The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

the lumbering bulk of
a large bear. The light bewildered him and he paused, growling. His left
shoulder was partially exposed.

"Aim for his chest, on the left side," whispered Burton. The two men
raised their rifles. There were two reports in close succession. Beppo
fell forward without a sound and then rolled over on his side. Giova
covered her face with her hands and sobbed.

"He ver' bad, ugly bear," she said brokenly; "but he all I have to

Bridge extended a hand and patted her bowed head. In the eyes of The
Oskaloosa Kid there glistened something perilously similar to tears.

In the woods back of the mill Burton and his men found the mangled
remains of Columbus Blackie, and when they searched the interior of the
structure they brought forth the unconscious Dirty Eddie. As the car
already was taxed to the limit of its carrying capacity Burton left two
of his men to march The Kid and Bridge to the Payson jail, taking the
others with him to Oakdale. He was also partially influenced in this
decision by the fear that mob violence would be done the principals by
Oakdale's outraged citizens. At Payson he stopped long enough at the
town jail to arrange for the reception of the two prisoners, to notify
the coroner of the death of Columbus Blackie and the whereabouts of his
body and to place Dirty Eddie in the hospital. He then telephoned Jonas
Prim that his daughter was safe and would be returned to him in less
than an hour.

By the time Bridge and The Oskaloosa Kid reached Payson the town was
in an uproar. A threatening crowd met them a block from the jail; but
Burton's men were armed with rifles which they succeeded in convincing
the mob they would use if their prisoners were molested. The telephone,
however, had carried the word to Oakdale; so that before Burton arrived
there a dozen automobile loads of indignant citizens were racing south
toward Payson.

Bridge and The Oskaloosa Kid were hustled into the single cell of the
Payson jail. A bench ran along two sides of the room. A single barred
window let out upon the yard behind the structure. The floor was
littered with papers, and a single electric light bulb relieved the
gloom of the unsavory place.

The Oskaloosa Kid sank, trembling, upon one of the hard benches. Bridge
rolled a cigaret. At his feet lay a copy of that day's Oakdale Tribune.
A face looked up from the printed page into his eyes. He stooped and
took up the paper. The entire front page

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