The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

for and sent for the police. When they came he told them he had
killed a man by the name of Paynter at Oakdale last night and the chief
called up to ask what we knew about it. The Kid confessed to clear
his pal who was only slightly injured in the smash-up. His story
corroborates Miss Penning's in every detail, he also said that after
killing Paynter he had shot a girl witness and thrown her from the car
to prevent her squealing."

Once again the telephone bell rang, long and insistently. The butler
almost ran into the room. "Payson wants you, sir," he cried to Burton,
"in a hurry, sir, it's a matter of life and death, sir!"

Burton sprang to the phone. When he left it he only stopped at the
doorway of the living room long enough to call in: "A mob has the two
prisoners at Payson and are about to lynch them, and, my God, they're
innocent. We all know now who killed Paynter and I have known since
morning who murdered Baggs, and it wasn't either of those men; but
they've found Miss Prim's jewelry on the fellow called Bridge and
they've gone crazy--they say he murdered her and the young one did for
Paynter. I'm going to Payson," and dashed from the house.

"Wait," cried Jonas Prim, "I'm going with you," and without waiting to
find a hat he ran quickly after the detective. Once in the car he leaned
forward urging the driver to greater speed.

"God in heaven!" he almost cried, "the fools are going to kill the only
man who can tell me anything about Abigail."

*****


With oaths and threats the mob, brainless and heartless, cowardly,
bestial, filled with the lust for blood, pushed and jammed into the
narrow corridor before the cell door where the two prisoners awaited
their fate. The single guard was brushed away. A dozen men wielding
three railroad ties battered upon the grating of the door, swinging the
ties far back and then in unison bringing them heavily forward against
the puny iron.

Bridge spoke to them once. "What are you going to do with us?" he asked.

"We're goin' to hang you higher 'n' Haman, you damned kidnappers an'
murderers," yelled a man in the crowd.

"Why don't you give us a chance?" asked Bridge in an even tone,
unaltered by fear or excitement. "You've nothing on us. As a matter of
fact

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