The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 57

him returned to the Case yard where Jeb was already
coming toward the gate, having noted the interest which his son
was arousing among the occupants of the car. Willie pulled at the
detective's sleeve. "Don't tell Paw about the reward," he begged; "he'll
keep it all hisself."

Burton reassured the boy with a smile and a nod, and then as he neared
Jeb he asked him if a young man had been at his place that morning
asking for food.

"Sure," replied Jeb; "but he didn't 'mount to nothin'. One o' these here
summer camper pests. He paid fer all he got. Had a roll o' bills 's big
as ye fist. Little feller he were, not much older 'n' Willie."

"Did you know that he told your son that he was The Oskaloosa Kid and
that he had robbed a house and killed a man last night?"

"Huh?" exclaimed Jeb. Then he turned and cast one awful look at
Willie--a look large with menace.

"Honest, Paw," pleaded the boy. "I was a-scairt to tell you, 'cause he
said he'd kill me ef I told."

Jeb scratched his head. "Yew know what you'll get ef you're lyin' to
me," he threatened.

"I believe he's telling the truth," said detective Burton. "Where is the
man now?" he asked Willie.

"Down to the Squibbs' place," and Willie jerked a dirty thumb toward the
east.

"Not now," said Burton; "we just came from there; but there has been
someone there this morning, for there is still a fire in the kitchen
range. Does anyone live there?"

"I should say not," said Willie emphatically; "the place is haunted."

"Thet's right," interjected Jeb. "Thet's what they do say, an' this here
Oskaloosie Kid said they heered things las' night an' seed a dead man on
the floor, didn't he M'randy?" M'randy nodded her head.

"But I don't take no stock in what Willie's ben tellin' ye," she
continued, "'n' ef his paw don't lick him I will. I told him tell I'm
good an' tired o' talkin' thet one liar 'round a place wuz all I could
stand," and she cast a meaning glance at her husband.

"Honest, Maw, I ain't a-lyin'," insisted Willie. "Wot do you suppose
he give me this fer, if it wasn't to keep me from talkin'," and the boy
drew a crumpled one dollar bill from his pocket. It was worth the dollar
to escape a thrashing.

"He give you thet?" asked his mother. Willie nodded assent.

"'N' thet ain't all he had neither," he said. "Beside all them bills he
showed me a whole pocket full o' jewlry,

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