The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 55

I reckon he means bus, they's only one on 'em in Oakdale 'n'if
they waz forty I'd like to know how in hek I'd hire one when I ain't got
no money. I reckon I threw away my four-bits on this book--it don't tell
a feller nothin' 'bout false whiskers, wigs 'n' the like," and he tossed
the book disgustedly into a corner, rose and descended to the barnyard.
Here he busied himself about some task that should have been attended to
a week before, and which even now was not destined to be completed that
day, since Willie had no more than set himself to it than his attention
was distracted by the sudden appearance of a touring car being brought
to a stop in front of the gate.

Instantly Willie dropped his irksome labor and slouched lazily toward
the machine, the occupants of which were descending and heading for the
Case front door. Jeb Case met them before they reached the porch and
Willie lolled against a pillar listening eagerly to all that was said.

The most imposing figure among the strangers was the same whom Bridge
had seen approaching the Squibbs' house a short time before. It was he
who acted as spokesman for the newcomers.

"As you may know," he said, after introducing himself, "a number of
crimes were committed in and around Oakdale last night. We are searching
for clews to the perpetrators, some of whom must still be in the
neighborhood. Have you seen any strange or suspicious characters around

"I should say we hed," exclaimed Jeb emphatically.

"I seen the wo'st lookin' gang o' bums come outen my hay barn this
mornin' thet I ever seed in my life. They must o' ben upward of a dozen
on 'em. They waz makin' fer the house when I steps in an' grabs my ol'
shot gun. I hollered at 'em not to come a step nigher 'n' I guess they
seed it wa'n't safe monkeyin' with me; so they skidaddled."

"Which way did they go?" asked Burton.

"Off down the road yonder; but I don't know which way they turned at the
crossin's, er ef they kept straight on toward Millsville."

Burton asked a number of questions in an effort to fix the identity of
some of the gang, warned Jeb to telephone him at Jonas Prim's if he saw
anything further of the strangers, and then retraced his steps toward
the car. Not once had Jeb mentioned the youth who had purchased supplies
from him that morning, and the reason was that Jeb had not considered
the young

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