The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 90

to search them; and when he
drew his hands out of Bridge's side pockets his eyes went wide, and he
gave a cry of elation which drew excited inquiries from all sides.

"By gum!" he cried, "I reckon we ain't made no mistake here, boys. Look
ahere!" and he displayed two handsful of money and jewelry.

"Thet's Abbie Prim's stuff," cried one.

The boy beside Bridge turned wide eyes upon the man. "Where did you get
it?" he cried. "Oh, Bridge, why did you do it? Now they will kill you,"
and he turned to the crowd. "Oh, please listen to me," he begged. "He
didn't steal those things. Nobody stole them. They are mine. They have
always belonged to me. He took them out of my pocket at the jail because
he thought that I had stolen them and he wanted to take the guilt upon
himself; but they were not stolen, I tell you--they are mine! they are
mine! they are mine!"

Another new expression came into Bridge's eyes as he listened to the
boy's words; but he only shook his head. It was too late, and Bridge
knew it.

Men were adjusting ropes about their necks. "Before you hang us," said
Bridge quietly, "would you mind explaining just what we're being hanged
for--it's sort of comforting to know, you see."

"Thet's right," spoke up one of the crowd. "Thet's fair. We want to do
things fair and square. Tell 'em the charges, an' then ask 'em ef they
got anything to say afore they're hung."

This appealed to the crowd--the last statements of the doomed men might
add another thrill to the evening's entertainment.

"Well," said the man who had searched them. "There might o' been some
doubts about you before, but they aint none now. You're bein' hung fer
abductin' of an' most likely murderin' Miss Abigail Prim."

The boy screamed and tried to interrupt; but Jeb Case placed a heavy
and soiled hand over his mouth. The spokesman continued. "This slicker
admitted he was The Oskaloosa Kid, 'n' thet he robbed a house an' shot
a man las' night; 'n' they ain't no tellin' what more he's ben up to. He
tole Jeb Case's Willie 'bout it; an' bragged on it, by gum. 'Nenny way
we know Paynter and Abigail Prim was last seed with this here Oskaloosa
Kid, durn him."

"Thanks," said Bridge politely, "and now may I make my final statement
before going to meet my maker?"

"Go on," growled the man.

"You won't interrupt me?"

"Naw, go on."

"All right! You damn fools have made up your minds to hang us. I

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