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Title: Motor Matt's Engagement - or, On The Road With A Show
Author: Matthews, Stanley R.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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courtesy of the Digital Library@Villanova University
(http://digital.library.villanova.edu/))



  MOTOR STORIES

  THRILLING
  ADVENTURE

  MOTOR
  FICTION

  NO. 27
  AUG. 28, 1909

  FIVE
  CENTS


  MOTOR MATT'S
  ENGAGEMENT

  OR ON THE ROAD
  WITH A SHOW

  _STREET & SMITH
  PUBLISHERS
  NEW YORK_

[Illustration: _Motor Matt, as he coaxed the last ounce of speed
from the motor, shouted encouragingly to the terrified girl on the
trapeze._]



MOTOR STORIES

THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION

_Issued Weekly. By subscription $2.50 per year. Copyright, 1909, by_
STREET & SMITH, _79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York, N. Y._

  No. 27.      NEW YORK, August 28, 1909.      Price Five Cents.



Motor Matt's Engagement;

OR,

ON THE ROAD WITH A SHOW.

By the author of "MOTOR MATT."



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I. "ON THE BANKS OF THE WABASH."
  CHAPTER II. IN THE CALLIOPE TENT.
  CHAPTER III. AN EAVESDROPPER.
  CHAPTER IV. QUEER PROCEEDINGS.
  CHAPTER V. MOTOR MATT PROTESTS.
  CHAPTER VI. ABLAZE IN THE AIR.
  CHAPTER VII. WAS IT TREACHERY?
  CHAPTER VIII. A CALL FOR HELP.
  CHAPTER IX. BLACK MAGIC.
  CHAPTER X. THE MAHOUT'S FLIGHT.
  CHAPTER XI. THE PAPER TRAIL.
  CHAPTER XII. CARL TURNS A TRICK.
  CHAPTER XIII. THE LACQUERED BOX.
  CHAPTER XIV. THE HYPNOTIST'S VICTIM.
  CHAPTER XV. "FOR THE SAKE OF HAIDEE!"
  CHAPTER XVI. THE RAJAH'S NIECE.
  SAVED BY A FALLING TREE.
  How They Captured the Python.
  ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY.



CHARACTERS THAT APPEAR IN THIS STORY.


  =Motor Matt King.=

  =Joe McGlory=, a young cowboy who proves himself a lad of worth and
  character, and whose eccentricities are all on the humorous side. A
  good chum to tie to--a point Motor Matt is quick to perceive.

  =Ping=, a Chinese boy who insists on working for Motor Matt, and who
  contrives to make himself valuable, perhaps invaluable.

  =Carl Pretzel=, an old chum who flags Motor Matt and more trouble
  than he can manage, at about the same time. In the rôle of detective,
  he makes many blunders, wise and otherwise, finding success only to
  wonder how he did it.

  =Ben Ali=, an elephant driver; a Hindoo gifted in the arts for which
  his country is famous and infamous. The uncle of Margaret Manners, he
  revenges himself upon his brother, the rajah, in a way that proves
  his own undoing.

  =Aurung Zeeb=, another elephant driver, and a friend of Ben Ali,
  assisting in his scoundrelly work.

  =Haidee=, whose real name is Margaret Manners, a girl from India, who
  becomes the hypnotic subject of Ben Ali, and is saved from him by
  Motor Matt and Carl.

  =Boss Burton=, manager and proprietor of the Big Consolidated Shows.
  A man who tries to be "square," in his own remarkable way.



CHAPTER I.

"ON THE BANKS OF THE WABASH."


Strange, how a few harmless ingredients, thrown together and mixed,
will set the trouble pot a-boiling.

Saltpeter is an innocent and useful product, and so is charcoal and
sulphur; but seventy-five per cent. of the first, fifteen per cent. of
the second, and ten per cent. of the third, when properly mixed, will
make gunpowder--an explosive that has slain millions, made kingdoms
over into republics, and changed the map of the world again and again.

So, on this beautiful morning, with the banks of the Wabash River for a
setting, fate was juggling with a few trifling elements for the purpose
of combining them and manufacturing trouble.

The Big Consolidated Shows were pitching their tents near that part of
the river, and two of the ingredients that helped form the dangerous
mixture were connected with the "tented aggregation."

One was the big elephant, Rajah, who had a tremendous thirst and was
wabbling along toward the river for a drink; the other was a Chinese
boy, dipping a couple of pails of water from the stream for the steam
calliope. The third element--the one having no connection with the
show--was a German youth with a weakness for bursting into song.

The elephant, dryer than the desert of Sahara, was making big and rapid
tracks for the brightly gleaming water, the Chinaman was leisurely
filling his pails, and the German was strolling along the bank, dusty
from a long tramp and with a stick over his shoulder from which swung a
bundle bound up in a knotted handkerchief.

If the German had known how to sing he would not have attracted the
attention of the Chinaman; and if the Chinaman had not looked and
grunted his disgust, the German would not have become hostile; and if
Rajah, the elephant, had not possessed such a playful disposition, the
German and the Chinaman would probably have separated with no more than
a few mongrel words of personal opinion. But fate was working overtime
that day, and had an eye for weird combinations.

    "Ach, der moon vas shining pright upon der Vabash,
      From der fieldts dere comes some shmells oof new-mown hay,
    Droo der candlelight der sycamores vas gleaming,
      On der panks oof der Vabash, righdt avay!"

This was the German's song, and it sounded as though it had been played
on a fish horn. The Chinaman could be seen to shiver as he deposited
a pailful of water on the bank, straightened erect, and looked at the
singer. There was that in his slant eyes which brought the German to a
halt.

"Don'd you like der song, shink?" demanded the Dutchman, pushing out
his chin in an irritating way.

"Woosh!" snorted the Chinaman, "you makee sing all same like poodle dog
makee howl."

"Py shiminy," cried the Dutchman, "I fight pedder as I sing. I don'd
let no monkey mit a pigdail make some foolishness mit me."

"Dutchy boy clazy," declared the Celestial.

"I nefer liked der shinks anyways," went on the other, dropping his
stick and his bundle. "Dey vas sheap skates, you bet you, und vas
alvays taking avay goot shobs from American fellers. I vill tie you oop
in some bowknots mit your pigdail und trop you py der rifer. Yah, so."

"Dutchy boy makee spell 'able,'" and the Chinaman, with supreme
contempt, picked up his empty pail.

"You peen afraidt mit yourseluf!" shouted the Dutchman.

"My plenty busy; makee cally water fo' calliope. No gottee time to
fight. Come 'lound after palade, China boy makee Dutchy boy suppa' fo'
lion."

"Dot's me," breathed the Dutchman, picking up his stick and bundle.
"I'll be aroundt after dot barade, you bed my life, und I don'd make
some subber for der lion, neider."

He started on slowly.

Unnoticed by either of the boys, the mahout on Rajah's neck had kept
the elephant close to the river bank. The mahout was dozing, and Rajah
was filling the piece of hose, more generally known as his trunk, with
Wabash water and squirting it into his open mouth.

Now, Rajah was an eccentric elephant. There were times when he was full
of mischief and playful, and other times when the wild jungle blood got
the upper hand of him and he became dangerous.

On two or three occasions, when Old Ben, the African lion, had tried
to mix things with the royal Bengal tiger, Rajah had been called in to
separate the fighters with a well-directed stream, hurled with catapult
force from his trunk.

Rajah's cunning little eyes had been taking in the quarrel between the
Dutchman and the Chinaman. Something prompted him to elevate his trunk
and throw a stream after the retreating Dutch boy.

The lad was knocked off his feet, his stick going one way and his
bundle the other. He jumped to his feet, spluttering, and whirled
around.

Rajah was innocently squirting a dozen or more gallons of the river
into his capacious throat, but the Chinaman, the empty pail still in
his hand, was laughing so that he almost fell off the bank.

It was the most natural thing in the world for the Dutch boy, in the
excitement of the moment, to lay the whole blame on the Chinese boy's
shoulders.

The Dutchman had not seen Rajah use his trunk, and the Chinaman had. It
was very laughable, and the Chinaman's cackling mirth was unrestrained.

The Dutchman saw only the empty bucket in the Chinaman's hand, and it
seemed certain the deluge of water had come from the bucket.

"I gif you fits for dot, py shiminy!" whooped the Teuton.

"No can do!" declared the Celestial.

The Dutchman came on with a bound, his dripping clothes sprinkling
everything in his vicinity.

The Chinaman threw the bucket. The other dodged. The bucket sailed on
through the air and struck Delhi, Rajah's mate, a sharp rap on her big,
fanning ear. Delhi trumpeted loudly and started furiously after the
boys.

Both the Chinaman and the Dutchman, their faculties completely wrapped
up in their quarrel, gave no attention to the elephants. Coming
together like a thousand of brick, they clinched and wrestled back and
forth on the bank.

Delhi, wild with anger, gave no heed to the fierce prodding of her
mahout, but rushed onward, her trunk stretched eagerly ahead of her
and twitching and curving in its desire to lay hold of the struggling
youngsters.

For a second the prospect was very dark for the Teuton and the
Celestial. What would have happened to them is problematical if Delhi
had had her way. But the big brute was not allowed to work her will.
Rajah interfered; not out of any desire to be of help to the boys, but
rather to assist his mate in securing vengeance.

Quickly Rajah aimed his trunk and hurled a stream of water. The jet
struck the two boys, lifted them from their feet, and hurled them into
the river. The lads were tossed from the bank in just the nick of time.
Hardly were they clear of the spot where they had been wrestling when
Delhi's disappointed trunk swept over it.

Rajah's mahout, of course, had aroused himself, and he and the other
man got busy bringing the elephants into subjection.

The Dutchman and the Chinaman had fallen into deep water. It was
necessary to disentangle themselves from each other in order to swim
and keep from being drowned.

As Delhi backed away from the water's edge, under the blows of her
mahout's sharp, steel prod, she flung the Dutchman's bundle and stick
at the thrashing forms in the water, and followed these with the
buckets.

"I can do oop a shink mit vone hand," gurgled the Dutchman, as his
dripping head appeared above the surface of the river; "aber ven a
goople oof elephants iss rung indo der game, den I don'd---- Wow!"

The handkerchief bundle, hurled with terrific force, struck him on the
head and sent him under.

"Dutchy boy no good!" spluttered the Chinaman. "Him velly fine false
alarm---- Woosh!"

One of the buckets hit the Celestial in the small of the back and
he vanished in a flurry of bubbles. When he and the Dutchman again
reappeared, Delhi and Rajah were under control and no further danger
threatened.

"What's the matter with you two kids?" cried Delhi's mahout, excited
and angry.

"Der shink drew some vater on me," answered the Dutchman, "und made
more monkey-doodle pitzness dan I vould shtand for."

"Him no savvy," declared the Chinese. "El'fant makee thlow water."

Rajah's mahout was a Hindoo. In a queer jargon of broken English, he
described the way Rajah had hosed down the Dutchman as the latter was
walking off.

The other mahout lost his wrath in a flood of merriment.

"It's all a mistake!" he called. "Come out o' the wet and stop your
foolishness. If ye try to do any more fightin', I'll set Delhi onto you
ag'in."

The Dutchman labored ashore with his stick and his bundle, and the
Chinaman followed with his buckets.

"What do you s'pose Motor Matt would think of this, Ping?" went on the
mahout. "If he----"

But what the mahout was intending to say was lost in a roar of
amazement and delight from the Dutchman.

"Vat's dot? Modor Matt? Vere he iss, anyvay? Say, I vas his bard, und I
peen looking for him efery blace, longer as I can dell. Shpeak, vonce!
Vere iss Modor Matt?"

"China boy Motol Matt's pard," spoke up the dripping Ping. "My workee
fo' Motol Matt; Dutchy boy no workee."

"Py shiminy, I dell you some more dot I peen Carl Pretzel," shouted
the Dutchman, "und dot I vas looking for der show, und ditn't know I
vould findt Modor Matt at der same dime. Vere iss he, misder?" and Carl
appealed anxiously to the mahout.

"He's travelin' with the show, youngster," answered the mahout, "an'
doin' a flyin'-machine stunt twice a day. If ye want to find him, hike
for the show grounds."

Without paying any further attention to Ping or the elephants, Carl
gathered in his cap--which lay at the water's edge, and was the only
thing belonging to him that was not dripping wet--and laid a rapid
course for the top of the bank.

Ping, filling the pails, started after Carl, worrying not a little over
this new pard of Motor Matt's who had appeared so unexpectedly on the
scene.



CHAPTER II.

IN THE CALLIOPE TENT.


"I don't like it, pard, and you can bet your moccasins on that," said
Joe McGlory.

"There are a whole lot of things about this business I don't fancy,"
returned Motor Matt; "but we're under contract, Joe, and Boss Burton
says he'll give us an extra fifty a week if we do the trick."

"But the girl! What's her notion about it? Hanging to a trapeze under
the aëroplane isn't a stunt to be sneezed at."

"She's anxious to do the trick. She'll get fifty dollars a week for it,
and the money looks good to her."

"There's the danger, pard. Her neck's worth more than fifty plunks a
week."

"She's a little brick, that Haidee--pure grit. I'll see that she's not
placed in much danger."

"You'll have your hands full looking after yourself and the aëroplane.
Sufferin' whirligigs! You know how hard it is to manage the _Comet_
when there's a weight suspended beneath."

"I can do it," declared Matt.

"Of course you can do, old socks--you can do anything when you set your
mind to it. But, tell me this, what has that old elephant driver, Ben
Ali, got to do with Haidee? Ben Ali's a Hindoo, and Haidee is almost as
white as an American girl."

"Ben Ali's her uncle, Joe. Haidee's mother was Ben Ali's sister, and
Haidee's father was an English officer living in Bombay. The girl told
me all this yesterday at the time she begged me to do what Boss Burton
wanted and let her trail the _Comet_ aloft on the trapeze."

"Funny combination," muttered Joe.

McGlory was in his overclothes, and had just finished getting the
aëroplane ready for the parade. The "animal top"--that is, the
menagerie tent--had been hoisted, and the small canvas lean-to that
housed the steam calliope had been put in place alongside. The calliope
was not in the lean-to, but was out on the grounds, being put in shape
for the parade.

Matt and Joe usually came to the calliope tent to make themselves
ready for the street procession. They, together with Ping, had been
three weeks with the Big Consolidated, Matt making ascensions in the
aëroplane twice daily, following the parade and just before the evening
performance--wind and weather permitting. So proficient had Matt become
in handling the flying machine that nothing short of a stiff gale or
a hard rain kept him from carrying out his engagements for a double
exhibition each day.

The aëroplane had caught the popular fancy, and had proved the biggest
kind of a card for Boss Burton, proprietor of the show. Under its
own motive power, the machine formed a star feature of the parade,
traveling slowly on the bicycle wheels which were necessary in giving
it a start when flights were made.

From tip to tip, the wings of the aëroplane measured more than thirty
feet. Of course it could not travel in the parade with such a stretch
of surface across the streets, so Matt had arranged the bicycle wheels
in such a manner that the _Comet_ moved sideways in the procession,
the king of the motor boys, his cowboy pard, and his Chinese comrade
occupying positions in the seats on the lower wing.

When Matt and his friends first joined the outfit, Boss Burton had
supplied them with bespangled apparel, which, if they had worn it,
would, according to McGlory, have made them "a holy show."

Matt and McGlory balked at the glittering costumes, but Ping had hung
to his beadwork and gilt trimmings with a fierce determination there
was no shaking.

McGlory compromised with Burton by getting into a swell cowboy rig, but
for Matt there was no such thing as compromise. This engagement with
the show was purely a business proposition, and he refused to make a
spectacle out of himself. He looked well, too, in his unostentatious
blue cap and clothes, and was given many a cheer as the aëroplane
pitched and shivered along in the procession.

Boss Burton was a shrewd manager, and it was said that he lay awake
nights while section two of the show train was making its jumps between
stands, thinking up new acts that would thrill the patrons of the Big
Consolidated. His last idea was to hitch a trapeze to the bottom of the
aëroplane, and have Haidee, Ben Ali's pretty niece, perform on the
flying bar while Matt was manoeuvring the _Comet_ over the show grounds.

It was this new wrinkle that had drawn objections from McGlory when he
and Matt had retired to the calliope tent to make ready for the parade.

About all Matt had to do to get ready was to wash and brush himself.
McGlory, on the other hand, had to get into a blue shirt, corduroy
trousers, "chaps," tight, high-heeled boots, and a broad-brimmed
sombrero.

"What's become of Ping?" asked Matt, stepping to the tent flap and
looking off over the busy grounds.

It would be an hour before the parade could start, and the bright
sun glowed over a scene of feverish activity. The side-show tents,
the stable tents, and cook tent were already up. A small army of men
was working on the circus "top," and the rhythmical thump of mauls
on tent stakes could be heard on every hand. Horses in two, four,
six, and eight-horse teams were moving about; band wagons, cages, and
chariots were being dusted and cleaned; the painted banners in front
of the side-show were being laced to their guys; the candy "butchers"
were getting their places in readiness, and throughout the various
occupations of the men ran an orderly disorder, everywhere noticeable.

But Matt could see nothing of Ping, and he turned away to where
McGlory, his foot on an overturned bucket, was buckling a big-roweled
Mexican spur to his heel.

"Ping is always promptness itself in getting into his tinsel frills and
furbelows," remarked Matt, "and I can't understand what's keeping the
boy so late this morning."

"He's been put on the steam calliope, pard," laughed McGlory, dropping
his foot from the bucket and stamping until the rowel jingled.
"Little Squinch-eye seems to have fallen in love with that bunch
of steam whistles. He tried to play 'Yankee Doodle' on the pipes,
in Indianapolis, and had almost stampeded the elephants before the
calliope man could choke him off. Sufferin' jangles, pard, you never
heard such a sound."

Before Matt could make any response, a soft voice called from outside:

"Motor Matt! Can I come in a minute?"

"Sure," replied Matt heartily.

A lithe, graceful form, in velvet and spangles, leaped lightly through
the opening.

"Haidee!" exclaimed Matt, staring.

The girl bowed laughingly and threw a kiss, just as she was in the
habit of doing after her trapeze work in the "big top."

"Yes, friends," she answered; "Haidee, the Flying Marvel, who is to do
a turn on Motor Matt's flying machine just before the doors open. I am
also to ride on the top wing of the _Comet_ during the parade. Will I
do?"

Lifting her arms, she pirouetted around for the observation of the
boys, then paused and smiled bewitchingly.

"Do?" cried McGlory. "Why, sis, you'll be the hit of the piece. All I
hope"--and McGlory's face went rather long--"is that you and Matt come
through your trip in the air without any trouble."

"I'm not afraid!" declared Haidee.

"No more you're not, sis. If you were riding on the lower wing with
Matt the whole game would be different; but you're to hang under the
machine, and there'll be more pitching and plunging than if you were
aboard a bucking bronk. Hang on, that's all, and don't try to hang by
your heels."

"I'll get an extra fifty dollars a week!" cried the girl.

It was plain to be seen that she placed great store on that "fifty
dollars a week."

"What does your uncle, Ben Ali, think of it, Haidee?" asked Matt.

A barely perceptible frown crossed the girl's face. What was passing in
her mind? Whatever her thoughts were, they found no echo in her answer.

"Uncle Ben is glad to have me do it," and Haidee retreated toward the
door.

"Have you seen Ping, Haidee?" inquired Matt.

"When I saw him last," was the response, "he was walking toward the
river with a couple of buckets. I'll be going, now. I'll see you again
when the parade starts. That trapeze act on the aëroplane will make a
great hit, don't you think?"

"It ought to," said Matt.

The girl vanished.

"I'll walk over to the steam music box," remarked McGlory, "and see if
I can spot our pigtail friend."

"All right," returned Matt, dropping down on an overturned bucket and
pulling a pencil and memorandum book from his pocket.

Before he could begin to figure, he heard a voice addressing McGlory at
the tent door--and it was a voice that brought him up rigidly erect and
staring.

"Say, misder, iss dis der shteam cantalope tent?"

McGlory laughed.

"Well, yes, Dutchy, you've made a bull's-eye first clatter. Here's
where they keep the 'cantalope.' What's the matter with you? Look like
you'd gone in swimming and forgotten to take off your clothes."

"I tropped in der rifer mit meinseluf, und id vas vetter as I t'ought.
Say, vonce, iss Modor Matt aroundt der blace?"

"He's inside, and---- Sufferin' whirlwinds, but you're in a hurry!"

A bedraggled form, with a dripping bundle in one hand and a stick in
the other, hurled itself through the opening with a yell.

"Matt! Mein olt pard, Matt!"

The next instant Carl Pretzel had rushed forward and twined his
water-soaked arms about the king of the motor boys. The Dutchman's
delight was of the frantic kind, and he gurgled and whooped, and
blubbered, and wrestled with Matt in a life-and-death grip.

McGlory, in amazement, watched from the entrance.

"Carl!" exclaimed Matt. "By all that's good, if it isn't Carl! Great
spark plugs, old chap, where did you drop from?"

"Ach, from novere und eferyvere. Vat a habbiness! I peen so dickled mit
meinseluf I feel like I vas going to pust! My olt raggie, Matt, vat I
ain'd seen alreddy for a t'ousant years!"

Just then there was a rush behind McGlory, and some one nearly knocked
him over getting into the tent.

"My workee fo' Motol Matt!" shrilled a high, angry voice. "Dutchy boy
no workee!"

Ping was terribly hostile, but McGlory caught and held him.

Carl tore himself loose from Matt and would have rushed at Ping had he
not been restrained.

"Looks like they'd both been in the river," remarked McGlory.

"What's the trouble here, boys?" asked Matt.



CHAPTER III.

AN EAVESDROPPER.


Both Carl and Ping tried to explain matters at the same time. Each
talked loud, in the hope of drowning out the other, and the jargon was
terrific. Finally McGlory got a hand over the Chinaman's mouth, and
Carl was able to give his side of the question. After that, Ping had
his say.

"There's been no cause whatever for this flare-up," said Matt.
"Everybody knows that Carl can't sing, but everybody who's acquainted
with him, too, knows that he's got more pluck to the square inch than
any fellow of his size. Carl's all right, Ping. He went around South
America with Dick Ferral and me on that submarine, and we parted
company in San Francisco just before I met up with Joe. Shake hands,"
and Matt pushed Carl toward the Chinaman.

"My workee fo' Motol Matt," whispered Ping, who had likewise been given
a push by the cowboy; "Dutchy boy no workee, huh?"

"You're both pards of mine," said Matt, "and you've got to be friends.
Now, shake hands."

The shaking was done--rather hesitatingly, it is true, but nevertheless
it was done.

"Now," went on Matt, "you get into your regalia, Ping. Carl, you can
get out of your wet clothes and put on Joe's working suit. While you're
about it, tell me how you happen to be here. You stay and listen, Joe,"
the young motorist added. "I want you to like Carl as well as I do."

"That's me, pard," laughed McGlory, taking a seat on one of the
buckets. "There's plenty of ginger in the Dutchman, and that's what
cuts the ice with me."

Ping, covertly watching and listening, moved over to his bag of clothes
and began rigging himself out in his gorgeous raiment. Carl, talking as
he worked, removed his water-logged costume.

"I vas a tedectif, Matt," said he gravely.

"What's that?" demanded McGlory.

"Detective," smiled the king of the motor boys. "My Dutch pard has been
making a sleuth out of himself."

"Yah, so," pursued Carl. "Tick Verral vent off mit his uncle, in
Tenver, und I run avay to San Francisco looking for Matt. He don'd
vas dere some more, und I can't find oudt nodding aboudt vere he vas
gone. I haf to do somet'ing vile vaiting for him to turn oop, und so I
go indo der tedectif pitzness. Dot's great vork, I bed you. You findt
somet'ing for somepody, und dey gif you all kindts oof money. Fine!"

"How much have you made at the business, Carl?" queried Matt.

"Vell, nodding, so far as I haf gone, Matt. Aber I don'd haf no luck
mit it. I vas schust learning der ropes. A feller hat his money took
avay in 'Frisco. I ged oudt oof dot mit a proken headt, und don'd findt
der money. Vell, next a olt laty in Salt Lake City loses her parrot,
und say she gif ten tollar vould I findt him. I ketch der parrot off
a push schust ven anodder feller lays holt oof him. Ve fight for der
pird, der pird iss kilt, und some more I don'd ged nodding, only a
plack eye und some fierce talk from der olt laty. Aber I don'd ged
tiscouraged, nod at all. I vork on mit meinseluf.

"Pympy, I peen in Chicago--der blace vere ve vas, Matt, mit der air
ship. Dot's a great town for der tedectif pitzness, I bed you. I try to
hire oudt by a prifate tedectif achency, aber dey don'd vant me. I keep
afder dose fellers, und afder I was t'rown from der office a gouple oof
times I valked in on dem by der fire escape. Den dey gif me some chobs."

"What sort of a job did they give you, Carl?"

By that time the Dutch boy had stripped and put on McGlory's clothes.
Reaching for his water-logged bundle, he untied it, and fished a folded
newspaper from an assortment of rubber collars, socks, and red cotton
handkerchiefs.

The newspaper was very damp, and had to be handled with care.

"Dis iss some English papers, Matt," explained Carl. "Id vas brinted in
Lonton, und dose tedectif fellers had him py deir office. How mooch iss
a t'ousant pounds in Unidet Shtates money, hey?"

"Five thousand dollars."

"Veil, dot's der chob--making dot fife t'ousant. I bet you I get rich
vone oof dose tays."

"You have to do something, don't you, before you get the money?"
queried McGlory, with a wink at Matt.

"Ach, dot's nodding," answered Carl, in a large, offhand manner. "Readt
dot, Matt."

Matt took the wet newspaper and read a marked paragraph, which ran as
follows:

  "£1,000 Reward! This sum will be paid for any information concerning
  one Margaret Manners, last known to be in Calcutta, India. Miss
  Manners is about eighteen years of age, and is the only daughter of
  the late Captain Lionel Manners, of the English Army, stationed at
  Bombay. Miss Manners disappeared from her home, under mysterious
  circumstances, and it is possible she went to America and engaged in
  the circus business. Any one with knowledge concerning the missing
  person, and desirous of obtaining the reward, will please communicate
  with Arthur Hoppleson, Solicitor, 10 Kent's Road, London, W. C.
  Further information, which cannot be publicly printed, will be
  cheerfully furnished."

Motor Matt, after reading the paragraph to himself, read it aloud.

"Why," grinned McGlory, "that outfit of detectives was working your
German friend, Matt. They gave him that and sent him on a wild-goose
chase, just to get rid of him."

"Dot's a misdake," declared Carl. "Dose fellers saw I meant pitzness,
py shinks, und dey gif me der hardest case dey hat. Yah, so. Since den
I haf peen looking for shows. Eferyvere I hear aboudt some shows I hike
avay. Aber I don'd findt Miss Manners. She don'd vas in der mooseums,
oder in der Vild Vest shows, or in Rinklings; und oof she vasn't in
der Pig Gonsolidated, den I vas oop some shtumps. My money has blayed
oudt, und I hat to rite in a pox car to Lafayette, Intiana. Here I vas
shdrolling along tovard der show groundts ven I see dot shink mit der
puckets, und hat sooch a scrap. Afder der scrap vas ofer, a man on a
elephant shpeak about Motor Matt. Den I don'd t'ink oof nodding more. I
come, so kevick as bossiple, to findt my olt raggie. Und here ve vas,
togedder like ve used to be." A broad smile covered Carl's face. "Now
I don'd care for nodding. Oof you t'ink you could help me findt Miss
Manners, den I vill be opliged, und gif you part oof der revard--a
gouple oof pounds oof id, anyvay."

"It looks to me, Carl," said Matt, handing back the paper, "as though
the men in that detective office were trying to have some fun with you.
Have you written to London to secure further information?"

Carl looked startled.

"Vell," he admitted, "I ditn't t'ink oof dat."

"You're a fine detective, you are," said Matt. "You might as well hunt
for a needle in a haystack as to hunt for this English girl. Can't you
see? You've got a pretty wide field to cover, and it is only _supposed_
that she came to America and engaged in the circus business."

Carl ran his fingers through his carroty hair.

"Meppy dot's right," he mused. "Oof dose fellers in Chicago vas making
some monkey-doodle pitzness mit me, you bed you I vould like to fool
dem. Meppy I findt der girl. Den vat? V'y, dose tedectif fellers feel
like t'irty cent. You vas vorking for der show, Matt?"

"We've an engagement with the manager for making flights in our
aëroplane."

"Vat's dose?"

"What's an aëroplane? Why, Carl, it's a heavier-than-air flying
machine."

"So? Und you go oop in id?"

"Yes."

Carl sat on a bucket and ruminated for a space.

"You know pooty near efery vone dot vorks for der show, hey?" he asked.

"Yes, I know every one."

"Iss dere a girl mit der name oof Markaret Manners?"

"No. But she'd have a different name if she was with a show, Carl.
Performers hardly ever use their real names."

"Dot's righdt, too." Once more Carl ran his fingers through his mop of
hair. "Iss der any vone connected mit der show vat has a shtrawperry
mark on der arm?" he asked, brightening.

"Strawberry mark on the arm?" repeated Matt. "Why, Carl, that
advertisement doesn't say anything about such a thing."

"I know dot, aber efery young laty you read aboudt vat's lost has der
shtrawperry mark on der----"

McGlory let off a roar of laughter. Carl straightened up with a pained
look on his fat face.

"Carl," cried McGlory, "you're a great sleuth, and no mistake! You jump
at too many conclusions."

"Dere don'd vas anyt'ing else to chump ad," returned Carl. "Dis vas a
dark case, you bed you, und dere has to be some guessings. Dot's vat I
make now, der guessings."

"Pretty woolly guessing, at that, and----"

McGlory broke off abruptly to follow a sudden movement on Matt's part.
The canvas forming the side of the menagerie tent had shaken, as though
there was some one on the other side of it. Matt, seeing the shiver
of the canvas, leaped for the wall. The next moment he had lifted the
canvas and was looking into the other tent.

A tall, brown-faced man, wearing a turban and an embroidered jacket,
was just vanishing through the tent entrance. Matt dropped the canvas
and turned away, a thoughtful look taking the place of the smile with
which he had listened to Carl's talk.

"What was it, pard?" asked McGlory.

"An eavesdropper," replied Matt.

"Speak to me about that!" exclaimed McGlory. "If some one thought the
Dutchman's yarn worth listening to, then perhaps there's something in
it."

"Perhaps." Motor Matt's brow wrinkled perplexedly.

"Who was the fellow? Could you recognize him?"

"It was Ben Ali."

McGlory bounded up, excited, and his own face reflecting some of the
perplexity that shone in his friend's.

Before the conversation could be continued, however, a man thrust his
head into the calliope tent.

"They're waiting for you fellows," he announced. "Hustle!"



CHAPTER IV.

QUEER PROCEEDINGS.


The place occupied by the aëroplane in the procession was almost at the
end, and just behind the herd of four elephants. Rajah, owing to his
freakish disposition, was always the fourth elephant of the string,
Delhi his mate, immediately preceding him. With peaceable brutes ahead,
Rajah might usually be depended upon not to cut any capers.

It will be seen from this that the _Comet_ followed on the heels of
Rajah.

The parade was almost in readiness for the start when Matt, McGlory,
and Ping reached the aëroplane. Hostlers were running about placing
plumes in the head-stalls of the horses, drivers were climbing to their
seats, the wild animal trainer was getting into the open cage, and the
members of the band were tinkering with their instruments.

Haidee was standing by the aëroplane when Matt, McGlory, and Ping
reached the machine.

"All ready, Haidee?" asked Matt.

The girl turned and looked at him blankly. Her face was unusually
white, and there was a vacant stare in her eyes.

"What's to pay, sis?" asked McGlory, with a surprised look at Matt.
"Don't you feel well?"

"I am well."

The words came in an unnatural voice and with parrot-like precision.

Boss Burton came hustling down the line in his runabout.

"Hurry up, Matt," he called. "Help Haidee to a place on the upper wing
of the _Comet_."

Matt stepped over to the runabout.

"What's the matter with the girl?" he asked, in a low tone.

"Matter?" echoed Burton, fixing a keen look on the girl. "By Jupiter,
she's got one of her spells again! She hasn't had one of those for a
month, now, and I thought they'd about left her for good."

"Is she subject to spells of that kind?"

"She used to be. There's something queer about them, but they don't
last long."

"We shouldn't put her on the upper wing, then. There's no seat there,
and nothing to hold on to."

The sharp, impatient notes of a trumpet came from the head of the line.

"Well, put her somewhere," said Burton impatiently, and whirled his
horse.

"Get on the top plane, Ping," said Matt, hurrying back to the _Comet_.
"Haidee is going to ride on the lower wing with us."

"Awri'," chirped Ping, and McGlory gave him a leg up.

Haidee, moving like an automaton, made no objection to this
arrangement. She took her place obediently on the lower wing of the
machine, between Matt and McGlory, and the engine was started.

When the elephants began to move, Matt switched the power into the
bicycle wheels, and the aëroplane lurched over the uneven ground.
Reaching the road, the _Comet_ went more steadily; and when the
procession wound into the paved thoroughfares, the movement was
comparatively easy.

Ben Ali, from the neck of Rajah, kept turning around and looking back
at the three on the lower plane of the _Comet_.

Matt, McGlory, and Haidee, on account of the wings of the aëroplane
being turned lengthwise of the street, rode facing the sidewalk on the
left. In order to see them, Ben Ali was obliged to keep Rajah somewhat
out of the line.

"What's the matter with Ben Ali?" asked McGlory, leaning forward and
talking in front of Haidee. "He's showing a heap more interest in the
_Comet_ than he ever did before."

Matt shook his head, and met steadily the piercing eyes of the Hindoo
until they were turned forward again.

"What is your uncle looking this way for, Haidee?" he asked.

"I don't know."

The girl expressed herself in the same mechanical way she had done
before.

"Haidee isn't herself," said Matt, "and I guess her uncle is worried.
Change seats with her, Joe."

Matt wanted to talk with his cowboy chum and did not want to be under
the necessity of passing his words around the girl.

"Move over, sis," requested McGlory, standing up and balancing himself
on the foot-rest.

The girl quietly slipped along the plane.

Cheer after cheer greeted the aëroplane and the king of the motor boys
as soon as the crowded thoroughfares were reached. Ping, on the upper
wing, and clad in all his barbaric finery, was as proud as a peacock.
Haidee, on the other hand, paid absolutely no attention to the crowds.
She sat rigidly in her place, like a girl carved from stone, keeping
her unblinking eyes straight ahead of her.

"I'm plumb beat, and no mistake," breathed McGlory, in Matt's ear. "I
never saw Haidee like this before. She acts to me like she was locoed."

"Boss Burton told me, just before we started," answered Matt, in a low
tone, "that she was subject to 'spells.' This is the first one she has
had in a month, Burton says."

"Can you savvy it?"

"No."

"Ben Ali seems worried out of his wits. Watch how he keeps Rajah
zigzagging back and forth across the trail, so he can get a look at the
girl every now and then. I wonder if Haidee knows what she's about?"

"She must. If she didn't she wouldn't be riding in the aëroplane."

The bands played, the crowds waved hands and handkerchiefs and cheered,
the clowns carried out all their funny stunts, and the procession moved
on through the city of Lafayette. Students from Purdue University
followed the paraders and blew long blasts through tin horns. Rajah
showed signs of becoming restless, and Ben Ali's attention had to be
given entirely to the big brute.

Matt, with one hand on the steering lever, kept the unwieldy machine
moving in a straight track.

"What do you suppose Ben Ali was listening to Carl's talk for, there on
the inside of the menagerie tent?" inquired the cowboy, his voice so
low it could not possibly reach Haidee. "I had a notion that----"

"Sh-h-h!" Matt interrupted. "I had the same notion, Joe, but it was
only a wild guess, at the most. He's a prying chap, that Ben Ali, and
he might have had only a casual interest in what Carl was saying."

"I'll bet a ten-dollar bill against a chink wash ticket that there was
something more to it than that."

"Well, if there was, it's bound to come out, sooner or later. Say
nothing, but keep your eyes open."

"I've always felt that there was a mystery about the girl and Ben Ali,
and that----"

McGlory broke off suddenly. Haidee, with the quickness of lightning,
had leaned over behind him and jerked one of the levers at Matt's side.

The next instant the big aëroplane took a wild jump forward. The king
of the motor boys was alive to the danger in an instant.

"Hold the girl!" he cried, and instantly flung the lever back.

The front ends of the two great wings had hurled themselves against
Rajah. The huge animal trumpeted wildly and swung about on his hind
legs with trunk uplifted.

It seemed as though he would surely charge the _Comet_, wreck the
machine, and kill or maim the four who were riding in it.

McGlory, with Haidee in his arms, leaped from the foot-rest into the
road. Ping rolled off the opposite side of the upper plane.

Had Matt deserted his post, the _Comet_ would certainly have been
seriously damaged, if not totally wrecked. But, in spite of the danger
that threatened him, he kept his seat.

Quick as a flash, he threw in the reverse. The bulky machine began
wabbling away on the back track, the clown in the donkey cart behind,
and the acrobatic "haymakers" in their trick wagon, driving frantically
out of the way.

Ben Ali was using his sharp prod with apparent frenzy, but the jabbing
point had not the least effect. Rajah started for Matt and the _Comet_.

Then, had not Delhi's mahout been self-possessed and quick, the worst
would have happened.

People in the street jumped for the walk, and those on the walk pushing
into the open doors of shops. Shrieks and cries went up from the women,
and men yelled in consternation.

Across Rajah's path, with a rush, charged Delhi, coming to a halt
and blocking the way. Rajah tried to go around, but Delhi backed and
continued to cut off his retreat.

By that time Boss Burton had whirled to the scene in the runabout,
and half a dozen men, from the forward wagons, were all around Rajah,
belaboring the brute with cudgels, whips, and whatever they could get
their hands on.

Rajah's incipient rage was soon quelled by this heroic treatment.

"What happened?" demanded Burton, drawing up beside the aëroplane.

"The machine made a jump," answered Matt, not wishing to put the blame
on the girl. "Rajah was too close. Tell Ben Ali to pay more attention
to the elephant and less to us, and to keep in the centre of the road."

Burton was angry. The fault seemed to lie with Matt, but Ben Ali caught
the brunt of the showman's ire.

Ping, his yellow face like a piece of old cheese, got back on the upper
wing, and McGlory led Haidee to the _Comet_ and helped her to her seat.

"Speak to me about that!" gulped the cowboy. "I'm a Piegan if I didn't
think you and the old _Comet_ were done for. What possessed the girl?"

"Give it up," answered Matt grimly. "As you said a while ago, pard,
these are queer proceedings. Just watch Haidee every minute."

"She didn't know what she was doing, and you can gamble a blue stack on
that."

"Of course she didn't. That's why I didn't tell Burton the real cause
of the trouble. Keep it to yourself, Joe."



CHAPTER V.

MOTOR MATT PROTESTS.


The parade was finished without further incident worthy of note, a
huge crowd following it back to the show grounds to see the aëroplane
flight. As soon as the grounds were reached, Ben Ali came for Haidee.
There was a burning light in his black eyes, and he was shaking like a
man with the ague.

"Just a minute, Ben Ali," said Matt, catching the Hindoo by the sleeve
of his embroidered coat and leading him apart. "What's the matter with
your niece?"

"Salaam, sahib," chattered Ben Ali. "Haidee all right soon."

"She can't make an ascension with me, Ben Ali. She was the cause of
that trouble, and it would be sheer madness to take her aloft on that
trapeze."

"Yis, sahib, _such baht_" (that is true). Ben Ali drew a quivering hand
over his forehead. "But she be well like ever soon, sahib."

Ben Ali whirled away, took Haidee by the hand, and vanished among the
wagons.

Boss Burton strode to the scene.

"What ails that brown rascal?" he asked, staring after Ben Ali. "He's
in as bad a taking as the girl. What did he say about her? I've never
been able to get him to tell me anything about her spells."

"He tells me that she will be all right in a little while," answered
Matt.

"Then we'll delay the flight. It will be half an hour yet before all
the people get here."

Matt peered at the showman as though he thought him out of his senses.

"You don't mean to say that you want the girl to ride a trapeze under
the _Comet_?" he demanded.

"Why not?" Burton answered. "You said you'd take her, and she's willing
to go--she wants to go."

"When I said I'd take her," returned Matt, "I didn't know anything
about her spells. Suppose she were to have one while we're in the air?
Why, Burton, she might throw herself from the trapeze."

"No," declared the other, "she wouldn't do that. After she has one
spell, I understand she doesn't have another for days, or weeks. It's
been a month since she had the last. Why, in St. Paul, she had one ten
minutes before she went to the ring for her trapeze work--and she never
did better. If Ben Ali says she'll be all right in a little while he
ought to know."

"I protest against allowing her to go up in the aëroplane," said Matt
firmly. "When the machine is off the ground it has to have my whole
attention. I won't be able to look after Haidee without endangering
both our lives."

A hard look came into Burton's face.

"I'm paying you five hundred a week for the stunt you pull off with the
flying machine, ain't I?" he demanded harshly.

"You are," was the young motorist's calm response.

"And I'm giving the fifty on top of that for taking the girl up with
you?"

"That was your proposition."

"And you agreed to it?"

"That was before I knew Haidee was afflicted in this way, Burton."

"Bosh!" scoffed the showman. "The thing has got on your nerves."

"So it has," acknowledged Matt. "I'm not going to place Haidee in any
danger, if I can help it."

"And that shot goes as it lays, Burton," spoke up McGlory, who had been
taking a deep interest in the talk. "If you think Motor Matt is going
to risk the girl's neck, or his own, for a little fifty a week, you've
got another guess coming."

Boss Burton had set his heart on that trapeze act. It was a decided
novelty, and he could not cut it out of his calculations.

"Am I to understand," he went on, taking a look at the gathering
crowds, "that you'll break your contract rather than take Haidee up
with you?"

"That's what you're to understand!" snapped McGlory. "We'll not hem,
and haw, and side-step, not for a holy minute."

"It's this way, Burton," continued Matt. "Haidee can't go up on the
trapeze--we have to take a running start, you know, and it would be
impossible. She'll have to ride up on the lower plane; then, after we
are well clear of the ground, she'll have to drop from the footboard
with the trapeze in her hands. If she's not entirely herself, the drop
from the footboard to the end of the trapeze ropes will be too much for
her. She'll fall."

"But I told you that after she comes out of these things she's as fit
as ever," cried Burton. "It's a still day--the best we've had for
flying since you joined the show. I don't want to give up the idea."

"And you don't want to see Haidee killed before your eyes, do you?"
asked Matt coldly.

"Oh, splash! There'll be nothing of that kind. Ah, look! Here she
comes, and she's just as well as ever."

Matt and McGlory turned. Haidee, ready for the ascent, was hurrying
toward the machine from the direction of the tent. She moved swiftly
and gracefully, and there was nothing mechanical in her actions--as
there had been during the parade. The pallor had left her cheeks and
the vacant look was gone from her eyes. Matt and McGlory were astounded
at the sudden change in her.

"Are you all ready for me, Motor Matt?" she asked eagerly.

The trapeze was ready. That had been attached to the under plane of the
_Comet_ and the bar lashed to the foot-rest before the parade. But Matt
was not ready.

"How are you feeling, Haidee?" asked Matt kindly.

"Fine!" she declared.

"Do you remember what happened during the parade?"

A puzzled look crossed her face.

"I can't remember a thing about that," she declared. "In fact,
everything has been a blank almost from the time I left the calliope
tent, where I was talking with you, until I came to myself in the
menagerie tent with Uncle Ben."

Matt bowed his head thoughtfully.

"What's the matter?" asked the girl, in a quivering voice. "Aren't you
going to take me up with the _Comet_?"

"He's afraid you'll have a spell while you're in the air, Haidee, and
drop off the bar," jeered Burton.

The girl stepped forward and caught Matt's sleeve.

"Oh, it can't be true!" she exclaimed tearfully. "Motor Matt, you're
not going to keep me from making that extra money? I need it! I must
have it!"

The girl's earnestness made Matt waver.

"It won't do," spoke up McGlory decidedly.

"Joe!" and Haidee turned on him. "Why can't you understand that I'm
just as able as ever to do my trapeze work? I'll not have another of
those queer spells for a long time."

"That's what you think, sis," answered McGlory, "but if anything
happened to you my pard would remember it as long as he lived. He has
just protested to Burton against taking you up. And he had a bean on
the right number when he said what he did."

"_I'm_ taking the chances," said Haidee, "and nothing will happen."

The aëroplane was at rest on the hard roadway running across the
show grounds. For a distance of twenty feet on each side of the road
strong ropes were stretched to keep back the crowd. The throng was now
pressing against the ropes, clamoring for the aëroplane to make its
flight.

"If this performance don't come off," said Boss Burton, "it will be a
tough blow for the Big Consolidated. I advertised this trapeze stunt
on the flying machine in the morning papers, wiring it ahead from
Indianapolis. It's _got_ to be done, that's all. Every promise made in
our bills is always carried out. That's what has given this show a
hold with the people. I don't say one thing and then do another."

"Circumstances alter cases," returned Matt.

"If you don't want to take Haidee, will you take Archie le Bon?"

Archie le Bon was one of the Le Bon Brothers, iron-nerved men who
performed wonderful flying feats on the trapeze.

"Certainly I'll take Archie le Bon," replied Matt, glad to find such
a way out of the disagreement. "Bring him here while I'm getting the
machine ready."

Haidee began to cry, but Burton took her by the arm and led her away,
talking earnestly and in a low voice.

A trick was worked on the king of the motor boys that morning, and it
was something for which he never forgave Boss Burton. And it was a
trick carried to a successful conclusion almost under the very eyes of
McGlory and Ping. Matt, being busy with the aëroplane and the motor,
did not discover it until too late.

Matt went over the machinery of the _Comet_ with the same care he
exercised before every flight. A loose bolt or screw might spell death
for him if it escaped his attention.

When he was through with his examination, and had taken his seat ready
for the flight. Le Bon appeared. He was in his shirt sleeves, not
having had time to exchange his everyday clothes for ring costume.

"I'll run with the machine," said Le Bon, "and climb over the lower
plane from behind when it gets to running too fast for me."

"That will do," answered Matt.

Amid the breathless silence of the crowd, Matt set the motor to working.

"Ready!" he called.

The machine started along the road, gaining in speed with every foot of
its progress.

At the end of fifty feet it was going faster than a man could run; and
at a hundred feet it was darting along at thirty miles an hour. This
was the gait that enabled the wing to pick the machine off the ground.

As the _Comet_ slid upward along its airy path, the astounded McGlory
saw Le Bon far back toward the point from which the machine had
started. Thinking that, through some mistake, Le Bon had been left
behind, McGlory turned toward the mounting aëroplane.

Then the trick dawned upon him.

Haidee was climbing over the lower plane toward Motor Matt, now and
again turning to wave her hand at the cheering crowd!

And McGlory saw something else--something that had a fearful
significance in the light of later events.



CHAPTER VI.

ABLAZE IN THE AIR.


When the king of the motor boys was in the air with the _Comet_, every
power of mind and body was trained to the work of looking after the
machine.

Flying in an aëroplane is vastly more difficult than sailing in a
balloon. In the case of a gas bag, an aëronaut has only to throw out
ballast, take his ease, and trust to luck; but, with a heavier-than-air
machine, the aviator must rely upon the quickness of his wits and his
dexterity.

Aëroplane flying, in a large measure, is a knack, and must be acquired.
The air pressure never touches the machine in exactly the same point
for two consecutive seconds, and, because of this, the centre of
gravity is constantly changing. Centre of gravity and centre of air
pressure must coincide at all times if the machine is to be kept in the
air, and the success or failure to do this proves the competency or the
incompetency of the operator.

The Traquair aëroplane--upon which model Matt's machine had been
built--preserved its equilibrium while aloft by an elongation, or
contraction, of the wing tips. A lever regulated this; and, whenever
Matt was flying, the lever was moving continuously, the ends of the
wings darting out and in with lightning-like rapidity, one side
presenting greater wing area to the pressure while the other presented
less, and vice versa.

Motor Matt's engagement with Boss Burton did not cover long flights.
Usually, if the weather was propitious, he made it a point to remain
aloft about fifteen minutes, circling about the show grounds, turning
sharp corners and cutting airy "figure eights," in order to show the
capabilities of the aëroplane.

"Get your trapeze over, Le Bon!" he called, while they were steadily
mounting.

A laugh was his answer--a silvery ripple of a laugh that had a familiar
ring in his ears and now filled him with consternation. He dared not
look around.

"Haidee!" he exclaimed.

"Are you mad at me, Motor Matt?" came the voice of the girl.

She cautiously slipped into the seat beside him, her heightened color
and sparkling eyes showing her excitement.

"This was a trick," went on Matt calmly, attending to his work with an
indifference more apparent than real, "which you and Le Bon and Burton
played on me?"

"It was Burton's idea, and he told it to me while we were going after
Archie le Bon. Archie was to pretend to run with the machine, and I was
to be with him. When the machine got to going too fast for us, Archie
was to drop to one side and I was to spring to the lower wing. Your
back would be in my direction, and you couldn't see me."

"That wasn't like you, Haidee," said Matt.

"Are you mad?"

"What's the use of being put out with you? I'll have something to say
to Burton and Le Bon when I get back to the grounds."

"You thought you were doing something to help me--I know that--but you
didn't understand I was perfectly able to carry out my part of the
programme. As it is now, I came along and you couldn't help yourself.
Are you going to try and keep me from dropping under the machine with
the trapeze?"

"No," was the grim reply, "now that you are here you can go on with
your work. Hold to the hand grip on the edge of the plane while you
unlash the bar."

Perfectly cool, and in complete command of her nerves, Haidee knelt on
the foot-rest, clinging to the plane with one hand while she unlashed
the trapeze bar with the other.

"I'm ready, Motor Matt," said Haidee.

She was sitting on the edge of the seat, holding the bar in both hands.

Matt had brought the _Comet_ to an even keel, some fifty feet over the
show grounds. They were traveling about thirty miles an hour--a snail's
pace for the _Comet_--and Matt was about to make a turn over the river
and traverse the length of the grounds going the other way.

"Now, listen," said he to the girl. "I'm going to tilt the _Comet_
sharply upward and ascend for about fifty feet, then I'm going to
reverse the position and descend for fifty feet in the same sharp
angle. When we turn for the descent, Haidee, drop from the foot-rest
when I give the word. The pull of your body, when it falls, will drag
on the machine, but never mind that--hang on and don't get scared. As
soon as I can I will bring the machine to a level. Understand?"

"Yes."

"And another thing. While you're moving on the bar, just remember to do
it quietly and easily. You've seen the two Japs at work in the show, I
know. When the big fellow balances the pole on his shoulder, and the
little fellow goes up, every move is made as though there would be a
smash if they were not careful."

"I understand," said the girl.

The machine had been brought around and was heading toward the grounds.
Matt twisted the small forward planes, which laid the course for
ascending or descending. At the same time he speeded up the motor.

The _Comet_ pointed upward; then, at the top of her course, was as
quickly turned and aimed toward the earth.

Matt caught a glimpse of a sea of upturned faces. The machine was
rushing downward at a frightful pace.

"_Now!_" shouted Matt.

He saw the girl poise birdlike on the foot-rest, then sink from it with
the trapeze. So great was the slant of the aëroplane that she seemed to
fall forward.

There was a jar as the bar reached the end of the ropes, and, with the
girl's weight, was caught and held. The _Comet_ made an erratic wabble
and lurched sideways like a great bird, wounded on the wing.

Haidee withstood the jolt admirably, and Matt twirled the lever
operating the steering planes.

Sounds from the earth always reach aëronauts with startling
distinctness. The shouts of consternation which came from the throats
of the spectators could be heard, and also the murmur of relief as the
_Comet_ righted herself, and the trapeze and the girl swung back under
the machine.

Controlling the aëroplane was always more difficult when there was a
weight suspended beneath, but Matt had counted upon this, and he forced
the _Comet_ back and forth over the show grounds, holding the machine
fairly steady.

Three times he and Haidee circled over the "tops" with their gay
streamers, cheer upon cheer following them from below.

Matt had been in the air more than fifteen minutes, and he was just
manoeuvring toward the starting and stopping point, when the cheers
were suddenly turned to cries of fear and alarm. He could see the
people below waving their arms and pointing upward.

For an instant the young motorist's heart sank. He felt sure that
something had gone wrong with the girl.

This conviction had hardly formed before it was dissipated. A smell of
smoke came to his nostrils, and to his ears a crackle of flames. Matt
turned his head.

The left wing of the aëroplane was on fire!

A thrill of horror shot through him. In the air, he and Haidee, with a
blazing flying machine alone between them and death! The very thought
was enough to wrench the stoutest nerves.

"Haidee!" yelled Matt.

"Yes," came the stifled response, from underneath the _Comet_.

"Are you all right?"

"Yes."

"Hang to the bar--don't lose your nerve!"

Matt's mind was grappling with the complex situation. To get safely
to the ground in the shortest possible time was the problem that
confronted him.

How the wing had caught fire he did not know, and had not the time even
to guess. It sufficed that the plane was ablaze, and that the longer it
blazed and ate into the fabric the less resistance the plane made to
the atmosphere. And it was this resistance that spelled life for the
king of the motor boys and the girl!

To drop the blazing aëroplane into that sea of heads below meant injury
to some of the spectators. Matt must avoid this and reach the earth in
the roped-off lane from which the ascent had been made.

He put the clamps on his nerves, and, with brain perfectly clear, drove
the aëroplane about at a sharp angle.

Then, if ever, the machine was true to its name, for as it darted
onward, the smoke and flame that streamed out behind must have given it
the look of a comet.

Could he drop to earth, the young motorist was asking himself, before
the fire struck either of the gasoline tanks?

Motor Matt, as he coaxed the last ounce of speed from the motor,
shouted encouragingly to the terrified girl on the trapeze.

Suddenly, below him opened the narrow lane roped off along the road. A
buzz of excited voices echoed in his ears. With steady hand he shut off
the power and glided downward.

"Drop from the bar and run, Haidee," he shouted, "as soon as we come
close to the ground."

There was a response from the girl, but the clamor of the crowd
prevented him from hearing what it was.

The next moment the blazing aëroplane settled into the road and glided
along on the bicycle wheels.

McGlory, Carl, and Ping were on hand, the cowboy in charge of a
detachment of canvasmen with buckets. A hiss of steam, as water struck
the flames, rose in the air.

"Careful!" cried Matt, restraining the impetuous assault of the fire
fighters. "Don't climb over the machine and damage it! Keep them back,
Joe! Here, some of you, drench the wings on the right side and keep the
fire from spreading."

Ably directed by Matt and McGlory, the fire was extinguished. Leaving
the damaged aëroplane in charge of Carl and Ping, Matt limped off
toward the calliope tent, accompanied by his cowboy chum.



CHAPTER VII.

WAS IT TREACHERY?


"Where's Haidee?" asked Matt.

"Oh, bother the girl!" cried McGlory savagely.

Matt turned on him with a surprised look.

"What's the matter with you, pard?" he asked.

"Well, it's apples to ashes that I was never so badly shaken up in my
life before as I am this minute. Sufferin' Judas! Say, I'd never have
believed it."

The crowd was dense. Some of the people were moving off toward the
city, some were making for the side-show, and others were trying to
get close to the king of the motor boys. Matt, having just finished a
sensational flight, was an object of curiosity and admiration.

Neither he nor McGlory paid any attention to the demonstration around
them, but moved briskly onward toward the calliope tent.

"I can't rise to you, Joe," said the puzzled Matt. "What's on your
mind?"

"Something more'n my hat, and you can bet your moccasins on that."

"Where did Haidee go?"

"That leather-faced tinhorn uncle of hers grabbed her and took her away
the minute she dropped from the trapeze."

"She wasn't hurt, was she?"

"I didn't take any trouble to find out. She walked off spry enough."

McGlory was gruff to the point of incivility. It was evident to Matt
that he had been mightily stirred.

"What's the matter with you?" demanded Matt.

"Wait till we get into the calliope tent, and out of this crowd and the
dust--then I'll tell you."

"Didn't you discover the trick Boss Burton played on me with the help
of Haidee and Le Bon, Joe?"

"Oh, speak to me about that!" snarled the cowboy. "Nary, I didn't,
pard, until it was too everlastin'ly late to stop the run of the cards.
Burton! We've got a bone to pick with him; and, after it's picked, I
feel like cramming it down his throat. He was bound to have the girl
go up, and he worked it in his sneaking, underhand way! I don't like
this layout, Matt. You've had the closest call that's ever come your
way since you took to flying. Sufferin' cats! Say, my heart was in my
throat all the while I was looking on. I was expecting that any minute
the fire would reach the gasoline, that both tanks would let go, and
that you, and the girl, and the _Comet_ would all be wiped out in a big
noise and a splotch of flame."

By this time they had reached the calliope tent, and were able to duck
inside and get away from the crowd.

The calliope was there, and filling the larger part of the interior.
The big steam organ was shrouded in a canvas cover, and only the lower
rims of the wagon wheels on which it was mounted were to be seen.

Matt dropped down on a heap of straw and leaned back wearily against a
side pole. McGlory threw himself down beside him, his face thoughtful
and angry.

"I hadn't any notion Burton was running in a rhinecaboo," said the
cowboy presently, "until the _Comet_ had jumped into the air and I had
looked back and seen Le Bon near the place from which the machine had
started. When I turned and looked at you and the _Comet_, there was the
Haidee girl perched on the lower wing, throwin' kisses to the crowd. I
knew then that Burton had turned his trick, and I lammed loose a yell;
but there was too much noise for you to hear it. I kept my eyes on the
aëroplane and the girl and--and I saw something then that made my hair
curl later when the fire broke out."

"What was it?" asked Matt.

"Haidee, pushing something out on the left-hand wing and jabbing it
down there with a hatpin, so it would stay."

"We must have been three or four hundred feet away from you, Joe,"
returned Matt, "and how could you see it was a hatpin?"

McGlory sat up, opened the front of his coat, and drew a blistered
hatpin out of the lining.

"I hunted around under the machine, while we were fighting the fire,"
he explained, "and picked up that. So, you see, I know it was a hatpin."

A frown crossed Matt's face.

"What do you make out of that move of Haidee's?" he asked.

"She pinned a ball of something soaked in oil to the wing and touched
it off," averred McGlory. "It smouldered for a while and then blazed up
and set fire to the canvas."

"Joe," returned Matt incredulously, "you must be mistaken. I've always
been a friend of Haidee's. Why should she want to destroy the _Comet_,
or me? When you come to that, why should she want to take her own life?
That's virtually what it would have amounted to if the fire had reached
the gasoline tanks."

"Who could have started the fire, if it wasn't the girl?" demanded
McGlory. "She was the one."

Matt was nonplused. His cowboy chum seemed to have drawn a correct
inference, but the supposition was so preposterous the king of the
motor boys could take no stock in it.

"We've got to use a little common sense, Joe," insisted Matt. "The girl
wouldn't have the least motive in the world for trying to do such a
thing as set fire to the _Comet_!"

"We've got to bank on what we see," answered McGlory, "no matter
whether we want to believe our eyes or not. Look at it! Haidee comes
to the aëroplane for the parade like a wooden figure of a girl, moving
like a puppet worked by strings. Suddenly she flashes out of her locoed
condition and pulls a lever that slams the _Comet_ against Rajah's
heels. Well, we protected the girl from that because we believed she
was having one of her 'spells.' She came out of the spell all of a
sudden and lopes down to where the aëroplane stands ready for the
start. She seems as well as ever, and begs to go up on the trapeze. A
trick is played on us, and she _does_ go up. Then, once more, she gets
the _Comet_ into trouble. I can't savvy the blooming layout, but I'm
keen to know that some one is starting in to do us up. And Haidee is
one of our enemies."

Just then Boss Burton pushed into the tent. He was nervous and cast
furtive glances at Motor Matt.

"Great business!" he exclaimed. "Le Bon got juggled out of the
ascension, after all, and Haidee, the sly minx! did her stunt on the
trapeze, just as she had planned. How in the world did the machine take
fire? Crossed wires, or something?"

"You need not try to dodge responsibility, Burton," said Matt sharply.
"You put up the trick that was played on me."

"On my honor, King----"

"Don't talk that way," interrupted Matt. "Come out flat-footed and
admit it."

"Well," grinned Burton, a little sheepishly, "if you put it that way,
I'll have to acknowledge the corn. But the girl was clear-headed,
wasn't she? She didn't fall off the trapeze, and she pulled off some
hair-raising tricks on that flying bar that set the crowd gasping. It
was the biggest novelty in the way of an act that any show ever put up.
Results will show at the ticket wagon this afternoon. Too confoundedly
bad, though, that the thing should have been marred by that fire. How
long will it take you to fix up the machine? Can you do it in time for
an ascent to-night? I've planned to have Haidee shoot off skyrockets
from the trapeze, and Roman candles, and all that."

"You'll have to cut out the fireworks, Burton," said Matt dryly. "It
will take a full day to repair the _Comet_."

Burton "went up in the air" on the instant.

"Think of the loss!" he exclaimed. "You've got to repair the machine in
time for the ascent this evening. If it's a matter of men, King, I'll
give you a dozen to help."

"It's not a matter of men," said Matt. "Joe and I are the only ones
who can work on the _Comet_. And listen to this--I mean it, and if you
don't like it we'll break our contract right here--Haidee has gone up
with me for the last time. I'll take Archie le Bon, or any one else you
want to send, but not Haidee."

"Is this what you call treating me square?" fumed Burton.

"Sufferin' Ananias!" grunted McGlory. "You're a nice lame duck to talk
about being treated square! You've got a treacherous outfit, Burton,
and Pard Matt and I are not beginning to like it any too well."

Matt, thinking McGlory might tell what Haidee had done, gave him a
restraining look.

"You're responsible for the trouble that overtook the _Comet_, Burton,"
proceeded Matt.

"Me?" echoed the showman, aghast. "Well, I'd like to know how you
figure it."

"Through your schemes, and over my protest, Haidee made the ascent with
me."

"I'll admit that."

"If she hadn't made the ascent, there'd have been no fire."

"Do you mean to say----"

"Now, don't jump at any conclusions. I know what I'm talking about
when I tell you that there'd have been no fire if Haidee hadn't made
the ascent with me. That isn't saying, mark you, that the girl is to
blame for what happened. Would she want to burn the aëroplane and drop
herself and me plump into the show grounds? If----"

Just then a weird thing happened. The calliope gave a sharp clatter of
high notes.

All present in the tent gave astounded attention to the canvas-covered
music box.

"Spooks!" grinned Joe.

"There was enough steam left in the calliope to play a few notes,"
suggested Burton.

"But the notes couldn't play themselves," said Matt, and made a rush
for the calliope.

The keyboard was in one end of the calliope wagon, and the canvas was
draped over the chair occupied by the operator when the steam wagon was
in use.

With a pull, Matt jerked aside the canvas that covered the rear of the
calliope, and there, crouching in a chair, was Ben Ali!



CHAPTER VIII.

A CALL FOR HELP.


"Well, sizzlin' thunderbolts!" gasped the amazed Burton.

At first, Ben Ali sat blinking at those before him, apparently too
dazed to move.

"He's an eavesdropper!" cried McGlory, "and this ain't the first time
we've caught him at it, either. Grab him, Matt! Wring that thin neck of
his!"

Ben Ali regained his wits, then, and very suddenly. With a panther-like
spring, he cleared the wagon on the side opposite that where Motor
Matt was standing, dodged McGlory, who tried to head him off, shook
a glittering knife in Boss Burton's face, and vanished under the
wall of the menagerie tent. It was all so neatly done that the three
in the calliope lean-to were left staring at each other in helpless
astonishment.

McGlory rushed furiously at the menagerie tent wall, lifted the canvas,
then dropped it and rushed back.

"Not for me!" he breathed. "Rajah is right there, teetering back and
forth from side to side, and winding his trunk around everything in
sight."

"Where was Ben Ali?" demanded Burton, a glitter rising in his eyes.

"Getting out under the cages on the other side of the tent," replied
McGlory. "I'll see if I can't head him off."

With that the cowboy shot out of the lean-to. Matt didn't think the
effort to catch Ben Ali worth while, and once more dropped down on the
pile of straw.

For a few moments Boss Burton walked back and forth in front of him,
hands behind his back, head bowed in thought, and a black frown on his
face. Abruptly he halted in front of Matt.

"The infernal Hindoo drew a knife on me!" he scowled.

Matt nodded. The fact had been too plain to call for comment.

"I'd pull the pin on Ben Ali in half a minute," continued Boss Burton,
"if it wasn't for Haidee."

"Where did you pick up Ben Ali and Haidee?" inquired Matt.

"In Wisconsin," was the answer, "just as the show was starting out of
its winter quarters. Rajah had run amuck, wounded a horse, smashed a
wagon, and come within an ace of killing his keeper. Ben Ali applied
for the job of looking after him, and I let him have it. He's been the
only one, so far, who could take care of Rajah."

"Where did the girl come in?"

"She came in with her uncle, of course. Ben Ali said his niece was good
on the flying bar, and he brought her to see me. When she came she was
in one of her spells, and looked and acted like a puppet, with some one
pulling the wires. I wasn't much impressed with her, but gave her a
try-out. She recovered from the spell and acted just as she did to-day,
when she went up with the _Comet_--perfectly natural. She gave a good
performance--mighty good--and I made a deal with her uncle. That's the
way I got tangled up with the pair. Why?"

The showman transfixed Matt with a curious glance.

"Oh, nothing," said Matt carelessly. "The Hindoo and the girl have
always been something of a mystery to me, and I wanted to find out what
you knew about them. Where did they come from?"

"Give it up. I never look into the past of people who hire out to me.
If they're capable, and do their work, that's enough. From what McGlory
said, and from what I've seen, Ben Ali appears to have been sneaking
around here, listening to what you and your friends were saying. If he
hadn't inadvertently touched the keyboard of the calliope we shouldn't
have known he was under the cover. Have you any notion what he means by
that sort of work?"

"No."

"Well, it's deuced queer, and that's all I can say. Do you think he
ought to be bounced?"

"Yes, but I wouldn't do it."

"On Haidee's account?"

"Partly that; partly, too, because, if you keep him on the pay roll,
we may be able to learn something about him and the girl. I'm a bit
curious about them, Burton."

"It's a bad habit--this of getting too curious. It's dollars and cents
for me to have the two with the show. What's more," and his remarks
took a more personal turn, "it's money in my pocket to have the _Comet_
go up this afternoon with Haidee shooting Roman candles from the
trapeze. When are you going to get busy with the repairs?"

"After I eat something."

"Well, rush the work, Matt. Do the best you can."

"It won't be Haidee who rides the trapeze next time the _Comet_ takes
to the air," said the king of the motor boys firmly.

"Well, Archie le Bon, then," returned Burton, with much disappointment.

As he went out, McGlory came in, passing him in the entrance.

"Nothing doing," reported the cowboy. "Where the Hindoo went is a
conundrum. I couldn't find anybody about the grounds who had even seen
him since he walked Haidee away from the burning aëroplane."

While McGlory, disgusted with his ill success and the turn events were
taking, there on the banks of the Wabash, slumped down on a bucket and
mopped his perspiring face, Motor Matt dropped into a brown study.

"These Hindoos are crafty fellows, Joe," he remarked, after a while.
"They're clever at a great many things we Americans don't understand
anything about. I knew one of them once. He was the servant of a man
who happened to be the uncle of one of the finest young fellows that
ever stepped--brave Dick Ferral. This particular Hindoo I was able to
study at close range."

"What are you leading up to by this sort of talk?" asked McGlory,
cocking his head on one side and squinting his eyes.

He had this habit when anything puzzled him.

"I'm leading up to the element of mystery that hangs over the events
of to-day. India is a land of mystery. The people are a dreamy set,
and now and then one of them will go off into the woods, or the
desert, and spend several years as a devotee. When he comes back to
civilization again he's able to do wonderful things. I've heard that
these fakirs can throw a rope into the air and that it will hang there;
and that they can make a boy climb the rope, up, and up, until he
disappears. Then rope, boy, and all but the fakir will vanish."

"Fakes," grunted Joe. "Such things ain't in reason, pard. You know what
a fakir is in this country, and I reckon he's not much better in India."

"Of course it's a fake," said Matt, "but it's a pretty smooth piece
of magic. The Hindoo devotees could give Hermann and all the other
magicians cards and spades and then beat them out."

"I'm blamed if I can see yet where all this talk of yours leads to."

"I'm only, what you might call, thinking out loud," laughed Matt.
"Haidee's actions puzzle me. Her uncle is a Hindoo, and he may be an
adept in magic. If he is, just how much has the girl's queer actions to
do with Ben Ali? It's something to think about. I'm glad Burton isn't
going to cut loose from the Hindoo and the girl. The more I see of
them, the more curious I'm becoming."

"Ben Ali, pard," grinned McGlory, "is a little bit curious about us, I
reckon, from the way he's pryin' around. How do you account for that?"

Matt shook his head.

"I can't account for it, Joe, but perhaps we'll be able to do so
later." He got up. "How about something to eat?" he asked. "We'll have
to have dinner, then take something to the boys, and get busy patching
up the aëroplane."

"Did you ever know me to shy at a meal?" asked McGlory, promptly
getting up. "We'll hit the chuck layout, and then----"

It was nearly time for the doors to open, and inside and out the two
big "tops" there was a bustle of preparation. The "spielers" in the
ticket stands at the side-show were yelling, people were crowding about
the ticket wagon, where they were to buy pasteboards admitting them to
the "big show," and a band was playing in the road beyond the grounds.

Above all these various sounds there came a call, wild and frantic.
It reached the ears of the two boys in the calliope tent with strange
distinctness, and cut McGlory short while he was talking.

"Helup! Helup, somepody, or I vas a goner!"

The cowboy gave a jump for the door, only a foot or two behind Matt.

"Was that your Dutch pard?" cried McGlory.

"It was his voice, plain enough," answered Matt, looking around sharply.

"What could have gone wrong with him?"

"I can't imagine--here, in broad daylight, with the grounds full of
people."

"It's trouble of the worst kind if we're to take the words as they
sounded."

Matt believed this fully. Carl Pretzel was not the lad to give a false
alarm, and he had clearly put his whole heart into the words Matt and
McGlory had heard.

"Where did the call come from?" went on McGlory, mystified.

"It seemed to come from everywhere, and from nowhere," replied Matt.
"Look into the menagerie tent, Joe."

While McGlory was lifting the canvas and taking a look through the
animal show, Matt rounded the outside of the lean-to, searching every
place with keen eyes.

Carl was nowhere to be found. As Matt drifted back toward the door of
the calliope tent, McGlory emerged and joined him.

"He's not mixed up with the animals," reported the cowboy.

"And I can't get any trace of him out here," said Matt. "Let's walk
over to the aëroplane. Carl and Ping were to watch the machine, and
I'm pretty sure neither of them would leave it without orders unless
something pretty serious had gone wrong."

Vaguely alarmed, the two chums pushed their way through the crowd
toward the place where the _Comet_ had been left.



CHAPTER IX.

BLACK MAGIC.


While the parade was passing through town, Carl had been "sleuthing."
The fact that he was wearing McGlory's working clothes gave him an
idea. He didn't look like himself, so why not be some one else? All
the detective books he had ever read had a good deal to say about
disguises. Carl was already disguised, so he made up his mind that he
would be a dago laborer.

After watching the parade file out of the show grounds, he slouched
over to the side-show tent. A man was just finishing lacing the picture
of a wild man to the guy ropes. Carl shuffled up to him.

"I peen der Idaliano man," he remarked, in a wonderful combination of
Dutch and Italian dialect, "und I, peen make-a der look for a leedl-a
gal mit der name oof Manners. Haf-a you seen-a der girl aroundt loose
some-a-veres?"

The canvasman looked Carl over, and then, being of a grouchy
disposition, and thinking Carl was trying to make fun of him, he gave
him a push that landed him against a banner containing a painted
portrait of the elastic-skin man. The banner was even more elastic than
the image it bore on its surface, for Carl rebounded and struck one
of the "barkers," who happened to be passing with his hands full of
ice-cream cones for the bearded lady and the Zulu chief.

Disaster happened. The "barker" fell, with the Dutch "tedectif" on top
of him--and the ice-cream cones in between.

The "barker" indulged in violent language, and began using his hands.
Carl was pretty good at that himself, and retaliated. Two canvasmen
pulled the two apart. Carl had the contents of a cone in his hair, and
the "barker" had the contents of another down the back of his neck.

"Where'd that ijut come from?" yelled the "barker," dancing up and down
among the broken cones.

"Who left der cage toor oben?" cried Carl, digging at his hair. "Der
papoon vas esgaped."

"You put up your lightning rod," growled the "barker," "or you'll git
hit with a large wad of electricity."

"Come on mit it!" whooped Carl, fanning the air with his fists. "No
vone can make some ice-gream freezers oudt oof me mitoudt hafing
drouples!"

"That'll do you," snorted the canvasman who had hold of Carl, and
thereupon raced him for twenty feet and gave him a shove that turned
him head over heels across a guy rope.

"Dot's der vay," mourned Carl, picking himself up and gathering in his
hat. "Der tedectif pitzness comes by hardt knocks, und nodding else.
Vere can I do some more?"

His head felt cold and uncomfortable, even after he had mopped it dry
with a red cotton handkerchief.

He went over to the horse tent. The tent was nearly empty, all the live
stock except a trick mule being in the parade. The mule would not have
been there, but he was too tricky to trust in the procession. A man
with a red shirt, and his sleeves rolled up, sat on a bale of hay close
to the mule. The man was smoking.

"Hello, vonce," flagged Carl.

"Hello yourself," answered the man.

"I peen some Idaliano mans," remarked Carl, "und I vas make-a der look
for Markaret Manners, yes. Haf-a you seen-a der gal?"

"Take a sneak," said the man.

"She iss-a leedle-a gal aboudt so high, yes," and Carl put out his
hand. "I peen-a der poor Idaliano man, aber I gif-a you fife tollars,
py shiminy, oof-a you tell-a me where-a der gal iss."

"You can't josh me," went on the man earnestly. "Hike, before I knock
off your block."

Carl continued to stand his ground and ask questions; then, the next
thing he knew, the hostler had jumped up and rushed for him. Carl
sprang back to get out of the way, unfortunately pushing against the
hind heels of the mule. The mule knew what to do, in the circumstances,
and did it with vigor.

Carl was kicked against the man with the pipe, and that worthy turned a
back somersault as neatly as any "kinker" belonging to the show.

The Dutch boy limped hastily around the end of the horse tent and
crawled into an empty canvas wagon. The mule's heels had struck him
with the force of a battering-ram, and he felt weak up and down the
small of the back. Besides, the wagon was a good place in which to hide
from the hostler.

Cautiously he watched over the wagon's side. The hostler came around
the side of the tent, looked in all directions, and then retired,
muttering, in the direction of the bale of hay.

Carl chuckled as he dropped down on a roll of extra canvas, but the
chuckle died in a whimper as he became conscious of his sore spots.

"I vonder how Cherlock Holmes efer lifed to do vat he dit," he
murmured, curling up on the canvas. "Der tedectif pitzness iss hit und
miss from vone end to der odder, und den I don'd get some revards.
Meppy I vill shleep und forged id."

When Carl woke up, he looked over the side of the wagon and saw a
burning flying machine in the air, and he heard the wild yells of the
crowd. Probably it was the yelling that awoke him.

"Py shinks," he cried, "dot's my bard, Modor Matt! He iss purnin' oop
mit himseluf. Fire! Fire! Helup!" and Carl rolled out of the wagon and
raced toward the spot where the machine seemed to be coming down.

McGlory, white-faced but determined, was marshaling a lot of men with
buckets of water. Carl dropped in. When the machine landed, he set to
with the rest and helped extinguish the flames.

Then, after he had congratulated Matt, Carl and Ping were placed on
guard.

In spite of the fact that Carl had shaken hands with Ping, he continued
to have very little use for the Chinaman. And Ping, to judge from
appearances, had no more use for the Dutchman. They did not speak.
One sat down on one side of the machine and the other sat down on the
other. Then a brown man, wearing an embroidered coat and a turban,
drove up on a small cage wagon drawn by one horse. He got off the wagon
and stepped up to Carl.

"How-do, sahib?" said the man.

Carl remembered him. He was the fellow who had been dozing on Rajah's
back at the river. Also he was the man who had taken charge of the girl
who had dropped off the trapeze when the burning aëroplane came down.

Carl had a startling thought--it flashed over him like an inspiration.

"How you vas?" answered the Dutch boy genially.

"You come 'long with Ben Ali," said the man.

"Nod on your dindype," replied Carl. "I vas vatching der machine for
Modor Matt."

"_You come!_" hissed Ben Ali.

Then Carl noted something very remarkable. The Hindoo's eyes began to
blaze, and dance, and show wonderful lights in their depths.

"Shtop mit it!" said Carl. "You peen a mesmerizer, und I don'd like
dot."

Carl knew he couldn't be hypnotized against his will, but the Hindoo's
eyes were working havoc with his nerves.

"_You come!_"

The words of Ben Ali were imperative. Carl, seemingly unable to remove
his own eyes from the Hindoo's, followed as Ben Ali retreated toward
the wagon. At the end of the wagon Ben Ali made some passes with his
hands in front of Carl's face, then opened the door.

"You get in, sahib!"

Carl climbed into the wagon mechanically. Slam went the door and click
went a key in the padlock.

The _Comet_ had come down from its disastrous flight at a considerable
distance from the tents. There were no people in the immediate vicinity
save Ping.

The little Chinaman, on hands and knees under the lower wing of the
aëroplane, was watching covertly all that took place.

After locking the door of the cage wagon, Ben Ali took a cautious look
around him. He saw no one.

Climbing up on one of the forward wheels, he took a slouch hat and a
long linen duster from the seat, removed his embroidered coat and his
turban, got into the hat and duster, climbed to the seat, picked up the
reins, and drove off.

Ping had seen it all, but had made no attempt to interfere. And he made
no attempt now.

He did not like the "Dutchy boy." He was afraid Carl would take away
from him his job with Motor Matt.

It was with secret rejoicing, therefore, that the Chinaman saw Carl
locked in the wagon and hauled away.

"Hoop-a-la!" chattered Ping, as he returned to his place and once more
went on watch.

The wagon used by Ben Ali, on this momentous occasion, was technically
known as the monkey wagon. Two of the monkeys had eaten something which
did not agree with them, and had died in Indianapolis. The three that
remained had been taken out and put in another cage, with a collection
known as "The Happy Family." This, of course, left the monkey wagon
empty.

Burton was figuring on using it for one of the ant-eaters, but there
were some repairs to be made before the wagon could be put to that use.
The repairs dragged, and so Ben Ali found his opportunity to use the
cage.

Straight across the show grounds drove the disguised Hindoo. None of
the employees who saw him recognized him or questioned his right to use
the monkey wagon. Different gangs had different duties, and no one knew
but that this strange driver was off to town on some important mission.

Ben Ali drove within a hundred feet of the calliope tent. When he was
well beyond it, a yell came from inside the wagon.

"Helup! Helup, somepody, or I vas a goner!"

A shiver ran through Ben Ali. He made ready to leap from the wagon,
but thought better of it when he saw that the call had attracted no
attention and was not repeated.

"Sahib keep still!" he called, kicking the end of the wagon with his
heels.

And thus, with not a sound coming from the interior of the monkey
wagon, the artful Hindoo adept drove into the road and headed the horse
away from the town and into the country.



CHAPTER X.

THE MAHOUT'S FLIGHT.


When Matt and McGlory, hurrying to the aëroplane to make inquiries
concerning Carl, came within sight of Ping, they saw him calmly
occupied twirling a set of jackstones.

"Ping!" called Matt.

"Awri'!" answered Ping, slipping the jackstones into a pocket of his
blouse and immediately getting up.

"Where's Carl?"

"Dutchy boy no good. Him lun away."

"Run away?" echoed McGlory. "Here's a slam! When and how, Ping?"

"Ben Ali dlive 'lound in wagon. Him say to Dutchy boy, 'You come.'
Dutchy boy makee come chop-chop. Ben Ali shuttee do', put on Melican
coat, Melican hat, makee dlive off. Woosh! Dutchy boy no good."

This offhand description of what had happened to Carl was received with
startled wonder by Matt and McGlory.

"When was this?" demanded Matt.

"Plaps fi' minit, plaps ten minit. No gottee clock, Motol Matt; no
savvy time."

"You say Ben Ali drove up in a wagon?"

"Dlive up in monkey wagon. Put Dutchy boy in monkey wagon."

"And then he locked Carl inside?"

"Allee same."

"And took off his turban and embroidered coat and replaced them with
another hat and coat?"

"Melican hat, plenty long coat."

"Wouldn't that rattle your spurs, pard?" murmured McGlory.

"What did Ben Ali do?" went on Matt, resolved to get at the bottom of
the matter, if possible.

"Him makee funny look with eye," replied Ping. "By Klismus! him blame'
funny look. One piecee devil shine in eye."

"Hypnotized!" grunted McGlory.

"You can't easily hypnotize a person against his will," averred Matt.
"It's not hard to guess that Carl was a good way from being willing to
go with Ben Ali."

"What the dickens did Ben Ali want to run off Carl for?" queried
McGlory.

"This business gets more and more mysterious, Joe," returned Matt, "the
farther we go into it."

"And that yell we heard!"

"That certainly came from Carl. Ben Ali must have driven past the
calliope tent while we were talking inside. The fact that Carl gave a
yell for help proves that he wasn't wholly hypnotized."

"He may have come out from under the influence just long enough to give
a whoop," suggested the cowboy.

"Let's go back and hunt up Burton," said Matt. "He'll want his monkey
wagon, and, of course, we've got to get hold of Carl."

"It's news to discover that Ben Ali is a hypnotist," observed McGlory,
as he and Matt whirled and started to retrace the ground over which
they had just passed.

"I told you these Hindoos were a crafty set," answered Matt.

The doors were open and the crowd was vanishing inside the big tents.
The grounds were not so congested with people as they had been, and it
was easier to get about and hunt for Burton.

As it chanced, they ran plump into the manager just as they were
rounding the dressing tent at the end of the circus "top."

Burton was red and perspiring, and there was wrath in his face.

"I've been looking all around for you fellows," he cried. "You can run
one of these here buzz-wagons, can't you, Matt?"

"Yes," replied Matt, "but----"

"Come along," interrupted Burton, grabbing Matt by the arm, "we haven't
any time to spare."

"Wait!" protested Matt, drawing back. "Have you seen----"

"Can't wait," fumed Burton. "I've hired a chug-car; and there's a race
on. Haidee has skipped. Aurung Zeeb, one of the other Hindoo mahouts,
has helped her get away. They've taken my runabout. Confound such
blooming luck, anyhow!"

Here was news, and no mistake. Ben Ali running off with Carl, and
Aurung Zeeb taking to the open with the showman's Kentucky cob and
rubber-tired buggy!

"Do you know where Aurung Zeeb and Haidee went?" asked Matt.

"I haven't the least notion," was the wrathful answer, "but we've got
to find them. I don't care a straw about Zeeb, or the girl, but that
runabout rig is worth six hundred dollars, just as it stands."

"Well, if you don't know which way the rig went," argued Matt, "it's
foolish to go chasing them and depending on luck to point the way."

"We've got to do something!" declared Burton.

"Where's Ben Ali?"

"Oh, hang Ben Ali! I haven't seen him since he flashed that knife in my
face."

"We've just discovered," proceeded Matt, "that he has skipped out, too,
and taken your monkey wagon along."

"Sure of that?"

"Ping just told us. Not only that, Burton, but he took my Dutch
pard--the lad that came this morning--with him. Carl was locked in the
cage."

"Worse and worse," ground out Burton. "How'd Ben Ali ever manage to do
that?"

"On the face of it, I should say that Ben Ali had hypnotized Carl."

"Nonsense! What does an elephant driver know about hypnotism? Still,
this begins to look like a comprehensive plan to steal a monkey wagon
and a runabout and leave me in the lurch. What do you think of that
Haidee girl to do a thing like this? She seemed mighty anxious to earn
money, yet here she skips out with about a hundred in cash to her
credit."

"It's hard to understand the turn events have taken," said Matt. "But I
wouldn't blame Haidee too much until you know more about her--and about
Ben Ali."

"I want my horses and my rolling stock," fretted Burton. "The rest of
the outfit can go hang, if I get back the plunder."

"You said something about an automobile," said Matt.

"There's a car here, and the man that owns it is seeing the show. He
said I could have the use of the car all afternoon for fifty dollars.
He thought I was an easy mark, and I let him think so. He's got the
money and I've got the car. After he'd gone inside, I happened to
remember that I couldn't run the thing, so I chased off looking for
you. Here we are," and the three, who had been walking in the direction
of the road, came to the side of a large automobile.

It was a good machine, with all of six cylinders under the hood.

"If you're a mind reader, and can tell where we ought to go, Burton,"
said Motor Matt, "I'll get you there. I feel right at home when I'm in
the driver's seat of a motor car."

"Wait till I ask somebody," and Burton whirled and flew away.

"Gone to have some fortune teller read his palm," laughed McGlory. "Oh,
but he's wild when he gets started."

"I don't blame him for worrying," said Matt. "He was offered four
hundred, spot cash, for that Kentucky cob, in Indianapolis. Shouldn't
wonder if he stood to lose a thousand dollars if the runaways can't
be overhauled. And he hasn't much time to overhaul them, either, Joe.
The three sections of the show train have got to be on the move toward
South Bend by three in the morning. I'm worried some myself, on Carl's
account. What has that crafty mahout got at the back of his head? I
wish I knew. You and I are going to stay right here in Lafayette until
we can find out something about Carl."

"Sure we are," agreed the cowboy heartily. "But here comes Burton, and
he looks as though he'd found out something."

"One of the canvasmen," announced Burton breathlessly, as he came up
with the boys, "says that he saw the monkey wagon heading south into
the country. Can't find out which way the runabout headed, but we'll
take after the other outfit. Get in and drive the machine for all
you're worth."

Matt passed around in front, and was pleased with the business-like
manner in which the motor took up its cycle.

"Here's where we throw in the high-speed clutch and scoot," said Matt,
settling into the driver's seat with a glad feeling tingling along his
nerves. It had suddenly occurred to him that he would rather motor in
a high-powered car than do anything else that had so far claimed his
attention. In such a machine, "miles were his minions and distance his
slave." "Here we go," he finished, and away bounded the car.

Matt took time to wonder at the nature of a plutocrat who, for fifty
dollars, would trust such a beautiful piece of mechanism in the hands
of a showman. But the fact was accomplished, and guesses at the reason
were futile.

They came to a hill--a steepish kind of a hill, too--and they went over
it without a change of gear. Motor Matt laughed exultantly.

"Took it on the high speed!" he cried. "A car that can do that is a
corker."

On the opposite side of the hill, as they were scorching down with the
speedometer needle playing around the fifty-eight mark, a team and
wagon containing a farmer and his family were almost backed off the
road. Matt tampered with the brakes, but the car was going too fast to
feel the bind of the brake grip.

"Never mind!" cried Burton, from his place at Matt's side. "That outfit
is going to the show to-night. If I see 'em, I'll pass 'em all in
with fifty-cent chairs. Now, boy, hit 'er up. I've got to recover my
property before night sets in, and this may be a long chase."

"Long chase!" yelped McGlory derisively from the tonneau. "How can
it be a long chase when we're going like this? Hang on to your hair,
Burton! Mile-a-minute Matt's at the steering wheel."



CHAPTER XI.

THE PAPER TRAIL.


The coils hummed merrily to the six-cylinder accompaniment. The wind
whistled and sang in the ears of the three who were plunging along at a
speed which was bound to get them somewhere in short order.

Then, as might be expected, something happened. It was no accident to
the car. The road spread apart in two equally well-traveled branches,
and Matt shut off and came to a stop at the forks.

"The canvasman, of course," said the young motorist, looking around at
Burton, "couldn't tell you which fork the monkey wagon would take."

"Here's a go!" muttered Burton. "If we take one fork, we may be
hustling off on the wrong scent. At a guess, I should say take the
right-hand branch."

"Let's not do any guessing until we have to," Matt returned. "My cowboy
chum here is a good hand at picking up trails. Show us how they do it
in Arizona, Joe."

McGlory was out of the car in a flash and giving his attention to the
surface of the road.

"You might as well try to hunt for the print of a rabbit's foot in the
trail of a herd of stampeded steers," said McGlory, after five precious
minutes spent in fruitless examination.

"What sort of a cowboy are you, anyhow?" scoffed Burton.

"Well, look," answered McGlory. "The ground is all cut up with people
coming to the show, and it's none too soft. I couldn't pick out the
tread of a traction thrashing machine in all this jumble of prints."

"Any one coming on either road?" queried Burton, standing up and
looking. "If there is, we could inquire as to whether they'd passed the
monkey wagon."

"See any one?" asked Matt.

"Not a soul," and the showman plumped disappointedly down in his seat.

"Just a minute, Joe," interposed Matt, as the cowboy was about to climb
back into the tonneau. "What's that white object in the road?" Matt
pointed as he spoke. "There's one, just over the left-hand fork, and
another beyond it."

"If you stop to bother with paper scraps," cried Burton, "we'll never
get anywhere."

McGlory, however, turned back and picked up the object to which Matt
had called his attention.

It was a scrap of paper, just as Burton had said. The scrap was a
ragged square, as though it had been roughly torn, and measured about
two inches across.

The cowboy examined it casually at first, then his face changed, and he
gave it closer attention.

"My handwriting," he declared, looking up at Matt.

"How can that be?" scoffed Burton.

"I don't know how it can be," replied McGlory, "but it's a fact, all
the same. I had a memorandum book, and have jotted down various things
in it."

"Where'd you leave the memorandum book?" jested the showman
impatiently; "in the monkey wagon?"

"Nary, I didn't. I left it in the hip pocket of my working clothes."

"And Carl had on the clothes!" exclaimed Matt, with a jubilant ring in
his voice. "Carl must have scattered that trail for our benefit."

He stood up in the automobile and looked back over the road they had
traveled.

"Why," he went on, "we haven't been as observing as we should have
been. There's a paper trail, and Carl must have started it pretty soon
after the monkey wagon left the show grounds."

"Well, well!" muttered Burton. "Say, Matt, that Dutch chum of yours is
quite a lad, after all. The idea of his thinking of that."

"Carl always has his head with him," declared Matt. "Climb in, Joe. The
left fork for ours."

McGlory pulled the crank, before he got in, for the stop had killed the
engine.

"It's a cinch," said McGlory, as he resumed his place in the tonneau,
"that Carl wasn't hypnotized when he dropped those scraps. How _could_
he drop 'em? That's what beats me. Why, he was locked in, so Ping said."

"There was a hole in the floor," explained Burton. "Not a very big one,
but big enough for an ant-eater to get a foot through. I was going to
repair the cage, but haven't had time to attend to it."

"Why didn't Carl yell again?" went on McGlory. "If he had yelled long
enough, and loud enough, some one would have been bound to hear him and
stop Ben Ali."

"This is another case where Carl's using his head," put in Matt. "He's
playing some dodge or other."

"He's showing up a whole lot stronger than I ever imagined he could,"
said the cowboy. "I had sized him up for a two-spot at any sort
of headwork. Got my opinion, I reckon, from the way those Chicago
detectives fooled him."

"He's not so slow as you imagine, Joe," said Matt. "Now keep an eye out
for scraps!"

"We can't get into a scrap with those Hindoos any too quick to suit
me," laughed McGlory, hanging out over the side of the motor car.

Once more the whirling, headlong rush of the car was resumed. No sooner
had Burton, or McGlory, discovered a bit of white in the roadway ahead
than it was lost to sight behind.

Then, after four or five miles of this, the three in the car raised
an object, drawn up at the roadside, which brought the car to a halt.
The object was the monkey wagon, horse gone from the shafts, rear door
swinging open, and not a soul in the vicinity.

"Here's another queer twist," grumbled Burton, as all three got out to
make a close survey of the wagon. "What do you think of it, Matt?"

Matt and McGlory thrust their heads in at the door.

"Phew!" gurgled the cowboy, drawing back. "There's a mineral well, in
Lafayette, that's a dead ringer for the smell inside that cage wagon."

"I haven't had it swabbed out yet," apologized Burton.

"Here's the hole where Carl dropped out the paper scraps," Matt called,
from inside the wagon.

"And here's something else, pard!" yelled McGlory.

Matt came out of the wagon and found his cowboy chum calling Burton's
attention to marks in the road.

"What do you make of it, Joe?" asked Matt, coming closer.

"Well," answered McGlory, reading the "signs," "a one-horse buggy with
rubber tires stopped here, alongside the monkey wagon. Look how the
road's tramped up, ahead there. The horse was restive during the halt,
and did some pawing."

"Great guns!" murmured Burton. "My runabout!"

"I think it's pretty clear now," observed Matt. "Aurung Zeeb and Haidee
didn't get away at the same time Ben Ali and Carl did, or else they
took a different course. Anyhow, they came up with the wagon. The
runabout's faster, so the whole party went on with it."

"They might get three people into the runabout, by crowding," said
Burton, "but they never could get four people into it."

"That's why the horse was taken from the monkey wagon," went on Matt.
"Aurung Zeeb or Ben Ali must have ridden the animal."

"By Jove, King, I wish I had your head for getting at things! That was
the way of it--it _must_ have been the way of it. Let's pile back into
the machine and hustle on."

They all felt that the chase was drawing to a close. The runabout was a
faster vehicle than the monkey wagon, but there was not the ghost of a
show for the Kentucky horse getting away from the automobile.

From that point on, the paper trail was not in evidence.

"Carl wasn't able to drop any more scraps," said Matt. "When he was
inside the monkey wagon he was out of sight and could do about as he
pleased; crowded into the runabout with Ben Ali and Haidee, and with
Aurung Zeeb riding behind, he couldn't possibly drop a clue to guide
us."

"The Dutchman seems to have taken it for granted that he'd be
followed," hazarded Burton.

"He knows very well," returned Matt, "that I wouldn't stand around
and let him worry through this run of hard luck alone. Look out for
the runabout. The way I figure it, the rig can't be more than ten or
fifteen minutes ahead of us."

"How do you figure it, Matt?" asked Burton.

"Well, from the time Joe and I heard Carl call for help. I don't
believe it was more than half an hour from that time until we were
hitting the high places with this automobile. Eh, Joe?"

"No more than that, pard," answered McGlory.

"I should think we'd have gained more than fifteen or twenty minutes on
the Hindoos, the rate we've been coming," remarked Burton.

"Possibly we have. If that's so, then the runabout can't be even ten
minutes ahead of us. Now----"

"Runabout!" yelled McGlory.

He was standing up in the tonneau and peering ahead. The road, at this
point, was bordered with heavy timber on both sides, but in half a
minute Matt and Burton could each see the vehicle to which the cowboy
had called their attention.

It wasn't a runabout, as it proved, but a two-seated "democrat" wagon,
drawn by a team, and conveying another party townward--presumably for
the evening performance of the Big Consolidated.

McGlory's disappointment was keen. And his feelings, for that matter,
were matched by those of Motor Matt and Burton.

Matt halted the automobile and, when the wagon came alongside, asked
the driver if he had been passed by a runabout farther along the road.

The party had come five miles on that road and, according to the
driver, hadn't been passed by anything on wheels going the other way.

For a space those in the automobile were in a quandary.

"What's amiss?" fumed Burton. "Are we on the wrong track, after all, in
spite of your Dutch friend and his paper trail, and McGlory's reading
the signs at the monkey wagon?"

Matt suddenly threw in the reverse and began to turn.

"Only one thing could have happened," he averred.

"What's that?"

"Why, the people in the runabout must have heard us coming and turned
from the road into the woods."

"Let her out on the back track, then!" cried Burton. "If the Hindoos
think they've dodged us, they've probably pulled out into the road and
started the other way."

This seemed to have been the case, for three minutes speeding over the
return trail brought those in the automobile in sight of the runabout.

This time it _was_ the runabout, and no mistake, and the Kentucky cob
was stretching out like a race horse under the frantic plying of a whip.

Burton reached behind him, under his coat, and brought a revolver into
view.

"We'll find out about this business before we're many minutes older!"
he exclaimed grimly.



CHAPTER XII.

CARL TURNS A TRICK.


Something has been said about Carl Pretzel having an idea that was
almost an inspiration, at the time he was approached by the Hindoo at
the aëroplane.

This it was that led him into the monkey wagon. The slam of the door
and the grate of the key in the padlock struck a sudden tremor to the
Dutch boy's heart.

Was he making a fool of himself or not? Would a trained detective have
proceeded in that manner?

His heart failed him, and he gave the wild yell for help.

He had hardly given the cry before he repented of it. What would Motor
Matt think of his nerve if he could know the game he had embarked upon,
and how he had been stampeded in playing it?

No; if that call had done no harm, Carl would not repeat it. He would
see the business through and try and match wits with the Hindoo.

In spite of the noise on the show grounds, Carl heard Ben Ali's heels
bang against the end of the wagon, and also the stern voice commanding
him to keep silent.

Carl kept silent. He was almost smothered by the closeness of his
prison chamber, and the terrific odor that assailed him, but he
comforted himself with the thought that detectives don't always have
things their own way when they're tracking down a criminal. Anyhow,
even his present discomfort was better than the hard knocks his
"sleuthing" had so far given him.

He was not long in discovering the hole in the floor of the wagon. The
memorandum book he had discovered soon after getting into the borrowed
clothes.

Of course he knew that Motor Matt would follow him! That was the kind
of fellow the king of the motor boys was; never had he turned his back
on a pard in distress.

Carl, too, was morally certain that Ping had seen him get into the
monkey wagon. Motor Matt would discover this from the Chinaman, and
then would come the pursuit.

The thing for Carl to do was to point the way by which he had been
carried off. The hole in the floor, and the memorandum book in his
pocket, were not long in giving him the right tip.

Sitting down on the bottom of the cage, Carl occupied himself in
tearing the leaves of the book into scraps and poking the scraps
through the opening.

How far Ben Ali drove Carl did not know, but it seemed as though the
Hindoo had been hours on the road. There was a pain in Carl's back,
where the mule had left its token of remembrance, and the jolt of the
wagon was far from pleasant.

Presently there came the rapid beat of a horse's hoofs, a whir of
wheels, and a sudden stop of the monkey wagon. The other sounds ceased
at the same moment.

For a second or two Carl imagined that Matt had overhauled Ben Ali, but
this fancy was dispelled by the strange words that passed between Ben
Ali and some one else.

The mahout could be heard climbing swiftly down from his perch and
moving around to the rear of the wagon. Carl slipped the book into his
pocket and drew away from the hole in the floor.

Once more the key grated in the padlock. The door was drawn open and
Ben Ali was revealed, looming large in the rush of sunlight, a bared
knife in his hand.

"You come, sahib," said Ben Ali.

Carl got up and moved toward the door. There Ben Ali caught his eyes
for a space and held them with the same weird looks indulged in near
the aëroplane on the show grounds.

The Dutchman instantly grew automatic in his movements, keeping his
eyes straight ahead and following Ben Ali's every gesture.

Carl had seen persons hypnotized, and knew how they acted.

"You come," repeated Ben Ali sternly, and Carl jumped down from the
wagon.

They were in a country road. There was a smart-looking horse and buggy
beside the monkey wagon, and Haidee was on the seat. If appearances
were to be believed, she was in another of her spells.

"Sahib get in de buggy," ordered Ben Ali.

Carl climbed over the wheel obediently and sat down beside the girl.
She paid not the least attention to him, nor he to her. Ben Ali climbed
in beside them, squeezed into the seat, and took the reins from
Haidee's hands.

Meanwhile, Carl had been looking at another brown man in a turban who
was unhitching the horse from the monkey wagon.

Ben Ali waited until the horse was out of the shafts and the second
Hindoo on its back, then he started the Kentucky cob off along the
road. His companion trotted along behind.

Dropping any more paper scraps was out of the question. Carl was too
tightly wedged in between Ben Ali and Haidee to use his hands; besides,
he could not have made a move that would not instantly have been seen.

Presently the Hindoo on the horse called out something in his unknown
jargon. Ben Ali answered, and the runabout was turned from the road and
into the woods.

Possibly they proceeded a hundred feet into the timber. At the end of
that distance their progress was halted by a creek with steep banks.

Ben Ali got out. While standing on the ground facing Carl, he made
sinuous movements with his slim brown hands--passes, most probably,
designed to keep Carl in a hypnotic state.

The girl shuddered, suddenly, and drew a hand across her eyes.

"Uncle Ben!" she exclaimed, with a sharp cry, "where am I?"

"You are safe," said Ben Ali. "You are not to work with de trapeze
any more, not be with de show any more. We are quit with de show.
_Kabultah, meetoowah?_"

"Yes, yes," breathed the girl, "I understand. But where are we going? I
don't want to be in a trance any more. I want to know what I say, what
I do--all the time."

The man's face hardened.

"You come, Haidee," he said, gently but none the less firmly.

The girl got up and climbed down from the wagon.

"Sahib!" he cried sharply. "You come, too."

Carl likewise climbed to the ground.

"You are asleep," went on Ben Ali, coming up to Carl and bringing his
face close. "You know not anything what you do. Sit!"

Carl sank down on the bank of the creek.

The other Hindoo had dismounted. Stepping away from his horse, he
turned the runabout rig the other way, so that the cob faced the road.
Then he tied the animal.

Meanwhile, Ben Ali, seating himself cross-legged on the ground, had
drawn a small black box from his breast. It was a lacquered box and
shone like ebony in the gleam of sun that drifted down through the
trees.

Haidee uttered an exclamation and stretched out her hands.

"It is mine, Uncle Ben! It belongs to me."

"Yis, _meetoowah_," agreed Ben Ali, "it belong to you, but I keep it.
That is safer, better."

He put down the box and listened, hissing to attract the attention of
the other Hindoo.

"Aurung Zeeb!"

The other turned, and Ben Ali motioned toward the road.

The sound of an approaching motor car broke the stillness. It grew
rapidly in volume, passed a point abreast of those in the woods, and
went on, dying away in the distance.

Excitement shone in the faces of the Hindoos, and there was alarm in
the face of the girl.

"What is it?" she cried. "Uncle Ben----"

"Silence, _meetooowah_!" commanded the Hindoo.

Taking the lacquered box in his hand, Ben Ali leaped erect and
chattered wildly with Aurung Zeeb. After that, he came to Carl, his
face full of anxiety and alarm, and made more passes.

"You come," he ordered, "get back in de buggy."

Carl followed as Ben Ali backed away in the direction of the runabout.
The Hindoo stood close to the wheel until Carl was in the seat.

At that moment a smothered scream came from Haidee. Aurung Zeeb jumped
toward her, letting go the bridle of his horse as he did so. Ben Ali
muttered something under his breath, put the lacquered box on the
runabout seat beside Carl, and started toward Aurung Zeeb and the girl.

"You must tell me what you are doing," panted the girl, facing the
Hindoos with flashing eyes. "That is Boss Burton's horse and buggy. Why
have you got the rig here? What are we doing here? Tell me, Uncle Ben!
I must know."

Ben Ali tried to quiet her. Carl was in a quiver. The lines were twined
about the whip on the dashboard of the runabout, and both Hindoos were
fully fifteen feet away. It looked like a propitious moment for escape.
Carl had not accomplished much, but he was patting himself on the back
because of the way he had fooled Ben Ali. Now, if he could get away,
and take the runabout with him----

Carl never thought very long over any proposition. Nor did he give much
time to this.

Swooping down on the dashboard, he grabbed up the lines and the whip.

"Gid ap mit yourself!" he yelled, and struck the horse.

With a snort the animal bounded forward, breaking the strap that
secured him to the tree and almost throwing Carl from the seat.

The other horse took fright and bounded away, while Carl went lurching
and plunging in a wild dash for the road.

How he ever reached the road without coming to grief against the many
trees he grazed in his dash was something which would have puzzled a
wiser head than his.

He paid not the least attention to the Hindoos, nor to Haidee. He was
thinking of Carl, and trying to guess how much money he would get for
bringing back the stolen horse and runabout.

For once, he thought exultantly, he was making the detective business
_pay_.

Whirling into the road, he headed the horse back toward town, plying
the whip and hustling the best he knew how.

It was a marvel that the runabout held together. But it did. Suddenly a
firearm spoke sharply from somewhere in the rear.

Carl did not look behind. He had but one thought, and that was that the
Hindoos must be phenomenal runners, and that they were chasing him on
foot and firing as they came.

He bent forward over the dashboard and urged the cob to a wilder pace.

Then, while he was using the whip, an angry voice roared from alongside
the runabout:

"Stop lashing that horse! Stop, I tell you!"

Carl became faintly aware that there was an automobile dashing along
the road side by side with the runabout.

"Carl!" shouted a familiar voice. "Stop your running! Don't you know
who we are?"

Then the excited Dutchman became aware of the situation and pulled back
on the lines.

He chuckled delightedly as he jerked and sawed on the bit.

He, Carl Pretzel, had been running away from his old pard! What a joke!

And there, in the automobile with Matt, was the manager of the show.

It wouldn't be long, now, before Carl found out how much he was to get
for recovering the stolen horse and runabout.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE LACQUERED BOX.


Probably that Kentucky horse of Burton's had never been treated in his
life as he was that afternoon. He was muddy with sweat and dust, and
his high-strung spirits, by that time thoroughly aroused, rebelled
against the curb.

In order to help Carl out, Motor Matt drove the car past the horse and
partly across the road. This served to bring the animal to a halt.

"By Jove!" stormed Burton, "I wouldn't have had this happen for a
hundred dollars! It's a wonder if the horse isn't ruined!"

He flopped out of the automobile and approached the horse's head.

"Whoa, Colonel!" he murmured soothingly. "Whoa, old boy!"

Then, getting one hand on the bit, he held the animal while he petted
and wheedled and patted the lathered neck.

"Der rig vas shtole py der Hindoo," said Carl, "und I haf recofered it
und prought it pack. Dot comes oof being a goot tedectif, py shinks!
How mooch iss id vort'?"

"Worth?" scowled Burton. "If the animal is injured I'll charge you up
for it. Don't you know how to take care of a horse?"

"Don'd you vas going to pay me someding?" gasped Carl.

"Pay?" snorted Burton, in no mood to consider a reward after seeing his
favorite horse mistreated. "Why, I feel like I wanted to use the whip
on you! What did you run away from us for?"

"I t'ought you vas der Hindoos," explained Carl feebly. "Say, Matt,"
he added, turning to his chum, "der feller don't vas going to gif me
someding! Vat a miserliness! Und me going droo all vat I dit!"

"Where did you get the runabout, Carl?" asked Matt.

He thought Boss Burton was a little unreasonable, but was not disposed
to make any comments. Burton's ways were sometimes far from meeting
Matt's approval--and they had never been farther from it than during
the events of that exciting day.

"I shteal him from der Hindoos," said Carl, "und make some gedavays
by der shkin oof my teet', you bed you! I hat to run der horse, Matt,
oder I vouldn't have made der esgape. Vone oof der Hindoos had a knife,
und dey vas bot' det safage I can't dell. Der odder horse vat pulled
der cage vagon iss somevere aheadt. He got avay und vent like some
shdreaks."

"You climb down," snapped Burton, coming back to the side of the
runabout. "I'll take the rig back to the grounds and send one of the
teamsters for the monkey wagon. You'll bring along the automobile,
Matt?" he added, getting into the runabout as Carl got out.

"Yes," answered Matt.

"Ain't you going on with us to look up the Hindoos and Haidee?" asked
McGlory. "Going to hang back before we run out the trail, Burton?"

"I don't care anything about them," was the reply, "so long as I've
recovered my own property. What's this?" and the showman picked up the
lacquered box.

Carl stared at it. Evidently he had forgotten all about it, up to that
moment.

"Py chimineddy!" he muttered. "Dot's der Hindoo's! He tropped id on der
seat pefore I run avay mit der rig."

"Then I'll take it with me," said Burton. "Perhaps it's of enough value
so that the rascal will come after it. If he does, I can read the riot
act to him."

"I guess you'd better leave that with Carl, Burton," spoke up Matt.
"You don't care to bother with the Hindoos, and we may think it's worth
while."

"Oh, well, if that's the way you feel about it," and the showman tossed
the box to Carl. "Mind," he added, as he started off, "you're not to
get into any trouble with that automobile."

Burton was soon out of sight.

"He's the limit, that fellow!" growled McGlory. "He might have tipped
Carl a five-case note, but he wouldn't. He's a skinner."

"Nodding doing in der tedectif pitzness," said Carl resignedly, getting
into the automobile beside Matt. "Same like alvays I ged der vorst oof
id. Vile vorking on der Manners gase, I haf peen in a row mit Ping, in
a row mit a canvasman und a 'parker' for der site-show, in some more
rows mit a shtable feller, got kicked in der pack mit a mu-el, und
carried avay in some vagons vat shmelled like a glue factory. Und vat
I ged? Dot Purton feller he say he vould like to pound me mit der vip.
Ach, vell, ve can't pecome greadt tedectifs mitoudt a leedle hardt luck
at her shtart."

"Tell us what happened to you, Carl," said Matt, "and be quick about
it."

Carl sketched his adventures, with now and then an urging toward
brevity from Matt.

"Ven I see dot Hindoo coming, at der time he made some brisoners
oof me," expounded Carl, on reaching that part of his recital, "I
remempered der girl vat come down in der flying machine, und vat he
valked avay mit, und I got der t'ought, like lightning, dot meppy der
feller know someding aboudt Markaret Manners, vat iss atverdised for
in der Lonton baper. Abner nit, it don'd vas der case. I schust let
meinseluf pertend dot I vas mesmerized so dot I could go along by der
Hindoo und meppy findt oudt someding. I don't findt oudt anyt'ing."

Carl's disgust was great, and he brought his story to a quick
conclusion.

"We'll go look for the Hindoos and Haidee," said Matt. "As I jog along,
Carl, you keep watch for the place where you turned from the road.
Meanwhile, Joe," Matt added, "you take the lacquered box and open it.
We'll see what's inside. The contents may shed a little light on this
mystery of the girl."

"Der Hindoos und der girl von't be vere dey vas," remarked Carl,
handing the box to McGlory.

"They can't possibly be far away," answered Matt. "They have to travel
on foot, now, and will be compelled to go slow."

"This box is locked, pard," called McGlory.

"Force the lid, then," said Matt. "It's necessary, according to my
notion, that we try and find out something about Haidee. And for the
girl's good."

McGlory opened his pocketknife and inserted the blade between the box
and the lid. The lock splintered out under pressure.

"She's open, pard," announced the cowboy.

"What's inside?"

"A bundle of letters tied with a piece of twine."

"Ah!"

"They have English stamps," went on McGlory, "and are postmarked at
London."

"Better and better! And they're addressed to----"

"Miss Margaret Manners, Calcutta, India."

Carl nearly fell off the seat.

"Ach, du lieber!" he sputtered, "I vas ketching my breat'. A clue, py
shinks! Dot Haidee knows vere der fife-t'ousant-tollar girl iss, I bed
you!"

"Knows where the girl is?" echoed Matt.

"Sure t'ing. How vouldt Haidee haf Markaret Manners' ledders oof she
ditn't know somet'ing aboudt der English girl? A few more knocks, py
shiminy, und I vill make der fife t'ousant tollars!"

"Carl," said Matt, "you've got a wooden head when it comes to
sleuthing. Why, Haidee is Margaret Manners herself. I've had a hunch to
that effect for two or three hours."

Once more Carl had to hold on with both hands to keep from going by the
board. He could only breathe hard and think of what he would do with
all the money that was coming to him.

"What else is there in the box, Joe?" asked Matt. "Anything but the
letters?"

"Just one thing, pard," replied McGlory. "It looks like a decoration of
some kind."

McGlory held the object over Matt's shoulder, so he could see it.

It was a bronze Maltese cross, with a royal crown in the centre
surmounted by a lion, and the words "For Valour" stamped on the cross
under the crown. The cross hung from a V-shaped piece attached to a
bar, and the bar was attached to a faded red ribbon. Across the bar
was engraved the name "Lionel Manners."

"I feel like taking off my hat in the presence of that, pards," said
Matt.

"Why?" demanded Joe.

"It's a Victoria Cross," returned Matt, "and is only given to persons
for a deed of gallantry and daring. When the ribbon is red, it shows
that the winner of the cross belonged to the army; when blue, to
the navy. Captain Lionel Manners must have been a brave man, and
it's a pity his daughter should be treated as she has been. Carl,
you've blundered onto a big thing--and you couldn't have blundered so
successfully once in a thousand times. Put the letters and the cross
back in the box, Joe. We'll keep them safe for the girl. If----"

"Dere's der blace," interrupted Carl, pointing to the roadside.

Motor Matt brought the automobile to a stop.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE HYPNOTIST'S VICTIM.


"You and I will go and look for the Hindoos, Joe," said Matt, getting
out of the car. "Carl will stay here and take care of the automobile."

"Vat oof der Hindoos ged avay from you und come ad me?" queried Carl,
in a panic. "I bed you dey vas sore ofer vat I dit."

"If they should happen to attack you," answered Matt, "run away from
them. You used to know something about driving a car, Carl."

"All righdt," said Carl, with deep satisfaction. "I'll run avay from
some drouples oof any come in my tirection. Look oudt for Ben Ali. He
has a knife."

Matt and McGlory, after securing a few further directions from Carl,
started into the woods on their way to the creek. They moved warily in
single file, Matt taking the lead.

As they made their way onward, they saw evidences of Carl's wild dash
for the road in the runabout, broken bushes and trees blazed at about
the height of a buggy axle.

"It's a wonder that runabout wasn't strung all the way from the creek
to the road," murmured McGlory. "The Dutchman's luck has landed on him
all in a bunch."

"Carl has a knack for blundering in the right direction," said Matt.
"But he has as much grit as you'll find in any lad of his size. Think
how he fooled that Ben Ali! Made the Hindoo believe he was hypnotized."

"And Carl had only the faintest notion what he was doing it for!"
chuckled McGlory. "Say, pard, I'd like to have seen those Hindoos when
Carl woke up and used the whip on that horse of Burton's."

"Hist!" warned Matt, "we're close to the creek."

There were evidences in plenty that the bank of the creek had been
recently occupied--broken bushes and an imprint of human feet in the
damp soil. As Matt and McGlory had supposed, however, there was no sign
of Haidee or the Hindoos in the vicinity.

"Here's where we're up a stump, pard," said McGlory. "I wonder if I
could pick up the trail and find which way the outfit went?"

"Try it," said Matt.

McGlory skirmished around for ten minutes.

"I reckon I've got it," he announced, at the end of that time. "Unless
I'm far wide of my trail, Matt, they went down the creek."

"Then that's the direction for us. Step off, Joe, and be lively."

Although the boys believed the Hindoos and Haidee must be far in
advance of them, yet they moved forward cautiously, being exceedingly
careful not to rustle the bushes as they passed or to step on any twigs
that would crackle under their feet.

As a matter of fact, they had not been five minutes on their way down
the creek before the cowboy whirled abruptly with a finger on his lips;
then, motioning to Matt, he dropped to his knees.

Matt followed suit and crept alongside McGlory.

"We're in luck, too," whispered the cowboy. "They're right ahead of us,
all three of them. Listen, and you can hear them talking."

Matt raised his head and listened intently. A faint sound of voices was
borne to his ears.

"Let's creep up on them, Joe," he suggested. "They're two against us,
you know, and they'll make a pretty big handful, if they're armed."

"We know Ben Ali has a knife, but that is probably all the weapons
they've got. If they had guns, then Carl would never have made his
getaway."

Redoubling their caution, the boys crawled forward, screening their
advance by keeping bunches of undergrowth in front of them as much as
they could.

The voices grew steadily louder, until it became manifest that the
brown men were jabbering in Hindustani.

Finally the boys arrived as close as they deemed it best to go, for
they had Ben Ali, Aurung Zeeb, and Haidee in plain view.

The three were in a little oak opening on the creek bank. Haidee was
sitting on a log, and the other two were standing and talking rapidly.

A moment after the boys were able to see them and note what was going
on, the Hindoos stopping their talking. Aurung Zeeb drew off to one
side, and Ben Ali stepped in front of the girl.

"Haidee, _meetoowah_!" he called.

The girl lifted her head.

"You must go into de trance, _meetoowah_," said Ben Ali.

With a heart-breaking cry the girl flung herself on her knees in front
of him.

"No, no, Uncle Ben!" she wailed, "don't make me do things I can't
remember--things I don't want to do! What happened during the parade
this morning? And what happened while I was in the air with Motor Matt?
You will not tell me and I do not know! Oh, Uncle Ben----"

"Haidee!"

The voice was clear and keen cut. There was something in the tones of
it that lifted the girl erect and uncomplaining, and held her as by a
magnet with her eyes on the snaky, dancing orbs of Ben Ali.

The power of the Hindoo over the girl must have been tremendous.

The boys, shivering with horror, watched the Hindoo as he waved his
arms gracefully and made his sinuous passes. He was no more than a
minute or two in effecting his work.

By swift degrees Haidee's face lost its expression and became as though
graven from stone; her eyes grew dull and her whole manner listless.

"Haidee, you sleep," came monotonously from Ben Ali, as his hands
dropped. "You hear me, _meetoowah_? You understand?"

"Yes," answered the girl, in the clacking, parrot-like voice with which
the boys were somewhat familiar.

"You are never to remember, _meetoowah_, what you do in de parade, or
what you do on de flying machine," continued Ben Ali. "When you wake,
you forget all that, and how I tell you to pull the lever when de
parade reach de min'ral well, or pin de fireball as it smoulder to de
wing of de machine. You forget all that, huh?"

"Yes."

"You are bright, lively girl, _meetoowah_" went on the Hindoo. "You are
gay, happy, but you are under de power, yes, all de time. You go back
to de show, and you tell them that Ben Ali and Aurung Zeeb ver' bad
mans and run away with Haidee, that you make de escape. Then you get
from Boss Burton the money he owe and come to Linton Hotel in Lafayette
sometime this night. You understand, _meetoowah_?"

"Yes."

"And you not let anybody know you come to Linton Hotel, _meetoowah_."

"No."

"And at all time when you wake you forget you was Margaret Manners, and
you remember all time when you wake that you only Haidee."

"Yes."

"Also, you try get back de box that b'long to you, de little lacquered
box. Remember that, Haidee. Get de box if you can and bring it with de
money to Uncle Ben Ali at de Linton Hotel in Lafayette."

"Yes."

"And you all time forget when you wake dat you Margaret Manners,
and----"

Something happened to the hypnotist, right then and there.

Unable to endure longer the scene transpiring under their eyes, the
boys had crept forward until they were close to Ben Ali and Aurung Zeeb.

Matt, behind Ben Ali, arose suddenly and caught the Hindoo by the
shoulders, flinging him down on his back and holding him there with
both hands about his throat.

McGlory, it had been planned, should make a simultaneous attack, in the
same manner, upon Aurung Zeeb; but that individual was keener-eyed than
his companion. He saw McGlory just as the cowboy was about to spring.
With a loud cry of warning, Aurung Zeeb broke away in a panic and fled
into the timber.

McGlory did not follow him. Ben Ali, choking and wriggling under the
tense fingers of the king of the motor boys, had made a desperate
effort and drawn his knife. The cowboy had glimpsed the blade,
shimmering in a gleam of sun, and had leaped forward and caught the
Hindoo's hand.

"We've got the scoundrel!" exulted McGlory. "I reckon this is the last
stunt of this sort he'll ever lay hand to."

Ben Ali tried to speak. Matt saw the attempt and removed his rigid
fingers from the prisoner's throat, slipping his hands down and
gripping one of the man's arms.

"Hold his other arm, Joe," panted Matt. "I want to talk with him. I've
got to talk with him. A great wrong has been done Haidee, and if it is
righted Ben Ali is the only one to do it."

McGlory was puzzled, but yielded immediate obedience.

"Look at the girl," he whispered, as he laid both hands on the
prisoner's other arm.

There was a look of sharp pain in Haidee's face. Her hands were
clutching her throat, and she was swaying where she stood.

"Haidee feel what you do to me," gurgled Ben Ali. "You hurt me, you
hurt her. You do not understand de power."

"He's talkin' with two tongues!" declared McGlory.

"No," said Matt, "he tells the truth. As I told you, Joe, we've
got to make use of the scoundrel for Haidee's benefit. Don't mind
Haidee--she'll be all right by the time we are through with Ben Ali."



CHAPTER XV.

"FOR THE SAKE OF HAIDEE!"


Motor Matt knew something about hypnotism, having acquired the
knowledge in the casual way most boys learn about such occult and, at
times, fascinating subjects.

The young motorist knew, for instance, that if it was suggested to
Margaret Manners often enough in a hypnotic state that she was only
Haidee, the girl would come to forget her own personality. Even when
out of the trance she would be confused and bewildered in trying to
recall her real name and her past life.

It was to undo some of this evil that Matt was eager for a talk with
the Hindoo.

"Ben Ali," said Matt sternly, "we have the box of letters and Captain
Manners' Victoria Cross. In order to make you suffer terribly for what
you have done, we have only to turn you over to the authorities and let
them cable to London. There is a thousand pounds sterling offered as a
reward for the recovery of Margaret Manners; and for you there would be
a long term in prison. You understand that, don't you?"

There was a crafty look on the Hindoo's face as he answered.

"Yes, sahib. But you not do anything with me. De girl is in de trance.
I have her in my power."

"And we have you in our power," said Matt, appreciating to the full the
strong hold Ben Ali had on them, as well as on the girl.

"But, by and by, when we have finished de talk, de young sahib will let
me go."

Matt was deeply thoughtful for a few moments.

"Yes," he answered deliberately, "if you will answer my questions, and
do what I tell you to do, we will let you go."

"Pard!" remonstrated Joe.

"I know what I am doing, Joe," returned Matt.

"De young sahib is wise," put in the smiling Ben Ali, his eyes
beginning to gleam and dance in an attempt to get the king of the motor
boys under their influence.

"Pah!" murmured Matt disgustedly. "You can hold his arm with one hand,
Joe. Place the other hand over his eyes."

"He's a fiend," growled McGlory, as his palm dropped over the upper
part of Ben Ali's face.

The Hindoo laughed noiselessly.

"Will you talk with me frankly and answer my questions, Ben Ali,"
proceeded Matt, "providing we promise to let you go?"

"Yes, sahib."

"Then, first, who are you?"

"De brother of a great rajah in my own land, and de brother of de great
rajah's sister. That sister married de Captain Manners, Margaret's
father."

"I see," breathed Matt, his eyes wandering to the girl.

Haidee had grown quiet, her face expressionless and her eyes staring
and vacant, as before.

"I, with my rich rajah brother," continued Ben Ali, with bitterness,
"was only de driver of his elephants. No more. I work. He live in
luxury and do not anything. Captain Manners die. Then his wife, she
die, too. _Suttee._ She burn on de funeral pyre, as our custom is in my
land. De husband die, then de widow die. Margaret she live. My brother,
de rajah, give me money, send me to Calcutta after Margaret. I go. I
get de girl and we take ship to America. Hah! On de way I tell Margaret
it is her uncle, de rajah's wish, that she go to de Vassar school in
America, that I follow order when I take her there. She believe what I
say. On de steamer I begin de trances. She not like them, but she agree
at first. By and by she not able to help herself. I tell her she not
remember who she is when she wake, that she only Haidee. She b'leeve."
The scoundrel laughed. "I have de so great power with the eyes and the
hands, sahib."

"Why did you join a show and take the girl with you?" demanded Matt, a
feeling of horror and repulsion for Ben Ali growing in his heart.

"I have to live, sahib. My money give out. I know how to drive de
elephant, so I hear of de show and go there. Boss Burton hire me. I
speak of Haidee. He hire her, too."

"Did she know how to perform on the trapeze--she, the niece of a
powerful rajah and daughter of an English gentleman?"

"She know not anything about that. I put her in de trance and tell her
she know. Then she perform on de trapeze better than any."

"Why did you want her to go up on the flying machine?"

"Cut it short," growled McGlory huskily. "I feel like using the knife
on the villain, pard. He ain't fit to live."

"You listened to me while I was talking with my friends in the calliope
tent this morning," continued Matt. "Why was that?"

"I was afraid of de Dutch boy," answered Ben Ali, "and I was more
afraid when I hear what he tell. After that, I be afraid of all of you.
You understan'? I thought you take Haidee away from me."

"You hypnotized her before the parade and told her to do something to
make me trouble?"

"Yes, sahib," was the prompt response. "I wanted you out of de way. I
was afraid."

"Scoundrel!" muttered Matt. "Why, you placed Haidee herself in danger."

"I was Rajah's mahout. I could have kept de elephant from hurting
Haidee."

"Was she hypnotized when she came to the aëroplane and played that
trick to go up in the machine with me?"

"She was, yes, sahib."

"And you gave her something to be used in setting the aëroplane afire?"

"Yes, sahib. It was de smouldering fire ball, with de coal in its
heart. When de machine go up, and de win' fan it, den by and by it
break into flame and set fire to de machine."

Ben Ali was frank, brutally frank. But he had Motor Matt's promise that
he should go free, and he seemed to gloat over his evil deeds and to
wish that not a detail be left out.

"She did not act, when she was in the aëroplane, as she did when she
was in the parade," said Matt.

"I make her act different, sahib. I tell her how she was to be. I have
de so great power I do that. Other fakirs not so great as Ben Ali."

"We've heard enough," said Matt. "Now, as yet, you have only partly
earned your freedom, Ben Ali. You have still to do what I shall tell
you."

"What is that, sahib?"

"You will, by the aid of hypnotism, undo all the evil you have done,
as much as possible. For instance, you will impress on Haidee, as she
stands there, the truth that she is Margaret Manners, and that she will
remember it, and all her past, when she wakes. After that, you are to
waken her and take yourself off."

"Yes," answered the Hindoo. "My freedom is dear to me. Perhaps"--and he
smiled--"I have something yet to do with Motor Matt."

"If you cross my path again, Ben Ali," returned the king of the motor
boys, "there will be no promise binding me to let you go free. If you
are wise, you will stay away from me and my friends, and from Haidee."

"I take my chance, if that is it. To awaken Haidee I must be on my
feet."

"You will lie as you are!" declared Matt sharply. "You can do your work
as well this way as in any other."

"I will try," said the Hindoo, after a moment's pause. Then, in a loud
voice, he called: "Haidee!"

The girl turned her eyes upon him.

"Yes," she answered.

"When you wake, _meetoowah_, you will remember that you are Margaret
Manners."

"Yes."

"You will remember all, everything--Calcutta, your father, Captain
Manners, your mother, your mother's brother, de rajah. But you forget
Ben Ali, and you think no more of him. You understand?"

"Yes."

This, in a little different language, Ben Ali repeated several times.

"Now, young sahib," said he, "let me up till I wake Haidee."

"Hold to him on that side, Joe," cautioned Matt, "but give him the use
of his hands. When Haidee wakes, release him."

"Sufferin' fairy tales!" grumbled McGlory. "I hate to do it, pard, and
that's honest, but I reckon, from what I've heard, that you know what
you're about. It's a hard way to bring right and justice to the girl
by letting this scoundrel escape the law, but there don't seem to be
anything else for it."

Slowly the boys got up and permitted Ben Ali to struggle to his feet.
When he was erect, both still gripped him by the waist in order to
prevent him from committing any treachery.

Ben Ali leaned forward and waved his hands.

"Awake, _meetoowah_!" he called sharply. "You are yourself again,
Margaret Manners! Awake!"

The girl started, and lifted both hands to her temples. It was enough,
and Motor Matt was satisfied.

"Let him go, Joe," said Matt, "but keep his knife."

The boys, at the same moment, withdrew their hands and stepped back.
Ben Ali, with a wild, snarling laugh, sprang into the woods and
vanished.

"What is it?" asked Margaret Manners, in a puzzled voice. "Where am I?
Ah, is that you, Motor Matt? And Joe!"

"Yes, sis," returned the cowboy, his voice full of gentleness, "it's
your friend McGlory, and the best friend you ever had if you did but
know it--Motor Matt."

"Come," said Matt briskly, "we must hustle back to the automobile. Carl
will have a fit wondering what has become of us."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE RAJAH'S NIECE.


The events of that wonderful day all seemed like a dream to Motor Matt
when he came to look back on them. The coming of Carl, loaded with a
joke sprung upon him by the detectives in Chicago--a joke, by the way,
that proved a boomerang--and the dangers and perils that trailed after
the Dutch boy and finally ended in most marvelous success--all these
seemed but the figments of disordered fancy.

But the damaged aëroplane remained to tell of the dangers, and Carl was
there in the flesh, and Margaret Manners was present, freed of the evil
shadow that had blighted her young life.

The afternoon performance had been over for some time when Matt,
Joe, Carl, and Margaret--for now she must be Margaret and not
Haidee--returned to the show grounds.

The owner of the motor car was walking up and down in fretful mood,
thinking, perhaps, that he had done a most unwise thing in letting his
machine get out of his hands.

Burton was with him and seeking to pacify his fears. But the sight of
the motor car alone did that.

"Well," exclaimed Burton, "you've got one of 'em, Matt. She is the most
valuable of the lot, to me. Where are the other two?"

"They escaped," answered Matt shortly. "And Haidee, Mr. Burton, is no
longer an employee of the Big Consolidated."

"What!" cried Burton. "Do you mean to say she isn't going up on the
aëroplane any more, and that she'll not touch off Roman candles or----"

"I told you she'd never do that, some time ago," said Matt keenly.

Burton seemed to have a way of forgetting the things he did not want to
hear.

"Well, anyhow," went on the showman, as soon as they had all alighted,
and the owner of the car had got into it and tooted joyfully away,
"come to the mess tent and tell me what happened."

"Haven't time, Burton," said Matt. "Miss Manners is going to the best
hotel in town, and I've got some telegrams to send."

"Telegrams?" Burton pricked up his ears and showed signs of excitement.
"There isn't another show trying to hire you away from me, is there?
Don't forget your written contract, Matt!"

"I'm not forgetting that," returned Matt, inclined to laugh. "The
telegram I am going to send is to the British ambassador at Washington,
and the cablegram I am going to get on the wires is to an attorney in
London, England."

"Jupiter!" exclaimed Burton. "It looks to me as though you wouldn't get
through in time to go on with section two of the show train."

"We won't," continued Matt, "and that's what I'm going to tell you
about. We'll be a couple of days making repairs on the aëroplane,
and we'll make them here. After the work is done, we'll join the Big
Consolidated at the town where it happens to be at that time."

"Your contract, sir!" fumed Burton. "You are----"

"No repairs on the aëroplane would have been necessary," interrupted
Motor Matt, "if you had not played that trick on me and substituted
Haidee for Le Bon. Just remember that. I shall expect you to pay the
bills for the repairs, too."

Burton received these remarks in silence.

"When I and my friends are ready to join you," went on the king of
the motor boys, "we'll go by air line in the _Comet_, and if you have
any good paper, we'll scatter it all along the route. It will be the
biggest kind of an advertisement for you, Burton."

This was a master stroke, if Burton yearned for one thing more than
another, it was to make his name a household word.

"Great!" he cried. "But you won't be more than two days here, will you,
Matt?"

"We'll try not to be."

"And you'll scatter the paper?"

"Certainly."

"Fine! I'll have it for you. Where'll I send it?"

"To the Bramble House."

"It will be there. Make the bill for repairs as light as possible, and
draw on me for the amount. That's fair, ain't it?"

"Just about."

"Ask anybody and they'll tell you Boss Burton is the soul of honesty,
and that every promise he makes in his paper is carried out to the
letter. What will you do with the aëroplane?"

"McGlory and Ping will look after it to-night. Tomorrow they will have
it removed to some place where we can work on it comfortably."

"All right--have it your way. I'm the easiest fellow to get along with
that you ever saw, when I see a chap is going to treat me square. Good
luck to you--to all of you."

The party separated. McGlory went over into the show grounds to join
Ping at the aëroplane, and Matt and Carl escorted Miss Manners to the
Bramble House. Carl went to the show, when the tents were being pulled
down that night, and got Miss Manners' trunk and his own clothes from
the calliope tent. Carl, it will be recalled, was wearing McGlory's
work clothes, and McGlory was going to need them.

Most of the luggage belonging to Matt and his friend went on by train
with the show impedimenta, to be reclaimed at some town farther along
the route.

Matt sent his telegram and his cablegram, and in neither did he conceal
the fact that all the glory of the achievement belonged to Carl Pretzel.

The Dutch boy was terribly set up over his success. Until far into the
night he kept Matt up, trying to find out what he should do with his
five thousand dollars. Carl was about evenly divided, in his opinions,
as to whether he should buy an aëroplane of his own, or a circus. Matt
discouraged him on both points.

Next morning the _Comet_, under its own power, dragged its battered
pinions to a big blacksmith shop, and there the motor boys got actively
to work on the repairs.

The damage was confined almost entirely to the canvas covering the left
wing. None of the supports were injured.

In two days' time the aëroplane was as good as new. At the close of the
second day, when Matt and McGlory reached the hotel with their work
finished, so far as the _Comet_ was concerned, they found an English
gentleman who represented the British embassy.

This gentleman had come, personally, to assume charge of Miss Manners;
and, by this very act, the boys understood that the young woman was
something of a personage.

The Englishman said nothing about the reward, and Carl began to worry.
Finally he broached the subject himself, only to learn that the five
thousand dollars must come from India, and that it would be a month,
possibly two months, before it could be turned over.

Carl was disgusted. He had expected to have the money all spent before
two months had passed.

"Dot's der vay mit der tedectif pitzness," he remarked gloomily. "Even
ven you vin you don't get nodding."

"But you're bound to get it, Carl," laughed McGlory, "sooner or later."

"Meppy so mooch lader dot I vill be olt und gray-heated und not know
nodding aboudt how to shpend him. How vas I going to lif in der
meandime, huh? Tell me dose."

"Come along with us," said Matt, "and stay with the Big Consolidated
until your money comes."

"I don'd like dot Purton feller," growled Carl. "He iss der vorst case
oof stingy vat I efer see. Shdill, id iss vort' someding to be mit
Modor Matt. Yah, so helup me, I vill go."

Ping was not in love with this arrangement, but had to bow to it.

The gentleman from Washington took the next train back to the capital,
arranging to have Miss Manners left in the care of an estimable lady in
Lafayette until word should come from India.


THE END.



THE NEXT NUMBER (28) WILL CONTAIN

Motor Matt's "Short Circuit"

OR,

THE MAHOUT'S VOW.

  The Serpent Charmer--A Bad Elephant--Burton's Luck--Motor Matt's
  Courage--Dhondaram's Excuse--Robbery--Between the Wagons--A Peg to
  Hang Suspicions On--A Waiting Game--A Trick at the Start--In the Air
  With a Cobra--A Scientific Fact--Ping On the Wrong Track--Facing a
  Traitor--Meeting the Hindoo--A Bit of a Backset



MOTOR STORIES

THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION

NEW YORK, August 28, 1909.


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SAVED BY A FALLING TREE.


Winter still reigned, and Louis and Allen Wright were snowshoeing back
to the lumber camp where they worked.

It was a small camp upon the Tobago River, near the Ottawa, close to
the border between the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the pine
had for the most part been cut long ago. There was a little pine left,
however, with a good deal of pulp wood and mixed timber to be got out,
and the foreman had sent the boys to look over a patch of spruce about
twelve miles from the shanty. They were returning with their axes upon
the frozen Tobago River, which formed a convenient roadway through the
tangled and snowy Canadian forest.

The boys were not professional "lumber jacks," but they were both
deeply desirous of acquiring a couple of hundred dollars to cover the
expenses of a course in mining engineering, and that winter high wages
were being offered for even inexperienced men in the lumber camps.

As they were country-bred youths, they took to the work naturally, and
Allen, although he had not yet come to his full strength, speedily
developed a surprising dexterity with the axe. He could "lay" a tree
within a few inches of where he desired it to fall, and had been the
instrument of victory several times in lumbering matches with rival
camps.

It was late in February and still bitterly cold, but the deep snow
was packing and softening. In a few weeks the ice might break up, and
mountains of logs were piled upon the river in readiness for the drive.

About three miles before it reached the shanty the river broke into
rapids for about thirty rods before it fell tumultuously over a low
ridge of rocks.

It was necessary to make a detour round this obstacle, and Allen went
ashore at a cautious distance from the water. Louis, however, remained
upon the ice, walking almost to the verge, and looking over into the
inky stream.

"Be careful, Lou! That ice is getting rotten!" Allen shouted from the
bank.

"It's as strong as rock. Look!" answered Louis, jumping in his rackets
with a heavy thud upon the snow.

He proved the reverse of what he intended. There was a dull cracking
under the snow and a startled shout from the reckless snowshoer. A
great cake of ice broke off, drifting away, with Louis standing on it.
He balanced unsteadily for a moment, staggered, and plunged off with a
terrified yell, going clean out of sight under the icy water.

The cake of ice drifted over the rapids and broke up. Allen had
scarcely time to move before his brother reappeared, struggling feebly,
and evidently almost paralyzed by the cold immersion. By good luck he
managed to catch the top of a projecting rock at the head of the fall,
and there he clung, driven against the rock by the force of the current.

"Hold on a minute, Lou! I'll get you out!" screamed Allen frantically.
Louis turned a blue face toward him, without answering.

Allen tore and kicked off his snowshoes, and was on the point of
plunging into the water; but common sense returned to him in time.
Louis was in the middle of the stream, thirty feet away. Allen could
never reach him through that swift, deep current, and if he could, he
would be so chilled as to be incapable of giving any sort of help.

But the boy certainly could not hold on long in his present position,
and should he let go he would be swept over the rapids and under the
ice at the foot. His life hung on seconds.

Allen could think of no plan. He shouted encouraging words without
knowing what he said, while his eyes roved desperately up and down the
snowy shores in search of some inspiration.

If he had only a rope, or anything to make a bridge--and then his eye
fell upon a tall, dead pine "stub," barkless and almost branchless,
standing a few feet back from the stream.

It was long enough to reach to the imperiled youth, if it could be
felled so accurately as to lie close beside him. But a foot or two
above or below him would make it useless, and to aim too closely would
be to run a deadly risk of crushing the boy under the falling trunk.

By a queer vagary of his excited brain he remembered William Tell
and the apple. He would have to perform a somewhat similar feat of
marksmanship; but it was the only chance that he could think of. He
plunged through the snow for his axe, wallowed back to the dead stub,
and began to chop.

In the need for action his nerves grew suddenly cool. The feat was a
more delicate one than he had ever attempted, and his brother's life
hung upon his steadiness of nerve and muscle. But he cut quietly and
without haste. The great yellow chips flew, and a wide notch grew in
the trunk.

In a few moments he shifted to the other side, cut another notch, and
sighted for the probable direction of the fall of the stub. He could
not tell how the roots held. He would have to leave that important
factor to chance, but he cut, now delicately, now strongly, till the
tremor through the axe handle told that the trunk was growing unsteady.

It was a critical moment. He sighted again most carefully, and cut out
a few small chips here and there. The stub tottered. It was standing
poised upon a thin edge of uncut wood, and he stood behind it and
pushed, cautiously, and then heavily.

The tall trunk wavered, and the fibres snapped loudly. It hesitated,
bowed, and Allen leaped away from the butt. Down came the pine, roaring
through the air.

It crashed into the water with a mighty wave and splash that hid boy
and rock. Allen had a moment of horrified belief that his brother had
been crushed under it. A moment later he saw that Louis was unhurt.
But the tree had actually grazed the rock. It had fallen within eight
inches of the boy's body.

It made a perfect bridge as it lay, but in his nervous reaction Allen
was almost too shaky to walk the trunk and pull his brother out. He
did it, although how he got him to land he never quite knew. Louis was
almost unconscious, and his wet clothes froze instantly into a mass of
ice.

He would certainly have lapsed into sleep and died, but Allen piled the
pine chips about the stump and had a fire blazing in a few seconds. The
dry stump burned like pitch, producing a furnace-like heat; and Allen
partly undressed his brother and rubbed him hard with snow. Under this
heroic treatment Louis came back to painful consciousness, and the
fierce heat from the pine did the rest. But it was several hours before
he was able to resume the tramp, and it was dark when they reached the
shanty.



How They Captured the Python.


Hamburg, as many know, is the great headquarters of the trade in wild
animals for menageries and "zoos." To Hamburg are shipped lions,
elephants, and giraffes, captured in South and East Africa, tigers from
India, jaguars and tapirs from South America, gorillas from the Congo,
orang-outangs from Borneo, and, in fact, about every kind of beast,
bird, and reptile from all quarters of the globe.

The warehouses of the two principal firms engaged in this business are
interesting places to visit after the arrival of a "beast ship," with
news of unusually large specimens of animal life.

The narrator made such a visit some months ago on the arrival of a
remarkably large, brilliantly marked python, shipped from Padang,
Sumatra. This colubrine giant is more than thirty feet in length, and
was bespoken by the Austrian government for a zoo at Budapest.

But the story of its capture is even more interesting than the huge
creature itself, for this python had fallen a victim to its fondness
for the notes of a violin.

There is a telegraph line extending across Sumatra, from Padang,
connecting that port, by means of submarine cables, with Batavia, and
Singapore.

Along this line of land wire are a number of interior stations. One
of these, called Pali-lo-pom, has been in charge of an operator
named Carlos Gambrino, a mestizo from Batavia, Java, educated at the
industrial school there.

The station is on a hillock in the valley of the River Kampar, and is
adjacent to dense forest, jungle, and a long morass. It is a solitary
little place, consisting merely of four or five thatched huts, elevated
on posts to a height of six feet from the ground, to be more secure
from noxious insects, reptiles, and wild beasts.

As a general rule Gambrino has little enough to do, except listen to
the monotonous ticking of the instrument. For solace and company,
therefore, he frequently had recourse to his violin.

Thatched houses on posts in Sumatra are not commonly supplied with
glass windows; but Gambrino had afforded himself the luxury of a
two-pane sash, set to slide in an aperture in the side wall of his hut,
and some five or six months ago, during the wet season, he was sitting
at this window one afternoon, as he played his violin, when he saw the
head of a large serpent rise out of the high grass, at a distance of
seventy or eighty yards.

His first impulse was to get his carbine and try to shoot the monster,
for he saw that it was a very large python, and not a desirable
neighbor. But something in the attitude of the reptile led him to
surmise that it had raised itself to hear the violin, and he passed at
once to a lively air.

As long as he continued playing the python remained there, apparently
motionless; but when he ceased it drew its head down, and he saw
nothing more of it that day, although he went out with his gun to look
for it.

Nearly a fortnight passed, and the incident had gone from his
mind--for large snakes are not uncommon in Sumatra--when one night, as
he was playing the violin to some native acquaintances who had come to
the hut, they heard the sounds made by a large snake sliding across the
bamboo platform or floor of the little veranda. On looking out with a
light, one of the party saw a huge mottled python gliding away.

But it was not until the reptile appeared a third time, raising its
head near his window, that the telegrapher became certain that it was
really his violin which attracted it.

In the meantime the operator at Padang, with whom Gambrino held daily
conversations by wire, had told him that the German agent of a Hamburg
house at that port would pay ten pounds, English money, for such a
python as he described.

Gambrino began scheming to capture the reptile. In one of the huts at
the station there was stored a quantity of fibre rope, such as is used
in Sumatra for bridging small rivers and ravines.

Gambrino contrived three large nooses from this rope, which he elevated
horizontally, on bamboo poles, to the height of his window, and carried
the drawing ends of the nooses inside the hut.

This was done after the operator had ascertained that at times the
snake would come about the house and raise its head as if it heard the
violin.

Some time later the python was beguiled by the music into raising its
head inside one of the nooses, which a native, who was on the watch
while Gambrino played, instantly jerked tight.

What followed was exciting. The reptile resented the trick with vigor,
and showed itself possessed of far more strength than they had expected.

The rope had been made fast to a beam inside, and the snake nearly
pulled the entire structure down, making it rock and creak in a way
that caused Gambrino and his native ally to leap to the ground in haste
from a back entrance. The reptile coiled its body about the posts and
pulled desperately to break away. Altogether, it was a wild night at
this little remote telegraph station.

The next morning a crowd of natives collected; and as the python had by
this time exhausted itself, they contrived to hoist its head as high as
the roof of the hut and to secure its tail.

It was then lowered into a molasses hogshead, which was covered over
and trussed up securely with ropes.

In this condition the python was drawn to Padang on a bullock cart. It
is said to weigh more than four hundred pounds.



ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY.


All of us who were singing "On the Road to Mandalay" a few years
ago--and there were mighty few of us who let it alone vocally--will
be a bit surprised to be informed that Rangoon, where the dawn comes
up like thunder and other interesting things happen, looks to the
approaching tourist like an up-to-date American business centre.

In fact, according to a writer, the capital of Burma has many American
towns beat a mile in the civic improvement line. "Its electric-lighted
highways, all broad, neatly paved and well drained; its brilliantly
illuminated boulevards, with rows of graceful, well-trimmed trees
bordering both sides; its blocks of buildings, all laid out after a
carefully considered plan, showing little of architectural beauty but
much of austere regularity, astonish the stranger.

"When you take into consideration the fact that Rangoon has a system
of parks and parkways with beautiful shade trees, choice flowers,
and crystal lakes, artificial and natural, dotted about them, and
that it provides breathing spaces for people living in congested
districts, you cannot but form a good idea of the aliveness of the
municipal corporation. A good horse-carriage service, now being rapidly
superseded by the trolley, makes transportation easy and cheap. The
city has provided splendid schools and playgrounds. Yet sixty years ago
Rangoon was a mere fishing village."

One item from Mr. Kipling's picture of Rangoon referred to the
elephants hauling teakwood in "the slushy, squdgy creek." Well, they
are still at it, working with wonderful precision and an apparent
sense of responsibility. They don't try to soldier, never get in one
another's way or mixed up with the machinery, no matter how cramped
they may be for room.

Some of them take the teak logs which have been floated down the river
and tow them ashore. Then they drag them to the sawmills, either
rolling them with one foot while they walk on three, pushing them with
their tusks, or pulling them with a chain attached to a breast strap.

Inside the mill an elephant selects a log, picks it out with his tusks,
kicks it up to the saw with his toes, then tying his trunk in a kind of
knot around the log, holds it against the teeth of the saw while it is
made into boards, pushing aside the outside slabs as they are cut off
and adjusting the log to make boards of the proper thickness.

Then he piles the boards up neatly, standing off to examine the effect,
and if he finds a board out of line carefully adjusting it. Sometimes a
pair of elephants working together exchange peculiar grunts, as if they
were giving and receiving directions.

They are used in Burma for various purposes. The young calves are
ridden like horses, with a soft pad and stirrups. They are found
especially valuable in bad country, and may be ridden fifty or sixty
miles a day. A tap on the side of the head, a slight pressure of the
knee, or a word whispered in the ear is all that is required to guide
them.

It is not at all a difficult matter for an elephant in prime condition
to outrun a fast horse, but they cannot jump. A deep ditch only six or
seven feet wide is impassable to them.

Working elephants are in their prime when they are twenty-five years
old. They are expensive to feed, it being declared in Rangoon that an
elephant eats a quarter of his weight in feed every day. An average
day's food for one is certainly eight hundred pounds.

Socially Burma is unlike other Oriental countries. Men and women--even
young men and women--walk together in the streets and mingle in social
gatherings. Courtship always precedes the marriage.

The Burmans are ardent lovers, and when a young man and woman find that
their parents do not approve of the match they usually repair to the
woods and return after a day or two as man and wife, sure of parental
forgiveness. Marriage among Burmans is an extremely simple affair.
The only ceremony performed is the eating together out of the same
bowl of rice. Usually a feast is given to the relatives and friends
of the families concerned. No sacrifices are offered, no services are
performed.

The Burman wears a smile on his countenance, laughs and looks upon
life through rose-colored spectacles. Both the women and the men
wear rich-hued silken clothes. But while there is gayety there is no
indecorum or impropriety.

For women Burma is a little heaven on earth, if we are to believe
enthusiastic writers. Mrs. Burman is ubiquitous. Jewelry stores
containing untold wealth in pearls, rubies, and other gems are in
charge of women. Markets and fruit stalls are run by women.

At the railroad station a woman sells you the tickets and another one
is ready to take dictation and to do your type-writing. Not long ago a
woman stockbroker died leaving a fortune which she had made herself.
But the Burmese woman does not let business interfere with motherhood.
She runs the shop with one hand and the children with the other.

When she marries the woman retains her own name, and any property
she may have inherited or acquired. When divorced she is expected to
support her children, but this is no hardship for her, since she cared
for them when she lived with her husband. The Burmese child rarely sees
the father, but is brought up to look to its mother for guidance and
support.

The Burmese woman takes a great interest in public affairs, and the
portals of the University of Rangoon have been open to her for a number
of years. Her intelligence, her beauty, her freedom from racial caste
prejudice, all make her an acceptable bride in the eyes of foreigners
who go to Burma.

Marriage with a foreigner means as a rule that she can live in plenty
and comfort without working. Naturally she looks upon such a marriage
with favor. The Burmans are of Mongolian origin, and consequently
the Chinese and Burmese marriage produces a virile race. With this
exception the intermixture of races in Burma has not proved desirable.

This is especially so in case of marriages between Europeans and
Burmans. The offspring of such marriages are termed Eurasians, who
unfortunately seem to be looked down upon both by full-blooded
Europeans and Burmans.

Almost as difficult a problem as that of the Eurasian is the tobacco
problem in Burma. Men, women, and children smoke. The cheroot at
which they almost incessantly puff is eighteen inches long and about
a quarter of an inch in diameter. It is wrapped in a banana leaf, and
its mouthpiece consists of bamboo. The Burman tobacco is so strong that
only one-fourth of the filling of the cheroot consists of tobacco. The
balance is a mixture of innocuous herbs.

If possible the Burman exceeds other Asiatics in hospitality. He
is par excellence the host of Asia. Any stranger may stroll into a
Burman dwelling and demand hospitality for at least three days. No
remuneration is expected. Opposite a Burmese house one usually finds
earthen pots of water placed for the use of the traveler, under a roof
especially made to shelter the water from the hot rays of the tropical
sun. These pots are tightly covered with earthen lids, which protect
the water from dirt and dust.

The social life of the Burmans is interesting in the extreme. They
indulge in boxing matches, pony, bullock, and boat races, cock
fighting, splitting cocoanuts, snake charming, and juggling. Chess and
dominoes are the favorite games. Theatres are in great vogue. The plot
of the play is usually somewhat monotonous, for almost invariably the
hero is a prince of the blood royal, the heroine is a princess, and the
rustics from the villages figure as clowns and jesters.

The dancing, though different from what it is in the Occident, is
not without interest to a Westerner. The motions of the dancers are
graceful and spry. Burman amusements last days and nights. The best
known secular festival is the pwe.

The entertainment is melodramatic. Comedy and tragedy are introduced,
music and dancing are included. The plot of the play is flimsy. The
performance includes tricks of clowns who are masters of their art and
intensely amusing. The musical instruments in the orchestra consist of
a circle of drums, gongs, trumpets, and wooden clappers, and the music
out-Wagners Wagner in its deafening noise.

Many religious festivals are celebrated. Probably the occasion when
presents are distributed to the priests is the most interesting. The
people bring their presents and pile them up outside an alley made of
bamboo latticework. One brings candles, another matches, another brass
vessels, etc., as though some previous arrangement had been made as to
just what each one shall give.

For the most part the donors are women, and all of them are dressed in
their best. The monks, attended by a boy carrying a large basket, pass
down the bamboo alley in single file, and each basket is filled with
presents. A trio of masqueraders with faces blackened, dancing to comic
music, follows the procession. Anything that has not been distributed
to the priests is gathered up by them.



LATEST ISSUES


BUFFALO BILL STORIES

The most original stories of Western adventure. The only weekly
containing the adventures of the famous Buffalo Bill. =High art colored
covers.= =Thirty-two big pages.= =Price, 5 cents.=

  425--Buffalo Bill's Balloon Escape; or, Out of the Grip of the Great
  Swamp.

  426--Buffalo Bill and the Guerrillas; or, The Flower Girl of San
  Felipe.

  427--Buffalo Bill's Border War; or, The Mexican Vendetta.

  428--Buffalo Bill's Mexican Mix-up; or, The Bullfighter's Defiance.

  429--Buffalo Bill and the Gamecock; or, The Red Trail on the Canadian.

  430--Buffalo Bill and the Cheyenne Raiders; or, The Spurs of the
  Gamecock.

  431--Buffalo Bill's Whirlwind Finish; or, The Gamecock Wins.

  432--Buffalo Bill's Santa Fe Secret; or, The Brave of Taos.

  433--Buffalo Bill and the Taos Terror; or, The Rites of the Red
  Estufa.

  434--Buffalo Bill's Bracelet of Gold; or, The Hidden Death.

  435--Buffalo Bill and the Border Baron; or, The Cattle King of No
  Man's Land.


BRAVE AND BOLD WEEKLY

All kinds of stories that boys like. The biggest and best nickel's
worth ever offered. =High art colored covers.= =Thirty-two big pages.=
=Price, 5 cents.=

  338--Working His Way Upward; or, From Footlights to Riches. By Fred
  Thorpe.

  339--The Fourteenth Boy; or, How Vin Lovell Won Out. By Weldon J.
  Cobb.

  340--Among the Nomads; or, Life in the Open. By the author of
  "Through Air to Fame."

  341--Bob, the Acrobat; or, Hustle and Win Out. By Harrie Irving
  Hancock.

  342--Through the Earth; or, Jack Nelson's Invention. By Fred Thorpe.

  343--The Boy Chief; or, Comrades of Camp and Trail. By John De Morgan.

  344--Smart Alec; or, Bound to Get There. By Weldon J. Cobb.

  345--Climbing Up; or, The Meanest Boy Alive. By Harrie Irving Hancock.

  346--Comrades Three; or, With Gordon Keith in the South Seas. By
  Lawrence White, Jr.

  347--A Young Snake-charmer; or, The Fortunes of Dick Erway. By Fred
  Thorpe.

  348--Checked Through to Mars; or, Adventures in Other Worlds. By
  Weldon J. Cobb.

  349--Fighting the Cowards; or, Among the Georgia Moonshiners. By
  Harrie Irving Hancock.

  350--The Mud River Boys; or, The Fight for Penlow's Mill. By John L.
  Douglas.

  351--Grit and Wit; or, Two of a Kind. By Fred Thorpe.


MOTOR STORIES

The latest and best five-cent weekly. We won't say how interesting
it is. See for yourself. =High art colored covers.= =Thirty-two big
pages.= =Price, 5 cents.=

  16--Motor Matt's Quest; or, Three Chums in Strange Waters.

  17--Motor Matt's Close Call; or, The Snare of Don Carlos.

  18--Motor Matt in Brazil; or, Under the Amazon.

  19--Motor Matt's Defiance; or, Around the Horn.

  20--Motor Matt Makes Good; or, Another Victory for the Motor Boys.

  21--Motor Matt's Launch; or, A Friend in Need.

  22--Motor Matt's Enemies; or, A Struggle for the Right.

  23--Motor Matt's Prize; or, The Pluck That Wins.

  24--Motor Matt on the Wing; or, Flying for Fame and Fortune.

  25--Motor Matt's Reverse; or, Caught in a Losing Game.

  26--Motor Matt's "Make or Break"; or, Advancing the Spark of Friendship.

  27--Motor Matt's Engagement; or, On the Road With a Show.

  28--Motor Matt's "Short Circuit"; or, The Mahout's Vow.

  29--Motor Matt's Make-up; or, Playing a New Rôle.


_For sale by all newsdealers, or will be sent to any address on receipt
of price, 5 cents per copy, in money or postage stamps, by_

STREET & SMITH, Publishers, 79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York


=IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS= of our Weeklies and cannot procure them
from your newsdealer, they can be obtained from this office direct.
Fill out the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price
of the Weeklies you want and we will send them to you by return mail.
=POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY.=


                                    ________________________ _190_

  _STREET & SMITH, 79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York City._

      _Dear Sirs: Enclosed please find_ ___________________________
      _cents for which send me_:

  TIP TOP WEEKLY,         Nos. ________________________________

  NICK CARTER WEEKLY,      "   ________________________________

  DIAMOND DICK WEEKLY,     "   ________________________________

  BUFFALO BILL STORIES,    "   ________________________________

  BRAVE AND BOLD WEEKLY,   "   ________________________________

  MOTOR STORIES,           "   ________________________________

  _Name_ ________________ _Street_ ________________

  _City_ ________________ _State_ ________________



A GREAT SUCCESS!!

MOTOR STORIES


Every boy who reads one of the splendid adventures of Motor Matt, which
are making their appearance in this weekly, is at once surprised and
delighted. Surprised at the generous quantity of reading matter that we
are giving for five cents; delighted with the fascinating interest of
the stories, second only to those published in the Tip Top Weekly.

Matt has positive mechanical genius, and while his adventures are
unusual, they are, however, drawn so true to life that the reader can
clearly see how it is possible for the ordinary boy to experience them.


_HERE ARE THE TITLES NOW READY AND THOSE TO BE PUBLISHED_:

  1--Motor Matt; or, The King of the Wheel.

  2--Motor Matt's Daring; or, True to His Friends.

  3--Motor Matt's Century Run; or, The Governor's Courier.

  4--Motor Matt's Race; or, The Last Flight of the "Comet."

  5--Motor Matt's Mystery; or, Foiling a Secret Plot.

  6--Motor Matt's Red Flier; or, On the High Gear.

  7--Motor Matt's Clue; or, The Phantom Auto.

  8--Motor Matt's Triumph; or, Three Speeds Forward.

  9--Motor Matt's Air Ship; or, The Rival Inventors.

  10--Motor Matt's Hard Luck; or, The Balloon House Plot.

  11--Motor Matt's Daring Rescue; or, The Strange Case of Helen Brady.

  12--Motor Matt's Peril; or, Cast Away in the Bahamas.

  13--Motor Matt's Queer Find; or, The Secret of the Iron Chest.

  14--Motor Matt's Promise; or, The Wreck of the "Hawk."

  15--Motor Matt's Submarine; or, The Strange Cruise of the "Grampus."

  16--Motor Matt's Quest; or, Three Chums in Strange Waters.

  17--Motor Matt's Close Call; or, The Snare of Don Carlos.

  18--Motor Matt in Brazil; or, Under the Amazon.

  19--Motor Matt's Defiance; or, Around the Horn.

  20--Motor Matt Makes Good; or, Another Victory for the Motor Boys.

  21--Motor Matt's Launch; or, A Friend in Need.

  22--Motor Matt's Enemies; or, A Struggle for the Right.

  23--Motor Matt's Prize; or, The Pluck that Wins.

  24--Motor Matt on the Wing; or, Flying for Fame and Fortune.

To be Published on August 9th.

  25--Motor Matt's Reverse; or, Caught in a Losing Game.

To be Published on August 16th.

  26--Motor Matt's "Make or Break"; or, Advancing the Spark of
  Friendship.

To be Published on August 23d.

  27--Motor Matt's Engagement; or, On the Road With a Show.

To be Published on August 30th.

  28--Motor Matt's "Short Circuit"; or, The Mahout's Vow.


PRICE, FIVE CENTS

At all newsdealers, or sent, postpaid, by the publishers upon receipt
of the price.

  STREET & SMITH,      _Publishers_,      NEW YORK



Transcriber's Notes:


Added table of contents.

Italics are represented with _underscores_, bold with =equal signs=.

Converted oe ligatures to "oe" for this text version; ligatures
retained in HTML edition.

Page 3, changed "an an" to "as an" in "white as an American."

Page 10, changed "me" to "we" in "we were going after Archie"

Page 18, corrected typo "MsGlory" in "McGlory was out of the car."

Page 22, changed "of" to "off" in "as he started off."

Page 27, corrected typo "metoowah" in "Awake, _meetoowah_!"





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