The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 77

behind the bear. Willie recognized her at
the first glance--she was the very girl he had seen burying the dead man
in the Squibbs woods. Instantly Willie Case was transformed again into
the shrewd and death defying sleuth. At a safe distance he followed the
girl and the bear through one alley after another until they came out
upon the road which leads south from Payson. He was across the road when
she joined Bridge and his companions. When they turned toward the old
mill he followed them, listening close to the rotting clapboards for
any chance remark which might indicate their future plans. He heard them
debating the wisdom of remaining where they were for the night or moving
on to another location which they had evidently decided upon but no clew
to which they dropped.

"The objection to remaining here," said Bridge, "is that we can't make a
fire to cook by--it would be too plainly visible from the road."

"But I can no fin' road by dark," explained Giova. "It bad road by day,
ver' much worse by night. Beppo no come 'cross swamp by night. No, we
got stay here til morning."

"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. This disguise
makes me feel too conspicuous."

Willie Case had heard enough. His quarry would remain where it was
over night, and a moment later Willie was racing toward Payson and a
telephone as fast as his legs would carry him.

In an old brick structure a hundred yards below the mill where the
lighting machinery of Payson had been installed before the days of the
great central power plant a hundred miles away four men were smoking as
they lay stretched upon the floor.

"I tell you I seen him," asserted one of the party. "I follered this
Bridge guy from town to the mill. He was got up like a Gyp; but I knew
him all right, all right. This scenery of his made me tink there was
something phoney doin', or I wouldn't have trailed him, an' its a good
ting I done it, fer he hadn't ben there five minutes before along comes
The Kid an' a skirt and pretty soon a nudder chicken wid a calf on a
string, er mebbie it was a sheep--it was pretty husky lookin' fer a
sheep though. An' I sticks aroun' a minute until I

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