Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/168

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PRIZE STORIES OF 1924

“Trouble,”’ I nodded. “Nigger trouble.” He seized my lamp and hopped out into the road. I followed. .The same crazy buckboard that I had seen that afternoon was in front of the house, the same ancient driver, apparently the same roll of bagging. “Why, it’s Uncle Gabe—Gabe Peak,” was Agard’s puzzled remark. ’ «“What’s the matter, Gabe? ” “Doctor, my boy got shot.” ““John shot? My ‘God Almighty!” The doctor spoke as though patience with Negro vagaries had limits. “TI heard a , but never thought about John. We looked over the back wheel. Unmistakably it was John, or what remained of him. A glance revealed an ex- travasated chest wound. He was in a daze, and, with thick gore bubbling from his lips, I thought he mumbled some re- assurance to me about my buggy. ‘“‘Drive around to the side gate,”’ said Agard. The flimsy establishment got into action quickly. Astout stretcher was brought, and John was immediately conveyed into the rear shed and laid on a table of planks. There was rapid raking through an old sawmill surgeon’s kit, opening of a can of chloroform from the store, fetching of gauze and absorbent cotton. Gabe was terrorized and talkative. At a certain point of his babble Agard closed up his kit and spoke: ‘Sarah, tele- phone for Braden the first thing you do. . . . Doctor,” he asked, quietly, ‘can you bear a hand with this case?” I am a physician, and I answered as such. “Well,” he announced, “‘ we’d better be on the move now. Gabe, you shut up, and take all you can carry—here, take this bag. Wait, Sarah—standin’ there with those damned ear- rings on you!—you help get this man back on the stretcher. Now—I left here at six o’clock on the Dalby road, but you don’t know where I was bound for, do you?—until the de puty sheriff gets here.”’ “Doctor, I don’t even know whichaway you went, so help me Gawd!” Sarah added the artistic touch. “All right; you telephone, and then stay here with your patients. Don’t try to bar any doors. Where’s that Steve?” The individual in question, sleek and hearty save for the