The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

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...THE OAKDALE AFFAIR


By Edgar Rice Burroughs





Chapter One [And only chapter ED.]


The house on the hill...

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...convenient little stairway which
had often let the Hon. Jonas Prim pass from his library to...

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...contemplated invasion
of these holy precincts.

But even the most expert of second story men nod and...

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...position."

The burglar did not hear Mr. Prim's reply for he had moved across the
library and...

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...almost anything
but human beings.

At a farm house the youth hesitated and was almost upon the...

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...rolled cigarets. Blear-eyed
and foxy-eyed, bearded and stubbled cheeked, young and old, were the men
the youth...

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...straight, black eyebrows puckered into a
studious frown, drinking in every word. Now he straightened up....

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...extended toward him. Was it a shudder that
passed through the lithe, young figure or was...

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...but The Sky Pilot won't never stand for croakin' nobody.
He's too scared of his neck....

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...a howl of pain to
the would-be assassin, and the knife fell to the floor.

"You gotta...

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...Sky Pilot's idea of a Sunday school
boy's lark. The young fellow was, unquestionably, a thief;...

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...youth, heavy eyed but
sleepless, watched the two through half closed lids. A qualm of disgust
sent...

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...life, was expressed in dollar signs, while the
love which Abigail craved is better expressed by...

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...was to be announced.

It was some time after dinner on the night of Abigail's departure...

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...don't mean you suspect
one of the servants?"

"Who else could have known?" asked Mrs. Prim. The...

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...had been the motive was amply indicated by the
topsy-turvy condition of the contents of the...

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...times, a caller at her home; but no less
had been true of a dozen other...

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...of Abigail
Prim's boudoir.

The commotion of the attack and escape brought the other sleepers to
heavy-eyed wakefulness....

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...too; but he puffed a mile away from the
searchers and he walked more rapidly than...

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...a man
just ahead and evidently approaching along the highway.

The youth turned to flee; but the...

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...roads here? I was looking for
this fork and came near passing it in the dark....

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...needn't be afraid of me. I'll help you if you've been
on the square. If you...

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...encircled his shoulder,
though at first he had been inclined to draw away in some confusion.

Talking...

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...rose above the rain, the light rose, fell,
swerved to the right and to the left.

"Someone...

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...light fell downward
upon the upturned face of a man cold in death--a little man, strangely
garbed,...

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...discovered himself
looking about for some means of escape. His eyes fell upon the stairway
leading to...

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...a hand had been laid upon it
below them. The youth stifled a shriek and simultaneously...

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...resultant light the man saw with a quick glance a large room
furnished with an old...

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...a THING?"

"Come! come! now," Bridge tried to soothe him. "You have a case of
nerves. Lie...

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...at last. "She's suffering from
shock alone, as far as I can judge. Say, she's pretty,...

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...girl was running one hand gingerly over her head and face, so that
her next question...

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...you will know about the murder--everyone will know about it;
and I will be missed; and...

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...went down again just before you regained
consciousness. I imagine we shall hear some interesting developments
from...

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...advance. If it
made other sounds they were drowned by the clanking of the links over
the...

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...nocturnal
prowler below-stairs. The THING seemed to have retreated again to the
cellar, leaving the upper floor...

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...slide down the porch pillars."

Bridge laid a strong, warm hand on the small, cold one...

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...in the evening he had flaunted the evidence of his crime in the
faces of the...

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...counterpart of himself, for the slender Bridge was muscled as
a Greek god, while the stocky...

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...silence of the awful night a
woman's shriek.

Instantly Bridge leaped to his feet. Without a word...

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...breast, while across the room The General
gave a quick, nervous laugh which he as immediately...

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...the chill
air, and thus they occupied the remaining hour of the night.

From below came no...

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...dining room and kitchen, inspected the two small
bedrooms off this room, and the summer kitchen...

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...which pans of milk had doubtless stood to cool in a long gone,
happier day. Some...

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...a look of
defiance, not unmixed with pleading, at Bridge.

"He's a bad one," interjected Dopey Charlie,...

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...mother before in his life," he mused; "why the mere
thought of undressing in front of...

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...to."

The Oskaloosa Kid looked uncomfortable. "So should--" he commenced, and
then suddenly subsided. "Of course I'd...

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...one query before launching
the next. "What do ye want to buy, eh? How much money...

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...to stare at him. "Yew seen it?" he asked in
awestruck tone.

"Yes," said the Kid in...

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..."I'm ever so much obliged," he said, "and you needn't
mind about any change. I thank...

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...are eating these." He borrowed his knife from
the girl, who was slicing and buttering bread...

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..."one must economize. They are
taking a quarter of an ounce out of each five cents...

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...stood back of the Squibbs' summer kitchen Fate, in the
guise of a rural free delivery...

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...but then he paused. If he told
all he knew he saw plainly that either the...

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...where he saw three men alighting from a large touring car which
had drawn up before...

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...his eyes with theirs. The girl gave a little,
involuntary gasp, and the boy grasped Bridge's...

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...I reckon he means bus, they's only one on 'em in Oakdale 'n'if
they waz forty...

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...man of sufficient importance, having cataloged him mentally as
an unusually early specimen of the summer...

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...him returned to the Case yard where Jeb was already
coming toward the gate, having noted...

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...'n' he had a string o' things
thet I don't know jest what you call 'em;...

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...the fence. When
I see you getting over I'll climb it here. They can't get away...

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...'bout her pals croakin' a
guy an' turnin' 'im outten a gas wagon, an' dis Oskaloosa...

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...the
grewsome clanking of a chain from the dark interior of the hovel.

The youth, holding tight...

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...girl reappeared dragging a boy with her--a
wide-eyed, terrified, country boy who begged and blubbered to...

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...it was evident that he did not realize that
practically every word he had spoken had...

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...the truth. He was spying
on me, and when I found him he told me that...

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...in the same
boat. We haven't any of us done anything so very bad but it...

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...as
well make the best of it here for the rest of the day. I think...

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...Gypsies. I got lot clothing in house. We all go Gypsies, an' when we
reach Payson...

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...it was a bear?" asked the Kid. "You told
Giova that you followed the footprints of...

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...a gang o'
thieves an' murderers, an' I'm callin' up thet big city deetectiff to
come arter...

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...might or might
not prove a clew to her whereabouts; but each must be run down...

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...Case's farm
where they left him after notifying the coroner by telephone. Half of
Burton's men were...

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...end of the
town toward the meeting place beside the old mill.

As Bridge moved through the...

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...mind another obtruded itself to
shoulder aside the first. It was recollection of the boy's words:...

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...ever to be passed up--and if she's followed she
won't come here. At least I hope...

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...on Broadway; but at heart he was not happy for never before
had he realized what...

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...waitress with a trayful of dishes. Clutched
tightly in Willie's hand was thirty five cents and...

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...behind the bear. Willie recognized her at
the first glance--she was the very girl he had...

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...hears this here
Bridge guy call the first skirt 'Miss Prim.'"

He ceased speaking to note the...

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...whatever's coming to you, son," replied Burton. "You say
there are two men and two women--are...

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...but
the man persisted, beating down the slim hands and striking viciously
at body and head until,...

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...arisen and come out of the mill. He called aloud for The
Oskaloosa Kid. Giova answered...

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...the lumbering bulk of
a large bear. The light bewildered him and he paused, growling. His...

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...was devoted to the various
crimes which had turned peaceful Oakdale inside out in the past...

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...I am
going to stick to you, and there is some excuse for me because I...

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...bowed head ascended the
steps, guided and assisted by the detective. She did not look up...

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...talked a few minutes two men came out of the bank.
Mr. Paynter introduced them to...

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...Prim, won't you keep me from being sent back to Payson or to
jail. I have...

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...for and sent for the police. When they came he told them he had
killed a...

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...we are both innocent--"

"Oh, shut your damned mouth," interrupted another of the crowd.

Bridge shrugged his...

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...to search them; and when he
drew his hands out of Bridge's side pockets his eyes...

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...doubt
if anything I can say to you will alter your determination for the
reason that if...

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...girl's neck and then turned toward her
companion. In the light from the automobile lamps the...

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...Willie is a natural-born detective. He got everything wrong from A
to Izzard, yet if it...

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...met them all in the living-room. At sight of Abigail in the
ill-fitting man's clothing she...

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... 6 emminent ...

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... Squibbs' farm
...

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...78 2 1 Squibbs place!"...

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...91 2 "They...

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... he ain't
98 7 ...

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... 121 5...