alf a dozen men spoke up. "The fire tuk inside, an' the court-house war haffen gone 'fore 'twar seen," said one, in sulky extenuation.
"Leave Tobe be--let him jaw!" said another, cavalierly.
"Tobe 'pears ter be sp'ilin' fur a fight," said a third, impersonally, as if to direct the attention of any belligerent in the group to the opportunity.
The register had an expression of slow cunning as he cast a glance up at the overbearing ranger.
"What ailed the stray-book ter bide hyar in the court-house all night, Tobe? Couldn't ye gin it house-room? Thar warn't no special need fur it to be hyar."
Tobe Gryce's face showed that for once he was at a loss. He glowered down at the register and said nothing.
"Ez ter me," resumed that worthy, "by the law o' the land my books war obligated ter be thar." He quoted, mournfully, "'Shall at all times be and remain in his office.'"
He gathered up his knee again and subsided into silence.
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