He came back two hours ago
sir, and he was in his room ten minutes ago—but he's gone."
"Well," said Bobby, who was just off to bed, "he'll be back again soon; can't come to much harm here. You'd better sit up for him, Mudd."
Off he went to bed. He lay reading for awhile and thinking of Cerise; then he put out the light and dropped off to sleep.
He was awakened by Mudd. Mudd with a candle in his hand.
"He's not back yet, Mr. Robert."
Bobby sat up and rubbed his eyes. "Not back? Oh, Uncle Simon! What's the time?"
"Gone one, sir."
"Bother! What can have happened to him, Mudd?"
"That's what I'm asking myself," said Mudd.
A heavy step sounded on the gravel drive in front of the hotel, then came a ring at the[Pg 235] bell. Mudd, candle in hand, darted off.
Bobby heard voices down below. Five minutes passed and then reappeared Mudd—ghastly to look at.
"They've took him," said Mudd.Poaching!"
"Colonel Salmon's river, he and a man, and the man's got off. He's at the policeman's house, and he says he'll let us have him if we'll go bail for him, seeing he's an old gentleman and only did it for the lark of the thing."
"But he'll have to go before the magistrates on We'n'sday, whether or no—before the magistrates—him!"
"The devil!" said Bobby. He got up and hurried on some clothes.
"Him before the magistrates—in his present state! Oh, Lord!"
"Shut up!" said Bobby. His hands were shaking as he put on his things. Pictures of Simon before the magistrates were fleeting before him. Money was the only chance. Could the policeman be bribed?
Hurrying downstairs and outside into the moonlit night, he found the officer. None of[Pg 236] the hotel folk had turned out at the ring of the bell. Bobby, in a muted voice and beneath the stars, listened to the tale of the Law, then he tried corruption.
Useless. Constable Copper, though he might be no more good than a blind horse, according to Horn, was incorruptible yet consolatory.
"It'll only be a couple of quid fine,"
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