"It's a matter of fact," said the other. The two stared at one another, silent and stern, each trying to fathom the other's soul; then they turned again to the brink of the. Fall. Beneath them, plain to see, was the splash and furrow in the shingle marking the Killer's line of retreat. They looked at one another again, and then each departed the way he had come to give his version of the story.
'If Th' Owd Un had kept wi' me, I should Iha' had him."
And-- "I tell ye I did have him, but James Moore :~~ulled me aff. Strange, too, his dog not bein' --'him!"
IN the village even the Black Killer and the murder on the Screes were forgotten in this new sensation. The mystery in which the affair was wrapped, and the ignorance as to all its details, served to whet the general interest. There had been a fight; M'Adam and the Terror had been mauled; and David had disappeared--those were the facts. But what was the origin of the affray no one could say.
One or two of the Dalesmen had, indeed, a shrewd suspicion. Tupper looked guilty; Jem Burton muttered, "I knoo hoo 'twould be"; while as for Long Kirby, he vanished entirely, not to reappear till three months had sped.
Injured as he had been, M'Adam was yet sufficiently recovered to appear in the Sylvester Arms on the Saturday following the battle. He entered the tap-room silently with never a word to a soul; one arm was in a sling and his head bandaged. He eyed every man present critically; and all, except Tammas, who was brazen, and Jim Mason, who was innocent, fidgeted beneath the stare. Maybe it was well for Long Kirby he was not there.
"Onythin' the matter? " asked Jem, at length, rather lamely, in view of the plain evidences of battle.
"Na, na; naethin' oot o' the ordinar'," the little man replied, giggling. "Only David set on me, and me sleepin'. And," with a shrug, "here I am noo." He sat down, wagging his bandaged head and grinning. "Ye see he's sae playfu', is Davie. He wangs ye o'er the head wi' a chair, kicks ye in the jaw, stamps on yer wame, and all as merry as May." And nothing further could they get from him, except that if David reappeared it was his firm resolve to hand him over to the police for attempted parricide.