but then he paused. If he told
all he knew he saw plainly that either the carrier or his father would
profit by it and collect the reward. Fifty dollars!! Willie gasped.
"Well," said Jim, "I gotta be on my way. Here's the Tribune--there ain't
nothin' more fer ye. So long! Giddap!" and he was gone.
"I don' see why he don't carry a whip," mused Jeb Case. "A-gidappin' to
that there tin lizzie," he muttered disgustedly, "jes' like it was as
good as a hoss. But I mind the time, the fust day he got the dinged
thing, he gets out an' tries to lead it by Lem Smith's threshin'
Jeb Case preferred an audience worthy his mettle; but Willie was better
than no one, yet when he turned to note the effect of his remarks on his
son, Willie was no where to be seen. If Jeb had but known it his young
hopeless was already in the loft of the hay barn deep in a small,
red-covered book entitled: "HOW TO BE A DETECTIVE."
Bridge, who had had no intention of deserting his helpless companions,
appeared at last to yield reluctantly to their pleas. That indefinable
something about the youth which appealed strongly to the protective
instinct in the man, also assured him that the other's mask of
criminality was for the most part assumed even though the stories of the
two yeggmen and the loot bulging pockets argued to the contrary. There
was the chance, however, that the boy had really taken the first step
upon the road toward a criminal career, and if such were the case Bridge
felt morally obligated to protect his new found friend from arrest,
secure in the reflection that his own precept and example would do
more to lead him back into the path of rectitude than would any police
magistrate or penal institute.
For the girl he felt a deep pity. In the past he had had knowledge of
more than one other small-town girl led into wrong doing through the
deadly monotony and flagrant hypocrisy of her environment. Himself
highly imaginative and keenly sensitive, he realized with what depth of
horror the girl anticipated a return to her home and friends after the
childish escapade which had culminated, even through no fault of hers,
in criminal tragedy of the most sordid sort.
As the three held a council of war at the rear of the deserted house
they were startled by the loud squeaking of brake bands on the road in
front. Bridge ran quickly into the kitchen and through to the front
Stooping low the youth passed along the verandah to a window of the darkened library--a French window which swung open without noise to his light touch.Page 7
Red whiskers, matted in little tangled wisps which suggested the dried ingredients of an infinite procession of semi-liquid refreshments, rioted promiscuously over a scarlet countenance.Page 10
They remained very wide awake, a little apart from the others, where their low whispers could not be overheard.Page 19
His fear had suddenly vanished.Page 25
"There are matches in my coat pocket," he whispered, "--the same pocket in which you found the flash lamp.Page 28
" The boy, evidently shamed, released his hold upon Bridge and moved away.Page 35
" The two other men turned quickly in the direction of the speaker.Page 38
" The boy rose and, trembling, pressed close to the man who, involuntarily, threw a protecting arm about the slim figure.Page 39
The youth coughed.Page 46
That's a sight o' money yew got there, eh? Where'dje get it?" "It's mine," said The Oskaloosa Kid, "and I want to buy some eggs and milk and ham and bacon and flour and onions and sugar and cream and strawberries and tea and coffee and a frying pan and a little oil stove, if you have one to spare, and--" Jeb Case's jaw dropped and his eyes widened.Page 49
Bridge made no reply, but his eyes wandered to the right hand side pocket of the boy's coat.Page 50
" As the three.Page 65
Willie shook in his boots, figuratively speaking, for in reality he shook upon his bare feet.Page 75
As he glanced fearfully at the former, silhouetted against the white of the table cloth, he flushed scarlet, assured as he was that the waitress who had just turned away toward the kitchen with his order was convulsed with laughter and that every other eye in the establishment was glued upon him.Page 77
" "All right," replied Bridge, "we can eat some of this canned stuff and have our ham and coffee after we reach camp tomorrow morning, eh?" "And now that we've gotten through Payson safely," suggested The Oskaloosa Kid, "let's change back into our own clothes.Page 79
Do you understand?" "Yes," said Willie.Page 81
I can hear them.Page 82
A single barred window let out upon the yard behind the structure.Page 86
They discussed what would be the best thing to do and at last decided to throw Mr.Page 92
Then I commenced to recall little things, until I wondered that I hadn't known from the first that you were a girl; but you made a bully boy!" and they both laughed.