Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/151

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“Oh, yes, I’m working, but I heard you out here, and I was wondering—Cara, I suppose somebody’s looking out for Mrs. Parker? She wouldn’t have many friends to fall back on.”

“They took her to the hospital.”

“That’s good. If you think one of us ought to go over———”

“I don’t.” Mrs. Boynton flushed crimson as she spoke.

“I’ve heard from her. Edward, she—she’s———”

“Might as well say it, Cara,” the judge advised. He turned round, laughing.

“You ought to know, Boynton, you’re hovering on the edge of the gallows. I was telling Cara just before you came out. Mrs. Parker——”

Mrs. Boynton cut in on the sentence. “She says she heard you say, ‘I told you I’d finish you if you came on my place,’ and then——”

“Why, yes. Yes, that’s what I did say,” Boynton corroborated. He grasped the other part of the idea slowly. “Do you mean she has the effrontery—the—the assurance——”

Their guest laughed again, more reassuringly than before. “She’s still two thirds over. Wait till we see what she says when she’s sober.—Funny thing is, what was the matter with him? Do you suppose one of those boys who were following———”

“I haven’t the smallest idea. I’d think he had a fit and struck his head when he fell, only I saw the blood before that. I tried to catch him, and it was all over me.”

“If I were you, I’d forget about seeing it beforehand,” the ex-judge suggested, casually. He had been gone an hour or two and it was nearly dinner time before the force of his suggestion struck home to Boynton’s mind. He commented on it indignantly to his wife and daughter while they ate.

“A man like Bolling, too! That’s the worst of having anything to do with the courts, even as far up as he was. I’ve never had to testify at an inquest, and naturally I’ve always kept clear of getting on juries or anything of that kind; but as to using any subterfuge to get out of testifying———”

By the next morning, though, his attention had been diverted to newer reasons for indignation. Mrs. Parker was still too ill to leave her bed, and the inquest was being postponed for her, but her pre-inquest statements, as they seeped