Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Motor Matt's Mandarin - or, Turning A Trick For Tsan Ti
Author: Matthews, Stanley R.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Motor Matt's Mandarin - or, Turning A Trick For Tsan Ti" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



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



  MOTOR STORIES

  THRILLING
  ADVENTURE

  MOTOR
  FICTION

  NO. 30

  SEPT. 18, 1909

  FIVE
  CENTS

  MOTOR MATT'S
  MANDARIN

  OR TURNING A TRICK
  FOR TSAN TI

  _By THE AUTHOR OF
  MOTOR MATT_

  _STREET & SMITH_
  _PUBLISHERS_
  _NEW YORK_

[Illustration: _Certainly it was not a time to laugh but Motor Matt
could hardly help it_]



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. 30.=      NEW YORK, September 18, 1909.      =Price Five Cents.=



MOTOR MATT'S MANDARIN;

OR,

TURNING A TRICK FOR TSAN TI.


  By the author of "MOTOR MATT."



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I. ON THE MOUNTAINSIDE.
  CHAPTER II. THE YELLOW CORD.
  CHAPTER III. THE GLASS BALLS.
  CHAPTER IV. THE PAPER CLUE.
  CHAPTER V. PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER.
  CHAPTER VI. A SMASH.
  CHAPTER VII. NIP AND TUCK.
  CHAPTER VIII. TSAN TI VANISHES AGAIN.
  CHAPTER IX. TRICKED ONCE MORE.
  CHAPTER X. THE DIAMOND MERCHANT.
  CHAPTER XI. THE OLD SUGAR CAMP.
  CHAPTER XII. A TIGHT CORNER.
  CHAPTER XIII. A MASTER ROGUE.
  CHAPTER XIV. THE GLASS SPHERES.
  CHAPTER XV. THE EYE OF BUDDHA.
  CHAPTER XVI. THE BROKEN HOODOO.
  A REAL PIRATE.
  SOME QUEER PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS.
  HIGH LEAPS BY DEER.



CHARACTERS THAT APPEAR IN THIS STORY.

  =Matt King=, otherwise Motor Matt.

  =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.

  =Tsan Ti=, Mandarin of the Red Button, who appeals to Motor Matt for
  help in a very peculiar undertaking.

  =Sam Wing=, a San Francisco Chinaman, member of a _tong_ that is
  amiably disposed toward Tsan Ti.

  =Kien Lung=, courier of the Chinese Regent, who respectfully delivers
  the yellow cord to Tsan Ti.

  =Grattan=, a masterful rogue who consummates one of the cleverest
  robberies in the annals of crime.

  =Bunce=, a sailor who assists Grattan and makes considerable trouble
  for the motor boys and the mandarin.

  =Goldstein=, a diamond broker with a penchant for dealing in stolen
  goods.

  =Pryne=, a brother-in-law of Grattan, who plays a short but important
  part in the events of the story.



CHAPTER I.

ON THE MOUNTAINSIDE.


"Sufferin' treadmills! Say, pard, here's where I drop down in the shade
and catch my breath. How much farther have we got to go?"

"Not more than a mile, Joe."

"We must have gone a couple of hundred miles already."

"We've traveled about six miles, all told."

"Speak to me about that! A mile up and down is a heap longer than a
mile on the straightaway. We've been hanging to this sidehill like a
couple of flies to a wall. What do you say to a rest?"

"I'm willing, Joe; and here's a good place. Look out for that tree
root. It's a bad one, and runs straight across the road."

Motor Matt and his cowboy pard, Joe McGlory, were pop-popping their way
up a steep mountainside on a couple of motor cycles. They were bound
for the Mountain House, a hotel on the very crest of the uplift.

A day boat had brought them down the Hudson River from Albany, and
they had disembarked at Catskill Landing, hired the two machines, and
started for the big hotel.

The motor cycles were making hard work of the climb--such hard work,
in fact, that the boys, time and time again, had been compelled to get
out of their saddles and lead the heavy wheels up a particularly steep
place in the trail. This was trying labor, and McGlory's enthusiasm
over the adventure had been on the wane for some time.

The big root of a tree, lying across the road like a half-buried
railroad tie, was safely dodged, and under the shade of the tree to
which the root belonged Matt and McGlory threw themselves down.

The cowboy mopped his dripping face with a handkerchief, pulled off his
hat, and began fanning himself with it.

"One of these two-wheeled buzz carts is all right," he remarked, "where
the motor does the work for you; but I'll be gad-hooked if there's any
fun doin' the work for the motor. And what's it all about? You don't
know, and I don't. We made this jump from the middle West to the effete
East on the strength of a few lines of 'con' talk. I wish people would
leave you alone when they get into trouble. Every stranger knows,
though, that all he's got to do is to send you a hurry-up call whenever
anything goes crosswise, and that you'll break your neck to boil out on
his part of the map and share his hard luck."

McGlory finished with a grunt of disgust.

"I've got a hunch, Joe," answered Matt, "that there's a whole lot to
that letter."

"A whole lot of fake and false alarm. Read it again, if you've got
breath enough."

"I've read it to you a dozen times already," protested Matt.

"Then make it thirteen times, pard. The more you read it, the more I
realize what easy marks we are for paying any attention to it. It's
fine discipline, pard, to keep thinking where you've made a fool of
yourself."

Matt laughed as he drew an envelope out of his coat pocket. The
envelope was addressed, in a queer hand, to "His Excellency, Motor
Matt, Engaged in aëroplane performances with Burton's Big Consolidated
Shows, Grand Rapids, Michigan." Drawing out the enclosed sheet, Matt
unfolded it. There was a humorous gleam in his gray eyes as he read
aloud the following:

  "HONORABLE AND MOST EXCELLENT SIR: It is necessary that I have of
  your wonderful aid in matters exceedingly great and important. I, a
  mandarin of the red button, with some store of English knowledge,
  and much trouble, appeal to king of motor boys with overwhelming
  desire that he come to me at Mountain House, near town named Catskill
  Landing, in State of New York. Noble and affluent sir, will it be
  insult should I offer one thousand dollars and expenses if I get my
  wish for your most remarkable help? Not so, for I promise with much
  goodness of heart. Let it be immediately that you come, and sooner if
  convenient. May your days be fragrant as the blossoms of paradise,
  your joys like the countless stars, and your years many and many.

                                   "'TSAN TI, OF THE RED BUTTON.'"

"Sounds like a skin game," grumbled McGlory, as Matt returned the
letter to its envelope, and the latter to his pocket.

"It's the first time a stranger in trouble ever sent me a letter like
that," remarked Matt.

"Regular josh. Button, button, who's got the button? Not us, pard,
and we're _It_. There'll be no mandarin at the end of this blooming
trail we're running out. You take it from me. Now----" McGlory broke
off suddenly, his eyes fastened on the pitch of the road above. "Great
hocus-pocus!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet. "See what's coming!"

Matt, turning his eyes in the direction of his pard's pointing finger,
was likewise brought up standing by the spectacle that met his gaze.

A bicycle was coasting down the steep path, coming with the speed of
a limited express train; and some fifty feet behind this bicycle came
another, moving at a rate equally swift.

In the saddle of the leading machine was a fat Chinaman--a Chinaman
of consequence, to judge by his looks. He wore a black cap, yellow
blouse and trousers and embroidered sandals. His thin, baggy garments
fluttered and snapped about him as he shot down the road, and his
pigtail, fully a yard long, and bound at the end with a ribbon, stood
out straight behind him.

The Celestial behind was leaner and dressed in garments more subdued.
It was exceedingly plain to the two boys that his heart was in his
work, and that the end and aim of his labors was the overhauling of the
man ahead.

"Wow!" wheezed the fat fugitive. "Wow! wow! wow!"

For about two seconds this stirring situation was before the eyes of
Matt and McGlory. Then the tree root insinuated itself into proceedings.

The fugitive saw the root heaving across his path with a promise of
disaster, but going around it was out of the question, and stopping the
speeding wheel an impossibility.

The inevitable happened. Matt and McGlory saw the bicycle bound into
the air and turn a half somersault. The fat Chinaman landed on his back
with the wheel on top of him; then machine and Chinaman rolled over and
over until the impetus of the flight was spent.

The two boys ran to the unfortunate bicyclist, gathered him up, and
separated him from the broken wheel. The Celestial refused to be lifted
to his feet, but contented himself with sitting up.

"My cap, excellent friend," he requested, pointing to where the cap was
lying.

"Gee, but that was a jolt!" commiserated McGlory. "How do you feel
about now?"

"Kindest regards for your inquiry," said the Chinaman, extracting a
small stone from the collar of his blouse, and then emptying a pint of
dust from one of his flowing sleeves. "I am variously shaken, thank
you, but the terrible part is yet to come. Kindly recede until it is
over, and add further to my obligations."

Matt had picked up the black cap. As he handed it to the Chinaman, he
observed that there was a red button in the centre of the flat top.

He was astonished at the Chinaman's manner, no less than at his use of
English. His clothes were all awry, and soiled with dust, but he seemed
to mind that as little as he did his bruises.

Putting the cap on his head, he took a fan from somewhere about his
person, waved the boys aside with it, then opened it with a "snap," and
proceeded methodically to fan himself. His eyes were turned up the road.

Matt and McGlory exchanged wondering glances as they stepped apart.

The other Chinaman, having a greater space in which to manoeuvre, had
managed to avoid the tree root. By means of the brake he had caused his
machine to slow down, and had then leaped off. After carefully leaning
the bicycle against a tree, he approached his fat countryman in a most
deferential manner. The latter nodded gravely from his seat on the
ground.

The pursuer thereupon flung himself to his knees, and beat his forehead
three times in the dust.

After that, the fat Chinaman said something. Presumably it was in his
native tongue, for it sounded like heathen gibberish, and the boys
could make nothing out of it.

But the lean Chinaman seemed to understand. Lifting himself and sitting
back on his heels, he pushed a hand into the breast of his coat, and
brought out a little black box about the size of a cigarette case.
This, with every sign of respect and veneration, he offered to the
other Celestial.

The fat man took the box, waved his fan, and eased himself of a few
more remarks. The lean fellow once more kotowed, then arose silently,
regained his wheel, and vanished from sight down the road. The fat
Mongolian was left balancing the black box in his hand and eying it
with pensive interest.

"Well, speak to me about this!" breathed McGlory. "What do you make out
of it, Matt?"

"Not a thing," whispered Matt. "That fellow has a red button in his
cap."

McGlory showed traces of excitement.

"Glory, and all hands round!" he gasped. "Have you any notion that the
chink we're looking for has lammed into us in this violent fashion,
right here on the mountainside?"

"Give it up. Watch; see what he's up to."

The fat Chinaman, laying aside his fan, took the box in his left palm,
and, with the fingers of his right hand, pressed a spring.

The lid flew open. On top of something in the box lay a white card
covered with Chinese hieroglyphics. The Chinaman lifted the card and
read the written words. His yellow face turned to the color of old
cheese, his eyes closed spasmodically, and his breath came quick and
raspingly. McGlory grabbed Matt's arm.

"There's something on that card, Matt," said he, "that's got our fat
friend on the run."

While the boys continued to look, the Chinaman laid aside the card, and
drew from the box a pliable yellow cord, a yard in length.

That was all there was in the box, just the card and the cord.

Feeling that there was a deep mystery here, and a mystery in which he
and his chum were concerned, the king of the motor boys stepped forward.

"Tsan Ti?" he queried.

Box and cord fell from the fat Chinaman's hands, and he turned an
eagerly inquiring look in Matt's direction.



CHAPTER II.

THE YELLOW CORD.


"Excellent youth," said the Chinaman, "you pronounce my name. How is
this?"

"I'm Motor Matt," answered the king of the motor boys, "and this is my
chum, Joe McGlory. You asked us to come, and here we are. There's your
letter to me."

Matt opened the written sheet and held it in front of Tsan Ti's face.
The Celestial's face underwent a change. A flicker of hope ran through
the fear and consternation.

"_Omito fuh!_" he muttered, rising slowly to his feet. "The five
hundred gods have covered me with much disgrace, this last hour, but
now they bring me a gleam of hope from the clouds of despair. By the
plumes of the sacred peacock, I bow before you with much gratefulness."

He bowed--or tried to. His ponderous stomach interfered with the
manoeuvre, and he caught a crick in his back--the direct result,
probably, of his recent spill.

"You are here to be of aid to the unfortunate mandarin, are you not,
illustrious sirs?" went on Tsan Ti, leaning against a tree, and
rubbing his right sandal up and down his left shin. Quite likely the
left shin was barked, and the right sandal was affording it consolation.

"First aid to the injured, Tsan," grinned McGlory, getting a good deal
of fun out of this novel encounter.

The cowboy had met many Chinamen, but never before one of this sort.
The experience was mildly exciting.

"Wit," chanted Tsan Ti, "is the weapon of the wise, the idol of the
fool; a runaway knock at laughter's door; arrows from the quiver of
genius; intellectual lightning from the thunder clouds of talent; the
lever of----"

"Sufferin' cats!" exploded McGlory. "What is he talking about? In that
letter, Tsan, you speak about insulting us with a thousand plunks and
expenses. Was that a rhinecaboo or the real thing?"

Without changing his countenance by so much as a line, Tsan Ti lifted
the bottom of his blouse, and unbuttoned the pocket of a leather belt
around his huge girth. From the pocket he took five gold double eagles
in good American money.

"Have I the understanding," he asked, "that you will be of help to my
distress?"

"Tell us, first," answered Matt, a little bewildered by the mandarin's
queer talk and actions, "what it is you want."

"What I want, notable friend, is the Eye of Buddha, the great
ruby which was stolen from the forehead of the idol in temple of
Hai-chwang-sze, in the city named Canton. I, even I, now the most
miserable of creatures, was guardian of the temple when this theft
occurred. I fled to find the thief, and Kien Lung, by order of the Son
of the Morning, our imperial regent, fled after me with that invitation
to death, the yellow cord."

Tsan Ti pointed to the ground where the cord was lying. His flabby
cheeks grew hueless, and he caught his breath.

"An invitation to death?" repeated Matt, staring at the yellow cord.

"It is so, gracious youth," explained Tsan Ti. "When our regent wishes
one of his officials to efface himself, he sends the yellow cord. It is
the death warrant. The card tells me that I have two weeks before it is
necessary that I should strangle myself. This happy dispatch must be
performed unless, through you, I can recover the Eye of Buddha. So runs
the scroll."

"Speak to me about this!" muttered McGlory. "But look here, old man,
you don't have to strangle yourself because some High Mucky Muck, a few
thousand miles off, sends you the thing to do it with, do you?"

"Unless it is done," was the calm response, "I shall be disgraced for
all time, and my memory reviled."

"Oh, blazes! I'd rather be a live Chinaman in disgrace, than a dead one
with a monument a mile high."

"You converse without knowledge," said Tsan Ti.

"That's horse sense, anyhow."

"Let's get at the nub of this thing, Tsan Ti," said Matt, feeling a
deep interest in the strange Chinaman in spite of himself. "You were
in charge of a Canton temple in which was an image of Buddha. That
image had a ruby set in the forehead. The ruby was stolen. You ran
away from China to find the thief, and this Kien Lung, as you call
him, trailed after you with the yellow cord from the regent. The cord
was accompanied by a written order to the effect that, if you did
not succeed in recovering the ruby in two weeks, you must strangle
yourself. Before the cord was delivered to you, you sent that letter to
me."

"What you say is true," answered Tsan Ti. "I have been for a long
period endeavoring to keep away from Kien Lung. I knew what he had
to give me, and I did not want it. Now that I have the cord, you can
understand, out of courtesy I must slay myself--unless, through you, I
regain the Eye of Buddha."

"How did you come to pick _me_ out for an assistant?" went on Matt.
"What you ought to have is a detective. This part of the country is
full of detectives."

"I cannot trust the detectives. The ruby is valuable, and I am a
discredited mandarin in a far country. The detectives would keep the
ruby, and then there would be for me only death by the cord. I read in
the public prints generous and never-to-be-forgotten things about Motor
Matt, and my heart assures me that you are the one, and the only one,
to come to my aid."

"You tune up like a professor," remarked McGlory. "Where'd you corral
so much good pidgin, Tsan?"

"I was educated in one of your institutions of learning," was the
reply. "But, illustrious sirs, shall we return to the hotel on the
mountain top? I have this go-devil machine to pay for. It did not
belong to me. A dozen of the machines were near the porch of the hotel,
where I was drinking tea. I saw Kien Lung coming toward me along the
porch, and I left my tea and sprang to one of the machines. I learned
to ride while I was educating myself in this country. Kien Lung was
also able to ride, but that I did not know until I saw him later. Shall
we go on to the hotel? I am bruised and in much distress."

"We might just as well find out all you can tell us about the Eye of
Buddha before we go to the hotel," returned Matt. "We are by ourselves,
here, and I'd like to get all the information possible."

Tsan Ti picked up the card and the yellow cord. Thoughtfully he twisted
the cord around and around his fat palm and tucked it into the black
box. On the cord he placed the card, and over all closed the box lid.
With a rumbling sigh, he dropped the black box into the breast of his
blouse.

"Foreign devils," said he, once more bracing himself against the tree
trunk, "call the temple of Hai-chwang-sze the Honam Joss House. It is
by the beautiful river, in the suburb named Honam. Around the temple
there is a wall. The avenue of a thousand delights leads from the great
gate to the temple courts, and noble banyan trees shade the avenue. At
vespers, some weeks ago, two foreign devils were present. The hour was
five in the afternoon. One of the foreign devils was English, and wore
a tourist hat with a pugree; the other had but a single eye. Lob Loo, a
priest, told me what happened.

"The Englishman threw a shimmering ball upon the temple floor. Odors
came from it, quick as an eyeflash. Quick as another eyeflash, the
priests reeled where they stood, their senses leaving them. Lob Loo
tells me the foreign devils had covered their faces suddenly with white
masks. Then, after seeing that much, Lob Loo lost his five senses, and
wandered in fields of darkness.

"When Lob Loo opened his eyes, he saw glass fragments on the floor, and
a ladder of silk swinging from the neck of the god. The image, renowned
sirs, is twenty feet in height, and to reach the ruby eye the foreign
devils had to climb. The eye was gone. When Lob Loo told me these
things, I was seized of a mighty fear, and fled to Hongkong. There the
five hundred gods favored me, and I learned that a man in a tourist
hat with a pugree, and another with a single eye, had sailed for San
Francisco. Quickly I caught the next steamer, after sending cable
messages to the leaders of a San Francisco _tong_ who are Cantonese,
and friends of mine. When the ship brought the thieves through the
Golden Gate, some of the _tong_ watched the landing. The thieves were
in San Francisco three days, and Sam Wing followed them when they
left for Chicago, then for New York, and then for these Catskill
Mountains. When I reached San Francisco, the leading men of the _tong_
had telegrams from Sam Wing. By use of the telegrams, I followed, and
arrived here. Wing had left a writing for me at the hotel, telling me
to wait. I waited, but Wing had disappeared. I kept on waiting, and
out of my discouragement, remarkable sir, I wrote to you. That is all,
until this morning, when Kien Lung came with the yellow cord. Two weeks
are left me. If the Eye of Buddha is not found in that time, then"--and
Tsan Ti tapped the breast of his sagging blouse--"all that remains is
the quick dispatch."

Both Matt and McGlory had listened with intense interest to this odd
yarn. Although a heathen, and lately keeper of a heathen temple, the
mandarin was nevertheless a person of culture and of considerable
importance. The sending of the yellow cord was a custom of his country,
and it was evident that he intended to abide by the custom in case the
Eye of Buddha was not recovered within two weeks.

"Shall we turn the trick for him, pard?" asked McGlory. "This palaver
of his makes a bit of a hit with me. I'd hate like Sam Hill to have him
shut off his breath with that yellow cord. If----"

The hum of an approaching automobile reached the ears of those at the
roadside. The machine was coming from above, and Matt pulled the broken
bicycle out of the road.

The boys and the mandarin stood in a group while waiting for the car
to pass. Tsan Ti, seemingly wrapped up in his own miseries, gave no
attention to the car, at first.

There were two passengers in the car--the driver, and another in the
tonneau.

The car, on the down grade, was coming at a terrific clip, and the man
in the tonneau was hanging on for dear life and yelling at the top of
his voice:

"Avast there, mate, or you'll have me overboard! By the seven holy
spritsails----"

The voice broke off and gave vent to a frantic yell. Although the
driver had shut off the power and applied a brake, the car had leaped
into the air when it struck the root.

The man in the tonneau shot straight up into the air for two or three
feet, and Matt and McGlory had a glimpse of a grizzled red face with
a patch over one eye, a fringe of "mutton-chop" whiskers, and a blue
sailor cap.

"The mariner!" came in a clamoring wheeze, from Tsan Ti.

As the automobile whirled past, the mandarin flung himself crazily at
the rear of the tonneau, only to be knocked head over heels for his
pains.

As he floundered in the dust, Matt rushed for his motor cycle.

"Is that one of the two men who stole the ruby?" cried Matt.

"What fortune!" puffed Tsan Ti. "Pursue and capture the villain! If he
has the Eye of Buddha----"

But the rest of it was lost. Matt, followed by McGlory, was tearing
away on the track of the automobile.



CHAPTER III.

THE GLASS BALLS.


Turning the trick for Tsan Ti--as McGlory had termed it--was destined
to entangle the motor boys in a whirl of the most astounding events;
and these events, as novel as they were mysterious, followed each other
like the reports of a Gatling gun.

The journey to Albany, and down the river to Catskill Landing, and
thence by motor cycle part way up the mountain, had been monotonous;
but from the moment the mandarin and the bicycle went sprawling into
the air over the tree root, and the lads had made the Chinaman's
acquaintance, Fate began whirling the wheel of amazing events.

Matt and McGlory had had no time to discuss the weird tale recounted
for their benefit by the mandarin. There was no opportunity to view
the theft of the Eye of Buddha from any angle save that offered by the
philosophical Tsan Ti. No sooner had the ostensible facts connected
with the stolen ruby been retailed, than one of the thieves flashed
down the mountain road, leaving the boys no choice but to fling away
after him.

The two motor cycles had absolutely no chance to go wrong on that
downhill trail. Had either motor "bucked," the weight of the heavy
machine would have hurled its rider onward in a breakneck coast toward
the foot of the hill.

"Sufferin' streaks!" cried the cowboy. "If we were to meet anybody
coming up, there'd be nothing left but the pieces!"

"I'm keeping a lookout ahead, Joe!" Matt called back, over his shoulder.

He was in the lead, and his rear wheel was firing a stream of dust and
sand into McGlory's eyes. But the cowboy was too excited to pay much
attention to that.

"We're goin' off half-cocked, seems to me!" he yelled. "We've known
that fat chink for about ten minutes, and here we are, lamming into his
game like a couple of wolves. What's the use of brains, pard, if you
don't use 'em?"

"While we were thinking matters over," Matt answered, ripping around a
sharp turn, "the one-eyed man would be getting away."

"What're we going to do when we overhaul him? Make an offhand demand
for the Eye of Buddha? It sounds flat enough, and if the webfoot tells
us we're crazy, and gives us the laugh, what're we going to do?"

"Brakes! brakes!" cried Matt, and his motor cycle began to stagger and
buck-jump as he angled for a halt.

McGlory was startled by the command, but instantly he obeyed it. In
order to avoid running his chum down, he not only bore down with the
brakes but also swerved toward the roadside. He came to a sudden stop
in a thicket of bushes, and extricated himself with some difficulty.

Matt was in the road, his motor cycle leaning against a tree. A yard in
front of him lay a flat cap. He pointed to it.

"What's that to do with a breakneck stop like we just made?" snorted
the cowboy. "It's not the headgear we want, pard, but the man that owns
it."

"Sure," returned Matt. "Look farther down the road, Joe, and then
you'll understand."

A straight drop in the road stretched ahead of the boys for a quarter
of a mile. Halfway along the stretch was the automobile. The machine
was at a stop, and the driver and the one-eyed man were leaning over
the motor. The hood had been opened, and the driver was tinkering.

"Something has gone wrong," said Matt, "and it happened soon after the
sailor had lost his cap. Our one-eyed friend, I think, will come back
after his property. If he does, we'll talk with him. We can't go too
far in this business, you know. I have considerable confidence in Tsan
Ti, but still we're not absolutely sure of our ground."

"The poor old duck is bound to snuff himself out with the yellow cord
if he don't recover the ruby," returned the cowboy. "That's what hits
me close to home. We're going it blind"--and here McGlory dug some of
the sand out of his eyes--"and we jumped into this with a touch-and-go
that don't seem reasonable; still, I've got a sneaking notion we're on
the right track. What's that on the hat ribbon?"

Matt had picked up the hat, and was turning it over in his hand.

"It's the name of a boat, I suppose," answered Matt, taking a look at
the gilt letters. "'_Hottentot_,'" he added, reading the name.

"Oh, tell me!" exclaimed McGlory. "_Hottentot!_ That's a warm label for
a boat. But, say! Suppose One-Eye don't think enough of his cap to come
back for it?"

"But he will," answered Matt. "This will bring him, I'll bet something
handsome."

As he spoke. Matt pulled a square of folded paper out of the crown of
the cap.

"Cowboy trick!" grinned McGlory. "Carryin' letters under the sweatband
of a Stetson reminds me of home."

Matt had stepped to the roadside, the folded paper to one hand and the
cap in the other.

"Had we better?" he pondered, voicing his thoughts.

"Better what?" queried McGlory.

"Why, keep this paper. It may prove important."

"Sure, keep it! What're you side-stepping for about a little thing like
that? We're after the Eye of Buddha, and if that paper has anything to
do with it, the thing's ours by rights."

"But suppose Tsan Ti is working some game of his own? That was a
fearsome yarn he gave us, Joe."

"Sufferin' tenderfeet! Say, didn't we come all the way from Michigan
to help him? Think of that yellow cord, and what it means to---- Oh,
Moses!" the cowboy broke off. "Here comes the webfoot, now."

Matt, taking a chance that the sailor was a thief, that he had guilty
knowledge of the whereabouts of the Eye of Buddha, and that the paper
might furnish valuable information, thrust the note into his pocket,
and hastily replaced it with a bit of paper quickly drawn from his
coat. Then, tossing the hat into the road, he stepped out and waited.

The sailor was scrambling up the steep ascent with the agility of an A.
B. making for the maintop. At sight of Matt, appearing suddenly above
him, he hesitated, only to come on again at redoubled speed.

"Ahoy, shipmates!" bellowed the old salt, as soon as he had come close
enough for a hail. "Seen anythin' of a bit of headgear hereabouts?"

"There it is," Matt answered, pointing.

"Blow me tight if there it ain't!" He jumped for the hat, and gathered
it in with a sweep of one hand. "Obliged to ye," he added, looking
into the crown, and then placing the hat on his head with visible
satisfaction.

He would have turned and made off down the road, had not Matt stepped
toward him and lifted his hand.

"Just a minute, my friend," said Matt.

The sailor flashed a look toward the automobile. The driver had closed
the hood, and was waving his arms.

"Nary a minute have I got to spare, shipmate," the sailor answered.
"The skipper of that craft has plugged the hole in her bow, and we're
ready to trip anchor and bear away."

"Wait!" and a sternness crept into Matt's voice. "We must have a talk
with you. Perhaps you'll save yourself trouble if you give us a few
minutes of your time."

At the word "trouble," the sailor squared around.

"Now, shiver me," he cried, "I'm just beginning to take the cut of your
jib. Trouble, says you. Are ye sailin' in company with that chink we
passed a ways back on our course?"

"What do you know about the Eye of Buddha?" demanded Matt.

"Oh, ho," roared the other, "so that's yer lay, my hearty? Well, you
take my advice, and keep your finger out o' that pie. I'm not sayin' a
word about the Eye o' Buddha. Mayhap I know somethin' consarnin' the
same, an' mayhap I don't. But I wouldn't give the fag end o' nothin'
mixed in a kittle o' hot water for your chances if you stick an oar in
that little matter."

There was that about the sailor which convinced Matt that he knew more
concerning the ruby than he cared to tell.

"Stop!" cried the king of the motor boys.

"Not me," was the gruff answer, and both of the sailor's hands dropped
into his pockets.

"If he won't stop," cried McGlory, "then here's where we make him!"

He and Matt started on a run toward the sailor. The latter whirled
around, his arms drew back, and his hands shot forward. Two round,
glimmering objects left his palms and tinkled into fragments at
the feet of the two boys. An overpowering odor arose in the still
air--wafted upward in a cloud of strangling fumes that caught at the
throats of Matt and McGlory, blinded their eyes, and sapped at their
strength.

McGlory fell to his knees.

"The--glass--balls----" he gasped, and flattened out helplessly, the
last word fading into a gurgle.

"Leave the Eye o' Buddha alone!" were the hoarse words that echoed in
Matt's ears.

And they were the last sounds of which he was cognizant for some time.
He crumpled down at the side of his chum, made one last desperate
struggle to recover his strength, and then the darkness closed him in.



CHAPTER IV.

THE PAPER CLUE.


Now and then there are episodes in life which, when they are past and
one comes to look back on them, seem more like dreams than actual
occurrences. This matter of the Chinaman, the Eye of Buddha, the
sailor, and the glass balls looked particularly unreal to Motor Matt
and Joe McGlory.

When Matt opened his eyes, he found himself in a hammock. For a minute
or two he lay quiet, trying to figure out how and when he had got into
the hammock, and where Joe was, and just how much of a dream he had had.

The hammock was strung between a couple of trees, and from a distance
came a subdued chatter of voices, and the low, soft strains of an
orchestra.

Matt sat up in the hammock and looked in the direction from which the
sounds came. The lofty, porticoed front of a huge hotel was no more
than two hundred feet away. Men in flannels and women in lawn dresses
were coming and going about the porticoes, and the music was wafted out
from inside the building.

The young motorist's bewilderment grew, and he brushed a hand across
his eyes. Then he looked in another direction. Two yards from the tree
supporting one end of the hammock, the ground broke sharply into a
precipitous descent, falling sheer away for a hundred feet or more.
He could look off over a rolling country checkered with meadows and
grainland and timber patches, with a river cutting through the vista
and holding the scene together like a silver ribbon.

He drew a long breath, and swerved his gaze to the right. Here there
was another hammock, one end of it secured to the same tree that helped
support Matt's airy couch, and the other end to a third tree which
formed an acute angle with respect to the other two.

In this second hammock was McGlory. Like Matt, he was sitting up; and,
like Matt again, he was staring.

Leaning against one of the three trees, were the two motor cycles.

"Joe!" cried Matt. "Is that you?"

"Hooray!" exclaimed the cowboy, with sudden animation. "I was just
waiting for you to speak, in order to make sure I wasn't still asleep.
Jumpin' jee-whiskers, what a dream I've had!"

"Where are we?" inquired Matt.

A puzzled look crossed the cowboy's face.

"Don't you _sabe_ that?" he returned.

"No."

"Shucks! That's just the question I was going to bat up to you."

"How did we get here?"

"I'm by, again. But, sufferin' brain-twisters, what a dream I've had!"
He began laughing softly to himself.

"What sort of a dream was it?" went on Matt.

"Funnier'n a Piute picnic! It was all mixed up with a fat Chinaman,
and a yellow cord, and a ruby called the Eye of Buddha, and a one-eyed
sailor, and--and a couple of glass balls. Oh, speak to me about that!
Say, pard, but it was a corker! The fat chink was doing all sorts of
funny stunts, tumbling off a bike, and all over himself."

"There wasn't any dream about it," declared Matt, swinging his feet to
the ground with sudden energy.

The laugh died out of McGlory's face, and a blank look took its place.

"Go on!" he scoffed, not a little startled.

"Two fellows couldn't have the same kind of a dream," persisted Matt,
"and I went through identically the same things you did. That proves
they were _real_! But--but," and Matt's voice wavered, "how did we get
here?"

"There are the motor cycles we used when we buzzed out of Catskill
Landing," and McGlory brightened as he pointed to the two wheels.

"I see," mused Matt, drumming his forehead with his knuckles. "Nobody
seems to be paying much attention to us," he added, his eyes on the
groups around the hotel porches.

"Not a terrible sight, and that's a fact," agreed McGlory. "But why
should they, pard? They don't know us."

"Somebody must have brought us here and laid us in the hammocks. The
last I remember we were down and out. Now, Joe, a move of that kind
would naturally stir up a commotion."

"Well, yes," admitted the cowboy, going blank again, "Are you and I
locoed, Matt, or what?"

"Come on and let's try and find out."

Matt started for a man who was sitting in a canvas chair smoking a
cigar and nursing a golf club on his knees. McGlory trailed after him.

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Matt, halting beside the chair, "but
have you been here long?"

"Two weeks," was the answer with a hard stare. "I come to the Mountain
House every summer, and spend my va----"

"I mean," interrupted Matt, "were you sitting here when my friend and I
were brought in?"

"Brought in? You weren't brought in. You two rode in on those motor
cycles, leaned them against the tree, and preëmpted the hammocks."

"Sufferin' lunatics!" breathed McGlory. "I reckon we'd better call
somebody in to look at our plumbing, pard."

"What appears to be the trouble?" went on the stranger, politely
curious.

"It just 'appears,' and that's all," rambled the cowboy. "If we could
only get a strangle-hold on the trouble, and hog-tie it, maybe we could
take it apart, and see what makes it act so."

The stranger sprang up, grabbed his golf stick, and looked alarmed.

"Never mind my friend, sir," said Matt reassuringly; "we're just a
little bit bothered, that's all."

"A little bit!" repeated the stranger ironically; "it looks to me like
a whole lot."

"This is the Mountain House, is it?" went on Matt. He was severely
shocked himself, but tried manfully to hide it while trying to work out
the mystery.

"Certainly, sir," growled the man with the golf stick. "Don't you try
to make game of me, young man! I'm old enough to be your father, and
such----"

"We are not trying to make game of any one," protested Matt.

"But somebody is making game of _us_," put in McGlory, "and playing us
up and down and all across the table. Here in these hills is where Rip
Van Winkle went to sleep, ain't it? I wonder if he dreamed about fat
Chinamen, yellow cords, one-eyed sailors, and----"

"Cut it out, Joe!" whispered Matt sternly, grabbing his chum by the
arm and pulling him toward the hotel. "Can't you see he thinks we're
crazy?"

"_Thinks_ we're crazy?" stuttered the cowboy. "Then I've got a cinch on
him, for I _know_ we are. Where next?"

"We'll go into the hotel and make some inquiries," replied Matt, noting
how the man with the cigar and the golf stick turned in his chair to
keep an eye on them. "And for Heaven's sake, Joe," Matt added, "let me
do the talking. If you don't, we're liable to be locked up."

"We ought to be locked up," mumbled McGlory. "We're lost, and we
ought to be shooed into some safe corral and kept there till we find
ourselves. Sufferin' hurricanes! What kind of a brain-storm are we
going through, _any_how?"

Matt and McGlory passed through the chattering groups on the porch
and entered the lobby of the hotel. The music, which now came to them
in increased volume, was accompanied by a clatter of dishes from the
dining room. Matt laid a direct course for the counter at one side of
the lobby.

"Can you tell me," he asked, leaning over the counter and addressing
the carefully groomed clerk, "If there is a gentleman named Tsan Ti
staying at this hotel?"

"Come again, please," was the answer. "What was that name?"

"Tsan Ti."

"Where's he from?"

"Canton, China."

"Wears a black cap and a yellow kimono," put in Joe. "Button in the
cap--red button. He's the high old Whoop-a-gamus that bossed the temple
of What-you-call-um and let the Eye of Buddha get away from him. He
_must_ be here."

"Such jocosity is out of place," said the clerk chillingly.

"Sufferin' zero!" muttered McGlory. "I reckon his home ranch is the
North Pole. What's jocosity, Matt?"

"Then Tsan Ti isn't here?" asked Matt.

"Certainly _not_. You might try the Hotel Kaaterskill."

"Kaaterskill!" minced McGlory. "Now, what the blooming----"

"Joe," muttered Matt, grasping his chum's arm, and pulling him away.
"What's come over you, anyhow? You're acting like a Hottentot."

"That's it!" cried Joe.

"What?"

"The name that one-eyed webfoot had on his cap. Hottentot! Hottentot!
Hottentot!"

"Joe!" warned Matt, for the cowboy had sung out the word at the top of
his voice. "What _ails_ you? Great spark plugs!"

McGlory brushed a hand across his face.

"I feel like I'd taken a foolish powder, pard," he answered huskily.
"Let's get out of here before I make a holy show of myself."

All at sea, they went back to the hammocks and sat down by the two
motor cycles.

"And this," remarked McGlory, breaking a long silence, "is what you
call turning the trick for Tsan Ti! I told you that letter we received
in Grand Rapids was plain bunk. Read it again, pard."

"I've read it thirteen times, Joe," answered Matt.

"Well, read it fourteen times and break the hoodoo."

Matt took the envelope from his pocket, and drew out the inclosed
sheet. Then he stared, then whistled, then leaned back against the
tree.

"Now it's you who's doped," grinned McGlory. "Can't you read it?"

"Sure," answered Matt; "listen."

  "'BUNCE: Be in Purling at ten a. m., Thursday. Show this to Pryne
  at the general store in the village, and Pryne will show you to me.
  Important developments. Mum's the word.               GRATTAN.'"

McGlory threw off his hat, and pawed at his hair.

"Put a chain on us, somebody, _please_!" he gasped. "Where, oh, where,
did you get that?"

"Here's a paper clue," said Matt. "I took this out of that cap we found
in the road, and, by an oversight, I tucked that letter from Tsan
Ti into the cap so the sailor wouldn't notice the original note was
missing."

"Then there _was_ a cap," muttered McGlory, "and it _did_ have
'Hottentot' on the ribbon, and you _sure_ took out a note, and it's a
cinch there _was_ a sailor. Now, if all that's true, then where, in the
name of the great hocus-pocus, is the fat Chinaman?"



CHAPTER V.

PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER.


With a sudden thought, Matt stepped to the motor cycle McGlory had
used, and gave the front wheel a critical examination.

"What's that for?" asked the cowboy.

"I'm only putting two and two together, Joe," Matt answered, returning
to his place at his chum's side.

"I reckon they make five, this inning," said McGlory.

"I believe I've got the hang of it," went on Matt. "You're just getting
back to your natural self, Joe. Ever since we awoke in those hammocks,
and up to this minute, you've been a trifle 'flighty.'"

"Well," acknowledged McGlory, "I felt as though I'd been browsing on
loco weed."

"How do you account for it?"

"I don't. You're doing this sum in arithmetic. What's the answer?"

"Glass balls," said Matt.

"Speak to me about those glass balls! That webfoot threw two of them,
and they smashed right in front of us! And--and---- But, say, pard,
it's not in reason to think that two things like those balls could lay
us out."

"Remember how the Eye of Buddha was stolen? The one-eyed sailor and
the Englishman broke one of the glass balls in the temple, and all the
priests were laid out."

"Oh, well, if you're going to take any stock in that fat Chinaman and
his yarn, I reckon you----"

"Now, listen," continued Matt earnestly. "Strange as it may seem, Joe,
there _are_ balls like those Tsan Ti was telling us about. We have had
an experience with them, and we _know_. I suppose the glass spheres are
filled with some powerful narcotic fumes which are set free the moment
the balls are broken."

"It's not in reason," protested Joe.

"It's a hard thing to believe that such objects exist, I'll admit,"
proceeded Matt, "but we have got to credit the evidence of our senses.
While one of the balls was enough to overcome the priests, in the
temple, it was necessary for the sailor to use two against us, there
in the open. The air, naturally, would soon dissipate the fumes. I
shouldn't wonder," Matt added reflectively, "but those balls were
invented by the Chinese. They seem to have a knack for that sort of
thing."

"Queerest knock-out drops I ever heard of."

"When you and I recovered sufficient strength to get up out of the
road," continued Matt, "we hadn't yet recovered full possession of our
wits. You remember, Joe, your front tire was punctured. Well, that
puncture was neatly mended, and the air pump must have been used to
inflate the tire again. You and I must have done that, then rode up
here and taken possession of the hammocks."

The cowboy whistled.

"Able to make repairs, and to navigate, but plumb locoed for all that,
eh?" he remarked.

"That's my idea, Joe. When we finally recovered our senses, in these
hammocks, all that had happened seemed to have been a dream."

"Seems so yet, pard. What's become of Tsan Ti? And the other hatchet
boy that brought the yellow cord? They don't know anything about Tsan
at the hotel, so he must have been overworking his imagination when
he told us he had been having tea there. And that other yarn about
seeing the man with the yellow cord and ducking on a borrowed wheel
to get away from him! Say, I reckon they'd have known something about
a commotion of that sort if it had happened here." McGlory wagged
his head incredulously. "The fat chink is up to something, Matt," he
finished, "and he's been talking with the double tongue."

"I'll admit," said Matt, "that there are some parts of the problem that
look rather dubious, but, on the whole, Tsan Ti's story holds together
pretty well. That story of the ruby was corroborated, in a way, by the
sailor. From the fellow's actions, he must have known a good deal about
the Eye of Buddha. Why did he throw the glass balls at us? Simply to
keep us from following him. If the sailor hadn't been guilty of some
treacherous work, he wouldn't have done that."

"I'm over my head," muttered McGlory. "But, if the mandarin is so
hungry to have us help him, what's the reason he's making himself
absent? Why isn't he here?"

"Let's give him time to get here. We weren't on that mountainside for
more than two hours. It was nine when we left Catskill Landing, and
about half-past ten, I should say, when we met Tsan Ti. It's nearly
one, now."

"Well, what's the next move, pard? Are you going to that Purling place
and ask for Pryne at the general store?"

"Not right away. We'll give Tsan Ti a chance to present himself, first."

"You don't think"--and here McGlory assumed a tragic look--"that Tsan
would go off into the timber and use that yellow cord, do you?"

"He has two weeks before he has to do that."

"_Has_ to do it! Why, he don't have to do it at all, except to be
polite to that squinch-eyed boss of the Flowery Kingdom. Honest, these
chinks are the limit."

Matt got up and pulled his motor cycle away from the tree.

"Let's go into the hotel, and have dinner, Joe," he suggested. "If we
don't hear anything from Tsan Ti by four, this afternoon, we'll return
to Catskill."

"And not do anything about that paper you got out of the sailor's hat?"
asked the cowboy.

"If Tsan Ti doesn't think we're worth bothering with, after we've come
all the way from Grand Rapids to lend him a hand, we'll let him do his
own hunting for the ruby."

"Keno, correct, and then some," agreed the cowboy heartily. "I've
thought, all along, there'd be some sort of bobble about this Eastern
trip. But let's eat. I've been hungry enough to sit in at chuck-pile
any time the last three hours."

The boys left their wheels in charge of a man who looked after the
motor cars belonging to guests, and went into the office for the second
time. The clerk surveyed McGlory with pronounced disfavor while Matt
was registering. The cowboy met the look with an easy grin, and, after
he and Matt had washed their faces, brushed their hair, and knocked the
dust out of their clothes, they went into the big dining room and did
full justice to an excellent meal.

Neither had much to say about Tsan Ti. Matt was half fearing the
mandarin's business was a good deal of a wild-goose chase, and that
the ponderous Celestial, for reasons of his own, had absented himself
permanently.

Following the meal, the boys went out to sit on the veranda. They had
hardly taken their chairs when a big red automobile, with a rumble seat
behind in place of a tonneau, sizzled up to the front of the hotel and
came to a stop.

There was one man in the car. As soon as the dust had settled a little,
a black cap with a red button, a long queue, and a yellow blouse
emerged with startling distinctness upon the gaze of the two boys.

McGlory sat in his chair as though paralyzed.

"It's Tsan Ti!" he murmured feebly, switching his eyes to Matt.

"Tsan Ti, and no mistake," answered Matt.

"First he rides a bike," said the cowboy, rapidly recovering, "and now
he blows in on us at the steering wheel of a gasoline cart. He's the
handiest all-around heathen I ever met up with. And look at him! He
acts just as though nothing had happened. Well, let me know about that,
will you?"

Tsan Ti turned sidewise in the driver's seat, and swept his gaze over
the front of the hotel. He was less than half a minute getting the
range of the motor boys. Lifting a hand, he beckoned for them to come.

"He wants us," said Matt grimly. "We'd better go, and hear what he has
to say for himself."

"That's the talk!" agreed McGlory.

A bland smile crossed the flabby face of the Chinaman as the boys came
close.

"Embark, distinguished friends," said he.

After all the rough and tumble of the morning, Tsan Ti now appeared in
perfect condition. He was entirely at his ease, and as well groomed a
mandarin as ever left the Chinese Empire.

"Just a minute, Tsan Ti," returned Matt coldly. "There are a few things
we would like to have explained before we go any farther in this
business of yours."

"All shall be made transparent to you, most excellent youth," was the
reply, "only just now embark, so that we may proceed on our way."

"You said you were stopping at the Mountain House," said Matt severely.

"A play upon words, no more. I was staying at the Kaaterskill. What
says the great Confucius? 'The cautious seldom err.' I was cautious.
Time passes swiftly, and----"

"Get out and explain everything to us, Tsan Ti," broke in Matt firmly.
"If you want us to help you, you've got to take time to set us right
on a few important matters. We hadn't talked twenty minutes with you
before we jumped in to give you a helping hand--and succeeded in
getting ourselves into trouble. As you say, 'the cautious seldom err.'
That means us, you know, as well as you."

The mandarin heaved a sigh of disappointment, floundered out of the
machine, and accompanied the boys in the direction of the three trees
and the swinging hammocks.



CHAPTER VI.

A SMASH.


The Hotel Kaaterskill was within a stone's throw of the Mountain House.
So far as situation went, there was small choice between them, but Matt
resented Tsan Ti's deception in declaring he was staying at one when he
was really staying at the other. It seemed so trivial a matter compared
with the mandarin's critical situation--as set forth by himself.

"I don't like the way you are acting, Tsan Ti," said Matt, as soon
as they had reached the trees. "In your letter to me you asked me to
meet you at the Mountain House; and on the mountainside, after you
received the yellow cord, you spoke about our going up to the Mountain
House; and again, as I remember it, it was on the porch of the Mountain
House where you were drinking tea when you saw Kien Lung coming toward
you, and bolted away on the bicycle. What excuse was there for such a
deception? And how can we help you if you are not open and aboveboard
with us?"

"The left hand, honored and exalted sir," returned Tsan Ti, "must not
know what the right hand does when one is so unfortunate as I. Sam
Wing, in leaving word for me at the house named Kaaterskill, remarked
upon the courier Kien Lung being after me upon his unhappy errand,
and counseled that I keep myself obscurely. But I should have made
communication with you at the Mountain House had you arrived by that
place for meeting me. My intentions were high-minded, albeit secretive."

"Then, for now," pursued Matt, "we will let that pass. Why did you
vanish from the mountainside after we had been left to chase the
one-eyed sailor? He threw two of those glass balls at us, and we were
dropped in the road, unconscious. It was not a long distance from where
we had left you, and you could easily have come down to us."

"_Omito fuh!_" muttered Tsan Ti. "My regret is most consuming! The
gods crossed my will, notable one; nothing else could have kept me at
a distance from you. It was thus. Young men on bicycles, pursuing Kien
Lung and me who had made away at high speed on two of their go-devil
machines, swarmed suddenly around me like the sacred rocks in the
banyans at Honam. In spite of my entreaties, they carried me to the
Kaaterskill, and there I made repayment for the broken machine, and for
the one which Kien Lung took for himself and did not return. These
affairs occupied me profoundly until half an hour since; then I hired
yonder devil wagon and started to find you. Behold, you were on the
veranda of the hotel as I fared past. Confucius said, in ancient times,
'When I have presented one corner of a subject, and the pupil cannot of
himself make out the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.' So the
sight of you informed me the sailor of the single eye had escaped, and
I concluded best that we hurry after him. Am I not right, honorable
friend?"

"He's good with his bazoo," remarked McGlory. "I reckon he makes out a
clean case for himself."

Matt was satisfied. Still, he thought that instead of attending to his
personal appearance and running around hiring an automobile, Tsan Ti
might have taken some quicker method of finding out what had happened
down the mountainside. But he was a Chinaman, and his ways and means
were not those of a Caucasian.

"Where did you learn to drive an automobile, Tsan Ti?" asked Matt.

"We have the devil wagons in Canton. There are many in the foreign
quarter, and I have one of my own." Tsan Ti fanned himself and looked
troubled. "There is something," he went on presently, "of which I must
inform you. Perhaps, when you know, you will leave me to find the Eye
of Buddha unaided. But it is right that I should tell you."

"What is it?" inquired Matt.

"This, courageous youth: The ten thousand demons of misfortune have
been let loose upon those most closely concerned with the loss of the
ruby. While the great Buddha sits eyeless in the temple at Honam, his
wrath falls upon me in particular; and, now that you are helping me, it
will likewise fall upon you. Disasters have crowded upon me, and if you
keep on in the search, they will surely overtake you. Already you have
had experience of them."

"Sufferin' snakes!" grunted McGlory. "It'll take more'n a heathen idol
over in China to get me on the run."

"I guess we'll face the music," laughed Matt. "That ruby eye may be a
hoodoo, but we're not superstitious enough to get scared."

"Excellent!" wheezed Tsan Ti. "I have done well to secure your
invaluable services. Shall we now proceed down the mountain in pursuit
of the sailor?"

"Why, he may be a hundred miles from here by this time."

"Not so!" was the positive answer. "I have my warning that he is near,
and that we must hasten."

"Warning?" repeated Matt.

Tsan Ti poked two fingers down the neck of his blouse and fished up a
small black V-shaped object attached to a gold chain.

"Observe," he said solemnly, "my jade-stone amulet, covered with choice
ideographs from the Book of Auguries. When it burns the skin upon the
speaking of a name, then have I a warning. Look!" He held the stone
on his fat palm. "With it thus I breathe the words 'one-eyed thief'
and"--he winced as though from pain--"the amulet nearly burns."

McGlory dropped his head, and his shoulders shook with suppressed
mirth. Never had he met so humorous a person as this mandarin of the
red button, with his yellow cord, his jade-stone amulet, and his load
of trouble.

Matt was also possessed of a desire to laugh, but managed to keep his
features straight. Tsan Ti observed the incredulity of the boys, and
dropped the amulet back down his blouse.

"Let us go, doubting ones," he puffed, "and you will see. Come,
accompany me, and you will not be long in learning why the amulet
burns!"

"Our motor cycles are here, at the garage," demurred Matt, "and----"

"They will be safely kept until you come for them again. Let us, as you
say, hustle."

He was up and waddling toward the automobile before Matt or McGlory
could answer. The boys followed him, Matt climbing into the front seat
at the mandarin's side, and the cowboy getting into the seat behind.

"Hadn't I better drive?" queried Matt.

"It is a pleasure for me to guide and control the pounding demon," the
Chinaman answered. "Ha, we start."

But they did not start. Naturally, the long halt had not left enough
gas in the cylinders to take the spark, and Tsan Ti had neglected to
use the crank.

Matt got down and turned the engine over--and came within one of being
run down before he could get out of the way. Regaining the car at a
flying leap, he snuggled down in his seat and proceeded to hold his
breath. Of all the reckless drivers he had ever seen, Tsan Ti was
the limit. He banged over the edge of the level into the long slope,
engaging the high speed so quickly that Matt wondered he did not strip
the gear. As the car lurched, and swayed, and bounded Tsan Ti's joy
shone in his puffy face.

"Glory to glory, and all hands 'round!" yelled the cowboy, from behind.
"Change seats with him, Matt! If you don't, he'll string us from the
Mountain House clean to Catskill."

Matt leaned over and gave the steering wheel a turn barely in time
to keep them from hitting a tree. The wake the machine left behind
it looked like a zigzag streak. First they were on one side of the
road, and then on the other, juggling back and forth by the narrowest
of margins, and keeping right side up in defiance with every law of
gravity with which Matt was familiar.

"Cut out the high speed!" shouted Matt. "It's suicide to use that gear
on such a slope as this. We could coast down this hill without an ounce
of power."

A mud guard was loose, and it rattled horribly. The Chinaman was
feeding too much gasoline part of the time, and not enough the rest of
the time. Now and again, the cylinders would misfire, pop wildly, then
jump into a racing hum. That high-powered roadster made as much noise
as a railroad train; and what with Matt yelling directions, and McGlory
whooping like a Comanche at every close call they nipped out of, the
uproar was tremendous.

Through it all the fat Chinaman glowed and, at intervals, gave vent to
ecstatic howls. Whenever they escaped a tree that had threatened them,
he exploded jubilantly.

"I can't stand this, pard!" roared McGlory. "I'm goin' to jump out, if
you don't stop him!"

To argue with Tsan Ti, in all that turmoil of sound, was out of the
question.

Hardly had the cowboy ceased speaking when, through the wild hubbub of
noise, Matt thought he heard a sharp detonation. Of this he was not
sure, but, almost immediately, a front tire blew up, and the machine
swerved wildly.

Bang--_crash!_

The automobile made a wild effort to climb a tree, and the next thing
Motor Matt realized was the fact that he was turning handsprings in the
road.

Silence, sudden and grim, followed the frantic medley of sound. A bird
twittered somewhere off in the woods, and the flutelike notes hit
Matt's tortured ear-drums like a volley of musketry.

He got up, dazedly. His hat was gone, and one of his trouser legs was
missing. The back of his head, still tender from a blow he had received
in Grand Rapids, reminded him by a sharp twinge that it had been badly
treated.

Matt limped to the tree that had caused the wreck, and leaned against
it. Then, and not till then, was he able to make a comprehensive view
of the scene.

The front of the automobile was badly smashed--so badly that it was a
wonder Matt had ever escaped with his life. One of the forward wheels
had come off.

McGlory, in his shirt sleeves--and with one sleeve missing--was on his
hands and knees. He was facing the mandarin--staring at that remarkable
person with a well-what-do-you-think-of-that expression.

The mandarin was sitting up in the road. The black cap with the red
button was hanging to one side of his head, one of his embroidered
sandals was gone, and the yellow silk blouse and trousers were torn.
In some manner the steering wheel had become detached from the post,
and Tsan Ti was hanging to it like grim death. He seemed still to be
driving, for the steering wheel was in the correct position.

Certainly it was not a time to laugh, but Motor Matt could hardly help
it.



CHAPTER VII.

NIP AND TUCK.


"That's right," whooped McGlory, twisting his head to get a look at
Matt, "laugh--laugh, and enjoy yourself! Sufferin' smash-ups! It's
a wonder the hospital corps didn't have to shovel us up in a bushel
basket."

"Are you hurt, Joe?" inquired Matt.

"Hurt?" snapped McGlory, his gorge rising. "Oh, no, of course not! We
weren't going more than a hundred and twenty miles an hour when we hit
that tree, so how could I possibly have suffered any damage? This comes
of trotting a heat with a half-baked rat-eater. Here's where I quit.
That's right. Go on and hunt your idol's eye, if you want to. Say, if I
could get hold of that yellow cord, I'd strangle the mandarin myself."

McGlory climbed to his feet lamely and looked himself over, up and
down. His coat was about twenty feet away, in one place, and his hat
lay at an equal distance in another. As he moved about collecting his
property and muttering to himself, Matt stepped to the side of Tsan Ti.

The mandarin, still dazed and bewildered, continued to cling to the
steering wheel. Matt bent down and took the wheel away from him.

"Illustrious friend," said the Chinaman, blinking his eyes, "the
suddenness was most remarkable. Once more the thousand demons of
misfortune have visited their wrath upon me!"

"Don't talk about misfortune," returned Matt. "We're the luckiest
fellows that ever lived to get out of a wreck like that with whole
skins. The car's a ruin, Tsan Ti, and you'll have to pay for it."

"Of what use is money, interesting youth, to a mandarin who has
received the yellow cord? I have rice fields and tea plantations,
and millions of taels to my credit. The bagatelle of a cost does not
concern me."

Matt helped him upright and dusted him off. As soon as he had pushed a
foot into the missing sandal, he gave vent to a wail, and sat down on
the side of the machine.

"Such vastness of misfortune takes my courage," he groaned. "The Eye
of Buddha can not be recovered with all the thousand demons fighting
against me. The jade-stone amulet burns me fiercely----"

"Wish it had burned a hole clear through you before you'd ever written
that letter to Matt," cried McGlory.

"I have involved two honorable assistants in my so-great ill luck,"
went on the mandarin.

"Never mind that," said Matt. "I thought you knew how to drive a car?"

"He's the craziest thing on wheels when it comes to drivin' a bubble,"
called out McGlory. "Here's where I quit. Scratch my entry in the race
for the Eye of Buddha. I always know when I've got enough. We've had
four hours of this, and it's a-plenty."

Motor Matt began looking for his cap. Where it had gone was a mystery.
He finally discovered it hanging to a clump of bushes. As he turned
around, he was startled to see Tsan Ti with the yellow cord coiled
about his throat.

Could it be possible that the mandarin, cast down by his latest
accident, was on the point of carrying out the mandate of the regent?

"I say!" shouted Matt, hurrying forward.

But the Chinaman was interrupted in his fell purpose by an explosion in
the car directly behind him.

Bang!

He jumped about four feet, straight up in the air. Matt saw a tongue of
flame shoot upward from the car.

The gasoline tank had been smashed. The inflammable contents, dripping
upon the hot exhaust pipe leading from the muffler, must have caused
the blaze.

Sizz-z-, _bang_, boom!

The gasoline was vaporizing. As the startled mandarin watched the
blaze, paralyzed and speechless by the unexpected exhibition, the
yellow cord swung limply downward from his throat. McGlory rushed up
behind him, and jerked the cord away. Tsan Ti did not seem to notice
the manoeuvre--he was all wrapped up in the blaze and the explosions.

The fire shot skyward, and Matt grabbed the Chinaman and hauled him to
a safe distance.

"Bring the wheel, Joe," Matt yelled, "the one that came off!"

McGlory had not the least notion what Matt wanted with the wheel, but
he got it, and they were all well down the road when a final terrific
boom scattered fragments of the wreck every which way and sent little
jets of flame from the diffused gasoline spitting in all directions.

"Good-by, you old benzine buggy!" said McGlory, addressing the
flame-wrapped car. "You wasn't worth much, anyways, but I bet the
mandarin bleeds for twice your value, just the same. What you looking
at that wheel for, Matt?" he finished, turning to his chum.

"It was punctured by a bullet," replied Matt, pointing to a clean-cut
rent in the shoe.

"Bullet?" echoed McGlory. "Speak to me about that! I didn't hear any
shooting."

"The car made so much noise that's not to be wondered at. I wasn't sure
that what I'd heard was a shot, but----"

Matt had lifted his head to speak to McGlory. As he did so, his eyes
glimpsed a figure skulking among the bushes at the roadside. The
sunshine, and the glare from the fire, caused a ghastly radiance to
hover about the bushes.

In the weird shadows of the bushes and trees, a face stood out
prominently--a face topped with a sailor hat, fringed with mutton-chop
whiskers, and with a patch over one eye.

The king of the motor boys gave a whoop and darted for the bushes.
The face vanished as if by magic, but Matt kept furiously on, McGlory
chasing after him.

"What's to pay, pard?" the cowboy was demanding.

"The sailor!" flung back Matt. "I saw him in the brush! He must have
been the one who put that bullet into our front tire!"

"Whoop-ya!" yelled McGlory, all his hostility springing to the surface
and causing him to forget his announced determination to "quit" and let
the mandarin shift for himself. "Let's put the kibosh on him! He's the
cause of all this. Hang the idol's eye! We've got an account of our own
to settle. But look out for the glass balls."

Ahead of him Matt could hear the crash and crackle of undergrowth, and
now and then he caught a glimpse of the racing sailor.

The timber grew more dense, and presently, just as Matt thought he had
the fellow, he was brought up short with the quarry out of sight and
hearing.

"He's dodged away," panted the cowboy. "Maybe he's doubled back."

"I'd have heard him if he'd done that," answered Matt. "He has either
stopped, and is lying low, or else he has gone on ahead. I thought I
had him, for a minute. Come on, Joe!"

Matt flung onward, and leaped suddenly from the edge of the timber into
a cornfield on a little flat between two shoulders of the mountain.
He stopped and listened. The leaves of the corn rustled in the faint
breeze, and, in the centre of the field, an ungainly scarecrow half
reared itself above the tasseled stalks.

"He's in the corn, that's where he is," puffed the cowboy. "Mind your
eye, pard, and look out for the dope balls."

"You go one way across the field," suggested Matt, "and I'll go the
other. Sharp's the word now, old chap. We're giving that fellow the run
of his life, and he's having it nip and tuck to get away."

The field was not large, and Matt and McGlory crossed it rapidly, the
king of the motor boys on one side of the scarecrow, and the cowboy on
the other. They met on the opposite side of the field, without having
seen the sailor.

"I reckon he's dodged us!" growled McGlory, in savage disappointment.
"The ornery old webfoot has----"

He stopped aghast, his eyes on the scarecrow. The tattered figure was
moving briskly through the corn, toward the side of the field from
which the boys had just come.

"There he goes!" shouted Matt, darting away again. "He got into the
scarecrow's clothes, and didn't have the nerve to wait until we had
left the field."

"Speak--speak to me about--about this!" returned McGlory breathlessly,
plunging after his chum through the rustling rows.

Once more in the woods, the boys found themselves even closer to the
fleeting mariner than they had been before. He was in plain sight now,
and shedding his ragged disguise as he raced for liberty.

Up the shoulder of the mountain he went, pawing and scrambling, then
down on the other side, Matt and McGlory close after him. He was making
strenuously for a cleared space at the foot of the little slope. In the
centre of the clearing were the remains of a stone wall, and near the
wall stood a little stone house. The house appeared to be deserted, and
the half-opened door swung awry on one hinge.

"He's makin' for the 'dobe!" wheezed the cowboy.

The words had hardly left his lips before the sailor vanished within
the stone walls. Matt ran recklessly after him.

"Look out for the double-X brand of dope!" warned McGlory. "You know
what he did before, Matt."

But Matt was already inside the house. The interior apparently
consisted of a hall and two rooms, although the boarded-up windows cast
a funereal gloom over the place, and made it difficult to see anything
distinctly. Matt sprang through one of the two doors that opened off
the hall, and McGlory, still clamoring wildly for his chum to beware of
the glass balls, followed.

Slam went the door of the room--probably the only door in the house
that was in commission--and rattle-rattle went a key in the lock.

Then came a husky laugh, and the words:

"Belay a bit, you swabs! Leave the Eye o' Buddha alone. An' that's a
warnin'."

Feet pattered along the hall and out of it.

"Nip and tuck," sang out McGlory, while Matt wrestled with the door,
"and it wasn't the webfoot that got nipped, not so any one could
notice. Catch your breath, pard, and calm down. Old One Eye has made
his getaway, and we might just as well laugh as be sorry."



CHAPTER VIII.

TSAN TI VANISHES AGAIN.


There was wisdom in the cowboy's words, and Matt gave over his attack
on the door and turned to his chum with a disappointed laugh.

"We can get out of here easy enough," said he, "but the sailor gains
so much time while we're doing it that he wins out in the race. Great
spark plugs, but we're having a time! I'm almost tempted to think
that those ten thousand demons, the mandarin talks about, are really
pestering us."

"Ten thousand horned toads," scoffed McGlory. "This is what we
naturally get for trying to turn an impossible trick for a heathen.
What was the good of paying any attention to that letter, in the first
place?"

"Well," answered Matt, "we've discussed that point a good many times
already, Joe. I wanted to go to New York, anyway, and it was only a
little out of our road to come down the river and drop off at Catskill
Landing."

"Suppose we get our wheels, go back to Catskill, and then take the next
boat down the river? What's the good of all this strain we've taken
upon ourselves? If we don't let well enough alone, something is sure
going to snap, and like as not it'll be mighty serious. It's a wonder
we ever came through that smash-up with our scalps."

There was one window in the room. Matt had passed to it and was making
an examination. The glass was broken out of the sash, and the boards
nailed to the outside of the casing were loose. He pushed two of the
boards off, leaving a gap through which he and his chum could easily
crawl.

"If we'd done this in the first place, Joe," said he, "we might have
picked up the mariner's trail before he had got too far away."

"Too late now. It was our luck to get into the only room in the 'dobe,
I reckon, that had a good door and a usable lock."

"Well," returned Matt, "let's get out and hunt up the mandarin. I hope
he won't make 'way with himself while we're moseying around in this
part of the woods."

The boys climbed through the window and the gap in the boards, and Matt
made a casual survey of the house's vicinity. Of course the sailor was
gone, and had left no clue as to the direction of his flight.

Setting their faces in the direction of the road, the boys started off
briskly on their return to the wrecked car.

"There's one thing you didn't do, pard," remarked McGlory, while they
were on their way through the timber.

"What's that?"

"Why, you didn't lisp a word to the mandarin about that note you took
from the Hottentot's cap. Maybe, if the Chinaman knew about that, he'd
quit thinking of doing the polite and courteous thing for the regent."

"I had intended telling Tsan Ti about the note," returned Matt, struck
by the illuminating suggestion, "but I hadn't time. I'll put it up to
Tsan Ti, though, the first thing after we meet him again."

"I've got the yellow string. If he has to make the happy dispatch with
that, then I've blocked his game for a while. I don't know much about
the etiquette of this yellow-cord _game_. Do you?"

"No."

"Well, leaving that out of the discussion for now, here's another
point. Do you reckon old One Eye has found out, yet, how you juggled
the notes on him?"

"I can't see as that makes much difference," answered Matt.

"He left us in a hurry, there at that stone house. If he'd known we had
the note, why didn't he stop and palaver about it?"

"We were two against him, and he was in too much of a hurry."

"Why didn't he use the glass balls and take the note away from us while
we were down and out?"

"Probably his supply of glass balls is running low."

"That note is to be shown to the man in Purling, and the man in
Purling is then to show the bearer of the note where this Grattan is.
Now----"

"That's a chance for us to find Grattan," cut in Matt.

"You're planning on that, are you? Sufferin' trouble! If it wouldn't be
actin' more like a hired man than a pard, I'd go on a strike."

"We're onto this mandarin's business now, Joe," said Matt, "and we
ought to see it through to a finish."

"It'll be our finish, I reckon."

At this moment they stepped out onto the road close to the car. The
machine was a charred and twisted wreck, and fit only for the junk
heap. Matt looked around for Tsan Ti, but he was nowhere in evidence.

"Vanished again!" exclaimed McGlory.

Matt threw back his head and shouted the mandarin's name at the top
of his voice. No answer was returned, but the echoes of the call had
hardly died away before they were taken up by the humming of another
motor, and a little runabout came whirling down the road and brought up
at the side of the wrecked car.

Two men were in the runabout, and one of the men was in a tremendously
bad humor. The angry individual jumped from the runabout and peered at
the number on the smoking board at the rear of the chassis.

"It was my car, all right!" he cried. "And look at it! Great Scott,
just look at it! Total loss, and only a fat chink to look to for
damages. Oh, I'm s, t, u, n, g to the queen's taste, all right. Who're
you?" he demanded, whirling suddenly on the boys.

Matt told him.

"You're from up the mountain, are you?" inquired Matt.

"Where else?" replied the other crossly. "What's become of the chink
that hired this car? Do you know?"

"Probably he's gone back to the hotel."

"Oh, probably," was the sarcastic retort; "yes, probably! I've got
money that says he's sloped for good. Look here. They say there were
two fellows in the car with the chink when it left the Mountain House.
Are you the fellows?"

"Yes."

"Then, by jing, I'll hold _you_. Twenty-five hundred is what I want,
and I want it quick."

"Oh, rats!" grunted the man in the runabout. "I'll bet those fellows
couldn't rake up twenty-five hundred cents. Quit foolin', Jackson, and
let's go back."

Matt and McGlory, after their recent experiences in the collision and
while chasing the sailor, were most assuredly not looking their best.
But they could have drawn a draft on Chicago for twenty-five hundred
dollars and had it honored--had they been so minded.

"Oh, say moo and chase yourself!" cried McGlory. "You rented the car to
the Chinaman; you didn't rent it to us."

"I'm going to hold you, anyhow," declared the man called Jackson.

"You'll have a good time trying it," retorted the cowboy truculently.

Jackson stepped toward McGlory.

"Don't you get gay with me," he shouted. "I'm not going to lose a
twenty-five hundred dollar car and not make somebody smart for it. I
told the chink that was what the car was worth."

"I know something about cars," put in Matt mildly, "and this one is out
of date--four years old, if it's a day. If it had been a modern car,
with the gasoline tank in the right place, it would never have caught
fire, and you could have saved something out of the wreck. The proper
feed is by gravity, and the right place for the tank is under the
seat----"

"Oh, you!" sneered Jackson, "what do you know about cars?"

"He can forget more in a minute about these chug wagons," bristled
McGlory, "than you know in a year. Put that in your brier and whiff
it. This fellow's Motor Matt, motor expert, late of Burton's Big
Consolidated Shows, where he's been exhibiting the Traquair aëroplane.
Now bear down on your soft pedal, will you?"

"Thunder!" breathed the man in the runabout.

"Is--is that a fact?" queried Jackson, visibly impressed.

"It's a fact," said Matt, "but it needn't make any difference in this
case. That car of yours, Jackson, would have been dear at a thousand
dollars. You'll get every cent the car is worth, too. The Chinaman who
hired it is a mandarin. He's in this country on private business. He
has tea plantations, rice fields, and money in the bank till you can't
rest. Now, stop worrying about the damages and give my chum and me a
lift up the hill. We'll find Tsan Ti at the Kaaterskill. That's where
he's been staying for a week or two."

Jackson was mollified.

"Of course," said he, "I don't want to be rough with anybody, but you
understand how it is. This country is hard on cars, and I have to
charge good prices and be sure the cars are hired by men who can put
up for them if they go over a cliff or meet with any other kind of a
wreck. I'm obliged to you for your information about Tsan Ti. He's been
a good deal of a conundrum at the Kaaterskill since he's put up there.
A man, riding up from below, passed a couple of Chinamen chin-chinning
beside this wreck, and he brought word to me. That's how Jim and I
happened to come down."

"You say the man from below passed _two_ Chinamen talking near the
car?" queried Matt, with a surprised glance at McGlory.

"That's what he said."

"There was only the mandarin in the car when we had the smash," said
Matt. "Where could that other one have come from?"

McGlory said nothing, but his face was full of things he might have
said--doubts of the mandarin, of course, and vague suspicions of double
dealing.

Jim backed the runabout around, and Matt and McGlory crowded into it.
There was a hard climb up the hill, overloaded as the runabout was, but
finally the Mountain House was passed and the other hotel reached.

The boys, in their tattered garments, aroused considerable curiosity
among the hotel guests as they crossed the colonnaded porches and made
their way into the office. They inquired for Tsan Ti, and bellboys were
sent to the Chinaman's room and around the porches and grounds, calling
his name.

But he wasn't to be found.

"Up a stump some more," growled McGlory, "and all because that
jade-stone amulet got overheated and caused the mandarin to look for
trouble. Oh, blazes! _When_ will we ever acquire a proper amount of
horse sense for a couple of our size? You couldn't expect much more of
me, Matt, but--well, pard, I'm surprised at _you_."



CHAPTER IX.

TRICKED ONCE MORE.


Matt and McGlory were bruised and sore. They were also pretty tired.
From the moment they had met Tsan Ti on the mountainside that morning,
they had been knocked about from pillar to post.

"If trouble will please hold off for a couple of hours," said McGlory,
"I'll give a good imitation of a fellow snatching his forty winks
and getting ready for another round. What do you say, Matt? The
mandarin isn't here. He may come, but I wouldn't bet on it, as I'm
sort of losing faith in the yellow boy with the red button. He has a
disagreeable habit of getting out from under whenever anything goes
wrong, and we find ourselves stalled. I reckon, though, you'll want to
stay here and give him a chance to blow in?"

"We can hold on here for two or three hours," answered Matt, "take a
bath, and a rub down, and a bit of a rest, then fasten our clothes
together with a supply of safety pins and motor back to Catskill and
get another outfit of clothes from our grips. Then, after a good
night's sleep, we'll go to Purling."

"No matter whether the mandarin shows up or not?"

"No matter what the mandarin does, Joe. I've worked up a big interest
in that Eye of Buddha, and I'm going to find out whether it's a fair
shake or a myth."

"I'll bet all my share of the aëroplane money against two bits that we
never see the old hatchet boy again, and also that something hits us
before we can get back to Catskill."

"You're guessing, Joe."

"Well, that's my chirp, in anything from doughnuts to double eagles.
That Jackson party might as well hang that wrecked bubble in a tree as
a memento--the man with the rice fields and the tea plantations, and so
on, has started for the high timber just to dodge paying for that pile
of scrap down the trail."

"You're wrong," said Matt confidently.

"Wait till the cards are all on the table, pard, and then we'll see."

They had a most refreshing bath and a long rest in a couple of
lazy-back chairs on an upper veranda. Orders had been left with the
clerk that word should be brought to them at once if Tsan Ti put in an
appearance.

McGlory awoke from a drowse to unbosom himself of a subject which had
not, as yet, claimed its proper share of attention.

"The fellow who came up the mountain and told Jackson there was a
burning car piled by the roadside," said he, "said there were two
Chinamen watching the conflagration. Think chink number two was Kien
Lung with another yellow cord, Matt?"

"No."

"Then who was he?"

"I've been thinking that it was Sam Wing, the San Francisco Chinaman,
who has been keeping track of the two thieves for the mandarin."

"That's you!" exclaimed McGlory. "Why, I never thought of that dark
horse. Have you any notion he coaxed the mandarin away on important
business?"

"That's likely."

"Anything's likely. For instance, it's quite likely the fat Chinaman is
a washee-washee boy from 'Frisco with a fine, large imagination, and
that he's stringing us."

"Why should he want to do that?"

"No _sabe_, but there's a lot of things we can't _sabe_ concerning this
layout."

"Tsan Ti has money----"

"He showed us all of a hundred in double eagles. But did he let us get
our hands on the coin? Not any. He allows, in his large and offhand
way, that he has millions of taels--but that may be one of his tales,"
and McGlory grinned.

"Anyhow," said Matt doggedly, "we ride to Purling to-morrow and see the
man at the general store."

Matt fell into a drowse again. No one from the office came to announce
the arrival of Tsan Ti, and when the hour arrived for the evening meal
the boys had their supper sent to their room. They were not arrayed
properly for "dining out."

Following the meal they patched up their garments with safety pins,
settled their bill, and walked over to the Mountain House garage. Dusk
was falling as they trundled their machines into the road and lighted
their lamps.

"We'll have an easier time of it going down the mountain," said Matt,
"than we had coming up."

"Don't be so sure, pard," answered McGlory. "There are a number of
things to trouble us besides the road."

"Don't cross any trouble bridges until you come to them, Joe," advised
Matt.

The motor boys were feeling a little stiff and sore, but their engines
were humming cheerfully, and there was a joy for them in the downward
spin through the woods.

They remembered the tree root, and slowed down for it as it came under
their headlights; and they also remembered the location of the wrecked
automobile and gave it a wide berth.

At about the place where they had encountered the one-eyed sailor, with
everything going smoothly and a fair prospect of reaching Catskill in
record time, the crack of a firearm suddenly split the still air to the
left of the road. Startled, they clamped on the brakes and came to a
halt in time to hear a shrill cry of "Help! help!" ringing out weirdly
from the dark woods.

"Sufferin' hold-ups!" murmured McGlory. "And here we are with nothing
more than a couple of jack-knives to our names."

"What do you suppose it can be?" asked Matt, dropping the bracket from
his rear wheel and letting the motor cycle stand in the road.

He moved off toward the left and listened.

"There's a row on in there," declared McGlory. "I can hear some one
pounding around in the timber."

"So can I," said Matt. "We've got to do what we can, Joe. That may mean
robbery--or worse. Come on!"

The generous instincts of the motor boys prompted them to go at once to
the assistance of a possible victim, and they hurried into the timber.
The sounds of scuffling which they had heard died out suddenly, and
while they were moving around through the gloom, trying to locate the
scene of the trouble, there reached their ears the chug-chugging of
motors getting under way.

"Our motor cycles!" exclaimed Matt, darting back toward the road.

"Gad-hook it all!" cried McGlory; "it was a frame-up! A trick to run
off our wheels!"

Although they were only a few moments regaining the road, the lamps of
the two motor cycles were gleaming more than a hundred feet away.

"Stop!" yelled Matt, racing down the road.

His answer was a raucous laugh--such a laugh as they had heard before.
And then came the words, bellowed hoarsely:

"Leave the Eye o' Buddha alone!"

After that silence, during which the gleaming lamps turned an angle in
the road and were blotted from sight.

"Seems to me," said McGlory grimly, "I've heard that voice before."

Motor Matt did not reply at once. Perhaps his feelings were too deep
for words.

"And I was expecting something, too!" said the cowboy, in a spasm of
self-reproach. "Sufferin' easy marks! Matt, some of the stuff from
those glass balls must still be playing hob with our brains. Otherwise,
how is it these backsets keep happening in one, two, three order? There
go a pair of motor bikes that'll stand us in four hundred good big
cart wheels. That was right, what you said before we left those wheels
and flocked into the timber. That shot and those sounds of a scuffle
_did_ mean robbery. That's a lesson for us never to help a person in
distress. Likewise it's a hint that we'd better pull out and leave the
mandarin to manage his own troubles."

"It's a hint that we'd better go to Purling to-morrow and look for
Grattan," and there was an unwonted sharpness in Motor Matt's voice
that caused McGlory to straighten up and take notice.

"When you tune up that way," said the cowboy, "it means mischief. There
was another man with the Hottentot. Do you think the _hombre_ was this
Grattan sharp?"

"No. Grattan is expecting the sailor at Purling to-morrow. This was
some one else."

"The ruby thieves have quite an extensive gang. It's walk for us, from
here to Catskill."

"From here to the first farmhouse," corrected Matt. "We'll get some one
to take us to Catskill with a horse and buggy."

He bit off his words crisp and sharp, which, to McGlory, proved how
deeply he resented the scurvy trick by which they had been lured away
from the motor cycles.

"How easy it is to understand things when you look back at' em,"
philosophized the cowboy, swinging along at Matt's side, down the dark
road. "The webfoot and his pal fired that shot and raised a yell for
help, then they jumped up and down in the bushes, and the result had
all the effect of a knock-down and drag-out. One-Eye must have had us
spotted, and he and his pal were lingering in the trailside brush,
watching for our headlights. Oh, yes, it was easy. The 'illustrious
ones' tumbled over themselves to fall into the trap. If I had that----"

"There's a farmhouse," said Matt, and indicated a point of light close
to the foot of the mountain. "Nearly every house in these parts is
either a boarding house or a hotel. We can get a rig, all right, I'm
pretty sure."



CHAPTER X.

THE DIAMOND MERCHANT.


It was midnight before the motor boys were deposited on the walk in
front of their hotel in Catskill. A team and two-seated wagon had
brought them, and they had not left the vicinity of the road at the
foot of the mountain until they had driven around for an hour, made
inquiries concerning two men on motor cycles, given a description of
the sailor, and passed word that the men were thieves and were to be
arrested and held if found.

Matt, according to agreement, paid the driver who had brought them to
Catskill five dollars for his services.

Before going to bed Matt gathered a little information concerning the
village of Purling. He learned that it was six miles from Cairo, and
that Cairo was on the railroad and could be reached by a morning train.

But the train would not serve. By proceeding to the village in that
way, the boys would not be able to arrive before noon, and, according
to the note in the sailor's cap, they were expected at the general
store by ten o'clock.

"We'll hire an automobile," said Matt, "and a driver that knows the
mountains. I guess we'd better speak for the machine to-night."

At the same place where they had secured the motor cycles they
arranged for a touring car and a driver who knew the country, but the
arrangement was not effected until they had deposited three hundred
dollars as a guaranty that the motor cycles would be returned, or the
owner indemnified for their loss.

"Three hundred plunks gone where the woodbine twineth," mourned
McGlory, as they were going to bed, "and all because we're helping to
turn a trick for Tsan Ti. Good business--I don't think."

"This Grattan," said Matt, "is probably lying low somewhere near
Purling. If he isn't, he wouldn't be making it so hard for his pal
to get at him. The sailor will be there, and he won't get to see
Grattan without the letter. We'll catch the fellow, and we may catch
Grattan--say nothing of the possibility of recovering the Eye of
Buddha."

"We'll draw a blank in the matter of that idol's eye, pard, you take it
from me. But there's a chance of our putting a fancy kibosh on Bunce
and getting back the go-devil machines. Still, there's also a splendid
chance for a fall down. Listen. The _Hottentot_ man examines the note
in his cap. He sees it's not the few lines he got from Grattan, but a
lot of 'con' talk from the mandarin. That leaves One Eye in the air,
but gives him a line on _us_. What'll happen? I wish I knew."

"The sailor may not look at the letter in his hat until he gets to
Purling, so----"

"Don't think it, pard. That would be too much luck to come at a time
when we're hocussed crisscross and both ways."

By seven the boys were up, had overhauled their grips, and got into
fresh clothes, and were sitting down to breakfast at the first call. By
seven-thirty the touring car was at the door for them, freshly groomed
and shining like a new dollar.

It was a sixty horse-power machine, and a family carryall for the
personal use of the proprietor of the garage. Not having been used for
hackabout purposes, the car was more dependable than one that had been
hammered about over the rough roads by anybody who could tell the spark
plug from the magneto and had five dollars an hour to pay for a junket.

The proprietor, who was a good fellow at heart and wanted to do
everything possible to help the boys recover the stolen motor cycles,
made this concession. So, with Matt in the driver's seat, the native
who knew the way beside him, and McGlory with the tonneau all to
himself, the touring car flashed out of Catskill Landing and took to
the hills.

Of the drive Motor Matt made that morning, the driver on his left
entertained the most enthusiastic recollections. Never had he seen a
car handled so cleverly; and when the car balked--which the best of
cars will do now and then--the way the king of the motor boys located
the difficulty and adjusted it was something to think about.

At nine-thirty the touring car landed its passengers in front of the
general store. Two men were sunning themselves on the bench in front,
and a sleeping dog looked up lazily, snapped at a fly, and then went to
sleep again.

"Where's Mr. Pryne?" asked Matt, stepping up to the two men on the
bench.

"I'm Pryne," answered one of the two, measuring Matt with an expectant
light in his faded blue eyes.

"Look at this," said Matt, and presented the letter from Grattan.

The man, who was roughly dressed and certainly had nothing to do with
the store, studied the writing carefully.

"This is all right," he remarked; "_all_ right, but"--and his eyes
traveled doubtfully over McGlory--"only one was expected."

"Don't worry about that, Mr. Pryne," answered Matt genially; "this
chap," and he lowered his voice to a whisper, "is a pal."

"There's another one to go," murmured Pryne.

Matt was startled; then, thinking the other one was the sailor, he
braced himself for short, sharp work. "Where is the other one, Pryne?"

"Here," and Pryne indicated the other man who had been sitting with him
on the bench.

Matt gave more careful attention to this other individual. He was a
Hebrew--one glance was sufficient to decide that. Also, he was ornately
clad, wearing many large diamonds and making a fulsome display of
heavy gold watch chain. The Jew pushed forward with a wink and an
ingratiating smile.

"Goldstein is der name," said he, thrusting out a hand. "I'm der
man from New York, yes, der"--and he whispered the rest in Matt's
ear--"diamond merchant. You know for vat I come."

A thrill ran through the king of the motor boys. No, he did not know
"for vat" the diamond merchant had come, but he guessed that it was to
purchase the Eye of Buddha. The mandarin's story was being borne out by
every fresh development.

"We're a little ahead of time," observed Pryne, "but I guess it won't
make no difference."

"Not the least," replied Matt. "I don't believe it will be necessary
for me to take my pal along, so I'll just give him a few instructions
about the motor car and we'll be going. This way, Joe," and Matt took
McGlory to one side for a brief talk.

"What you going to do when you reach where you're going, with all that
gang against you?" whispered the cowboy. "The outfit would be more than
a handful for the two of us--and here you're cutting me out of the game
right at the start."

"No," whispered Matt, "I'm not cutting you out of the game. You've got
the most important part to play. Listen. Find a constable, if you can
do it in a hurry, and pick up two or three more men and follow us. Do
it carefully, so that Pryne won't suspect. Also tell the driver of
the car to look out for the one-eyed sailor. If he comes here at ten
o'clock, tell the driver to have him captured and held--and the other
man, too, if they both come. That's your programme, Joe, and everything
depends on you."

The cowboy's eyes began to glitter and snap as the gist and vital
importance of his pard's instructions drifted through his mind.

"You know you can bank on me, Matt," he answered. "But don't move too
fast--make a delay. I've got a lot to do, and you're liable to get so
far ahead I'll lose track of you."

"I'll delay matters as much as I can."

Matt returned to Goldstein.

"Where's Pryne?" he queried, observing, with a qualm, that the guide
had vanished.

"He is gone for der team," replied Goldstein. "I am sorry," he added,
jumping to another subject, "that der price of precious stones is come
down. Fancy prices don't rule no more for such luxuries."

"You'll have to pay something for this treasure from the temple of
Honam if you get it," answered Matt.

"I will do all that is in reason, yes, but der chances vas great, and I
take them."

"Haven't Grattan and I taken chances, Goldstein?" returned Matt sharply.

"You have, yes. Well, we shall see, we shall see."

Goldstein was carrying a small satchel which he kept in hand
continually, whether he was sitting down or standing up.

"I come prepared to talk business," he said, with a sly grin, directing
his glance at the satchel. "My orders was to wait here until Bunce iss
arrived with der letter. I had a letter myself," he laughed.

At this juncture Pryne drove around the corner of the building and drew
up at the platform in front of the store.

"Jump in, gents," said he. "It won't be long till I snake you out to my
place."

Matt and Goldstein climbed into the back seat. Under the seat was a bag
of ground feed. As Pryne was driving out of town, Matt drew his knife
from his pocket, opened the blade, and dropped a hand over the back of
the seat.

A jab or two with the knife made a hole in the bag. The wagon was
an old one, and the boards in the bottom of the box had wide cracks
between them. Looking back casually, Matt saw that a fine trail of
"middlings" was leaking into the road.

"That will do the trick," he thought exultantly. "My cowboy pard can be
depended on to attend to the rest."



CHAPTER XI.

THE OLD SUGAR CAMP.


Pryne's team was by no means a swift one. The horses jogged slowly out
into the hills, Pryne constantly plying a gad.

"Seems to me like," remarked Pryne, looking around suddenly, "that
Grattan allowed Bunce had only one eye."

"That's another pal of his," said Matt coolly. "You've got us mixed,
Pryne."

"Waal, mebby. Git ap, there," he added to the horses; "you critters are
slower'n merlasses in January."

For a few minutes they rode in silence, the dust eddying around them
and only the creak of the wagon, the thump of the horses' hoofs, and
the swish of the gad breaking the stillness.

Goldstein, his satchel on his knees, kept flicking a gaudy and heavily
perfumed handkerchief in front of his face to clear away the dust.
Matt was busy with his thoughts, and was wondering what was to happen
at the end of the journey.

Abruptly, Pryne turned again in his seat.

"Seems, too," he ventured, "as how Grattan said this Bunce was a sailor
an' wore sailor clothes."

"That's the other fellow again, Pryne," Matt smiled. "You haven't got
much of a memory, I guess."

"Waal, it ain't long, but it's mighty keen."

"My cracious," murmured Goldstein, "but der dust is bad. How much
farther is it yet?"

"We turn at the next crossroads and pull up a hill," answered Pryne;
"then we leave the hill road for a ways, an' we're there. It's my ole
sugar camp. Trees is mostly played out, though, an' we don't make sugar
there no more. It kinder 'pears to me like," he added, another thought
striking him, "Grattan said Bunce had whiskers around his jaws."

"That's the other pal," said Matt.

"Git ap, there, Prince!" called Pryne, slapping the off horse with the
gad.

"How long have you known Grattan, Pryne?" inquired Matt.

"Always, since I got married. My wife's his sister. Annaballe--that's
the old woman--she's English, she is. Come over visitin' in Cairo,
ten year back, an' I up and asked her to marry me. Grattan was to the
weddin', an' that was the first an' only time we'd met till a few days
ago. Great traveler, Grat is. He's been to Ejup, an' Rooshia, an' Chiny
an' all them countries. Great traveler. Takes pictur's for these here
movin'-picture machines."

Matt heard this with interest. It reminded him of another time when
he had encountered a moving-picture man and had had a particularly
thrilling experience. And this experience with Grattan promised to be
even more thrilling.

"Is the sugar camp a safe place?" asked Matt.

"Nobody ever goes to the old camp now no more," replied Pryne.

"My cracious, vat a dust!" said Goldstein. "How big is der Eye?" he
whispered to Matt.

"Wait till you see it," Matt answered.

"Pigeon's blood, yes?"

Matt supposed he meant to ask if the Eye of Buddha was a pigeon's blood
ruby. Taking a chance, Matt nodded.

"She is a true Oriental, eh?" went on Goldstein, a greedy glint coming
into his eyes.

"It must be if it comes from China."

"So! If she weigh five carat, she is vorth ten times so much as a
diamond. But diamonds ain't vorth so much now."

Matt looked behind him. The sack of middlings was half emptied.

"Are we halfway to the old sugar camp, Pryne?" Matt called.

"Better'n that," was the reply. "Here's where we turn for up the hill."

The hill was long and high, and the road turned into a little-used
trail and ascended through timber. The horses pulled and panted and the
gad fell mercilessly.

"Somethin' of a climb," said Pryne casually. "One of them tires back
there is loose--the one on the right-hand side. Kinder keep an eye on
it, will you?"

Matt looked at the tire, which was on his side of the wagon. As yet,
it was all right. Matt hoped it would remain so, for if Pryne got out
to drive it on he might discover the loss of his middlings--and other
things which would have a tendency to excite his suspicions.

"Der dust ain't so much here," observed Goldstein, in a tone of relief.

"Ain't so many wagons to churn it up," said Pryne.

Then fell silence again, Matt busy with his thoughts.

Where was Tsan Ti? While Matt was running down the Eye of Buddha for
him, what was the Chinaman, to whom the recovery of the ruby meant so
much, doing?

These speculations were bootless, and Matt fell to thinking of the
glass balls. If Grattan had a supply of them, all the men McGlory could
bring would not be able to prevent him from getting away.

Success in the king of the motor boys' venture hung by an exceedingly
slender thread.

"It will be hard business to cut it up," came the voice of Goldstein,
breaking roughly into Matt's somber reflections.

"Hard to cut what up?" Matt asked.

"Der Eye. When it ain't best to sell precious stones in one piece, then
we cut them up."

Matt understood what the Jew was driving at. Large diamonds are hard
to market, especially if the diamonds have been stolen. In order to
dispose of them they are often cut up into smaller stones.

"You see," proceeded Goldstein, "dis ruby is valuable because of its
size, yes. Der size makes all der difference. If it is cut under fife
carat, dere vasn't much sale. Anyhow, diamonds is sheaper as they was.
I lose a lot of money by der fall in der price of diamonds."

"Here's where we turn from the hill road an' strike out for the sugar
camp," remarked Pryne.

He swerved from the steep road as he spoke and drove into a bumpy swath
cut through the timber. For half a mile or more they jolted and banged
along, then Pryne pulled to a halt.

"I'll hitch here," said he, getting out, "an' I'll leave the rig.
The rest of the way we'll go on foot. It ain't fur," he added
hastily, noticing the solicitous glance which Goldstein threw at his
patent-leather shoes.

"First time I efer come to a place like this to buy precious stones,"
remarked the Jew, clambering slowly down.

Matt had a bad two minutes waiting for Pryne to hitch the horses and
fearing he would come to the rear of the wagon and discover the slashed
bag of feed. But Pryne was apparently unsuspicious.

Turning away from the tree to which he had hitched the horses, he
called to Matt and Goldstein to follow him.

Their path took them through the old sugar "bush," among maples that
were dead and dying and whose trunks were deeply scarred by the sap
hunters. Presently an old log building came into view.

"There's the place," said Pryne.

Part of the building was nothing more than a tumble-down shed. One end
of the structure, however, was walled in, and seemed to have been made
habitable by the use of rough boards.

A length of stovepipe stuck up through the roof--about the only visible
sign that the place was used as a dwelling.

With Pryne in the lead, the odd little group moved around the side of
the log wall to a door.

To say that Matt's heart did not beat more quickly, or that visions of
violence did not float before his mental gaze, would be to say that he
was not human.

He had a keen realization of the dangers into which he was about to
throw himself. The moment he passed the door deception would be a
thing of the past. Grattan would recognize him as a stranger--a prying
stranger who had come to the sugar camp with the intention of securing
the Eye of Buddha.

Matt's problem was to engage Grattan's attention, and keep him from
going to extremes, until McGlory should arrive with reënforcements.

Just how Matt was to do this he did not know. He was trusting to
luck--and luck had not been favoring him to any great extent lately.

The door of the log hut was closed. Pryne rapped on it.

"Who's there?" demanded a voice from within.

"It's Pryne, Grat," was the answer.

"Goldstein and Bunce with you?"

"Sure. I've fetched 'em."

"Then bring them in. I'm ready and waiting."

Pryne bore down on the wooden latch and threw open the door.

"Go right in, gents," said he, stepping back.

Goldstein, with a laugh, passed through the door first. Matt followed.
Pryne brought up the rear and closed the door.

What light there was in the one room in which Matt found himself came
through the broken roof. There were no windows in the log walls.

"He was there, all right, Grat," cried Pryne, with a loud guffaw, "an'
he didn't make no bones about comin' with me. He was mighty anxious to
come, seemed like, but I don't calculate he guessed he'd find so many
folks here."

Matt's eyes, by that time, had become accustomed to the gloom, and he
was able to look around and distinguish various objects.

First, he saw a heavy-set man on a bench. This man had a dark face and
a sinister eye, and was leaning back against the wall. Both his hands
clung to a buckthorn cane with a large wooden handle. The cane was
crossed against one of his knees and held it slightly elevated.

"Throw yer binnacle lights this way, my hearty, as soon's ye're done
sizin' up my shipmate," came a voice from the opposite side of the room.

Matt whirled, a startled exclamation escaping his lips.

It was the one-eyed sailor who had spoken. The fellow was sitting on
another bench, a wide grin on his weather-beaten face.

The trap had been sprung--and it was the most complete trap Matt had
ever been in.

"I told ye more'n once to leave the Eye o' Buddha alone," chuckled
Bunce, "but ye wouldn't take a warnin'. _Now_, see where ye are!"



CHAPTER XII.

A TIGHT CORNER.


It was a characteristic of Motor Matt that he never became "rattled."
A clear head and steady nerves were absolutely essential in his chosen
career. To these he added a quick and sure judgment.

"Surprised, are you?" asked Grattan, with a choppy laugh.

"Well, yes, in a way," replied Matt coolly.

"I wonder if you know what you're up against?"

"You have a stolen ruby, called the Eye of Buddha, and Goldstein is
here to buy it."

"My cracious!" gasped the Jew, throwing up his hands.

There was no doubting his surprise, so Matt knew that he, at least, was
not in the plot.

"Close your face, Goldstein," scowled Grattan. "This business isn't
going to bother you. Take a seat, Motor Matt," he added. "We'll have a
little chin-chin before we get busy."

There was an empty bench along the end wall. Matt walked over to it and
seated himself, glad that there was to be a "chin-chin." This meant
delay, and would give time for McGlory to arrive with reënforcements.

"I don't understand what's der matter," gulped Goldstein, pressing back
against the wall and hugging his satchel in his arms. "I don't like der
looks of things, no."

"You can't help the looks of things," snapped Grattan, "and you'll
understand the situation a lot better before you get away from this
sugar camp. Sit down."

There was a three-legged stool close to the Jew, and he dropped down on
it in a state of semi-collapse. His eyes passed to Pryne, who had drawn
a revolver and was standing in front of the door. Undoubtedly Goldstein
had a lot of money in his satchel with which to pay for the ruby, so it
is small wonder he was worried upon finding himself a participator in
such a scene.

"I thought der young feller was Bunce!" he exclaimed, moistening his
dry lips with his tongue.

"Put a stopper on your jaw-tackle!" yelled the sailor. "That's the line
we've run out to you for now, and you'll lay to it."

The Jew swallowed hard on a lump in his throat and fell limply against
the wall behind him.

Goldstein had even more to lose as the outcome of that desperate
situation than had Matt, but the king of the motor boys saw at a glance
that he was absolutely useless so far as resistance was concerned.

Grattan dropped his suspended foot on the floor and turned to Pryne.

"Did any one come with Motor Matt, Pryne?" he inquired.

"Two fellers come with him," was the response. "They got to Purling in
a automobile."

"Who were those fellows, Motor Matt?" demanded Grattan, shooting a
sharp glance at the young motorist.

"The driver of the car, from Catskill Landing," said Matt, "and my
chum, Joe McGlory."

"Why did you leave them in Purling?"

"The driver had to stay to look after the car, and I didn't think it
was necessary to bring McGlory along for a bodyguard."

Grattan threw back his head and peered at Matt through half-closed eyes.

"You're a cool one," he remarked. "Why were you coming here to see me?"

"I wanted to get the ruby."

Bunce roared. Grattan commanded silence sharply, and the sailor's
merriment ceased as suddenly as it had begun.

"Did you think," went on Grattan, "that you could, single-handed, take
the ruby from me by force?"

Matt was silent.

"Or did you think you could talk me out of it?"

"I hadn't much of an idea what I could do," said Matt. "It was just
barely possible you'd be generous enough, when you learned the
circumstances, to give or sell the Eye of Buddha to Tsan Ti."

Grattan curbed the old sailor's fresh inclination to laugh with a quick
look.

"What are the circumstances?" he queried.

"Tsan Ti has received the yellow cord. If he does not recover the
idol's eye in two weeks, he must destroy himself."

"Young man," said Grattan, "I have been two years planning to get my
clutches on the Eye of Buddha. I have haunted Canton, feasted my eyes
upon that priceless splash of red in the forehead of the idol in the
Honam Joss House until the itch to possess it fairly drove me mad. But
the temple was too well guarded, the priests too many, and the walls
too high. It was only when I learned of the balls of Ptah and their
powers that the feat looked at all feasible. In order to see these
balls of Ptah for myself, I made the long journey from Hongkong to the
ruins of Karnak on the Nile."

Taking the buckthorn cane under his arm, Grattan stepped across the
room to a table near the bench where Bunce was sitting. On the table
rested a small box with a strap handle. Grattan opened the lid of the
box, and from a nest of cotton picked one of the shimmering glass
balls. He handled the ball gently, and a glow came into his eyes as he
held it up.

"A quantity of these balls," he proceeded, "were unearthed a year ago
from among the ruins of Karnak. They are of Egyptian glass, thousands
of years old, and each of the big beads has blown into its surface
the _praenomen_ of Hatasu, a queen who is conjectured to have lived
more than fourteen hundred years before our era. A party of workmen
discovered the balls, and chanced to break one of them." Grattan
paused, turning the shimmering sphere around and around in his hand.
"All the workmen," he went on, "were thrown into an unconscious
condition, and it was in this manner that the peculiar properties of
the balls were discovered. Why they are called the balls of Ptah I
don't know, and what they contain that has such a peculiar effect on
living beings, no one has ever been able to discover. But I heard of
them, stole a dozen, and tried one on the museum guards in making my
escape. It answered the purpose," he went on dryly. "If it had not, I
would have been caught."

Almost reverently he replaced the ball in the cotton-lined case and
closed the lid. Returning to his bench, he resumed his original
position, sweeping an amused glance around him at the awed faces of
Goldstein, Pryne, and Matt.

"Armed with one of the balls of Ptah," he proceeded, "I picked up the
ancient mariner"--he nodded toward Bunce--"and we manufactured a silk
ladder twenty feet long, and weighted it at one end. Then, one day,
we repaired to the Honam Joss House at five in the afternoon. That
ball of Egyptian glass, crushed to fragments on the floor, overcame
the priests. Bunce and I protected our own faces with masks, equipped
with oxygen tubes reaching into small tanks of compressed air in our
pockets. To throw the weighted end of the ladder over the head of Ptah
took us possibly a minute; for me to climb the ladder and dig the ruby
from the idol's forehead consumed possibly five minutes; and for Bunce
and me to get out of the temple took five minutes more. We were safely
out of Canton when the storm broke."

Matt had listened to all this in supreme wonder. The audacity of the
undertaking caused his pulses to stir, but he wondered why Grattan
should recount such an exploit to him, and in the hearing of Pryne and
Goldstein.

"You know now," continued Grattan, "what the Eye of Buddha has cost me,
and you say it is just barely possible I would be generous enough to
yield the gem to Tsan Ti in order to save his life!"

"Or you might sell it to him," suggested Matt.

"I might, if he could pay what it is worth."

"Grattan," spoke up Goldstein with sudden fervor, "you have promised me
der first shance!"

"Keep still!" growled Grattan. "You'll get all the chance you want
before you leave here."

"The mandarin is a rich man," said Matt, who, of course, was parleying
merely to gain time.

"He has a little money with him, but that is all. Every plantation he
owns in China, every string of cash in his strong boxes is guarded by
the regent. If he does not recover the Eye of Buddha, the property
will be confiscated. And he can't touch a cent of his fortune until he
returns the ruby to its place in the idol's head. So, you see, your
friend, the mandarin of the red button, is in a bally hard fix. He
can't buy the ruby, and certainly I won't give it to him."

This was intensely interesting to Matt. He was listening, now, in a
casual way, for the approach of McGlory and his party, and he was
planning what he could do with the balls of Ptah in order to keep
Grattan from using them.

"You're a clever lad, Motor Matt," went on Grattan, "and I admire
clever people. You performed a neat trick when you removed that folded
note from Bunce's cap. It was a foolish place to keep such a thing, but
Bunce is a good deal of a fool. For instance, I reached the Catskill
Mountains with six of the balls of Ptah--the only ones of the kind to
be had--and the crack-brained sailor man stole two of them and threw
them away on you and your chum, gaining little and losing something
which might prove of priceless value to us."

"Now, shipmate," began Bunce, in a wheedling voice, "you don't get the
right splice on that piece of rope; you----"

"That'll do," said Grattan, waving his hand.

Bunce subsided. The power of Grattan over the sailor was absolute. It
was easy to see whose had been the plotting mind and the guiding hand
in the exploits of the two.

"You are sharp enough to wonder, I suppose," said Grattan, again
addressing Matt, "why I am going into these private details for your
benefit. The answer is simple. Our plans are laid to leave here
to-day. You can't stop us, no one can stop us. The balls of Ptah will
disarm all opposition, and the four of them will see us out of the
country with Goldstein's money."

"But if Goldstein has the Eye of Buddha," said Matt, "I will know it
and can prove it. He can't hold stolen property."

"Certainly he can't. Goldstein gets the ruby and we get Goldstein's
money. You have Goldstein arrested and prove in a court of law that he
bought the idol's eye from the original thieves. Then----"

A howl came from Goldstein.

"I von't buy, I von't buy! That is a skin game. I von't buy der stone."

"Oh, yes, you will," and, for the first time, a laugh came from
Grattan's lips. "You've brought the money and you'll buy before you
leave."

Then, for the first time, Goldstein understood the true meaning of the
situation. He flashed a wild look at Pryne and the revolver, and sank
back against the wall and groaned.



CHAPTER XIII.

A MASTER ROGUE.


"As I said before," resumed Grattan, "I admire clever people. Goldstein
is not clever. I send a letter to him at New York and tell him to come
to Purling, ask for Pryne at the general store, and bring money enough
to buy the Eye of Buddha. His covetous soul prompts him to defy the
law, buy the ruby for half its value, and cheat Bunce and me. He rushes
into the trap. I tell you he is as big a fool as Bunce--almost."

"Mercy!" begged Goldstein. "Oh, Mister Grattan, don't rob me! Der price
of diamonds has gone off, and I lose much money----"

"Silence!" thundered Grattan.

Goldstein fell whimpering back against the wall.

"It was only by a chance, Motor Matt," went on Grattan, "that I
discovered your trick in exchanging a letter of your own for one of
mine in the ancient mariner's cap. Bunce did not know I was harbored
in this old sugar camp. Pryne knew it, and also my sister, who happens
to be Pryne's wife. No one else knew it. Bunce and I had discovered
that we were being trailed by a San Francisco Chinaman, and that he was
firing telegrams back to the slope for Tsan Ti. From Catskill I came
here to wait until the ruby could be exchanged for Goldstein's money.
Bunce went around the vicinity of Catskill keeping watch for the spying
Chinaman, and for Tsan Ti. He didn't find the 'Frisco hatchet boy, but
he did discover, this forenoon, that the mandarin was staying at the
hotel on the mountain. Bunce was traveling around in an automobile, and
he had my letter asking him to come to Purling, which I had mailed to
him at the Catskill post office. When he found Tsan Ti was staying in
the hotel, Bunce thought he would hurry to Purling and take his chance
of finding me. On the way down the mountain, as ill luck would have it,
he passed you and the mandarin. Then came that exchange of notes. When
Bunce discovered that, his panic was still further increased. The road
he took to Purling passed along the foot of this hill.

"I was out taking my constitutional, at the time, and fate threw Bunce
and me together, for I hailed him as he was passing. The driver of the
automobile was a man we both knew we could trust. Bunce and I had a
talk, and I read the letter you had put in his hat in the place of the
one I had sent. The circumstances attending the exchange of that note
convinced me that in you I had an uncommonly clever person to deal
with. I guessed that you would use the note and try to find out where
I was. I didn't want you to do that, but I arranged with Pryne, if you
did, to bring you out here. I also sent Bunce on the rightabout back
to the mountainside, and told him to make away with your motor cycles.
That, I hoped, would keep you from Purling by giving you something else
to hunt for instead of the Eye of Buddha. But I didn't know you--I
failed to do your cleverness full justice.

"Bunce went into hiding at the roadside from the mountain top, knowing
you would have to come that way. When you sped down the road in an
automobile, with your chum and Tsan Ti, Bunce was rattled. He had been
expecting you on motor cycles, and had framed up a little plan which
he worked so successfully later. However, he put a bullet into one of
the automobile tires and caused a smash. The fool! He came near getting
us into the toils of the law so deep we could never have escaped. His
folly continued, however, when he skulked close to the burning machine
to note the extent of the ruin he had caused. He had a close call when
you took after him. More by luck than by any good judgment, he got away
from you, and was close enough to see and hear what went on when the
owner of the wrecked automobile met and talked with you in the road.

"Bunce hunted up the driver of the car, who had been waiting for him in
a convenient place not far from the road. The two went into hiding in
the brush, spotted your motor-cycle lamps, captured your machines, and
the wheels are now handily by to help us in our getaway."

Matt had listened to this talk abstractedly. He was waiting and
listening for McGlory and the reënforcements. Why didn't they come?
They had had ample time, and Matt was positive they would pick up
the trail he had left and follow without difficulty. McGlory was a
good trailer, and he would be quick to understand the sifted line of
middlings when he saw it.

"Shipmate," said Bunce, "you haven't given me my proper rating. It
wasn't all luck an' touch an' go with me. I done noble, I did."

"You mean well, Bunce, but you're not clever," said Grattan.

"My eye! Wasn't it clever the way I put on them scarecrow fixin's in
the cornfield?"

"And then lost your nerve and ducked while Motor Matt and his chum were
looking at you? Oh, yes, that _was_ clever."

There was scorn in Grattan's voice.

Matt had heard enough to realize that Grattan was a master rogue. He
was playing a bold game, and with consummate skill. He was willing to
talk, to lay bare the innermost details of his work, for he had planned
escape and felt sure he would get away. Matt wondered if he would not
succeed in spite of McGlory and the men he was to bring with him.

Those balls, those balls of Ptah! They appeared to be the key that was
to help Grattan through the coil of the law.

"I am rewarding you, Motor Matt, for your cleverness," pursued Grattan,
"and for the narrow escape Bunce gave you in that automobile. The
reward is the Eye of Buddha. I sell it to Goldstein for the money he
has in that satchel; then, while Bunce and I are safely out of the hut,
I break one of the balls of Ptah by hurling it through the open door;
you and Goldstein become unconscious; you recover and make a prisoner
of Goldstein; and, finally, by due process of law, you recover the ruby
for Tsan Ti. Very simple. So far as I can see, Goldstein is the only
one to suffer."

Matt was still listening, listening. Where in the world was McGlory?

Grattan turned toward the shivering Jew.

"Goldstein," said he sternly, "how much money have you in that satchel?"

"Mercy, Mr. Grattan!" implored the diamond merchant. "I have lost much
money by der decline in----"

"How much have you in the satchel?" repeated Grattan.

"Only a little, Mr. Grattan. I dit not bring much."

"Didn't you bring enough to pay a good price for the ruby?"

"How was I to know vat der ruby was worth? Fife thousand dollars is
what I brought----"

"Five thousand! Five thousand to pay me for two years of planning, and
the risk! You have brought more than that."

"Where is der ruby, Mr. Grattan?"

"Where you'll not find it until I see how much money you have in the
satchel. Give it to Bunce. Bunce, you open the grip and count the
money."

"Don't do that, please, Mr. Grattan! I have lost much money by der drop
in----"

"Take it over and give it to Bunce."

Tremblingly, Goldstein got up with his precious satchel. His face was
pallid, and he seemed scarcely able to move. He started toward the
sailor; then, suddenly, when he was close to Pryne, he whirled and
grabbed at the exposed revolver.

The satchel dropped, and Goldstein, with the fury of desperation,
fought like a madman. It was his money he was fighting for--money that
was, perhaps, dearer to him than life itself. Nothing else could have
goaded him into such a mad attempt to escape from the hut.

Bunce sprang toward the struggling pair at the door, and Grattan also
arose and stepped toward them.

This offered Matt a chance for a daring _coup_. Unseen in the
excitement, and unheard because of the noise of the scuffle, he glided
to the table and opened the box. Deftly he extracted one of the balls
and allowed the box-cover to fall into place. The ball passed into his
pocket.

While he stood by the table, Grattan suddenly caught sight of him.

"Go back to your bench, Motor Matt!" he ordered. "You have everything
to gain and nothing to lose by sitting tight and obeying orders. Get
back, I tell you."

Matt backed to the bench and sat down. Bunce and Pryne flung Goldstein
to the floor, and while Pryne kicked him toward his seat Bunce regained
his own place with the satchel.

"I did not think Goldstein had it in him," laughed Grattan. "When
you take his money, you touch him in a vital place. Be sensible,
Goldstein," he added. "We've got too strong a grip on you."

The Jew lifted himself to the stool, bruised and battered. His head was
bowed and he presented a pitiable sight.

"Now, then, Bunce," said Grattan, "look into the satchel. Let's see how
much Goldstein brought with him for purposes of barter. I didn't expect
to get anywhere near what the Eye of Buddha was worth, but----"

There came a pounding on the door. Instantly all were on their feet,
consternation written large in every face but Grattan's and Matt's.
Grattan believed that, even with intruders at hand, he was master of
the situation. Matt, armed with one of the balls of Ptah, was inclined
to dispute the question with him.

"Open up!" cried a voice.

There was a bar across the door and Pryne stood with one hand on the
fastening to make sure it held against the attack. Grattan fluttered a
hand for silence.

"Who's there?" he demanded.

"Porter, the constable, from Purling, and five other men."

Grattan leaped to the table and caught up the box. Holding it in
front of him, the buckthorn cane under his arm, he whispered to his
confederates:

"Bunce, you and Pryne stand ready to leave the room. When I give the
word, go--and go quick."

Then, lifting his voice, Grattan added:

"Open the door, Pryne, and admit the constable from Purling and five
men."

Pryne bent to the bar.

"Stop!" cried Matt.

Pryne raised himself quickly. He and Bunce, Grattan and even Goldstein
stared at the king of the motor boys.

Matt was standing on the bench, his right hand lifted, and one of the
shimmering spheres in his hand.

"Don't come in here yet, McGlory!" shouted Matt. "I'll give the word
when I want you to come. You see, Grattan," he added, "I'd a little
rather have my friends stay on the outside until they can come in here
_after_ I break the glass ball."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE GLASS SPHERES.


Tremors shook the one-eyed sailor. The satchel quivered in his hands.
Pryne was filled with consternation, and showed it as plainly as did
Bunce. The full meaning of the situation had not dawned on Goldstein
as yet, but the light was slowly breaking. Grattan alone, of all those
confronting Matt, seemed in full possession of his wits.

"Don't throw that, don't throw that!" stuttered Bunce. "Avast, I say!"

"Where'd he get the thing?" demanded Pryne.

"Clever lad!" murmured Grattan. "You must have taken that out of the
box during the disturbance caused by Goldstein. I saw you by the table,
but I didn't think that was your game. Well, what are you intending to
do? You have one of the balls and I have three. I don't know that I
grasp your intentions."

"If these glass balls are broken," answered Matt steadily, "it means
that all of us, every person in this room, will be stretched out on the
floor, unconscious and helpless. Those outside will escape the effects
of the narcotic, or whatever it is contained in the spheres. Those who
are at the door happen to be my friends. They will wait a space; then,
after the fumes have cleared out of the room, they will come in, make
prisoners of you, Bunce and Pryne, save Goldstein's money for him, and
recover the Eye of Buddha."

"Let me understand this fully," continued Grattan. "How do you know
those outside are your friends?"

"Listen," said Matt. "McGlory!" he called.

"On deck, pard!" came the answer of the cowboy. "You're in a nice row
of stumps, I must say. Who's in there with you?"

"Grattan, Bunce, Goldstein, and Pryne."

"What's the layout?"

"I'm on a bench at one side of the room with one of the glass balls.
Grattan stands opposite me with three more. If I throw the ball I'm
holding, then I want you fellows to wait until it's safe to come in."

"Speak to me about that!"

Grattan was thoughtful.

"How did those fellows manage to find their way here?" he asked.

"Pryne had a sack of ground feed in the back of the wagon. I slashed it
with my knife and we left a plain trail."

"Jumpin' Mariar!" breathed Pryne.

"You've hit it off nicely, Pryne!" scowled Grattan. "Annabelle ought
to be proud of you for that. Bunce isn't the only fool I've been
tied up with, this time." He turned again to the king of the motor
boys. "You're deeper than I imagined, but you're a point shy in your
reasoning, son. You'll not get the Eye of Buddha by proceeding in that
fashion. I was dealing generously with you when I offered to trade the
ruby for Goldstein's money."

"You have no right to rob Goldstein," said Matt. "I couldn't help you
without being equally guilty."

"Goot boy!" applauded Goldstein. "That's der truth."

"This diamond merchant," argued Grattan, "is only a 'fence' for stolen
property. He came out here to cheat me, cheat Tsan Ti, cheat the law.
We're simply beating him at his own game."

"Two wrongs never made a right," answered Matt.

"You talk foolishly. But, even though you carry out your plan, I say
again _you will not get the Eye of Buddha_. That is safely hidden where
it will never be found. Besides--look at Bunce."

Matt had been giving his full attention to Grattan. He now swerved his
eyes toward the sailor and found a revolver leveled in his direction.

"Here's Scoldin' Sairy starin' ye in the face," said Bunce. "Don't
tease us no more or she'll speak."

"The moment that ball leaves your hand, Motor Matt," declared Grattan,
"Bunce will fire. The rest of us will be left merely unconscious on the
floor, but you--well, you're clever enough to imagine what will happen
to _you_. Are you willing to talk sense? I promise to leave the Eye of
Buddha with Goldstein in exchange for his satchel of money, but we must
be allowed to escape with the satchel."

"I'll not help you rob Goldstein," answered Matt.

"Ye'd rather be sent to Davy Jones' locker, I suppose?" put in Bunce.
"That's where ye'll go, as quick an' sure as though ye was wrapped in
canvas and thrown over the side with a hundred-pound shot at yer pins."

Goldstein, palpitating between hope and despair, watched and listened
to this crossfire of threat and defiance wherein the fate of his money
was at stake. A half-crazy light arose in his eyes and he seemed
meditating some desperate move.

Grattan lifted his voice.

"Hello, out there! We've got Motor Matt under the point of a revolver,
and if you don't retreat from the vicinity of this hut, there'll be
shooting."

"Is that so, pard!" came wildly from McGlory.

"Stay where you are," cried Matt. "They won't shoot--they don't dare."

"Bunce," began Grattan, "you'd better----"

Grattan had no time to finish. With a wild yell of fury Goldstein flung
himself at Grattan and seized the buckthorn cane, jerking it away and
whirling it about his head.

"The buckthorn!" shouted Bunce, in more of a panic than the Jew's
manoeuvre seemed to call for; "he's got the buckthorn cane!"

Grattan let go of his temper for the first time, and whirled and leaped
at Goldstein. The Jew struck at him viciously, the blow falling short
and knocking the box of glass balls out of his hand and upon the floor.

"Mask! mask!" bellowed Grattan.

The box flew open as it fell and Matt caught a glimpse of broken glass
fragments flying out of it, and of something white lifted to the faces
of Grattan and Bunce. All was turmoil in the room. Grattan rushed
at Goldstein and tried to recover the cane. Matt flung at him the
ball--the last conscious act the king of the motor boys could remember.

The pungent odor arose to his nostrils, choking him, blinding his eyes
and robbing him of his strength. He crashed down from the bench, and
then a mighty hand seemed to sweep over him and drop a black pall of
silence.

Motor Matt opened his eyes. He was lying out in the sun, the bare
boughs of the maples over him, and McGlory kneeling at his side.

"You had a rough time of it, old pard," said McGlory, "but you didn't
stop a bullet--and that's some satisfaction."

Matt groped around in his mind to pick up the trend of events. Suddenly
all the details flashed through his brain.

"What became of Grattan and Bunce?" he asked, sitting up.

"They smashed through a boarded-up window, pard," replied McGlory.

"And got away?"

"Like a couple of streaks. They used our motor cycles."

"Why don't you follow them?"

"Follow them? What's the good? That happened an hour ago. The Purling
constable rushed back to the village to do some telephoning, and it's
barely possible the two tinhorns will be corralled. I wouldn't bank on
it, though. Luck hasn't been coming that way for us since we struck the
Catskills."

"An hour ago!" muttered Matt, rubbing his forehead. "It seems as though
all this excitement had only just happened."

"That's the way those dope balls act. I was afraid of 'em. And it
wasn't so blooming pleasant for us fellows to stand out here while
all that ruction was going on in the house. When One Eye and his pal
crashed through the window--or maybe it wasn't a window but a hole in
the wall that was just patched up with boards--we all took after 'em.
Out close to the road they jumped on a couple of motor cycles--ours, by
the looks of them--and were off a-smoking. When they came out of the
cabin they had white things over their faces----"

"Masks," said Matt. "They had them handy. But for that you'd have found
them in the cabin along with Goldstein and me. By the way, where _is_
Goldstein?"

"We left him in the house. We weren't in so much of a hurry to bring
him to his senses as we were you."

"And Pryne--what's become of him?"

"Stretched out beside the diamond buyer."

"Did you find the Eye of Buddha?"

"That's a dream, Matt. No, we didn't find it. All we found was a
satchel of money--the satchel Goldstein had with him at the store in
Purling."

"There were six of you--five with the constable. Where are the other
four?"

"The constable miscalled the number," laughed McGlory, "so his talk
would have a bigger effect. There were only four of us all told. You
see, we left the driver of the car in Purling to look after Bunce when
he showed up there. And he was here, all the time! Sufferin' surprises!
Say, I was sure stumped when I heard the Hottentot was in that cabin."

"There were three besides you," went on Matt, persisting in his attempt
to get the matter of numbers straight in his mind, "and the constable
has gone to Purling. Where are the other two?"

"Here they come," and McGlory pointed to a couple of Chinamen, who at
that moment emerged from the hut.

Matt stared and rubbed his eyes.

"Am I still under the influence of those glass balls?" he muttered, "or
is that really Tsan Ti coming this way?"

"It's the mandarin, fast enough," chuckled McGlory, "and the chink
that's with him is Sam Wing."

Observing that Matt had recovered his senses, Tsan Ti hastened forward.



CHAPTER XV.

THE EYE OF BUDDHA.


Tsan Ti was not particularly happy. He seemed pleased to meet Matt once
more, but underlying this pleasure was a deep and settled melancholy.

"Greetings, astonishing friend," said the mandarin. "You have performed
actions never to be forgotten; imperishable deeds which----"

"Cut out the frills, Tsan Ti," interrupted Matt, "and tell me where you
went after Joe and I left you at the wrecked car."

"Sam Wing approached me while I was seeking exhaustively for the yellow
cord, which I had lost and which I had the overwhelming desire to use.
Sam Wing was ascending the mountain, traveling on foot, to gain the top
and find me. He had a report to convey. He conveyed it. He had seen
the aged mariner in Purling, and he had come at once for me. I stopped
for nothing--not even to explain my absence to you who had left me in
such hurry. I went with Sam Wing forthwith, and we found some one to
transport us to Purling. There we watched out the night in vain, and
toward morning repaired to the house of a poor person, who afforded us
food and a couch on which to rest. I was resting when Sam Wing came to
my side and declared there was a youth in the place who was hunting for
the peace officer. I went out, hoping to meet the peace officer myself
and ask for news of the sailor. Imagine my marvelous astonishment upon
discovering your distinguished friend. He wanted men and he could find
few, so Sam Wing and myself accompanied him. Accept my congratulations,
eminent friend, upon your escape. It is with sorrow, however, that I
view the flight of the sailor and that other, whom I saw, on a former
momentous occasion, wearing a sun hat with a pugree. These, I imagine,
assisted their escape out of the sense-destroying fumes."

From his blouse, Tsan Ti developed two squares of white cloth with
holes clipped in each to fit a pair of eyes. A strong odor of drugs
accompanied the display of the masks.

"It was objects similar to these," went on the mandarin in pensive
retrospection, "with which the thieves covered their faces in the
temple at Honam. Pah!" and he flung the bits of cloth from him in
repulsion.

"You were a long time getting here, Joe," said Matt, turning to his
chum.

"I was a long time getting the constable," answered Joe, "and there
wasn't another _hombre_ in the town who cared to take the risk of going
with me. Finally I found the constable, and then Tsan Ti and Sam Wing
came our way. We started, in a rig the constable borrowed from in front
of the general store."

"You picked up the trail?"

"Tell me about that!" laughed McGlory. "Sure we picked it up, pard. How
could we have missed it?"

"It is unfortunate," spoke up Tsan Ti gloomily, "that the yellow
cord was lost at the time the devil car took fire. It was of great
importance to me as the means of carrying out the invitation given by
our gracious regent. The sailor and his confederate have fled, and the
Eye of Buddha has gone with them. The ten thousand demons of misfortune
continue to make me feel their displeasure. There is nothing left but
the happy dispatch."

"Aw, cheer up," growled McGlory. "Buy a string of laundries, somewhere,
and tell your gracious regent to go hang."

"I am bound by ancient ceremony to accept and use the cord," insisted
Tsan Ti, mildly but firmly.

"Well, you've got a few days yet. Don't use the cord until you have to."

"I cannot use it until I find it, solicitous friend."

"Suppose you never find it?"

"Then Kien Lung will hunt for me and give me a second."

"Sufferin' heathens!" murmured McGlory, in disgust.

Matt got to his feet.

"Let's go and see how Goldstein is getting along," he suggested. "What
became of that satchel, Joe?"

"We left it in the house--thought that was the safest place for it."

"We'll have to take care of that. It contains the money Goldstein
brought to use in buying the Eye of Buddha."

Together Matt, McGlory, Tsan Ti and Sam Wing made their way back to the
hut. Just as they reached the door Goldstein sprang to his feet, the
buckthorn cane in his hand.

"Look at him!" exclaimed McGlory. "He's still locoed, Matt, and in
about the same state of mind you and I were when we repaired that
bursted tire, rode to the Mountain House, and went to sleep in the
hammocks."

The diamond merchant's face was full of anger and apprehension. His
clouded faculties were still possessed of the notion, it seemed, that
his satchel of money continued to be the object of Grattan's designs.

Jumping at the log wall, Goldstein struck a terrific blow with the head
of the cane.

"I hope he keeps hammering the wall," breathed the cowboy. "If he ever
came at one of us like that we'd have to take him down and lash his
hands and feet. Gee, but he's vicious."

Again and again Goldstein struck the logs with the cane. At last the
head of the cane snapped and flew into fragments, and a glittering
object flashed toward the door, struck Sam Wing and dropped downward. A
gleam of sun caught the object, and it glowed like a huge drop of blood.

A chattering screech went up from Tsan Ti, and forthwith he slumped to
his knees and picked the object up in his trembling hands.

Startled Chinese words came from Sam Wing; the mandarin answered, and
there followed a frantic give and take of native gibberish, mostly
whoops, grunts and falling inflections.

"Sufferin' gold mines!" cried McGlory. "Say, pard, is that red thing
the Eye of Buddha?"

"It must be," answered Matt excitedly, hurrying into the room and
picking up the cane and some of the fragments of the head. "Great spark
plugs!" he exclaimed, examining the pieces.

"What do you make out, pard?" demanded McGlory.

"Why," went on Matt, "the head of the cane was hollow, _and the ruby
was concealed in it_!"

"No!"

"Fact! Here, look for yourself. I wondered why Grattan was so careful
of that cane. The last thing I remember was seeing him rush at
Goldstein and try to get the cane away from him. Goldstein had grabbed
the stick and had knocked the box of glass balls out of Grattan's hand
with it. Of course, at the time Grattan tried to get the stick back,
the balls were spilling their knock-out fumes all over the room, and
he couldn't waste much time getting into his mask and lighting out. He
had to leave the cane behind--it was either that or be laid out by the
glass balls and captured. Perhaps he thought we'd never find out the
ruby was in the cane and that he could come back later and recover it."

"Goldstein has smashed the mystery!" jubilated McGlory, "and when he
comes to he won't know a thing about it."

Matt was dazed, and the two excited Chinamen were still gabbling like a
couple of frantic ducks; McGlory was walking around, rubbing his eyes,
and Goldstein was sitting on the stool undergoing the last stage of his
awakening.

"What's der matter?" inquired the diamond broker. "Where is--what
is---- Ach, der satchel, der satchel!"

His eyes had alighted on the grip, and he shot off the stool and
gathered up the precious object. His first move was to open it and make
sure of the contents.

"Where is Grattan?" he asked, with a sudden tremor. "Where is der
feller that wanted to steal my money?"

"You don't have to fret about him any more," said McGlory. "He's lit
out--in something of a hurry. I don't reckon he'll be back."

"What a lucky escape, what a lucky escape!" chanted Goldstein; "mein
gracious, what a lucky escape!"

Matt, observing that Tsan Ti and Sam Wing were not yet done with their
wild felicitations, strolled around the room. He saw the place where
Bunce and Grattan had crashed through the wall. Fire, at some time or
other when the sugar makers were boiling their sap, had eaten into the
logs, leaving a large hole which had been covered with boards. Grattan
and Bunce, knowing about the weak spot in the wall, had chose to get
out of the cabin in that way rather than by attempting to pass through
the door.

While Matt was looking at the breach in the timbers, he heard a series
of shouts from the Chinamen. A glance in their direction gave him a
fleeting glimpse of Pryne, forcing his way through the door and over
the heads of Tsan Ti and Sam Wing.

"That tinhorn's getting away!" shouted McGlory.

He would have chased after Pryne had Matt not gripped him by the
shoulder and held him back.

"Let the fellow go," said Matt. "He was roped into the game by Grattan,
and was only a tool, at the most. We've recovered the Eye of Buddha,
and have saved Goldstein's money for him, so I guess we're doing well
enough."

The rough way the Chinamen had been treated by Pryne appeared to
have made them remember that there were others in the cabin besides
themselves.

Tsan Ti got up, balanced the ruby on the palm of his hand, and stepped
toward Matt, as happy a mandarin as could be found, in China or out of
it.

"See, estimable and glorious friend," he cried. "This is the Eye of
Buddha, which caused me so much misfortune and came near to causing
my death. It has been found, and but for you it would have been lost
to me forever. My life is yours, illustrious one, my fortune, my
lands--everything I own!"

Matt paid little heed to the mandarin's rapturous talk. His eyes were
on the ruby, which was as large as a small hen's egg and of the true
pigeon's blood color. Its flashing beauty was marvelous to behold.

"Out of my goodness of heart," went on the mandarin, "and from no
desire to insult, believe me, I shall present my eminent friend with a
thousand dollars and his expenses. Is it well, excellent one?"

"Quite well, thank you," laughed McGlory, answering for his chum.
"Here, Tsan, take this and send it back to your gracious regent. Tell
him to use it on himself, and oblige."

With that, the cowboy laid the ominous yellow cord across the
mandarin's shoulders.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE BROKEN HOODOO.


The constable, in leaving the sugar camp for Purling to do his
telephoning, had taken his own rig. Having finished his work in
Purling, he made his return journey to the sugar camp in the automobile
which Matt and McGlory had hired. A few words were enough to convince
the driver of the car that it was useless for him to wait at the
general store for the one-eyed sailor.

The automobile could not ascend the rough hill road, but waited at the
foot of the slope while the constable climbed to the sugar camp and
informed those there that a conveyance was ready to take them wherever
they wanted to go.

Pryne having suddenly recovered and bolted, only Matt, McGlory,
Goldstein, and the two Chinamen were in the hut. Without loss of time
they accompanied the constable down the long wooded slope.

"What are the prospects for capturing Bunce and Grattan, officer?"
inquired Matt, while they were slipping toward the foot of the hill.

"Mighty poor," answered the constable, "if you want me to give it
to you straight. But I've done everythin' I could. There ain't any
telegraft line to Purling, so I had to telephone my message to Cairo.
They're pretty much all over the hills by now."

"Then what makes you think Bunce and Grattan will get away?"

"Why, they'll be goin' so tarnation fast on them pesky machines there
won't be any constable in the hills with an eye quick enough to
recognize 'em from the description. Anyhow, what do you care? The fat
Chinaman's happy, an' the Jew's so glad he walks lop-sided. What is it
to you whether them hoodlums git away or not?"

"Oh, hear him!" muttered McGlory. "It means three hundred cold, hard
plunks to us, constable. The two pesky machines that took those
tinhorns away have to be paid for by Motor Matt and Pard McGlory."

"Do tell!"

"If you hated to hear it as bad as I hate to tell it you wouldn't ask
me to repeat."

"Noble sir," spoke up Tsan Ti, "you and your worshipful friend shall
not be out a single tael. I, whom you have benefited, will pay for the
go-devil machines. That, if you will allow me, comes in as part of your
expenses."

"Now, by heck," said the constable, "that's what I call doin' the
han'some thing. I've put in a leetle time myself, to-day," he added,
"an' I cal-late I'm out nigh onto ten dollars. But I helped do some
good, an' that's enough fer me."

"Here, exalted sir," observed the mandarin, and dropped a twenty-dollar
gold piece into the constable's palm.

"I don't believe I got any change," said the officer.

"No change would be acceptable to me," answered Tsan Ti, with dignity.

"Waal, now, ain't I tickled? There's a dress in that fer S'manthy an'
the kids. 'Bliged to ye."

"The old boy's beginning to get generous, Matt," whispered McGlory.
"Maybe, after all, he really intends to fork over that thousand and
expenses."

"Of course he does," said Matt.

When they reached the automobile, all six of them crowded into the
car. Seven passengers--counting the driver--made tight squeezing in
accommodations built for five, but Goldstein and the constable were
dropped at Purling, and comfort followed those who remained, thereon.

Goldstein, following his burst of ecstasy over the recovery of the
satchel, had relapsed into a subdued condition. Very likely he realized
that he was under something of a cloud, inasmuch as he had come to
Purling to treat with a thief for the loot of a magnificent haul.
Goldstein remembered that Grattan had not been at all backward in
giving Motor Matt the details of everything connected with the Eye of
Buddha, and the reflections of the diamond broker could not have been
at all comfortable or reassuring.

Matt allowed the Jew to go his way without a rebuke. He felt that
the man had been punished enough; and, besides, he was the cause of
their discovering the place where the ruby had been concealed. But for
Goldstein, the Eye of Buddha might never have been located.

On the way to Catskill from Purling, Matt gave an account of what had
taken place in the old sugar camp. Grattan had been at considerable
pains to explain many things that had been dark to Matt and his
friends, and the king of the motor boys passed along the explanation.

The history of the Egyptian balls was particularly interesting to Tsan
Ti, no less than other details connected with the robbery; and the way
Bunce had played tag up and down the mountainside with Matt and McGlory
held a deep fascination for the cowboy.

"Taking this little fracas by and large," observed McGlory, when Matt
had finished, "I think it's about the most novel piece of business I
ever had anything to do with. It began with a lot of 'con' paper talk
shoved at Pard Matt by Tsan Ti, and from the moment we met up with
the mandarin there's been nothing to it but excitement, and a little
uncertainty as to just where the lightning was going to strike next."

"You two illustrious young men," said Tsan Ti gravely, "have laid me
under staggering obligations. Money may pay you for your loss of time,
but nothing except my gratitude can requite you for the excellence of
your service. You will hear from me through Sam Wing to-morrow."

The boys got out of the automobile at the hotel, and Matt had the car
take Tsan Ti and Sam Wing up the mountain to the Kaaterskill.

"They're a pair of pretty good chinks, after all," said McGlory, "and
I'm glad to think I had a little something to do with keeping the
yellow cord from getting in its work on Tsan Ti."

On the following day, Tsan Ti sent Sam Wing to Catskill with a heavy
canvas bag.

"Me blingee flom Tsan Ti," explained Sam Wing. "Him takee choo-choo
tlain fol San Flisco, bymby ketchee boat fol China. Heap happy."

"He has a right to be happy," said McGlory.

"How much did he have to put up for that wrecked motor car, Sam?" asked
Matt.

"Twenty-fi' hunnerd dol'."

"He went and stung him!" whooped McGlory. "The old robber."

"No makee hurt. Twenty-fi' hunnerd dol' all same Tsan Ti likee
twenty-fi' cent to me. Him plenty lichee man."

When Sam Wing went away, Matt and McGlory dumped the contents of the
canvas sack out on the table. The money was all in gold, and totaled
two thousand dollars, even.

"He figured out expenses at a thousand dollars," remarked the cowboy.
"They're 'way inside that figure."

"He's the sort of fellow, Joe," said Matt, "who'd rather pay a man ten
dollars when he only owed him five, than five when he owed ten."

"Sure! He's the clear quill, but he sure had me guessing, the way he
jumped around. I'll bet he connected with more good, hard jolts on this
trip to America than he ever encountered in his life before."

"We came pretty near it, ourselves," laughed Matt. "I can't remember
that I ever had a more violent time."

"It was some strenuous, and that's a fact. If you live a hundred years,
pard, and drive automobiles all the while, you'll never scrape closer
to kingdom come, and miss it, than you did when we came down the
mountainside with the mandarin at the steering wheel."

"I wouldn't go through that experience again for ten times the amount
of money there was in that bag."

"I wouldn't, either--not for the Eye of Buddha. There's no easy money
in turning a trick for Tsan Ti. I reckon we earned all we got."


THE END.



THE NEXT NUMBER (31) WILL CONTAIN

Motor Matt's Mariner;

OR,

FILLING THE BILL FOR BUNCE.


  "Buddha's Eye"--The Green Patch--Motor Matt, Trustee--Bunce has
  a Plan--Bunce Speaks a Good Word for Himself--The Home-made
  Speeder--Trapped--The Cut-out Under the Ledge--Between the Eyes--The
  Man from the "Iris"--Aboard the Steam Yacht--Grattan's Triumph--From
  the Open Port--Landed, and Strung--A Crafty Oriental--The Mandarin
  Wins.



MOTOR STORIES

THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION

NEW YORK, September 18, 1909.


TERMS TO MOTOR STORIES MAIL SUBSCRIBERS.

(_Postage Free._)

Single Copies or Back Numbers, 5c. Each.

  3 months                    65c.
  4 months                    85c.
  6 months                 $1.25
  One year                  2.50
  2 copies one year         4.00
  1 copy two years          4.00

=How to Send Money=--By post-office or express money-order, registered
letter, bank check or draft, at our risk. At your own risk if sent by
currency, coin, or postage-stamps in ordinary letter.

=Receipts=--Receipt of your remittance is acknowledged by proper change
of number on your label. If not correct you have not been properly
credited, and should let us know at once.

  ORMOND G. SMITH, }
  GEORGE C. SMITH, } _Proprietors_.

  STREET & SMITH, Publishers,
  79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York City.



A REAL PIRATE.


"At the time I commenced following the sea," said old Captain Gifford,
in relating a thrilling experience of his early life, "there were
pirates all about the West Indies, and the dread of them was always
uppermost in a sailor's thoughts. We didn't mind the yellow fever. When
a man died with that, he died--it was a visitation of Providence, and
his fate was to be thought upon calmly and sorrowfully; there was no
horror in the reflection. But to be murdered--murdered upon the high
seas--that was a thing which it made one sick to think of.

"Resistance on the part of a ship's crew, if unsuccessful, was certain
death--and often, too, in the most cruel form; for the revengeful,
drunken pirates, with their worst passions aroused by the conflict,
would in such a case take delight in torturing their victims. And even
where no opposition had been attempted, the plea that 'dead men tell no
tales' was generally sufficient to insure the massacre of all on board.

"So you see it was about as long as it was broad. There was very little
encouragement to surrender. It was simply a question as to whether one
would die fighting like a lion or be butchered on the deck like a sheep.

"Of course there were exceptions; but these were not frequent enough
to inspire much hope in the event of capture. Slaughter was the rule,
and if not committed in every instance, the fortunate ones might thank
their stars.

"In those days we used to hear dreadful stories of such tragedies.
Sometimes these would come to light through the confessions of
condemned pirates; while in other cases a single survivor of some
hapless crew of a merchantman would relate the tale of the capture and
death of his shipmates--he himself having been spared through some
freak of the miscreants, perhaps to serve on board their vessel.

"I commenced following the sea at the age of fifteen, making my first
voyage in the brig _Agenora_, Captain Christopher Allen, bound to
Trinidad de Cuba. In all there were nine persons belonging to her,
being the captain, the two mates, and the cook, with five hands before
the mast, counting a son of Captain Allen and myself. But, of course, I
did not amount to much at that time.

"Young Argo Allen was seventeen, so that he had the advantage of me
by two years, besides having made one voyage to the West Indies. He
was one of the best fellows that ever lived; and having learned on his
first voyage to 'hand, reef, and steer' after a fashion, he was always
ready to assist me to the extent of his knowledge. Indeed, I think one
young sailor generally feels a sort of pride in helping another who
knows less than himself.

"We had a long passage out, with calms and head winds, and Argo and
I talked much of pirates. He told me how scared he had been upon his
former voyage, when the vessel was overtaken by a low, black schooner,
which, upon coming up with her, sailed past within a cable's length,
with a crew of fifty or sixty horrible-looking wretches staring at the
brig in perfect silence.

"'After getting a little ahead,' said Argo, 'she tacked and came back.
My hair rose right up then--it fairly lifted my hat! But she simply
repassed us on the other side, and went off about her business.'

"'How do you account for it all?' I asked.

"'Oh, that's easy enough,' he replied. 'We were outward bound, with
a cargo of New England produce, and the pirates knew that we were
not likely to have money on board. This was all that saved us; but I
wouldn't be so scared again for the price of the brig!'

"So Argo Allen had seen a real pirate, and it actually made me look
up to him with a kind of admiring awe, not that I had any desire to
meet with a like experience; but then it must, I thought, have been so
thrilling--such a thing to think of and to tell of!

"On arriving at Trinidad, we disposed of our cargo at a very high
price; while, on the other hand, our return invoice of molasses was
purchased at an unusually low figure; so that, after loading for home,
Captain Allen found that he had, above all expenses, a good three
thousand dollars in doubloons.

"Meanwhile Argo and I were greatly pleased at meeting with two of our
townspeople, a Mr. and Mrs. Howard; and it delighted us still more to
learn that they were to take passage with us for the North. They had
been sojourning in Cuba for a number of months, but were now anxious to
go home, as the yellow fever season had arrived and there were already
many cases of it in the city.

"Although Captain Allen was in high spirits at having made such a
profitable voyage, he felt some uneasiness at the idea of sailing with
so much money on board. The pirates, he said, had their spies in all
the Cuban ports, and these secret agents, by watching the run of trade,
could easily determine what vessels were likely to offer the most
tempting booty.

"At length, all being ready, and Mr. and Mrs. Howard coming off to us,
we hove up our anchor and made sail. The greatest danger, Captain Allen
believed, would be close off the port, and so he had given out that
we should probably remain three or four days longer. It may have been
this which saved us from being molested at the start, and I think it
was.

"But now an unexpected misfortune came upon us. We sailed with the
land breeze very early in the morning, and while we were getting under
way one of our crew was taken down with the yellow fever. We were only
a few miles clear of the land when another was attacked in the same
manner, and before night the cook and second mate also took to their
berths. We kept on, however, and indeed the course of the wind would
have prevented us from returning had we thought of doing so.

"There remained, capable of doing duty, only the captain and chief
mate, one old seaman, Argo, and myself; but Captain Allen said that
should no more of us be disabled, the vessel could still be managed. As
a last resort, he added, he might put into Havana or Key West.

"On the second day we passed that famous resort of the West Indian
pirates, the Isle of Pines. The _Agenora_ gave it a wide berth, I
assure you; but our hearts were in our throats for the whole fifty
miles of its coast line. It seemed as if the breeze were all the time
threatening to die out and leave us becalmed there. However, we ran the
gantlet in safety, and continued our course toward Cape St. Antonio,
the most western point of Cuba.

"During the following night, the chief mate and the remaining seaman
were both stricken with the fever, leaving only the captain and us two
boys, together with our passenger, Mr. Howard, to handle the brig, with
six dreadfully sick people on board.

"This was a sad state of things; but the breeze was bright and fair,
and we hoped to double Cape St. Antonio the next day, thus getting to
the northward of Cuba, after which it would be easy to reach Havana.

"On that day, however, it fell entirely calm, with a dense fog covering
the sea, so that the vessel lay idle, heading by turns all around the
compass.

"We had by this time nearly come up with the cape, and it was a bad
place to meet with a calm, for this headland was a notorious piratical
rendezvous, almost as much so as the Isle of Pines. However, if we must
lie helpless, the fog would be in our favor, the captain said.

"In the meantime Mrs. Howard showed herself an extraordinary woman. She
was only twenty-four years old--a mere girl, as it were, and a very
beautiful one--but she seemed as if she knew just what to do and how to
do it. She cooked for us who were well, and, in spite of her husband's
remonstrances, braved all the danger of attending upon the sick, like a
veritable Florence Nightingale.

"After lasting for about twenty-four hours the fog disappeared and a
light breeze sprang up. A current had taken us along for some miles,
and we were directly off Cape St. Antonio.

"At first no water craft of any description was to be seen, but
presently we were startled at perceiving a small sloop-rigged vessel
putting out from the land and making directly toward us. That she must
be a pirate was beyond all question, as no other vessel would have been
hiding in such a place.

"Looking through his glass, the captain saw that, in addition to her
sails, she had out a number of long sweeps, or oars, and this at once
told us that there was no possibility of escaping from her with the
faint breeze which we had.

"The _Agenora_ carried two six-pounders and a good supply of small
arms, yet, with only four of us to handle them, they offered but a
forlorn hope against thirty or forty men, with probably a heavy pivot
gun and other cannon. Nevertheless, there was but one thing to do, and
that was to fight to the death if necessary.

"'My poor wife!' we heard Mr. Howard say to the captain; 'she shall
never fall into the hands of those wretches while I have a single
breath remaining.'

"Captain Allen was pale, but very cool. He and Mr. Howard loaded the
six-pounders, while we boys attended the muskets, putting heavy charges
into all of them.

"In a short time we were able to count the sweeps which the sloop had
out. They were fourteen in number--seven on a side, with two men at
each. This made twenty-eight men, besides the fellow at the tiller and
six or seven others; so that there were at least thirty-five of them.
The only cannon that we could see was one mounted amidships, and no
doubt on a pivot.

"As they got nearer we brought the _Agenora_ around so that both the
six-pounders would bear upon them, and then Captain Allen sighted one
of the guns, while Mr. Howard stood by with a glowing portfire, ready
to clap it upon the priming at the word.

"'Now,' said the captain presently, 'let it go!'

"Instantly there was a deafening bang! and the recoil of the gun fairly
shook the brig. How we watched for the result! Skip, skip, skip, went
the shot from wave to wave, close to the sloop, yet without touching
her.

"Almost before we could speak or think, a sheet of smoke burst from the
pirate vessel, and 'pat, pat, pat,' right on board of us, came a charge
of grape shot, and a twelve-pound ball--as we found afterward it must
have been, from the hole it made in our bulwarks.

"There was no time to lose, and our second cannon was fired as quickly
as possible; but its contents missed the pirate, though they struck
near enough to throw a shower of spray upon her deck.

"Again the miscreants fired in return, and redoubled their labor at the
sweeps. The breeze was at last wholly gone, so that they had to depend
entirely upon their strength of muscle, but of this they had enough and
to spare.

"Argo and myself now opened fire with the muskets--'bang, bang, bang!'
but I don't think we hit a single one of the villains. We saw them
loading their big gun for a third shot, and it seemed as if, at such
short range, they must tear us all to pieces. But Captain Allen and
Mr. Howard were also loading--cramming one of the six-pounders to the
muzzle with grape and cannon balls.

"The pirates were just ready to fire as the captain ranged along his
gun.

"'Quick, Mr. Howard!' he cried. 'Touch her off!'

"The report rang through our ears, and we could have shouted as we saw
the effect. The sloop's long gun was tumbled over, and the men who
managed it strewn mangled upon the deck. A number of the heavy sweeps
dropped from the hands that held them, or were sent whirling into the
air. I think this one discharge must have killed more than a dozen men.

"For a few moments the victory appeared to be won; but just then the
_Agenora_ swung around in such a manner that neither of the cannons
could be made to bear upon the enemy. The pirates saw our dilemma, and
a few powerful strokes of their sweeps brought them right under our bow.

"We ran forward to prevent them from boarding, but they swarmed over
the bowsprit and head rail, cutlass in hand, till it was plain that two
men and two boys were to be no match for such a number of desperate
villains. In spite of all we could do, they were in a fair way to make
short work with us, when on a sudden the scene was changed.

"Mrs. Howard had anticipated such an emergency from the very first, and
now, with a ladle in one hand and a kettle of boiling hot tar in the
other, she ran to our relief.

"The tar in such a state could be dipped up as easily as water, and in
a quarter of a minute all the headmost pirates had got it full in their
faces. Filling their eyes and mouths, or running down their half-naked
breasts, it must have put them in great agony. They went tumbling back
upon those behind them, and as we quickly followed up our advantage,
the deck was almost instantly cleared.

"In a few minutes the sloop was making all possible speed away from us,
but she had out only six sweeps instead of the fourteen with which she
had commenced the chase.

"All of us except Mrs. Howard had been more or less wounded, so that we
did not attempt to molest the pirates as they retreated; while on their
part, as the cannon we had knocked over for them was their only one,
they could not fire upon us. I think they must have had nearly twenty
men killed or disabled, to say nothing of those who were scalded by the
hot tar.

"I shall never forget how carefully Mrs. Howard bound up the ugly
cuts in our arms. She seemed to know everything, just like one's own
mother--and yet she was such a young woman!

"We got a breeze soon after the fight was over, and were thankful for
it, too, as we did not know how many more pirates there might be in the
neighborhood. It took us around Cape St. Antonio, and two days later we
arrived at Key West, where we were put into quarantine.

"Of our yellow-fever patients, two died just as we dropped anchor, but
the remaining four soon after began to improve and finally recovered.
We lay in quarantine for a number of weeks, and then, with the vessel
thoroughly fumigated, were permitted to sail for home.

"Upon our arrival there, the good old _Agenora_ became an object of
much curiosity, while as to Mrs. Howard, she was visited by a host of
friends, anxious to hear the story of our peril from her own lips.

"I am sometimes asked if in all my seafaring life it was ever my
fortune to meet with a real pirate--one whom I knew to be such. To that
question I think myself justified in saying 'yes'--and further, that it
was an experience which I never desired to repeat."



SOME QUEER PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS.


The occurrence of a death in a Filipino family in Bulacan is the signal
for an immediate celebration. "Our brother has gone to a happy land,
and we must rejoice," they say. Relatives and friends are invited to
come, and an orchestra is summoned. Then the dancing and feasting
begin, and continue until the time of the funeral, which in this
climate takes place within twenty-four hours.

Those who have the means buy a black cloth-covered casket ornamented
with spangles and bows of bright blue ribbon. The poor rent the "town
coffin," a plain tin box, evidently designed for those of medium
stature, for a year or two ago, in a funeral procession, the feet of
the deceased, incased in bright blue plush chinelas, were seen sticking
out at one end.

The orchestra heads the procession through the streets, usually playing
some lively air learned from the American soldiers. The popular funeral
music is "A Hot Time," and it keeps the procession moving at a brisk
pace.

Thursday is the favorite day for weddings in Bulacan, as it is "bargain
day" in the matrimonial market. On Thursdays the priest marries many
couples at a time, and consequently at less expense to each couple.
Four o'clock in the morning is the favorite hour. Following the
ceremony the newly married pair return to the bride's home, where
dancing and feasting ensue till sundown.

A bride to whose wedding feast some Americans were invited had a
romantic prelude to her nuptials. The parents of the bride were
strenuously opposed to the match, owing to a strong disinclination on
the part of the groom to do any sort of labor. So Anastasia was sent
up into the mountains to visit among relatives, and traces of her
whereabouts were carefully concealed from Felicidad, the groom elect.

But Felicidad, although too indolent to support his prospective bride,
did not purpose that another should win her, so he summoned several
faithful friends to his aid and began an active search. His devotion
was rewarded with success, and three weeks later Felicidad returned in
triumph, with radiant Anastasia borne aloft on the shoulders of two of
his trusty friends.

The following Thursday, in company with fifteen other happy couples,
they were married.



HIGH LEAPS BY DEER.


Mr. Gordon Boles, a sportsman who has hunted all over the world,
has recorded some remarkable leaps taken by deer when pursued. His
observations have been chiefly in his native district, Exmoor, the land
of "Lorna Doone," in India, and in Northwestern Canada. Uncontrollable
fear and partial blindness caused by long pursuit, he gives as reasons
for deer taking leaps which usually end in death. Once, while hunting
with the Devon and Somerset stag hounds, he saw a hind leap 300
feet from a cliff to the seashore. She was dashed to pieces. In the
excitement of the chase one of the hounds followed her.

On another occasion a stag made a bold burst for the open, going
straight for the sea. He came to the edge of a cliff, some hundreds of
feet above the beach, and then dashed restlessly backward and forward,
as if seeking a path to descend.

He either missed his footing or jumped, and when the hunters came up
he was seen below, a shattered mass, with the horns broken into small
pieces. Mr. Boles is inclined to think that the stag committed suicide
deliberately.

Another deer, which made the leap at about the same place, landed
safely and swam out to sea. Men pursued him in a boat and killed him.

In India Mr. Boles wounded a sambur, which resembles somewhat the
common deer. The sambur showed fight on a narrow path overhanging a
precipice. Mr. Boles fired again, but in his excitement aimed too low,
the ball passing beneath the deer and striking the ground just back of
his hind legs. The deer turned and deliberately leaped over the height.

A fine buck he wounded in Northwestern Canada, when pursued by the dog,
jumped from a height of 100 feet into a shallow stream and broke his
neck.



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.

  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.

To be Published on September 6th.

  29--Motor Matt's Make-up; or, Playing a New Role.

To be Published on September 13th.

  30--Motor Matt's Mandarin; or, Turning a Trick for Tsan Ti.

To be Published on September 20th.

  31--Motor Matt's Mariner; or, Filling the Bill for Bunce.

To be Published on September 27th.

  32--Motor Matt's Double-trouble; or, The Last of the Hoodoo.


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=.

Throughout this text version, the oe ligature in manoeuvre has been
expanded; the ligature is retained in the HTML version.

Page 6, changed "consarnin 'the" to "consarnin' the".

Page 9, removed unnecessary quote before "Tsan Ti turned sidewise."

Page 18, corrected "boy's" to "boys'" in "king of the motor boys'."

Page 24, removed unnecessary quote after "revolver leveled in his
direction."

Page 29, corrected double to single quote before "dead men tell no
tales."

Page 30, corrected typo Angenora in "The _Agenora_ carried two
six-pounders".





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Motor Matt's Mandarin - or, Turning A Trick For Tsan Ti" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home