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According To Their Lights
by [?]

“What’ll we do?” grumbled the Captain. “We can’t starve.”

“Can’t we?” said Murray quietly. “I’m glad to hear that. I was afraid we could.”

“You wait here,” said the Captain, rising, heavily and puffily to his feet. “I’m going to try to make one more turn. You stay here till I come back, Murray. I won’t be over half an hour. If I turn the trick I’ll come back flush.”

He made some elephantine attempts at smartening his appearance. He gave his fiery mustache a heavenward twist; he dragged into sight a pair of black-edged cuffs, deepened the crease in his middle by tightening his belt another hole, and set off, jaunty as a zoo rhinoceros, across the south end of the park.

When he was out of sight Murray also left the park, hurrying swiftly eastward. He stopped at a building whose steps were flanked by two green lights.

“A police captain named Maroney,” he said to the desk sergeant, “was dismissed from the force after being tried under charges three years ago. I believe sentence was suspended. Is this man wanted now by the police?”

“Why are ye asking?” inquired the sergeant, with a frown.

“I thought there might be a reward standing,” explained Murray, easily. “I know the man well. He seems to be keeping himself pretty shady at present. I could lay my hands on him at any time. If there should be a reward–“

“There’s no reward,” interrupted the sergeant, shortly. “The man’s not wanted. And neither are ye. So, get out. Ye are frindly with um, and ye would be selling um. Out with ye quick, or I’ll give ye a start.”

Murray gazed at the officer with serene and virtuous dignity.

“I would be simply doing my duty as a citizen and gentleman,” he said, severely, “if I could assist the law in laying hold of one of its ofenders.”

Murray hurried back to the bench in the park. He folded his arms and shrank within his clothes to his ghost-like presentment.

Ten minutes afterward the Captain arrived at the rendezvous, windy and thunderous as a clog-day in Kansas. His collar had been torn away; his straw hat had been twisted and battered; his shirt with ox-blood stripes split to the waist. And from head to knee he was drenched with some vile and ignoble greasy fluid that loudly proclaimed to the nose its component leaven of garlic and kitchen stuff.

“For Heaven’s sake, Captain,” sniffed Murray, “I doubt that I would have waited for you if I had suspected you were so desperate as to resort to swill barrels. I”–

“Cheese it,” said the Captain, harshly. “I’m not hogging it yet. It’s all on the outside. I went around on Essex and proposed marriage to that Catrina that’s got the fruit shop there. Now, that business could be built up. She’s a peach as far as a Dago could be. I thought I had that senoreena mashed sure last week. But look what she done to me! I guess I got too fresh. Well there’s another scheme queered.”

“You don’t mean to say,” said Murray, with infinite contempt, “that you would have married that woman to help yourself out of your disgraceful troubles!”

“Me?” said the Captain. “I’d marry the Empress of China for one bowl of chop suey. I’d commit murder for a plate of beef stew. I’d steal a wafer from a waif. I’d be a Mormon for a bowl of chowder.”

“I think,” said Murray, resting his head on his hands, “that I would play Judas for the price of one drink of whiskey. For thirty pieces of silver I would”–

“Oh, come now!” exclaimed the Captain in dismay. “You wouldn’t do that, Murray! I always thought that Kike’s squeal on his boss was about the lowest-down play that ever happened. A man that gives his friend away is worse than a pirate.”

Through the park stepped a large man scanning the benches where the electric light fell.

“Is that you, Mac?” he said, halting before the derelicts. His diamond stickpin dazzled. His diamond-studded fob chain assisted. He was big and smooth and well fed. “Yes, I see it’s you,” he continued. “They told me at Mike’s that I might find you over here. Let me see
you a few minutes, Mac.”