The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 87

Prim, won't you keep me from being sent back to Payson or to
jail. I have done nothing criminal and I won't run away."

"How about the robbery of Miss Prim's room and the murder of Old Man
Baggs?" asked Burton. "Did they pull both of those off before they
killed Paynter or after?"

"They had nothing to do with either unless they did them after they
threw me out of the car, which must have been long after midnight,"
replied the girl.

"And the rest of the gang, those that were arrested with you," continued
the detective, "how about them? All angels, I suppose."

"There was only Bridge and the boy they called The Oskaloosa Kid, though
he isn't the same one that murdered poor Mr. Paynter, and the Gypsy
girl, Giova, that were with me. The others were tramps who came into
the old mill and attacked us while we were asleep. I don't know who they
were. The girl could have had nothing to do with any of the crimes. We
came upon her this morning burying her father in the woods back of the
Squibbs' place. The man died of epilepsy last night. Bridge and the boy
were taking refuge from the storm at the Squibbs place when I was thrown
from the car. They heard the shot and came to my rescue. I am sure they
had nothing to do with--with--" she hesitated.

"Tell the truth," commanded Burton. "It will go hard with you if you
don't. What made you hesitate? You know something about those two--now
out with it."

"The boy robbed Mr. Prim's home--I saw some of the money and
jewelry--but Bridge was not with him. They just happened to meet by
accident during the storm and came to the Squibbs place together. They
were kind to me, and I hate to tell anything that would get the boy in
trouble. That is the reason I hesitated. He seemed such a nice boy!
It is hard to believe that he is a criminal, and Bridge was always
so considerate. He looks like a tramp; but he talks and acts like a
gentleman."

The telephone bell rang briskly, and a moment later the butler stepped
into the room to say that Mr. Burton was wanted on the wire. He returned
to the living room in two or three minutes.

"That clears up some of it," he said as he entered. "The sheriff just
had a message from the chief at Toledo saying that The Oskaloosa Kid is
dying in a hospital there following an automobile accident. He knew he
was done

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