The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 92

girl's neck and then turned toward her
companion. In the light from the automobile lamps the man's face was
distinctly visible to the detective for the first time that night,
and as Burton looked upon it he stepped back with an exclamation of
surprise.

"You?" he almost shouted. "Gad, man! where have you been? Your father's
spent twenty thousand dollars trying to find you."

Bridge shook his head. "I'm sorry, Dick," he said, "but I'm afraid it's
too late. The open road's gotten into my blood, and there's only one
thing that--well--" he shook his head and smiled ruefully--"but there
ain't a chance." His eyes travelled to the slim figure sitting so
straight in the rear seat of Jonas Prim's car.

Suddenly the little head turned in his direction. "Hurry, Bridge,"
admonished The Oskaloosa Kid, "you're coming home with us."


The man stepped toward the car, shaking his head. "Oh, no, Miss Prim,"
he said, "I can't do that. Here's your 'swag.'" And he smiled as he
passed over her jewels and money.

Mr. Prim's eyes widened; he looked suspiciously at Bridge. Abigail
laughed merrily. "I stole them myself, Dad," she explained, "and then
Mr. Bridge took them from me in the jail to make the mob think he had
stolen them and not I--he didn't know then that I was a girl, did you?"

"It was in the jail that I first guessed; but I didn't quite realize
who you were until you said that the jewels were yours--then I knew. The
picture in the paper gave me the first inkling that you were a girl, for
you looked so much like the one of Miss Prim. Then I commenced to recall
little things, until I wondered that I hadn't known from the first that
you were a girl; but you made a bully boy!" and they both laughed. "And
now good-by, and may God bless you!" His voice trembled ever so little,
and he extended his hand. The girl drew back.

"I want you to come with us," she said. "I want Father to know you and
to know how you have cared for me. Won't you come--for me?"

"I couldn't refuse, if you put it that way," replied Bridge; and he
climbed into the car. As the machine started off a boy leaped to the
running-board.

"Hey!" he yelled, "where's my reward? I want my reward. I'm Willie
Case."

"Oh!" exclaimed Bridge. "I gave your reward to your father--maybe he'll
split it with you. Go ask him." And the car moved off.

"You see," said Burton, with a wry smile, "how simple is the detective's
job.

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