The American Senator HTML version

14. The Dillsborough Feud
"It's that nasty, beastly, drunken club," said Mrs. Masters to her unfortunate
husband on the Wednesday morning. It may perhaps be remembered that the
poisoned fox was found on the Saturday, and it may be imagined that Mr. Goarly
had risen in importance since that day. On the Saturday Bean with a couple of
men employed by Lord Rufford, had searched the wood, and found four or five
red herrings poisoned with strychnine. There had been no doubt about the
magnitude of the offence. On the Monday a detective policeman, dressed of
course in rustic disguise but not the less known to every one in the place, was
wandering about between Dillsborough and Dillsborough Wood and making futile
inquiries as to the purchase of strychnine,--and also as to the purchase of red
herrings. But every one knew, and such leading people as Runciman and Dr.
Nupper were not slow to declare, that Dillsborough was the only place in England
in which one might be sure that those articles had not been purchased. And on
the Tuesday it began to be understood that Goarly had applied to Bearside, the
other attorney, in reference to his claim against Lord Rufford's pheasants. He had
contemptuously refused the 7s. 6d. an acre offered him, and put his demand at
40s. As to the poisoned fox and the herrings and the strychnine Goarly declared
that he didn't care if there were twenty detectives in the place. He stated it to be
his opinion that Larry Twentyman had put down the poison. It was all very well,
Goarly said, for Larry to be fond of gentlemen and to ride to hounds, and make
pretences;--but Larry liked his turkeys as well as anybody else, and Larry had put
down the poison. In this matter Goarly overreached himself. No one in
Dillsborough could be brought to believe that. Even Harry Stubbings was ready
to swear that he should suspect himself as soon. But nothing was clearer than
this,--that Goarly was going to make a stand against the hunt and especially
against Lord Rufford. He had gone to Bearside and Bearside had taken up the
matter in a serious way. Then it became known very quickly that Bearside had
already received money, and it was surmised that Goarly had some one at his
back. Lord Rufford had lately ejected from a house of his on the other side of the
county a discontented litigious retired grocer from Rufford, who had made some
money and had set himself up in a pretty little residence with a few acres of land.
The man had made himself objectionable and had been dispossessed. The
man's name was Scrobby; and hence had come these sorrows. This was the
story that had already made itself known in Dillsborough on the Tuesday
evening. But up to that time not a tittle of evidence had come to light as to the
purchase of the red herrings or the strychnine. All that was known was the fact
that had not Tony Tuppett stopped the hounds before they reached the wood,
there must have been a terrible mortality. "It's that nasty, beastly, drunken club,"
said Mrs. Masters to her husband. Of course it was at this time known to the lady
that her husband had thrown away Goarly's business and that it had been
transferred to Bearside. It was also surmised by her, as it was by the town in