The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 45

to."

The Oskaloosa Kid looked uncomfortable. "So should--" he commenced, and
then suddenly subsided. "Of course I'd just as soon," he said. "You two
stay here--I'll be back in a minute."

They watched him as he walked down to the road and until he disappeared
over the crest of the hill a short distance from the Squibbs' house.

"I like him," said the girl, turning toward Bridge.

"So do I," replied the man.

"There must be some good in him," she continued, "even if he is such
a desperate character; but I know he's not The Oskaloosa Kid. Do you
really suppose he robbed a house last night and then tried to kill that
Dopey person?"

Bridge shook his head. "I don't know," he said; "but I am inclined to
believe that he is more imaginative than criminal. He certainly shot up
the Dopey person; but I doubt if he ever robbed a house."

While they waited, The Oskaloosa Kid trudged along the muddy road to the
nearest farm house, which lay a full mile beyond the Squibbs' home.
As he approached the door a lank, sallow man confronted him with a
suspicious eye.

"Good morning," greeted The Oskaloosa Kid.

The man grunted.

"I want to get something to eat," explained the youth.

If the boy had hurled a dynamite bomb at him the result could have
been no more surprising. The lank, sallow man went up into the air,
figuratively. He went up a mile or more, and on the way down he reached
his hand inside the kitchen door and brought it forth enveloping the
barrel of a shot gun.

"Durn ye!" he cried. "I'll lam ye! Get offen here. I knows ye. Yer one
o' that gang o' bums that come here last night, an' now you got the gall
to come back beggin' for food, eh? I'll lam ye!" and he raised the gun
to his shoulder.

The Oskaloosa Kid quailed but he held his ground. "I wasn't here last
night," he cried, "and I'm not begging for food--I want to buy some.
I've got plenty of money," in proof of which assertion he dug into a
side pocket and brought forth a large roll of bills. The man lowered his
gun.

"Wy didn't ye say so in the first place then?" he growled. "How'd I know
you wanted to buy it, eh? Where'd ye come from anyhow, this early in
the mornin'? What's yer name, eh? What's yer business, that's what Jeb
Case'd like to know, eh?" He snapped his words out with the rapidity of
a machine gun, nor waited for a reply to

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