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“He’s said he’ll tell, and he will. If we was to give both our shares to him NOW it wouldn’t make no difference after the row and the way we’ve served him. Shore’s you’re born, he’ll turn State’s evidence; now you hear ME. I’m for putting him out of his troubles.” “He said he’ll tell, and he will. Even if we gave both our shares to him now, it wouldn’t make any difference, now that we’ve fought him and tied him up. I’m sure he’ll turn state’s evidence and testify against us. Now you listen. I say we put him out of his misery.”
“So’m I,” says Packard, very quiet. “I agree,” said Packard quietly.
“Blame it, I’d sorter begun to think you wasn’t. Well, then, that’s all right. Le’s go and do it.” “Damn it, I was beginning to think you weren’t. Well then, that’s that. Let’s go and do it.”
“Hold on a minute; I hain’t had my say yit. You listen to me. Shooting’s good, but there’s quieter ways if the thing’s GOT to be done. But what I say is this: it ain’t good sense to go court’n around after a halter if you can git at what you’re up to in some way that’s jist as good and at the same time don’t bring you into no resks. Ain’t that so?” “Hold on a minute—I haven’t said everything I want to say yet. Listen to me. Shooting a man is fine, but there are quieter ways to kill him. I don’t think it makes any sense to invite trouble if you can do the same thing with less risk. Am I right?”
“You bet it is. But how you goin’ to manage it this time?” “You bet. But how are you thinking of killing him?”
“Well, my idea is this: we’ll rustle around and gather up whatever pickins we’ve overlooked in the staterooms, and shove for shore and hide the truck. Then we’ll wait. Now I say it ain’t a-goin’ to be more’n two hours befo’ this wrack breaks up and washes off down the river. See? He’ll be drownded, and won’t have nobody to blame for it but his own self. I reckon that’s a considerble sight better ’n killin’ of him. I’m unfavorable to killin’ a man as long as you can git aroun’ it; it ain’t good sense, it ain’t good morals. Ain’t I right?” “Well, we can rummage around the boat and gather up anything else in the staterooms that we overlooked. Then we can head to shore and hide our loot. Then we’ll wait. I don’t think it’s going to be more than two hours before this wreck breaks up and washes down river. See what I mean? He’ll drown, and everyone will blame him for his own death. I think that’s much better than killing him. I’m against killing anyone if you can get around it. It’s not good sense. It’s not good morals. Am I right?”
“Yes, I reck’n you are. But s’pose she DON’T break up and wash off?” “Yes, I suppose you are. But what if the boat doesn’t break up and wash away?”
“Well, we can wait the two hours anyway and see, can’t we?” “Well, we can wait a couple hours and see, can’t we?”
“All right, then; come along.” “All right then, let’s go.”
So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat, and scrambled forward. It was dark as pitch there; but I said, in a kind of a coarse whisper, “Jim!” and he answered up, right at my elbow, with a sort of a moan, and I says: They started off, and I hurried out. I was in a cold sweat as I scrambled forward in the pitch dark. I whispered, “Jim!” and he answered me with a soart of moan right at my elbow. I said:
“Quick, Jim, it ain’t no time for fooling around and moaning; there’s a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don’t hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these fellows can’t get away from the wreck there’s one of ’em going to be in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put ALL of ’em in a bad fix—for the sheriff ’ll get ’em. Quick—hurry! I’ll hunt the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard. You start at the raft, and—” “Quick, Jim. This isn’t a time for fooling around and moaning. There’s a gang of murderers inside. If we don’t find their boat and set it loose so these guys can’t get away, one of them is going to get murdered. But if we find their boat, then they’ll all be stuck and the sheriff can arrest them. Quick, hurry! I’ll look for their boat on the port side, and you hunt on the starboard side. Get the raft ready, and….”
“Oh, my lordy, lordy! RAF’? Dey ain’ no raf’ no mo’; she done broke loose en gone I—en here we is!” “Oh lordy, lordy! Raft?! There’s no raft! It’s broken loose and gone. Now we’re stuck on this wreck, too!”