The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 50

"one must economize. They are
taking a quarter of an ounce out of each five cents worth of chewing, I
am told; so doubtless each box must be five or six matches short of full
count. Even these papers seem thinner than of yore and they will only
sell one book to a customer at that. Indeed Sherman was right."

The youth and the girl remained occupied with their own thoughts, and
after a moment's silence the vagabond resumed:

"'Me? I was king of anywhere,

"'Peggin' away at nothing, hard.

"'Havin' no pet, particular care;

"'Havin' no trouble, or no pard;

"'"Just me," filled up my callin' card.' "Say, do you know I've learned
to love this Knibbs person. I used to think of him as a poor attic
prune grinding away in his New York sky parlor, writing his verse of the
things he longed for but had never known; until, one day, I met a fellow
between Victorville and Cajon pass who knew His Knibbs, and come to find
out this Knibbs is a regular fellow. His attic covers all God's country
that is out of doors and he knows the road from La Bajada hill to
Barstow a darned sight better than he knows Broadway."

There was no answering sympathy awakened in either of his
listeners--they remained mute. Bridge rose and stretched. He picked
up his knife, wiped off the blade, closed it and slipped it into a
trousers' pocket. Then he walked toward the door. At the threshold he
paused and turned. "'Good-bye girls! I'm through,'" he quoted and passed
out into the sunlight.

Instantly the two within were on their feet and following him.

"Where are you going?" cried The Oskaloosa Kid. "You're not going to
leave us, are you?"

"Oh, please don't!" pleaded the girl.

"I don't know," said Bridge, solemnly, "whether I'm safe in remaining in
your society or not. This Oskaloosa Kid is a bad proposition; and as for
you, young lady, I rather imagine that the town constable is looking for
you right now."

The girl winced. "Please don't," she begged. "I haven't done anything
wicked, honestly! But I want to get away so that they can't question me.
I was in the car when they killed him; but I had nothing to do with it.
It is just because of my father that I don't want them to find me. It
would break his heart."

As the three

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