The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 93

Willie is a natural-born detective. He got everything wrong from A
to Izzard, yet if it hadn't been for Willie we might not have cleared up
the mystery so soon."

"It isn't all cleared up yet," said Jonas Prim. "Who murdered Baggs?"

"Two yeggs known as Dopey Charlie and the General," replied Burton.
"They are in the jail at Oakdale; but they don't know yet that I know
they are guilty. They think they are being held merely as suspects in
the case of your daughter's disappearance, whereas I have known since
morning that they were implicated in the killing of Baggs; for after I
got them in the car I went behind the bushes where we discovered them
and dug up everything that was missing from Baggs' house, as nearly as
is known--currency, gold and bonds."

"Good!" exclaimed Mr. Prim.

On the trip back to Oakdale, Abigail Prim cuddled in the back seat
beside her father, told him all that she could think to tell of Bridge
and his goodness to her.

"But the man didn't know you were a girl," suggested Mr. Prim.

"There were two other girls with us, both very pretty," replied Abigail,
"and he was as courteous and kindly to them as a man could be to a
woman. I don't care anything about his clothes, Daddy; Bridge is a
gentleman born and raised--anyone could tell it after half an hour with
him."

Bridge sat on the front seat with the driver and one of Burton's men,
while Burton, sitting in the back seat next to the girl, could not but
overhear her conversation.

"You are right," he said. "Bridge, as you call him, is a gentleman.
He comes of one of the finest families of Virginia and one of the
wealthiest. You need have no hesitancy, Mr. Prim, in inviting him into
your home."

For a while the three sat in silence; and then Jonas Prim turned to his
daughter. "Gail," he said, "before we get home I wish you'd tell me why
you did this thing. I think you'd rather tell me before we see Mrs. P."

"It was Sam Benham, Daddy," whispered the girl. "I couldn't marry him.
I'd rather die, and so I ran away. I was going to be a tramp; but I had
no idea a tramp's existence was so adventurous. You won't make me marry
him, Daddy, will you? I wouldn't be happy, Daddy."

"I should say not, Gail; you can be an old maid all your life if you
want to."

"But I don't want to--I only want to choose my own husband," replied
Abigail.

Mrs. Prim

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