So Mr. Knightley stood up and faced them all like a man. He was one of those chaps that makes up their mind pretty quick about the sort of people they've got to deal with, and if there's anything to be said or done lets 'em have it 'straight from the shoulder'. As he stood there -- straight and square -- with his head thrown back, and his eyes -- very bright and sharp they were -- looking every man's face over as if he was reading a notice and had no time to spare, you couldn't have told, from his look, or voice, or manner, whether he was afraid that things would go wrong, or whether he was dead sure they'd go right. Some men are like that. Others you can tell every thought that's passing through their minds just as if it was printed in big letters on their breasts, like a handbill: '200 Pounds reward,' and so on.

Well, Mr. Knightley wasn't one of that sort, though I saw him keep his eye a trifle longer on Moran than the rest of 'em.

'Now then, boys,' he says, 'we've had our flutter out. I've done my best, and you've done yours. I've bagged one of your lot, and you've done your best to pot me. See here,' and he lifts up the collar of his coat and shows a hole through it, touches his head on the side, and brings away a red mark; and takes out his watch with the case all battered in by a revolver bullet. 'You can't say I hadn't cause to show fight,' and he points to his wife. 'Where's the man among you that wouldn't have done the same? An Englishman's house is his castle. What am I to expect?'

He looked over at Starlight, but he didn't take no notice, and made no sign. I saw Mrs. Knightley look over at him too. It was the first time I ever seen him look hard when there was a woman in the case, and such a one! But he kept his face set and stern-like.

Then Moran breaks in --

'Expect, be blowed! What the ---- do you expect now we've got yer to rights; are we going to let you off after knocking over Daly? No dashed fear, mister, we'll serve you the same way as you served him, as soon as we've had some grub and another glass or two of your grog. You've got some fairish stuff here.'

'Why, Moran,' says Mr. Knightley, still making believe to joke -- and, by George! if he could laugh then, he could sing a song with a bullet through him -- 'you're getting bad-tempered since you used to be horsebreaking for Mr. Lowe. Don't you remember that chestnut Sir Henry colt that no one else could ride, and I backed you not to get thrown, and won a fiver? But I'm a man of the world and know how to play a losing game at billiards as well as most men. Look here now! Daly's dead. We can't bring him to life again, can we? If you shoot me, you'll be nothing to the good, and have every spare man in the three colonies at your heels. This is a game of brag, though the stakes are high. I'll play a card. Listen. You shall have a hundred fivers -- 500 Pounds in notes -- by tomorrow at four o'clock, if you'll let Mrs. Knightley and the doctor ride to Bathurst for the money. What do you say?'

'D--n you and your money too,' growled Moran. 'We'll have your blood, and nothing else. D'ye hear that? You're a dead man now; if you're not buried by this time tomorrow, it won't be because you're not as ready for it as Patsey is.'

I saw Mrs. Knightley turn round and clasp her hands; her face grew as white as death, but she said nothing, only looked over at Starlight, and her eyes grew bigger and bigger, while her mouth trembled just the least bit.

'You're off your head, Moran,' says Mr. Knightley, pulling out a cigar and lighting it. 'But I suppose you're the chief man, and all the rest must do as you tell them.'

'Suppose we talk it over,' says Starlight, very quiet, but I knew by the first word that he spoke something was coming. 'Daly dropped, and it can't be helped. Accidents will happen. If you play at bowls you must take rubbers. It has been a fair fight; no one can say otherwise. Let us put it to the vote. I propose that Mr. Knightley's offer be accepted. Not that I intend to take a shilling of the money.'

'Nor me either,' says I. 'So you three chaps will have it to share between you. I don't see that we can do better. A fight's a fight, and if Patsey got his gruel it might have happened to Mr. Knightley himself. As for shooting in cold blood, I'm not on, and so I tell you.'

'I suppose you think you and Starlight's going to boss the lot of us, because you've been doing it fine at the Turon races along with a lot of blasted swells as 'ud scrag us if they had the chance, and we're to take so much a head for our dashed lives, because we're only working chaps. Not if Dan Moran knows it. What we want is satisfaction -- blood for blood -- and we're a-goin' to have it, eh, mates?'

Wall and Hulbert hadn't said anything before this. They were not bad chaps underneath, but Moran was such a devil when he was raised that they didn't like to cross him. Besides, they had a down on Mr. Knightley, and wanted to sheet it home to him somehow. They had got to the brandy too, and it didn't make matters any better, you take my word for it.

Starlight didn't speak for a minute or two. I couldn't think what he was at. If Jim had been there we should have been right, three to three. Now we were two to three. I knew Starlight had a good card to play, and was ready to play it, but he was waiting on the deal. Mr. Knightley must have had some sort of notion of the hand; he was wonderful quick at picking up the points of the game.

He said nothing, and looked as cool as you please, smoking his cigar as if he had nothing on his mind and wanted a rest. The lady sat quite still and pale, but her beautiful eyes kept wandering round from one to another, like some pretty creature caught in a trap. Dr. Schiller found it hard lines on him to keep quiet all this time -- he couldn't hold it in no longer.

'Good heafens!' he says, 'are you men, and will not say nodings when you haf such an ovver as dis? Subbose you shood us all, what then? Will not the whole coundry rice and hund you down like mat docks?'