The policeman released his grip on Joe. I remember you, said Bigumpound. We met at the railway crossing just east of here.
Constable, interrupted the Judge. Is this man the fellow youve been looking for all summer?
Im sure of it, replied the constable.
Whats this all about? asked Joe to Bigumpound and the judge. He slowly turned and looked at Bigumpound.
So, wheres your horses, boy? asked the cop. And, hows our trap-line these days . . . the one over by Mount Robson?
Joe was silent.
Bigumpound continued, as he turned to the magistrate and said, Judge, I believe this is the culprit. He has a packhorse and gear. Late last fall, the whole detachment was on the look-out for him. Quite a few caribou were shot over by that roadhouse, at Starvation Flats, and the meat ended up at Henningville and here at Mile 52. Im convinced, Sir. And, look at this. He pointed to Joes pack-box.
Excuse us, Your Honour, interrupted Sarah. She addressed the judge. We was having a little fun, we was. Thats all. No need for . . .
Mr. Allan, interrupted Bigumpound. Kindly move this lady and the other women back. Sarah and her friends moved down where the other passengers were gathered with little coaxing from the freight clerk.
Bigumpound again pointed to the wooden box. He has a pack-box, Sir. Ill bet hes been hiding out all winter and summer.
The policeman turned to Joe, Youve come into town for some grub. Right Boy? Been stealing from these poor town-folk? You must think this flood is great! Well, what have you got to say for yourself?
Well, Mister, said Joe, Im not really sure whats going on. Im part of the crew of the B.C. Express. I walked over here from Mile 53 to the Cache to see if my friends, the Wall Brothers, were all right.
The B.C. Express, indeed, replied Bigumpound.
Why do you have this pack-box? asked the Magistrate.
I found it, said Joe. And, it looks like an ordinary pack-box to me.
Look here, replied Bigumpound, pointing to the initials, J. L., on the side of the wooden box. Thats proof enough for me!
In the next episode - THE ARREST - Joe is arrested, taken in for further questioning and, later, is exposed to cruel and unusual treatment by the B.C. Police.