McMurdo felt it safe to take out the coinin_oulds, and under many a pledge of secrecy a number of brothers from the lodg_ere allowed to come in and see them, each carrying away in his pocket som_xamples of the false money, so cunningly struck that there was never th_lightest difficulty or danger in passing it. Why, with such a wonderful ar_t his command, McMurdo should condescend to work at all was a perpetua_ystery to his companions; though he made it clear to anyone who asked hi_hat if he lived without any visible means it would very quickly bring th_olice upon his track.
  • One policeman was indeed after him already; but the incident, as luck woul_ave it, did the adventurer a great deal more good than harm. After the firs_ntroduction there were few evenings when he did not find his way to McGinty'_aloon, there to make closer acquaintance with "the boys," which was th_ovial title by which the dangerous gang who infested the place were known t_ne another. His dashing manner and fearlessness of speech made him _avourite with them all; while the rapid and scientific way in which h_olished off his antagonist in an "all in" bar-room scrap earned the respec_f that rough community. Another incident, however, raised him even higher i_heir estimation.
  • Just at the crowded hour one night, the door opened and a man entered with th_uiet blue uniforrn and peaked cap of the mine police. This was a special bod_aised by the railways and colliery owners to supplement the efforts of th_rdinary civil police, who were perfectly helpless in the face of th_rganized ruffianism which terrorized the district. There was a hush as h_ntered, and many a curious glance was cast at him; but the relations betwee_olicemen and criminals are peculiar in some parts of the States, and McGint_imself, standing behind his counter, showed no surprise when the policema_nrolled himself among his customers.
  • "A straight whisky; for the night is bitter," said the police officer. "_on't think we have met before, Councillor?"
  • "You'll be the new captain?" said McGinty.
  • "That's so. We're looking to you, Councillor, and to the other leadin_itizens, to help us in upholding law and order in this township. Captai_arvin is my name."
  • "We'd do better without you, Captain Marvin," said McGinty coldly; "for w_ave our own police of the township, and no need for any imported goods. Wha_re you but the paid tool of the capitalists, hired by them to club or shoo_our poorer fellow citizen?"
  • "Well, well, we won't argue about that," said the police officer good- humouredly. "I expect we all do our duty same as we see it; but we can't al_ee it the same." He had drunk off his glass and had turned to go, when hi_yes fell upon the face of Jack McMurdo, who was scowling at his elbow.
  • "Hullo! Hullo!" he cried, looking him up and down. "Here's an ol_cquaintance!"
  • McMurdo shrank away from him. "I was never a friend to you nor any othe_ursed copper in my life," said he.
  • "An acquaintance isn't always a friend," said the police captain, grinning.
  • "You're Jack McMurdo of Chicago, right enough, and don't you deny it!"
  • McMurdo shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not denying it," said he. "D'ye think I'_shamed of my own name?"
  • "You've got good cause to be, anyhow."
  • "What the devil d'you mean by that?" he roared with his fists clenched.
  • "No, no, Jack, bluster won't do with me. I was an officer in Chicago befor_ver I came to this darned coal bunker, and I know a Chicago crook when I se_ne."
  • McMurdo's face fell. "Don't tell me that you're Marvin of the Chicag_entral!" he cried.
  • "Just the same old Teddy Marvin, at your service. We haven't forgotten th_hooting of Jonas Pinto up there."
  • "I never shot him."
  • "Did you not? That's good impartial evidence, ain't it? Well, his death cam_n uncommon handy for you, or they would have had you for shoving the queer.
  • Well, we can let that be bygones; for, between you and me—and perhaps I'_oing further than my duty in saying it—they could get no clear case agains_ou, and Chicago's open to you to-morrow."
  • "I'm very well where I am."
  • "Well, I've given you the pointer, and you're a sulky dog not to thank me fo_t."
  • "Well, I suppose you mean well, and I do thank you," said McMurdo in no ver_racious manner.
  • "It's mum with me so long as I see you living on the straight," said th_aptain. "But, by the Lord! if you get off after this, it's another story! S_ood-night to you—and good-night, Councillor."
  • He left the bar-room; but not before he had created a local hero. McMurdo'_eeds in far Chicago had been whispered before. He had put off all question_ith a smile, as one who did not wish to have greatness thrust upon him. Bu_ow the thing was officially confirmed. The bar loafers crowded round him an_hook him heartily by the hand. He was free of the community from that tim_n. He could drink hard and show little trace of it; but that evening, had hi_ate Scanlan not been at hand to lead him home, the feted hero would surel_ave spent his night under the bar.
  • On a Saturday night McMurdo was introduced to the lodge. He had thought t_ass in without ceremony as being an initiate of Chicago; but there wer_articular rites in Vermissa of which they were proud, and these had to b_ndergone by every postulant. The assembly met in a large room reserved fo_uch purposes at the Union House. Some sixty members assembled at Vermissa; but that by no means represented the full strength of the organization, fo_here were several other lodges in the valley, and others across the mountain_n each side, who exchanged members when any serious business was afoot, s_hat a crime might be done by men who were strangers to the locality.
  • Altogether there were not less than five hundred scattered over the coa_istrict.
  • In the bare assembly room the men were gathered round a long table. At th_ide was a second one laden with bottles and glasses, on which some members o_he company were already turning their eyes. McGinty sat at the head with _lat black velvet cap upon his shock of tangled black hair, and a coloure_urple stole round his neck, so that he seemed to be a priest presiding ove_ome diabolical ritual. To right and left of him were the higher lodg_fficials, the cruel, handsome face of Ted Baldwin among them. Each of thes_ore some scarf or medallion as emblem of his office.
  • They were, for the most part, men of mature age; but the rest of the compan_onsisted of young fellows from eighteen to twenty-five, the ready and capabl_gents who carried out the commands of their seniors. Among the older men wer_any whose features showed the tigerish, lawless souls within; but looking a_he rank and file it was difficult to believe that these eager and open-face_oung fellows were in very truth a dangerous gang of murderers, whose mind_ad suffered such complete moral perversion that they took a horrible pride i_heir proficiency at the business, and looked with deepest respect at the ma_ho had the reputation of making what they called "a clean job."
  • To their contorted natures it had become a spirited and chivalrous thing t_olunteer for service against some man who had never injured them, and whom i_any cases they had never seen in their lives. The crime committed, the_uarrelled as to who had actually struck the fatal blow, and amused on_nother and the company by describing the cries and contortions of th_urdered man.
  • At first they had shown some secrecy in their arrangements; but at the tim_hich this narrative describes their proceedings were extraordinarily open, for the repeated failure of the law had proved to them that, on the one hand, no one would dare to witness against them, and on the other they had a_nlimited number of stanch witnesses upon whom they could call, and a well- filled treasure chest from which they could draw the funds to engage the bes_egal talent in the state. In ten long years of outrage there had been n_ingle conviction, and the only danger that ever threatened the Scowrers la_n the victim himself—who, however outnumbered and taken by surprise, migh_nd occasionally did leave his mark upon his assailants.
  • McMurdo had been warned that some ordeal lay before him; but no one would tel_im in what it consisted. He was led now into an outer room by two solem_rothers. Through the plank partition he could hear the murmur of many voice_rom the assembly within. Once or twice he caught the sound of his own name, and he knew that they were discussing his candidacy. Then there entered a_nner guard with a green and gold sash across his chest.
  • "The Bodymaster orders that he shall be trussed, blinded, and entered," sai_e.
  • The three of them removed his coat, turned up the sleeve of his right arm, an_inally passed a rope round above the elbows and made it fast. They nex_laced a thick black cap right over his head and the upper part of his face, so that he could see nothing. He was then led into the assembly hall.
  • It was pitch dark and very oppressive under his hood. He heard the rustle an_urmur of the people round him, and then the voice of McGinty sounded dull an_istant through the covering of his ears.
  • "John McMurdo," said the voice, "are you already a member of the Ancient Orde_f Freemen?"
  • He bowed in assent.
  • "Is your lodge No. 29, Chicago?"
  • He bowed again.
  • "Dark nights are unpleasant," said the voice.
  • "Yes, for strangers to travel," he answered.
  • "The clouds are heavy."
  • "Yes, a storm is approaching."
  • "Are the brethren satisfied?" asked the Bodymaster.
  • There was a general murmur of assent.
  • "We know, Brother, by your sign and by your countersign that you are indee_ne of us," said McGinty. "We would have you know, however, that in thi_ounty and in other counties of these parts we have certain rites, and als_ertain duties of our own which call for good men. Are you ready to b_ested?"
  • "I am."
  • "Are you of stout heart?"
  • "I am."
  • "Take a stride forward to prove it."
  • As the words were said he felt two hard points in front of his eyes, pressin_pon them so that it appeared as if he could not move forward without a dange_f losing them. None the less, he nerved himself to step resolutely out, an_s he did so the pressure melted away. There was a low murmur of applause.
  • "He is of stout heart," said the voice. "Can you bear pain?"
  • "As well as another," he answered.
  • "Test him!"
  • It was all he could do to keep himself from screaming out, for an agonizin_ain shot through his forearm. He nearly fainted at the sudden shock of it; but he bit his lip and clenched his hands to hide his agony.
  • "I can take more than that," said he.
  • This time there was loud applause. A finer first appearance had never bee_ade in the lodge. Hands clapped him on the back, and the hood was plucke_rom his head. He stood blinking and smiling amid the congratulations of th_rothers.
  • "One last word, Brother McMurdo," said McGinty. "You have already sworn th_ath of secrecy and fidelity, and you are aware that the punishment for an_reach of it is instant and inevitable death?"
  • "I am," said McMurdo.
  • "And you accept the rule of the Bodymaster for the time being under al_ircumstances?"
  • "I do."
  • "Then in the name of Lodge 341, Vemmissa, I welcome you to its privileges an_ebates. You will put the liquor on the table, Brother Scanlan, and we wil_rink to our worthy brother."
  • McMurdo's coat had been brought to him; but before putting it on he examine_is right arm, which still smarted heavily. There on the flesh of the forear_as a circle with a triangle within it, deep and red, as the branding iron ha_eft it. One or two of his neighbours pulled up their sleeves and showed thei_wn lodge marks.
  • "We've all had it," said one; "but not all as brave as you over it."
  • "Tut! It was nothing," said he; but it burned and ached all the same.
  • When the drinks which followed the ceremony of initiation had all bee_isposed of, the business of the lodge proceeded. McMurdo, accustomed only t_he prosaic performances of Chicago, listened with open ears and more surpris_han he ventured to show to what followed.
  • "The first business on the agenda paper," said McGinty, "is to read th_ollowing letter from Division Master Windle of Merton County Lodge 249.
  • Hesays:
  • "Dear Sir:
  • "There is a job to be done on Andrew Rae of Rae & Sturmash, coal owners nea_his place. You will remember that your lodge owes us a return, having had th_ervice of two brethren in the matter of the patrolman last fall. You wil_end two good men, they will be taken charge of by Treasurer Higgins of thi_odge, whose address you know. He will show them when to act and where. Your_n freedom, "J.W. WINDLE D.M.A.0.F.
  • "Windle has never refused us when we have had occasion to ask for the loan o_ man or two, and it is not for us to refuse him." McGinty paused and looke_ound the room with his dull, malevolent eyes. "Who will volunteer for th_ob?"
  • Several young fellows held up their hands. The Bodymaster looked at them wit_n approving smile.
  • "You'll do, Tiger Cormac. If you handle it as well as you did the last, yo_on't be wrong. And you, Wilson."
  • "I've no pistol," said the volunteer, a mere boy in his teens.
  • "It's your first, is it not? Well, you have to be blooded some time. It wil_e a great start for you. As to the pistol, you'll find it waiting for you, o_'m mistaken. If you report yourselves on Monday, it will be time enough.
  • You'll get a great welcome when you return."
  • "Any reward this time?" asked Cormac, a thick-set, dark-faced, brutal-lookin_oung man, whose ferocity had earned him the nickname of "Tiger."
  • "Never mind the reward. You just do it for the honour of the thing. Maybe whe_t is done there will be a few odd dollars at the bottom of the box."
  • "What has the man done?" asked young Wilson.
  • "Sure, it's not for the likes of you to ask what the man has done. He has bee_udged over there. That's no business of ours. All we have to do is to carr_t out for them, same as they would for us. Speaking of that, two brother_rom the Merton lodge are coming over to us next week to do some business i_his quarter."
  • "Who are they?" asked someone.
  • "Faith, it is wiser not to ask. If you know nothing, you can testify nothing, and no trouble can come of it. But they are men who will make a clean job whe_hey are about it."
  • "And time, too!" cried Ted Baldwin. "Folk are gettin' out of hand in thes_arts. It was only last week that three of our men were turned off by Forema_laker. It's been owing him a long time, and he'll get it full and proper."
  • "Get what?" McMurdo whispered to his neighbour.
  • "The business end of a buckshot cartridge!" cried the man with a loud laugh.
  • "What think you of our ways, Brother?"
  • McMurdo's criminal soul seemed to have already absorbed the spirit of the vil_ssociation of which he was now a member. "I like it well," said he. "'Tis _roper place for a lad of mettle."
  • Several of those who sat around heard his words and applauded them.
  • "What's that?" cried the black-maned Bodymaster from the end of the table.
  • "'Tis our new brother, sir, who finds our ways to his taste."
  • McMurdo rose to his feet for an instant. "I would say, Eminent Bodymaster, that if a man should be wanted I should take it as an honour to be chosen t_elp the lodge."
  • There was great applause at this. It was felt that a new sun was pushing it_im above the horizon. To some of the elders it seemed that the progress was _ittle too rapid.
  • "I would move," said the secretary, Harraway, a vulture-faced old graybear_ho sat near the chairman, "that Brother McMurdo should wait until it is th_ood pleasure of the lodge to employ him."
  • "Sure, that was what I meant; I'm in your hands," said McMurdo.
  • "Your time will come, Brother," said the chairman. "We have marked you down a_ willing man, and we believe that you will do good work in these parts. Ther_s a small matter to-night in which you may take a hand if it so please you."
  • "I will wait for something that is worth while."
  • "You can come to-night, anyhow, and it will help you to know what we stand fo_n this community. I will make the announcement later. Meanwhile," he glance_t his agenda paper, "I have one or two more points to bring before th_eeting. First of all, I will ask the treasurer as to our bank balance. Ther_s the pension to Jim Carnaway's widow. He was struck down doing the work o_he lodge, and it is for us to see that she is not the loser."
  • "Jim was shot last month when they tried to kill Chester Wilcox of Marle_reek," McMurdo's neighbour informed him.
  • "The funds are good at the moment," said the treasurer, with the bankbook i_ront of him. "The firms have been generous of late. Max Linder & Co. pai_ive hundred to be left alone. Walker Brothers sent in a hundred; but I too_t on myself to return it and ask for five. If I do not hear by Wednesday, their winding gear may get out of order. We had to burn their breaker las_ear before they became reasonable. Then the West Section Coaling Company ha_aid its annual contribution. We have enough on hand to meet any obligations."
  • "What about Archie Swindon?" asked a brother.
  • "He has sold out and left the district. The old devil left a note for us t_ay that he had rather be a free crossing sweeper in New York than a larg_ine owner under the power of a ring of blackmailers. By Gar! it was as wel_hat he made a break for it before the note reached us! I guess he won't sho_is face in this valley again."
  • An elderly, clean-shaved man with a kindly face and a good brow rose from th_nd of the table which faced the chairman. "Mr. Treasurer," he asked, "may _sk who has bought the property of this man that we have driven out of th_istrict?"
  • "Yes, Brother Morris. It has been bought by the State & Merton County Railroa_ompany."
  • "And who bought the mines of Todman and of Lee that came into the market i_he same way last year?"
  • "The same company, Brother Morris."
  • "And who bought the ironworks of Manson and of Shuman and of Van Deher and o_twood, which have all been given up of late?"
  • "They were all bought by the West Gilmerton General Mining Company."
  • "I don't see, Brother Morris," said the chairman, "that it matters to us wh_uys them, since they can't carry them out of the district."
  • "With all respect to you, Eminent Bodymaster, I think it may matter very muc_o us. This process has been going on now for ten long years. We are graduall_riving all the small men out of trade. What is the result? We find in thei_laces great companies like the Railroad or the General Iron, who have thei_irectors in New York or Philadelphia, and care nothing for our threats. W_an take it out of their local bosses; but it only means that others will b_ent in their stead. And we are making it dangerous for ourselves. The smal_en could not harm us. They had not the money nor the power. So long as we di_ot squeeze them too dry, they would stay on under our power. But if these bi_ompanies find that we stand between them and their profits, they will spar_o pains and no expense to hunt us down and bring us to court."
  • There was a hush at these ominous words, and every face darkened as gloom_ooks were exchanged. So omnipotent and unchallenged had they been that th_ery thought that there was possible retribution in the background had bee_anished from their minds. And yet the idea struck a chill to the mos_eckless of them.
  • "It is my advice," the speaker continued, "that we go easier upon the smal_en. On the day that they have all been driven out the power of this societ_ill have been broken."
  • Unwelcome truths are not popular. There were angry cries as the speake_esumed his seat. McGinty rose with gloom upon his brow.
  • "Brother Morris," said he, "you were always a croaker. So long as the member_f this lodge stand together there is no power in the United States that ca_ouch them. Sure, have we not tried it often enough in the lawcourts? I expec_he big companies will find it easier to pay than to fight, same as the littl_ompanies do. And now, Brethren," McGinty took off his black velvet cap an_is stole as he spoke, "this lodge has finished its business for the evening, save for one small matter which may be mentioned when we are parting. The tim_as now come for fraternal refreshment and for harmony."
  • Strange indeed is human nature. Here were these men, to whom murder wa_amiliar, who again and again had struck down the father of the family, som_an against whom they had no personal feeling, without one thought o_ompunction or of compassion for his weeping wife or helpless children, an_et the tender or pathetic in music could move them to tears. McMurdo had _ine tenor voice, and if he had failed to gain the good will of the lodg_efore, it could no longer have been withheld after he had thrilled them with
  • "I'm Sitting on the Stile, Mary," and "On the Banks of Allan Water."
  • In his very first night the new recruit had made himself one of the mos_opular of the brethren, marked already for advancement and high office. Ther_ere other qualities needed, however, besides those of good fellowship, t_ake a worthy Freeman, and of these he was given an example before the evenin_as over. The whisky bottle had passed round many times, and the men wer_lushed and ripe for mischief when their Bodymaster rose once more to addres_hem.
  • "Boys," said he, "there's one man in this town that wants trimming up, an_t's for you to see that he gets it. I'm speaking of James Stanger of th_erald. You've seen how he's been opening his mouth against us again?"
  • There was a murmur of assent, with many a muttered oath. McGinty took a sli_f paper from his waistcoat pocket.
  • "LAW AND ORDER!
  • That's how he heads it.
  • "REIGN OF TERROR IN THE COAL AND IRON DISTRICT
  • "Twelve years have now elapsed since the first assassinations which proved th_xistence of a criminal organization in our midst. From that day thes_utrages have never ceased, until now they have reached a pitch which makes u_he opprobrium of the civilized world. Is it for such results as this that ou_reat country welcomes to its bosom the alien who flies from the despotisms o_urope? Is it that they shall themselves become tyrants over the very men wh_ave given them shelter, and that a state of terrorism and lawlessness shoul_e established under the very shadow of the sacred folds of the starry Flag o_reedom which would raise horror in our minds if we read of it as existin_nder the most effete monarchy of the East? The men are known. Th_rganization is patent and public. How long are we to endure it? Can w_orever live—
  • Sure, I've read enough of the slush!" cried the chairman, tossing the pape_own upon the table. "That's what he says of us. The question I'm asking yo_s what shall we say to him?"
  • "Kill him!" cried a dozen fierce voices.
  • "I protest against that," said Brother Morris, the man of the good brow an_haved face. "I tell you, Brethren, that our hand is too heavy in this valley, and that there will come a point where in self-defense every man will unite t_rush us out. James Stanger is an old man. He is respected in the township an_he district. His paper stands for all that is solid in the valley. If tha_an is struck down, there will be a stir through this state that will only en_ith our destruction."
  • "And how would they bring about our destruction, Mr. Standback?" crie_cGinty. "Is it by the police? Sure, half of them are in our pay and half o_hem afraid of us. Or is it by the law courts and the judge? Haven't we trie_hat before now, and what ever came of it?"
  • "There is a Judge Lynch that might try the case," said Brother Morris.
  • A general shout of anger greeted the suggestion.
  • "I have but to raise my finger," cried McGinty, "and I could put two hundre_en into this town that would clear it out from end to end." Then suddenl_aising his voice and bending his huge black brows into a terrible frown, "Se_ere, Brother Morris, I have my eye on you, and have had for some time! You'v_o heart yourself, and you try to take the heart out of others. It will be a_ll day for you, Brother Morris, when your own name comes on our agenda paper, and I'm thinking that it's just there that I ought to place it."
  • Morris had turned deadly pale, and his knees seemed to give way under him a_e fell back into his chair. He raised his glass in his trembling hand an_rank before he could answer. "I apologize, Eminent Bodymaster, to you and t_very brother in this lodge if I have said more than I should. I am a faithfu_ember—you all know that—and it is my fear lest evil come to the lodge whic_akes me speak in anxious words. But I have greater trust in your judgmen_han in my own, Eminent Bodymaster, and I promise you that I will not offen_gain."
  • The Bodymaster's scowl relaxed as he listened to the humble words. "Very good, Brother Morris. It's myself that would be sorry if it were needful to give yo_ lesson. But so long as I am in this chair we shall be a united lodge in wor_nd in deed. And now, boys," he continued, looking round at the company, "I'l_ay this much, that if Stanger got his full deserts there would be mor_rouble than we need ask for. These editors hang together, and every journa_n the state would be crying out for police and troops. But I guess you ca_ive him a pretty severe warning. Will you fix it, Brother Baldwin?"
  • "Sure!" said the young man eagerly.
  • "How many will you take?"
  • "Half a dozen, and two to guard the door. You'll come, Gower, and you, Mansel, and you, Scanlan, and the two Willabys."
  • "I promised the new brother he should go," said the chairman.
  • Ted Baldwin looked at McMurdo with eyes which showed that he had not forgotte_or forgiven. "Well, he can come if he wants," he said in a surly voice.
  • "That's enough. The sooner we get to work the better."
  • The company broke up with shouts and yells and snatches of drunken song. Th_ar was still crowded with revellers, and many of the brethren remained there.
  • The little band who had been told off for duty passed out into the street, proceeding in twos and threes along the sidewalk so as not to provok_ttention. It was a bitterly cold night, with a half-moon shining brilliantl_n a frosty, star-spangled sky. The men stopped and gathered in a yard whic_aced a high building. The words, "Vemmissa Herald" were printed in gol_ettering between the brightly lit windows. >From within came the clanking o_he printing press.
  • "Here, you," said Baldwin to McMurdo, "you can stand below at the door and se_hat the road is kept open for us. Arthur Willaby can stay with you. Yo_thers come with me. Have no fears, boys; for we have a dozen witnesses tha_e are in the Union Bar at this very moment."
  • It was nearly midnight, and the street was deserted save for one or tw_evellers upon their way home. The party crossed the road, and, pushing ope_he door of the newspaper office, Baldwin and his men rushed in and up th_tair which faced them. McMurdo and another remained below. From the roo_bove came a shout, a cry for help, and then the sound of trampling feet an_f falling chairs. An instant later a gray-haired man rushed out on th_anding.
  • He was seized before he could get farther, and his spectacles came tinklin_own to McMurdo's feet. There was a thud and a groan. He was on his face,an_alf a dozen sticks were clattering together as they fell upon him. H_rithed, and his long, thin limbs quivered under the blows. The others cease_t last; but Baldwin, his cruel face set in an infernal smile, was hacking a_he man's head, which he vainly endeavoured to defend with his arms. His whit_air was dabbled with patches of blood. Baldwin was still stooping over hi_ictim, putting in a short, vicious blow whenever he could see a part exposed, when McMurdo dashed up the stair and pushed him back.
  • "You'll kill the man," said he. "Drop it!"
  • Baldwin looked at him in amazement. "Curse you!" he cried. "Who are you t_nterfere—you that are new to the lodge? Stand back!" He raised his stick; bu_cMurdo had whipped his pistol out of his pocket.
  • "Stand back yourself!" he cried. "I'll blow your face in if you lay a hand o_e. As to the lodge, wasn't it the order of the Bodymaster that the man wa_ot to be killed—and what are you doing but killing him?"
  • "It's truth he says," remarked one of the men.
  • "By Gar! you'd best hurry yourselves!" cried the man below. "The windows ar_ll lighting up, and you'll have the whole town here inside of five minutes."
  • There was indeed the sound of shouting in the street, and a little group o_ompositors and pressmen was forming in the hall below and nerving itself t_ction. Leaving the limp and motionless body of the editor at the head of th_tair, the criminals rushed down and made their way swiftly along the street.
  • Having reached the Union House, some of them mixed with the crowd in McGinty'_aloon, whispering across the bar to the Boss that the job had been wel_arried through. Others, and among them McMurdo, broke away into side streets, and so by devious paths to their own homes.