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

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Motor Matt's Double Trouble - or, The Last of the Hoodoo" ***

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



  MOTOR STORIES

  THRILLING
  ADVENTURE

  MOTOR
  FICTION

  NO. 32
  OCT. 2, 1909

  FIVE
  CENTS

  MOTOR MATT'S
  DOUBLE-TROUBLE

  OR THE LAST
  OF THE HOODOO

  _BY THE AUTHOR OF
  "MOTOR MATT"_

  _STREET & SMITH
  PUBLISHERS
  NEW YORK_

[Illustration: _"Stop!" shouted Motor Matt laying back on the end of
the rope_]



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. 32.=      NEW YORK, October 2, 1909.      =Price Five Cents.=



Motor Matt's Double Trouble

OR,

THE LAST OF THE HOODOO.

By the author of "MOTOR MATT."



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I. THE RED JEWEL.
  CHAPTER II. ANOTHER END OF THE YARN.
  CHAPTER III. SHOCK NUMBER ONE.
  CHAPTER IV. SHOCKS TWO AND THREE.
  CHAPTER V. A HOT STARTER.
  CHAPTER VI. M'GLORY IS LOST--AND FOUND.
  CHAPTER VII. "POCKETED."
  CHAPTER VIII. SPRINGING A "COUP."
  CHAPTER IX. MOTOR MATT'S CHASE.
  CHAPTER X. THE CHASE CONCLUDED.
  CHAPTER XI. A DOUBLE CAPTURE.
  CHAPTER XII. ANOTHER SURPRISE.
  CHAPTER XIII. BAITING A TRAP.
  CHAPTER XIV. HOW THE TRAP WAS SPRUNG.
  CHAPTER XV. BACK TO THE FARM.
  CHAPTER XVI. CONCLUSION.
  HUDSON AND THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE.
  THE DEATH BITE.
  MIGRATION OF RATS.
  SOME GREAT CATASTROPHES.



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 continues to fall into
  tragic difficulties, and to send in "four-eleven" alarms for the
  assistance of Motor Matt.

  =Sam Wing=, San Francisco bazaar-man, originally from Canton, and
  temporarily in the employ of Tsan Ti. By following his evil thoughts
  he causes much trouble for the mandarin, and, incidentally, for the
  motor boys.

  =Philo Grattan=, a rogue of splendid abilities, who aims to steal a
  fortune and ends in being brought to book for the theft of a motor
  car.

  =Pardo=, a pal of Grattan.

  =Neb Hogan=, a colored brother whose mule, stolen by Sam Wing, plays
  a part of considerable importance. Neb himself engineers a surprise
  at the end of the story, and goes his way so overwhelmed with good
  luck that he is unable to credit the evidence of his senses.

  =Banks and Gridley=, officers of the law who are searching for the
  stolen blue motor.

  =Boggs=, a farmer who comes to the aid of Motor Matt with energy and
  courage.

  =Bunce=, a sailor with two good eyes who, for some object of his
  own, wears a green patch and prefers to have the public believe he
  is one-eyed. A pal of Grattan, who is caught in the same net that
  entangles the rest of the ruby thieves.



CHAPTER I.

THE RED JEWEL.


Craft and greed showed in the eyes of the hatchet-faced Chinaman. He
seemed to have been in deep slumber in the car seat, but the drowsiness
was feigned. The train was not five minutes out of the town of Catskill
before he had roused himself, wary and wide-awake, and looked across
the aisle. His look and manner gave evidence that he was meditating
some crime.

It was in the small hours of the morning, and the passenger train was
rattling and bumping through the heavy gloom. The lights in the coach
had been turned low, and all the passengers, with the exception of the
thin-visaged Celestial, were sprawling in their uncomfortable seats,
snoring or breathing heavily.

Across the aisle from this criminally inclined native of the Flowery
Kingdom was another who likewise hailed from the land of pagodas and
mystery; and this other, it could be seen at a glance, was a person of
some consequence.

He was fat, and under the average height. Drawn down over his shaven
head was a black silk cap, with a gleaming red button sewn in the
centre of the flat crown. From under the edge of the cap dropped
a queue of silken texture, thick, and so long that it crossed the
Chinaman's shoulder and lay in one or two coils across his fat knees.

Yellow is the royal color in China, and it is to be noted that this
Celestial's blouse was of yellow, and his wide trousers, and his
stockings--all yellow and of the finest Canton silk. His sandals were
black and richly embroidered.

From the button and the costume, one at all informed of fashions as
followed in the country of Confucius might have guessed that this stout
person was a mandarin. And that guess would have been entirely correct.

To go further and reveal facts which will presently become the reader's
in the logical unfolding of this chronicle, the mandarin was none other
than Tsan Ti, discredited guardian of the Honam joss house, situated
on an island suburb of the city of Canton. He of the slant, lawless
gleaming eyes was Sam Wing, the mandarin's trusted and treacherous
servant.

A Chinaman, like his Caucasian brother, is not always proof against
temptation when the ugly opportunity presents itself at the right time
and in the right way. Sam Wing believed he had come face to face with
such an opportunity, and he was determined to make the most of it.

Sam Wing was a resident of San Francisco. He owned a fairly prosperous
bazaar, and, once every year, turned his profits into Mexican dollars
and forwarded the silver to an uncle in Canton for investment in the
land of his birth. Some day Sam Wing cherished the dream of returning
to Canton and living like a grandee. But wealth came slowly. Now, there
in that foreign devil's choo-choo car such a chance offered to secure
unheard-of riches that Sam Wing's loyalty to the mandarin, no less
than his heathen ideas of integrity, were brushed away with astounding
suddenness.

Tsan Ti slept. His round head was wabbling on his short neck--rolling
and swaying grotesquely with every lurch of the train. The red button
of the mandarin's cap caught the dim rays of the overhead lamps and
threw crimson gleams into the eyes of Sam Wing. This flashing button
reminded Sam Wing of the red jewel, worth a king's ransom, which the
mandarin was personally conveying to San Francisco, en route to China
and the city of Canton.

Already Sam Wing was intrusted with the mandarin's money bag--an
alligator-skin pouch containing many oblong pieces of green paper
marked with figures of large denomination. The money was good, what
there was of it, but that was not enough to pay for theft and flight.
Sam Wing's long, talon-like fingers itched to lay hold of the red jewel.

With a swift, reassuring look at the passengers in the car, Sam Wing
caught at the back of the seat in front and lifted himself erect. He
was not a handsome Chinaman, by any means, and he appeared particularly
repulsive just at that moment.

Hanging to the seat, he steadied himself as he stepped lightly across
the aisle. Another moment and he was at the mandarin's side, looking
down on him.

Tsan Ti, in his dreams, was again in Canton. Striding through the great
chamber of the Honam joss house, he was superintending the return of
the red jewel to the forehead of the twenty-foot idol, whence it had
been stolen.

While the mandarin dreamed, Sam Wing bent down over him and, with
cautious fingers, unfastened the loop of silk cord that held together
the front of the yellow blouse. The rich garment fell open, revealing a
small bag hanging from the mandarin's throat by a chain.

Swiftly, silently, and with hardly a twitch of the little bag, two of
Sam Wing's slim, long-nailed fingers were inserted, and presently drew
forth a resplendent gem, large as a small hen's egg.

A gasping breath escaped Sam Wing's lips. For a fraction of an instant
he hesitated. What if his ancestors were regarding him, looking out of
the vastness of the life to come with stern disapproval? A Chinaman
worships his ancestors, and the shades of the ancient ones of his blood
have a great deal to do with the regulating of his life. What were Sam
Wing's forefathers thinking of this act of vile treachery?

The thief ground his teeth and, with trembling hands, stowed the red
jewel in the breast of his blouse. He started toward the rear door of
the car--and hesitated again.

Sam Wing was a Buddhist, as the Chinese understand Buddhism, wrapping
it up in their own mystic traditions. This red jewel had originally
been stolen from a great idol of Buddha. In short, the jewel had been
the idol's eye, and the idol, sightless in the Honam joss house, was
believed to be in vengeful mood because of the missing optic. The idol
had marshalled all the ten thousand demons of misfortune and had let
them loose upon all who had anything to do with the pilfering of the
sacred jewel.

Who was Sam Wing that he should defy these ten thousand demons of
misfortune? How could he, a miserable bazaar man, fight the demons?

But his skin tingled from the touch of the red jewel against his
breast. He would dare all for the vast wealth which might be his in
case he could "get away with the goods."

Closing his eyes to honor, to the ten thousand demons, to every article
of his heathen faith, he bolted for the rear of the car. Opening the
door, he let himself out on the rear platform. A lurch of the car
caused the door to slam behind him.

Meanwhile Tsan Ti had continued his delightful dreaming. His
subconscious mind was watching the priests as they worked with the red
jewel, replacing it in the idol's forehead. The hideous face of the
graven image seemed to glow with satisfaction because of the recovery
of the eye.

The priest, at the top of the ladder, fumbled suddenly with his hands.
The red jewel dropped downward, with a crimson flash, struck the tiles
of the floor, and rolled away, and away, until it vanished.

A yell of consternation burst from the mandarin's lips. He leaped
forward to secure the red jewel--and came to himself with his head
aching from a sharp blow against the seat back in front.

He straightened up, and the alarm died out of his face. After all, it
was only a dream!

"Say!" cried a man in the seat ahead, turning an angry look at Tsan Ti.
"What you yellin' for? Can't a heathen like you let a Christian sleep?
Huh?"

"A million pardons, most estimable sir," answered Tsan Ti humbly. "I
had a dream, a bad dream."

"Too much bird's-nest soup an' too many sharks' fins for supper, I
guess," scowled the man, rearranging himself for slumber. "Pah!"

Tsan Ti peered across the aisle. The seat occupied by his servant, Sam
Wing, was vacant. Sam Wing, the mandarin thought, must have become
thirsty and gone for a drink.

The mandarin heaved a choppy sigh of relief. How real a dream sometimes
is! Now, if he----

His hand wandered instinctively to the breast of his blouse, and he
felt for the little lump contained in the bag suspended from his throat.

He could not feel it. Pulling himself together sharply Tsan Ti used
both hands in his groping examination.

Then he caught his breath and sat as though dazed. A slow horror ran
through his body. His blood seemed congealing about his heart, and his
yellow face grew hueless.

The red jewel was gone! The front of his blouse was open!

Then, after his blunted wits had recovered their wonted sharpness, Tsan
Ti leaped for the aisle with another yell.

"Say," cried the man in the forward seat, lifting himself wrathfully,
"I'll have the brakeman kick you off the train if you don't hush! By
jing!"

The mandarin began running up and down the aisle of the car, wringing
his fat hands and yelling for Sam Wing. He said other things, too, but
it was all in his heathen gibberish and could not be comprehended.

By then every person in the car was awake.

"Crazy chink!" shouted the man who had spoken before. "He's gone dotty!
Look out for him!"

At that moment the train lumbered to a halt and the lights of a station
shone through the car windows. The brakeman jammed open the door and
shouted a name.

"Motor Matt!" wailed Tsan Ti. "Estimable friend, come to my wretched
assistance!"

"Here, brakeman!" cried the wrathful passenger who had already aired
his views, "take this slant-eyed lunatic by the collar of his kimono
and give him a hi'st into the right of way. Chinks ought to be carried
in cattle cars, anyhow."

Tsan Ti, however, did not wait to be "hoisted into the right of way."

With a final yell, he flung himself along the aisle and out the rear
door, nearly overturning the astounded brakeman. Once on the station
platform, he made a bee line for the waiting room and the telegraph
office.

There was but one person in all America in whom the mandarin had any
confidence, but one person to whom he would appeal. This was the king
of the motor boys, who, at that moment, was in the town of Catskill.



CHAPTER II.

ANOTHER END OF THE YARN.


On the same night this Oriental treachery manifested itself aboard the
train bound north through the Catskills, a power yacht dropped anchor
below the town of Catskill.

There was something suspicious about this motor yacht. She carried no
running lights, and her cabin ports were dark as Erebus. She came to
a halt silently--almost sullenly--and her anchor dropped with hardly
a splash. A tender was heaved over the side, and four men got into it
and were rowed ashore by one of their number. When the tender grounded,
three of the passengers got out. One of them turned to speak to the man
who remained in the boat.

"Leave the tender in the water, when you get back to the _Iris_,
Pierson. If the tender is wanted here, a light will be shown."

"All right, Grattan," answered the man in the boat, shoving off and
rowing noiselessly back to the yacht.

"Hide the lantern in that clump of bushes, Bunce," went on Grattan.

"Ay, ay, messmate," answered the person addressed as Bunce.

"Look here, Grattan," grumbled the third member of the party, "Motor
Matt has cooked our goose for us, and I'll be hanged if I can see the
use of knocking around the town of Catskill."

"There are a lot of things in this world, Pardo," returned Grattan
dryly, "that are advisable and that you haven't sense enough to see."

Pardo muttered wrathfully but indistinctly.

"Now," proceeded Grattan, "this is the way of it: We got Motor Matt
and his chum, McGlory, aboard the _Iris_--lured them there on the
supposition that Tsan Ti had sent Motor Matt the red jewel to keep
safely for him for a time. Motor Matt and McGlory walked into our trap.
We got the red jewel and put the two boys ashore some fifteen or twenty
miles below here. Half an hour later I put the supposed ruby to some
tests and found it was counterfeit----"

"Are you sure the ruby you stole from the Honam joss house was a true
gem?"

"Yes. Tsan Ti sent Motor Matt a counterfeit replica for the purpose of
getting us off the track. Motor Matt and McGlory will take the first
train for Catskill from the place where we put them ashore. We'll
lie in wait for them on the path they must take between the railroad
station and their hotel. It's a dark night, few passengers will arrive
at this hour, and we can recapture the two motor boys and take them
back to the _Iris_."

"What good will that do?" demurred Pardo. "Motor Matt hasn't the real
stone--Tsan Ti must have that."

"I'll find out from Motor Matt where Tsan Ti is," said Grattan, between
his teeth, "and then I'll flash a message to the mandarin that he must
give up the real gem, or Motor Matt _will suffer the consequences_!"

"You can't mean," gasped Pardo, in a panic, "that you will----"

"It's a bluff, that's all," snapped Grattan. "It will scare the
mandarin out of his wits. Have you hid the lantern, Bunce?" he
demanded, as the other member of the party came close.

"Ay, Grattan," was the reply. "First bunch of bushes close to where we
came ashore."

"All right; come on, then. I've figured out what train Motor Matt and
Joe McGlory will catch, and it should soon be at the depot."

With Grattan in the lead, the party scrambled up the slope through the
darkness, passed some ice houses, crossed a railroad track, and finally
came to a halt in a lonely part of the town, near the walk leading from
the railroad station to the business street and the hotels. A billboard
afforded them a secure hiding place.

Grattan had figured the time of the train pretty accurately. He and his
companions waited no longer than five minutes before the "local" drew
to a halt at the station.

"If those boys are not on the train," muttered Pardo, "then we're
fooled again. Confound that Motor Matt, anyhow!"

"He has my heartiest admiration," returned Grattan, "but I'm not
going to match wits with him and call myself beaten. Hist!" he added
abruptly, "here come two people--and maybe they're the ones we're
looking for. Mind, both of you, and don't make a move till I give the
word."

Breathlessly the three men waited. Footsteps came slowly up the walk
and voices could be heard--voices which were recognized as belonging to
the motor boys.

"Well, pard," came the voice of McGlory, "New York for ours in the
morning. Tsan Ti, with the big ruby, is on the train, bound for China
and heathen happiness, Grattan has the bogus stone and is making
himself absent in the _Iris_, and you and I are rid of the hoodoo at
last, and have fifteen hundred to the good. That's what I call----"

By then the two lads had passed the billboard and were so far away that
spoken words could not be distinguished. And Grattan had given no word
for an attack!

"What's the matter with you, Grattan?" whispered Pardo. "They're too
far off for us to bag them now."

"We're not going to bag them." Grattan was a man of quick decisions.
"We've changed our plans."

While the other two mumbled their surprise and asked questions, Grattan
had taken pencil, notebook, and an electric torch from his pocket.
Snapping on the torch, he handed it to Bunce.

"Put a stopper on your jaw tackle and hold that," said he crisply.

Then he wrote the following:

  "CONDUCTOR, LOCAL PASSENGER, NORTH BOUND: Fat Chinaman, answering to
  name of Tsan Ti and claiming to be mandarin, on your train. He's a
  thief and has stolen big ruby called Eye of Buddha. Put him off train
  in charge of legal officer, first station after you receive this.
  Answer.                                    JAMES PHILO, Detective."

"This is a telegram," said Grattan, and read it aloud for the benefit
of his two companions. "You'll take it down to the railroad station,
Pardo," he went on, "and have it sent at once to the nearest point that
will overtake the train Matt and McGlory just got off of. Bunce and I
will wait here, and you stay in the station till you receive an answer."

"But how do you know Tsan Ti is on that train?" asked Pardo.

"Didn't you hear what was said when the motor boys passed us?"

"But nothing was said about the mandarin being on _that_ particular
train."

"I'm making a guess. If the conductor replies that no such chink is on
the train, then my guess is wrong. If he answers that the chink was
there, and that he has put him off, red jewel and all, into the hands
of the legal authorities, then James Philo Grattan will play the part
of James Philo, detective, and fool these country authorities out of
their eye teeth--and, incidentally, out of the Eye of Buddha."

The daring nature of Grattan's hastily formed plan caused Pardo and
Bunce to catch their breath. Grattan was a fugitive from the law, and
yet here he was making the law assist him in stealing the red jewel for
the second time!

"You're a wonder," murmured Pardo, "if you can make that game work."

"Trust me for that, Pardo. Now you hustle for the railroad station and
get that message on the wires. Hurry back here as soon as you receive
an answer."

Pardo took the paper and made off down the slope. He was gone
three-quarters of an hour--a weary, impatient wait for Bunce, but
passed calmly by Grattan.

When Pardo returned he came at a run.

"Your scheme's no good, Grattan!" were his first breathless words.

"Why not?" demanded Grattan. "Wasn't Tsan Ti on the train?"

"Yes--and another chink, as well. Fat Chinaman, though, jumped off
at Gardenville, first station north of Catskill. Here, read the
conductor's message for yourself."

Grattan, still cool and self-possessed, switched the light into his
torch and read the following:

  "Two Chinamen, one answering description, came through on train from
  Jersey City. Fat Chinaman jumped off at Gardenville, although had
  ticket reading Buffalo. Don't know what became of other Chinaman. Two
  young men boarded train River View, talked with fat Chinaman, got off
  Catskill.                                               CONDUCTOR."

Grattan must have been intensely disappointed, but he did not give rein
to his temper. While Bunce spluttered and Pardo swore under his breath,
Grattan was wrapped in profound thought.

"We'll have to change our plans again," he observed finally. "We gave
over the idea of capturing Motor Matt and McGlory for the purpose of
getting Tsan Ti held by the authorities as a thief; now we've got to
give that up. Why did Tsan Ti get off the train at Gardenville when
he was going to Buffalo? It was an Oriental trick to pull the wool
over my eyes. The mandarin is afraid of me. We must proceed at once to
Gardenville before Tsan Ti has a chance to get out of the town."

"How are we going to get to Gardenville?" demanded Pardo. "If we take
the _Iris_----?"

"We won't."

"If we walk----"

"We won't do that, either. We'll take an automobile. It may be, too,
that our motor cycles will come in handy. You go down to the bank,
Pardo, signal the yacht, and have Pierson bring the two machines
ashore. While you're about that, Bunce and I will visit the garage and
borrow a fast machine. You know these hills?"

"As well as I do my two hands."

"On your way to the _Iris_ I'll give you something to leave at the
hotel for Motor Matt."

Grattan did some more scribbling on a blank sheet of his notebook;
then, tearing out the sheet, he wrapped it around a small object and
placed both in a little box with a sliding cover.

"They may recognize me at the hotel," protested Pardo.

"I don't think so. It will do me good to have you leave this, anyhow.
I don't want Motor Matt to think that I was fooled very long by that
bogus ruby. If we're quick, Pardo, we're going to catch Tsan Ti before
he can leave Gardenville. And when we nab the mandarin we secure the
ruby."

Grattan was a master rogue, and not the least of his shining abilities
was his readiness in adjusting himself to changing circumstances.

Fate, in the present instance, had conspired to place him on the wrong
track--but he was following the course with supreme confidence.



CHAPTER III.

SHOCK NUMBER ONE.


When Motor Matt and Joe McGlory dropped off that "local" passenger
train at the Catskill station they had just finished a series of
strenuous experiences. These had to do with the great ruby known as
the Eye of Buddha. A cunning _facsimile_ of the gem had been sent by
Tsan Ti to Matt, by express, with a letter desiring him to take care of
the ruby until the mandarin should call for it. This responsibility,
entirely unsought by the king of the motor boys, plunged him and his
cowboy pard into a whirl of adventures, and ended in their being
decoyed aboard the _Iris_. Here the ruby was taken from Matt by
force--Grattan, who secured it, not learning until some time later that
the object Matt had been caring for was merely a base counterfeit of
the original gem. And Matt and McGlory did not find this out until they
caught the train at Fairview, when they discovered that Tsan Ti and Sam
Wing were aboard.

The twenty-mile ride from Fairview to Catskill with the mandarin proved
quite an eye opener for the motor boys. They learned how Tsan Ti had
deliberately set Grattan on their track to recover the bogus ruby,
while he--Tsan Ti--made his escape with the real gem.

This part of the mandarin's talk failed to make much of a "hit" with
Matt and McGlory. The mandarin had used them for his purposes in a
particularly high-handed manner, keeping them entirely in the dark
regarding the fact that the stone intrusted to Matt was a counterfeit.

Although the boys parted in a friendly way with the mandarin on leaving
the train at Catskill, yet they nevertheless remembered their grievance
and were heartily glad to think that they were done for all time with
Tsan Ti and his ruby.

Very often it happens that when we think we are done with a thing we
have reckoned without taking account of a perverse fate. This was the
case with the motor boys with reference to Tsan Ti and the Eye of
Buddha.

While they were climbing the slope from the railroad station to their
hotel, glad of the prospect of securing a little much-needed rest, only
a few chance remarks by McGlory prevented them from having an encounter
with Grattan, Pardo, and Bunce, who were lurking beside the walk. And
at that same moment the faithless Sam Wing was engineering his stealthy
theft in the darkened passenger coach.

So stirring events were forming, all unheeded by the boys.

Upon reaching the hotel they proceeded immediately to the room which
they occupied, hastily disrobed, and crept into their respective beds.
In less than five minutes the room was resounding with McGlory's
snores. Matt remained awake long enough to review the events of the day
and to congratulate himself that he and his cowboy pard were finally
rid of the "hoodoo" gem and the "hoodoo" Chinaman who had been looking
for it. Then the king of the motor boys himself fell asleep.

It was McGlory's voice that aroused Matt.

"Sufferin' thunderbolts!" Matt awoke with a start and turned his eyes
toward the other side of the room. The cowboy was sitting up in bed.
"Talk about your shocking times, pard," he went on, "why, I've been
jumping from one shock into another ever since I hit this mattress.
Thought I was chased by a blind idol, twenty feet high, and sometimes
that idol looked like Grattan, sometimes it was a dead ringer for Tsan
Ti, and sometimes it was its own wabble-jawed, horrible self. Woosh!
And listen"--McGlory's eyes grew wide and he became very serious--"the
idol that chased me had _red hair_!"

"What difference does that make, Joe?" inquired Matt, observing that
the sun was high and forthwith tumbling out of bed.

"What difference does it make!" gasped McGlory. "Speak to me about
that! Don't you know Matt, that whenever you dream about a person with
red hair, trouble's on the pike and you've got up your little red flag?"

"Oh, gammon!" grunted Matt. "Pile out and get into your clothes, Joe.
We're taking the eleven a. m. boat for the big town, and we haven't
any too much time to make our 'twilight,' help ourselves to a late
breakfast, and amble down to the landing."

"Hooray!" cried McGlory, forgetting his dream in the prospect called up
by his chum's words. "We're going to have the time of our lives in New
York, pard! All I hope is that nothing gets between us and that eleven
a. m. boat. Seems like we never make a start for down the river but
Johnny Hardluck comes along, jolts us with an uppercut, and faces us
the wrong way. Look here, once."

"Well?"

"If you get a letter from Tsan Ti, promise me to say 'manana' and give
it the cut direct."

"What chance is there of our receiving a letter from the mandarin? He's
on his way West with the Eye of Buddha, and Grattan is on his way no
one knows where with a glass imitation. Both of them are satisfied, and
I guess you and I, Joe, haven't any cause for complaint. The mandarin
is too busy traveling to write any letters."

"Well," insisted McGlory, "give me your solemn promise you won't pay
any attention to a letter from the mandarin if you receive one. If
you're so plumb certain he won't write, why not promise?"

"It's a go," laughed Matt, "if that will make you feel any easier in
your mind."

"It does, a heap. I'd rather have measles than another attack of
mandarinicutis, complicated with rubyitis, and----"

"Oh, splash!" interrupted Matt. "We've been well paid for all the time
we were ailing with those two troubles. Give your hair a lick and a
promise, and let's go down to breakfast. They'll be ringing the last
bell on us if we wait much longer."

"Lead on, Macduff!" answered McGlory, throwing himself around in the
air and then striking a pose, with one arm up, like Ajax defying the
lightning. "Remember Monte Cristo like that, pard?" he asked. "'The
world is mine!' That's how I feel. Us for New York, with fifteen
hundred of the mandarin's _dinero_ in our clothes! Oh, say, I'm a brass
band and I've just got to toot!"

The cowboy "tooted" all the way downstairs and into the office; then,
as they passed the desk on their way to the dining room, the rejoicing
died on the cowboy's lips.

"Just a minute, Motor Matt!" called the clerk, leaning over the desk
and motioning.

"Lightning's going to strike," muttered McGlory; "I can see it coming."

He followed Matt to the desk. As they lined up there, the clerk fished
a small box out of the office safe.

"This was left here for you last night, Matt," went on the clerk. "I
was told to hand it to you this morning by the night clerk when he went
off duty."

The little box was placed on the counter. Matt and McGlory stared at it.

That was not the first time they had seen that small receptacle. With
the counterfeit ruby inside, it had first come into Matt's hands by
express, direct from Tsan Ti; then, by a somewhat devious course of
events, it had gone into the possession of Philo Grattan.

Why should Grattan have returned the box to Matt? How _could_ he have
returned it when, as Matt and McGlory believed, he was at that very
moment hurrying to get out of the country and escape the law?

"Shock number one," shuddered McGlory.

"Not much of a shock about this--so far," returned Matt, picking up the
box.

"Wait till you see what's inside."

"We'll open it in the dining room," and Matt turned away.

"I'll bet a bowl of birds'-nest soup against a plate of sharks' fins
it's going to spoil your breakfast."

They went in and took their usual places at one of the tables. All the
other guests had breakfasted, and the motor boys had the big dining
room--with the exception of two or three waiters--wholly to themselves.

"Open it quick," urged McGlory.

Matt sawed through the string with his knife, pulled out the lid of the
box, and dropped a gleaming red object on the tablecloth.

"Sufferin' snakes!" exclaimed McGlory. "The Eye of Buddha, or I'm a
Piute! How in blazes did old Tsan Ti get the thing back to us? When I
saw that last it was in a silk bag around the mandarin's neck."

"It can't be the Eye of Buddha, Joe," said Matt. "It looks to me more
like the bogus gem than the real one."

"How can you tell the difference?"

"From the fact that the real stone could not by any possibility get
into our hands again."

"Neither could the bogus gem--if it's where we think it is."

"I guess here's something that will explain," and Matt drew a piece of
paper from the box.

"Who's it from?" queried McGlory, in a flutter.

"From Grattan," answered Matt grimly. "Listen," and he read:

  "'MOTOR MATT: You don't know what a tight squeak you and McGlory
  had to-night--not aboard the _Iris_, but after you were put ashore.
  Pray accept the inclosed piece of glass with my compliments. I don't
  think you knew, any more than I did, that it was counterfeit. If Tsan
  Ti gets into any more difficulties, you take my advice and let him
  weather them alone.                                      GRATTAN.'"

"Shocked?" muttered McGlory. "Why, I feel as though somebody had hit
me with a live wire. So Grattan found out the ruby was an imitation!
And he found out in time to send that back to you last night! Say, that
fellow's the king bee of all the crooks that ever lived. Present the
jewel to one of these darky waiters, and let's you and I get busy with
the ham and eggs. I'm glad we're for New York by the eleven-o'clock
boat, and that the mandarin isn't worrying us any more."

The cowboy threw the box under the table, and would have reached for
the gleaming bit of glass had not Matt grabbed it first and dropped it
into his pocket.



CHAPTER IV.

SHOCKS TWO AND THREE.


The motor boys were very much in the dark concerning Philo Grattan's
movements and intentions.

"He was right," observed Matt, referring to Grattan's note, "when he
said I was in the dark as much as he was concerning that piece of
glass. He wasn't fooled very long."

"There's good advice in that note," said McGlory, who was beginning to
have apprehensions that he and Matt were not yet done with the Eye of
Buddha. "I mean where he says that if the mandarin gets into any more
difficulties we'll be wise to let him get out of them alone the best
way he can."

"That's more than a piece of advice, Joe. If I catch the true meaning,
it's a threat."

McGlory at once saw a light in the general gloom.

"Then, if it's a threat, pard, Grattan must be ready to make another
try for the Eye of Buddha!"

"That's the way it strikes me."

"But what can Grattan do? Tsan Ti ought to be whooping it up pretty
well to the west by now. He's got a good long start of Grattan in the
run to 'Frisco."

"What Grattan can do," said Matt reflectively, "is as hard to
understand as what he has already done. We know he has discovered that
this red jewel is a counterfeit, we know he sent some one here to
return the piece of crimson glass to me, and it's a fair inference that
he's going to make another attempt to recover the real ruby. How he has
managed to do all this, however, or what he can possibly accomplish in
overhauling Tsan Ti, is far and away beyond me."

"We're out of it, anyhow," remarked McGlory, with an airy confidence
he was far from feeling. "You've promised not to pay any attention to
any four-eleven alarms you receive from the mandarin, and I'd feel
tolerably comfortable over the outlook if--if----" He paused.

"If what?" queried Matt.

"Why, if I hadn't seen that red-headed idol chasing me in my sleep. I
had two good looks at it. One look means trouble, two looks mean double
trouble. Call me a Piegan if I ever knew it to fail."

Matt laughed.

"Never trouble trouble," he admonished, "till trouble troubles you."

"Fine!" exclaimed McGlory; "but it's like a good many of these keen old
saws--hard to live up to. I'll bet the inventor of that little spiel
died of worry in some poorhouse. I'm always on my toes, shading my eyes
with my hat brim and looking for miles along the trail of life to see
if I can't pick up a little hard luck heading my way. Can't wait till I
come company front with it. Well, maybe it's all right. Life would be
sort of tame if something didn't happen now and then to make us ginger
up. But we're for New York at eleven o'clock, no matter what happens!"

A few minutes later they finished their breakfast and went out into the
office. As Matt pushed up to the desk to ask the amount of his hotel
bill, and settle for it, the clerk shoved a yellow envelope at him.

"Telegram, Matt. Just got here."

"Shock two," groaned McGlory, grabbing at the edge of the desk. "_Now_
what? Oh, tell me!"

Matt tore open the envelope, read the message, stared at it, whistled,
then read it again.

"Somebody want us to run an air ship or go to sea in a submarine?"
palpitated McGlory. "Sufferin' tenterhooks, pard! Stop your staring and
whistling, and hand it to me right off the bat."

Matt caught McGlory's arm and conducted him to a corner where there
were a couple of easy-chairs.

"It's from the mandarin," he announced.

"Sufferin' chinks!" breathed the cowboy. "Didn't I tell you? Say,
_didn't_ I? What's hit him now?"

"I'll read you the message, Joe."

"Go ahead. All I want you to do, pard, is just to remember what you
promised me."

"'Esteemed friend,'" read Matt, "'and highly treasured assistant in
time of storm----'"

"Speak to me about that!" grunted the disgusted McGlory. "His word box
is full of beadwork."

"'Again I call from the bottomless pit of distress,'" continued Matt,
"'and from this place named Gardenville announce the duplicity of Sam
Wing, who suddenly absented himself from the train with my supply of
cash and the Eye of Buddha. Having no money, I have requested of the
honorable telegraph company to receive pay from you. If----'"

"He's lost the ruby!" gasped McGlory, "and Sam Wing is the guilty man!
Oh, Moses, what a throwdown! Why, I had a notion Sam Wing thought the
sun rose and set in Tsan Ti. And Sam Wing lifted the ruby and the
mandarin's funds and hot-footed it for parts unknown! Well, _well_!"

"'If,'" continued Matt, continuing the reading, "'I cannot recover the
priceless gem, then nothing is left for me but the yellow cord. Hasten,
noble youth, and aid in catching the miserable Sam Wing.' That's all,
Joe," finished Matt, with a frown.

"Then drop it in the waste basket and let's settle our bill and start
for the landing. It's a quarter to eleven. While you're paying up I'll
go to the room after our grips."

The cowboy started impatiently to his feet. Matt continued to sit in
his chair, frowning and peering into vacancy.

"Mosey!" urged Joe.

"It seems too bad to turn Tsan Ti down in such cold-blooded fashion,"
said Matt.

"There you go! That's you! Say, pard, the mandarin thinks he's got a
mortgage on you. What's the good of helping a chink who's so locoed he
totes a fifty-thousand-dollar ruby around with him rather than hand it
over to the express company for transportation? Take it from me, you
can keep helping Tsan Ti for the next hundred years, and he'll never
get out of the country till he separates himself from the Eye of Buddha
and let some one else take the risk of getting it to Canton. Are you
going?"

"The poor old duffer," continued Matt, "is always right up in the air
when anything goes wrong with him. We know what the safe return of that
ruby to the Honam joss house means to him, Joe. The ruler of China has
sent him a yellow cord--a royal invitation for him to strangle himself
if the ruby is not found and returned to the forehead of the idol."

"Look here," snapped McGlory, "time's getting scarce. Are you going
down the river with me, pard, or have I got to go alone?"

Before Matt could answer, a well-dressed man hurried into the lobby
from the street and rushed for the desk as though he had something on
his mind.

"That's Martin," said Matt, looking at the man.

Martin was proprietor of the local garage and had been of considerable
assistance to the motor boys during the first days of their stay in
Catskill. It was Martin who owned the two motor cycles which had been
stolen from Matt and McGlory by Bunce and a pal. The boys had had to
put up three hundred dollars to settle for that escapade, but Tsan Ti
had made the amount good.

Martin talked excitedly with the hotel clerk for a moment, and the
clerk leaned over the desk and pointed toward the corner where the
motor boys had seated themselves. Martin, a look of satisfaction
crossing his troubled face, bore down on the corner.

"Look out for shock number three," growled McGlory. "Sufferin' hoodoos!
We've taken root here in Catskill, and I'll bet we won't be able to
pull out for the rest of our natural lives."

The cowboy, apparently discouraged with the outlook, dropped down into
his chair and leaned back in weary resignation.

"Matt!" exclaimed Martin, "you're just the fellow I want to find."

"What's wrong, Mr. Martin?" inquired Matt.

"A three-thousand-dollar car was stolen out of my garage last night.
The night man was attacked, knocked over the head, and then bound hand
and foot. It was a most brazen and dastardly piece of work."

"Too bad," spoke up McGlory, "but things like that will happen
occasionally. Think of Matt and me getting done out of those two motor
cycles of yours."

"But I'll have to put up ten times what you fellows did for the motor
cycles--that is, if we can't get the car back."

"_We!_" boomed McGlory, starting forward in his chair. "If _we_ can't
get the car back! Are Motor Matt and Pard McGlory mixed up in that
'we'?"

"Well, I thought when you knew the circumstances that----"

"Don't hem, and haw, and sidestep," cut in McGlory keenly. "You're in
trouble, and whenever anybody in the whole country stumbles against
something that's gone crosswise, then it's 'Hurrah, boys,' and send for
Motor Matt. I wish I had words to tell you how inexpressibly weary all
this makes me. Didn't you ever stop to think, Martin, that, off and on,
the motor boys might have troubles of their own?"

"But listen. You haven't heard the facts."

"What are the facts, Martin?" asked Matt.

"Why, the night man recognized one of the scoundrels who struck him
down. The rascal was dressed in sailor clothes and had a green patch
over one eye."

"Bunce!" exclaimed Matt, starting up.

"That's it," cried Martin, glad of the impression he was making.
"I knew you and McGlory had been mixed up with that sailor, and I
naturally thought you'd be glad of a chance to help nab him."

"About what time was the car stolen?" asked Matt, quieting McGlory with
a quick look.

"About half-past two," answered Martin. "I've got a car ready to chase
the scoundrels. Have you any notion which way that car ought to go?"

"You're a trifle late taking up the pursuit," remarked Matt. "Here it
is nearly eleven, and the automobile was stolen at half-past two--more
than eight hours ago."

"I was up at Cairo," explained Martin, "and didn't get back till ten
o'clock this morning."

"I've something of a clue," said Matt, "but it may be too late to
follow it."

"Where does the clue lead?"

"To Gardenville."

"Then we'll make a fast run to Gardenville. Will you go along?"

"Yes," said Matt. "Come on, Joe."

And McGlory dutifully went. As he, and Matt, and Martin passed out
of the hotel, the down-river boat from Albany whistled for Catskill
Landing. The cowboy looked at it.

"We'll never get to New York," he murmured; "not in a thousand years.
We're out for two different kinds of trouble, and we'll be into both of
'em up to our eyes before we're many hours older."



CHAPTER V.

A HOT STARTER.


Motor Matt disliked any further entanglements with Tsan Ti and the
fateful ruby fully as much as did his cowboy pard, and he was greatly
perturbed over the unexpected developments which had again drawn
him and McGlory into the plots and counterplots hovering around the
valuable gem. But it was impossible for the king of the motor boys to
turn his back upon an appeal from any one in distress when it was in
his power to be of help. Nevertheless, Matt might have cut loose from
the mandarin, for he did not like his Oriental methods, but his temper
was stirred by that half-veiled threat in the note from Grattan.

Matt and Grattan had been at swords' points ever since the motor boys
had been in the Catskills. It was largely a battle of wits, with now
and then a little violence thrown in for good measure, and up to that
moment neither Matt nor Grattan had scored decisively.

Through Matt's intrepid work, Tsan Ti had recovered the stolen ruby,
but, as in the case where he had lost the counterfeit gem, Matt's
success had been merely a fortunate blunder. On the other side of the
account, Grattan could be charged with a theft of the two motor cycles
and with sundry other sharp practices which had gone too much "against
the grain" for Matt to overlook. The daring theft of the automobile
from the garage pointed the way not only for Matt to help Martin
recover the machine, but perhaps, also, to recover the motor cycles, to
worst Grattan, and to be of some assistance to Tsan Ti.

On the way to the garage with Martin, Matt explained these matters to
McGlory.

With the whistle of the New York boat still sounding in his ears, the
cowboy listened to his chum, at first, with intense disapproval; but,
at the back of McGlory's nature, there was as intense a dislike for
being worsted by such a crook as Grattan as there was at the back of
Matt's.

Cleverly the king of the motor boys harped on this chord, and aroused
in his chum a wild desire to do something that would curb, finally and
effectually, the audacious lawlessness of Philo Grattan. To such an
extent did Matt influence McGlory that the latter began to wonder how
he could ever have thought of leaving the Catskills while Grattan was
at large.

"Sufferin' justice!" exclaimed the cowboy. "Grattan is trying to bluff
us out of helping the mandarin. That's as plain as the pay streak in a
bonanza mine. He must have been with Bunce when the bubble was lifted,
and if we chase the chug cart we can hand the boss tinhorn a black eye
by getting back the machine and landing the thieves in the skookum
house. Say, that would be nuts for me! The mandarin and his idol's eye
can go hang--it's Grattan we're after this trip."

Matt left his chum with that impression, well knowing that if Grattan
could be captured, the affairs of the mandarin would adjust themselves
satisfactorily.

The night man at the garage, his head bandaged, was lingering in the
big room, watching one of the day men give a final wipe to the lamps
of a six-cylinder flyer that was to take the trail after Grattan. The
night man's face flushed joyfully when he saw Matt and McGlory.

"Good!" he exclaimed. "I guess there'll be something doing in these
parts, now that Motor Matt is going to help in the chase."

"You're the man who was on duty when the automobile was stolen?"
inquired Matt.

"Don't I look the part?"

"Martin says you identified one of the men as the old sailor who wears
a green patch over one of his eyes."

"Seen him as plain as I do you, this minute."

"What did the other thief look like?"

"Didn't have a chance to tell, the attack was that sudden an'
unexpected."

"You are sure there were no more than two of the thieves?"

"I could take my solemn Alfred on that."

"All aboard!" called Martin, from the car. "I'm going to let you do the
driving, Matt. You can forget more about automobiles than I ever knew."

Matt stepped to the side of the car and drew on a pair of gauntlets
that lay in the driver's seat; then he climbed to his place, McGlory
got in behind, and the car was backed around and glided out through the
wide door of the garage.

With Martin indicating the way, the machine slipped rapidly out of
Catskill and darted off on the Gardenville road.

"What sort of clue is taking us to Gardenville?" asked Martin, as they
weaved in and out among the tree-covered hills, catching occasional
glimpses of the sparkling waters of the Hudson.

Matt informed Martin briefly of Tsan Ti's predicament and of Grattan's
persistent attempts to get hold of the ruby.

"You think Grattan has gone to Gardenville to intercept Tsan Ti?" asked
Martin.

"It would be like Grattan," Matt answered, "to hire Sam Wing to steal
the ruby from the mandarin. I don't know that Grattan has done that,
but it would be like him. If he did, then he would travel toward
Gardenville to pick up Sam Wing."

"This looks too much like guesswork," muttered Martin, "and not very
bright guesswork, either."

"I think the same way, Martin; but it's the only clue we have. Grattan
and Bunce certainly had an object in view when they stole the motor
car. The theft, happening at the time it did, rather inclines me to
think that Grattan is beginning a swift campaign to recover the Eye of
Buddha."

"Since half-past two he has had oceans of time to reach Gardenville and
pick up Sam Wing and the ruby--if that was his game."

"Exactly," returned Matt. "I was telling you the same thing back at the
hotel. What sort of a car was it that was stolen?"

"It was a blue car, six cylinder, and had a tonneau and top. It
belonged to a man from New York. He's been telegraphing and telephoning
all through the mountains. If the thieves didn't get away last night,
they'll have a hard time doing it to-day."

Matt was watching the road. It was a popular highway for motor-car
owners, and the surface bore evidence of the passage of many pneumatic
tires. Half a dozen cars passed them, going the other way, and
inquiries were made as to the blue car. The stolen automobile had not
been seen or heard of. At least two of the passing drivers had come
from Gardenville, and their failure to have seen anything of the stolen
machine promised ill for the success of the pursuers when they should
reach their destination.

"I guess I'm up against it, all right," growled Martin. "This Grattan
is a clever scoundrel, and he'll know what to do to keep from getting
captured."

"What's that place ahead there?" asked Matt.

What he saw was a spot where the road curved a little to one side in
a valley between two hills. There were two or three hitching posts
planted beside the road, and from one of the posts swung a tin bucket.

"That's a spring," said Martin, "and it furnishes ice-cold water in
the very hottest part of the summer. People stop there to water their
horses--and to get a drink themselves if they're thirsty."

"Let's stop, pard," called McGlory, from the tonneau. "I'm dryer than a
sand pile and my throat's full of dust."

"We're only three miles from Gardenville," spoke up Martin, his words
significant of the fact that there would be plenty of drinking water to
be had in the town without delaying the journey at the spring.

"We'll only be a minute," said Matt, swerving to the side of the road
and bringing the car to a halt.

All three jumped out, and Martin led the way to a small pool, shaded by
overhanging trees. From beyond the pool came a tinkle of falling water.

"Horses are watered from this basin," remarked Martin. "The water
falls from the rocks, farther on, and we'll find a cup there."

A well-worn path followed the rill that supplied the pool, and the
three continued onward along the path in single file. Half a dozen
yards brought them to the rocky side hill where the water welled from a
crack in the granite and fell in a miniature cataract to a bowl-shaped
depression at the foot of the wall.

A man was standing beside the spring when Martin, Matt, and McGlory
emerged from the tangle of brush and vines. The man was just lifting
himself erect after filling a tin cup that was chained to the rocks.
Startled into inaction, the man stood staring at the three newcomers,
the filled cup in his hand.

The surprise, it may be observed, was mutual.

The man by the spring was a Chinaman--a lean, hatchet-faced individual
whose blouse and baggy trousers gave evidence of rough work in the
undergrowth.

"Sam Wing!" yelled McGlory.

Yes, it was the treacherous Celestial, there was not the slightest
doubt about that.

Simultaneously with his shout, McGlory leaped forward, closely followed
by Matt. Sam Wing awoke to his peril not a second too soon. Casting the
cup of water full in the cowboy's face, the Chinaman gave vent to a
defiant yell, whirled, and vanished among the trees.

McGlory sputtered wrathfully as he shook the water out of his eyes.
Matt bounded on in frantic pursuit of the fugitive.

"Come back!" cried Martin, thinking of nothing but the stolen car.
"What's the use of chasing the chink?"

"You freeze to the automobile, Martin," the cowboy paused to answer.
"Matt and I will put the kibosh on this yellow grafter and then we'll
rejoin you. We'll not be gone long."

The words faded in a rattle and crash of violently disturbed bushes,
and McGlory had vanished along his chum's trail.



CHAPTER VI.

M'GLORY IS LOST--AND FOUND.


This unexpected encounter with Sam Wing was certainly a "hot starter"
in the matter of the stolen ruby, although of apparently small
consequence in the matter of the stolen car. But Motor Matt was not
particular as to which end of the double thread fortune wafted his way.
He followed Sam Wing just as zealously as he would have followed Philo
Grattan, had it been the white thief instead of the yellow who had fled
from the spring.

The cold spring water had run down the cowboy's face, under his collar,
and had glued his shirt to his wet skin.

"Speak to me about that!" he breathed angrily, as he labored on. "If
the rat-eater hadn't slammed that water into my face, I'd have had him
by his yellow throat in a brace of shakes! Wow, but it's cold! I feel
as though I was hugging an iceberg. Where's Matt?"

McGlory had not seen his chum since he had plunged into the bushes,
but had followed blindly in a course he believed to be the right one,
trying only to see how much ground he could cover.

Now, realizing suddenly that he might be on the wrong track, the cowboy
halted, peered around him, and listened intently. The timber was
thick and the bushes dense on every side. There were no sounds in any
direction even remotely suggesting the Chinaman's flight and Matt's
pursuit.

"I'm off my bearings and no mistake," reflected the cowboy, searching
the ground in vain for some signs of the course taken by Sam Wing and
Matt. "Matt will have a time overhauling the chink in this chaparral,
and the two of us are needed. But which way am I to go?"

McGlory had been hurrying along the side hill that edged the valley and
the road. He swept his eyes across the narrow valley, and then up the
slope toward the top of the hill.

"It's a cinch," he ruminated, "that Sam Wing wouldn't go near the
trail, but would do his level best to get as far away from it as he
could. That means, if I'm any guesser, that he climbed the hill and
tried to lose himself beyond. Me for the other side," and the cowboy
began pawing and scrambling up the steep slope.

Ten minutes of hard work brought him to the crest, and here again he
halted to peer anxiously around and to listen. He could neither hear
nor see anything that gave him a line on Matt and the Chinaman.

"Whoop-ya!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. "Matt! Where are you,
pard?"

A jaybird mocked him from somewhere in the timber, and a frightened
hawk took wing and soared skyward.

"Blamed if this ain't real excitin'!" growled the cowboy. "I'm going
to do something to help lay that yellow tinhorn by the heels, though,
and you can paste that in your hat. If Matt came over the hill, then
it stands to reason he went down on this other side. I'll keep on, by
guess and by gosh, and maybe something will happen."

McGlory kept on for half an hour, floundering through the bushes,
making splendid time in his slide to the foot of the hill, and from
there striking out on an erratic course that carried him toward all
points of the compass. He climbed rocky hills and descended them, he
followed ravines, and he sprinted across narrow levels, yelling for
Matt from time to time, but receiving no answer. Then he discovered
that something had happened--and that he was lost.

Trying to locate himself by the position of the sun, he endeavored to
return to the road. Instead of calling for Matt, he now began whooping
it up for Martin. The sun appeared to be in the wrong place, and the
road and the spring had vanished. The farther McGlory went, the more
confused and bewildered he became. At last he dropped down on a bowlder
and panted out his chagrin and disgust.

"Lost! Me, Joseph Easy Mark McGlory, Arizona puncher and boss trailer
of the deserts and the foothills! Lost, plumb tangled up in my
bearings, clean gone off the jump--and in this two-by-twice range of
toy mountains where Rip Van Winkle snoozed for twenty years. I wonder
if Rip was as tired as I am when he laid down to snatch his forty
winks. Sufferin' tenderfoot! I've walked far enough to carry me plumb
to Albany, if it had all been in a straight line. Matt!" and again he
lifted his voice. "Martin!"

The lusty yell echoed and reverberated through the surrounding woods,
but brought no answer.

Then, suddenly, the cowboy was seized from behind by a pair of stout
arms, pulled backward off the bowlder, and flattened out on the ground
by a heavy knee on his chest.

It had all happened so quickly that McGlory was dazed. He was a moment
or two in recovering his wits and in recognizing the sinister face and
mocking eyes that bent down over him.

"Grattan!" he gasped.

"Ay, messmate," gibed a voice from near at hand; "Grattan and Bunce.
Don't forget Bunce."

The cowboy turned his head and saw the sailor. The green patch
decorated one of the sailor's eyes, but the other eye taunted the
luckless prisoner with an exultant gleam.

McGlory struggled desperately under Grattan's hands.

"Stop it!" ordered Grattan.

As McGlory had made no headway with his frantic struggles, he decided
to obey the command.

"What are you doing out here in the woods?" inquired Grattan.

"Ease up on that throat a little," wheezed the cowboy. "Want to take
the breath all out of me?" The thief's fingers relaxed slightly. "I
left the road a spell ago," proceeded McGlory, "and went wide of my
bearings somewhere--I don't know just where."

"Lost, eh?" laughed Grattan. "Well, my lad, you've been found."

"How did you happen to find me?"

"How?" jeered Bunce. "You was makin' more noise than a foghorn. The way
you was askin' Motor Matt for help, it's a wonder they didn't hear you
in Catskill."

"Tie his hands with something, Bunce," said Grattan.

Bunce looked taken aback for a space, then whipped his knife laniard
from about his neck, removed the knife, doubled the cord, and contrived
a lashing that was strong enough to answer the purpose.

Grattan heaved the cowboy over upon his face and pulled his wrists
behind him. In less than a minute the cord was in place, and the
prisoner was freed of Grattan's gripping hands and allowed to sit up,
his back against the bowlder.

"This meeting," grinned Grattan, "was entirely unexpected, and a
pleasant surprise."

"A pleasant surprise for you, I reckon," grunted McGlory. "What did you
jump onto me for like this? What good is it going to do you?"

"What benefit I am to derive from this encounter," replied Grattan,
"remains to be seen. Tell me, my lad, are you and Motor Matt looking
for Tsan Ti?"

An angry denial was on the cowboy's lips, but he thought better of the
words before they were spoken.

"Never you mind who we're looking for, Grattan," said he.

"It's for Tsan Ti, I am sure," went on Grattan. "He's somewhere in this
section, for he left Gardenville on foot, early this morning, preceded
by his man, Sam Wing. I don't know exactly what's up, but I'm rather
inclined to think that the mandarin is afraid of me, and is trying to
get back to Catskill and place himself under the wing of his estimable
protector, Motor Matt. You and Matt heard he was coming and advanced to
meet him. The same man who told me the fat Chinaman was in the hills
must have given you boys the same information."

"Who was the _hombre_, Grattan?" queried McGlory, secretly delighted to
think Grattan's speculations were so wide of the mark.

"A man in a white runabout with a red torpedo beard."

"I wouldn't know a red torpedo beard from a Piute's scalplock, but I do
recollect a shuffer in a white car."

This white runabout was one of the cars Matt, Martin, and McGlory had
passed on the road, and the driver was one of those of whom they had
made inquiries. The inquiries, of course, had been all about the stolen
automobile and not about the fat Chinaman. If Grattan had been in the
stolen car when asking the man in the white runabout for news of Tsan
Ti, then why hadn't the runabout driver remembered the blue car and
told Matt something about it?

"Where were you," went on the cowboy, "when you hailed the man in the
white car?"

"On foot, by the spring," answered Grattan genially.

He was an educated man and usually good-natured--sometimes under the
most adverse circumstances. That was his way, perhaps on the principle
that an easy manner is best calculated to disarm suspicion.

"Where was the car you and Bunce stole from the Catskill garage?" asked
the cowboy.

"We tucked it away in a pocket of the hills that my friend Pardo knew
about," explained Grattan, tacitly admitting the theft and, in his
customary fashion, not hesitating to go elaborately into details. "We
failed to finish the work that took us to Gardenville last night. When
we learned at the railroad station in that town that the fat Chinaman
had started south on foot, about break of day, following another of his
countrymen, we rushed the car back into an obscure place. It is not
advisable, you understand, to make that car too prominent. We shall
have to use it by night. Bunce and I rode to the spring on our motor
cycles for the purpose of watching the road. The white runabout came
along, and the driver told us, he had passed Tsan Ti, walking this
way. We waited for him to pass the spring, but he did not. Thinking he
had taken to the rough country, Bunce and I returned our wheels to the
place where we have pitched temporary camp and began prowling around in
the hope of finding the mandarin. Then, quite unexpectedly, I assure
you, we heard you calling. We came to this place, guided by the sound
of your voice. You know the rest, and----"

Grattan bit off his words abruptly. From a distance came a hail, so far
off as to be almost indistinguishable.

"Motor Matt!" exclaimed Grattan, with a laugh. "He's looking for you,
McGlory. If this keeps up, we're going to have quite a reunion. Put a
hand over his lips, Bunce," he added to the sailor.

McGlory tried to give a desperate yell before the hand closed over
his mouth, but he was not quick enough. Grattan, leaning against the
bowlder, threw back his head and answered the distant call.

The voice in the woods drew closer and closer.

"Call again, excellent one!" came the weary voice from the scrub. "I
heard you shouting some time ago, and you were calling the name of an
esteemed friend for whom I am looking. Speak loudly to me, so that I
may come where you are."

The three by the bowlder were astounded.

"Tsan Ti," muttered Grattan, "or I don't know the voice. Luck, Bunce!
Whoever thought this could happen? The mandarin heard McGlory calling
for Motor Matt--and now the mandarin is looking for McGlory and is
going to find _us_." A chuckle came with the words. "Lie low, Bunce,
and watch McGlory. Leave the trapping of Tsan Ti to me."



CHAPTER VII.

"POCKETED."


For the cowboy pleasant fancies were cropping out of this surprising
turn of events. He reflected that Grattan did not know Sam Wing had
stolen the ruby from Tsan Ti. By entrapping Tsan Ti, Grattan was
undoubtedly counting upon getting hold of the Eye of Buddha.

If Bunce had known how little love McGlory had for the mandarin, he
would not have been at so much pains to keep a hand over his lips. Just
at that moment nothing could have induced the cowboy to shout a warning
to the approaching Chinaman.

Kneeling behind the bowlder, Grattan lifted his voice for Tsan Ti's
benefit. Presently the mandarin was decoyed around the side of the
bowlder, and his capture expeditiously effected.

He was a badly demoralized Chinaman. His usually immaculate person had
been eclipsed by recent hardships, and he was tattered and torn and
liberally sprinkled with dust. His flabby cheeks were covered with red
splotches where thorny undergrowth had left its mark. He was so fagged,
too, that he could hardly stand. At the merest touch from Grattan he
tumbled over. A most melancholy spectacle he presented as he sat on the
ground and stared at Grattan with jaws agape.

"Oh, friend of my friend," wheezed Tsan Ti, passing his gaze to
McGlory, "was it you who shouted?"

"First off it was," answered McGlory; "after that, Grattan took it up."

"And you are a prisoner?"

"I wouldn't be here if I wasn't."

"I'm the man for you to talk to, Tsan Ti," put in Grattan grimly. "It's
me you're to reckon with."

"Evil individual," answered the mandarin, "my capture will not help
you in your rascally purposes. Is not my present distress sufficient,
without any of your unwelcome attentions? Behold my plight! What more
can you do to make me miserable?"

"I can take the ruby away from you, for one thing."

A mirthless smile crossed the mandarin's fat face. A chuckle escaped
McGlory.

Grattan stared hard at the Chinaman, and then flashed a quick glance at
the cowboy.

"What are you thinking of, McGlory?" he demanded.

"I'm thinking that you're fooled again, Grattan," answered McGlory.
"You know so much that I wonder you haven't heard that the mandarin has
lost the ruby."

"Lost it?" A look of consternation crossed Grattan's face. "I'll never
believe that," he went on. "Tsan Ti knows where the Eye of Buddha is,
and there are ways to make him tell me."

"Ay, ay," flared Bunce, with a fierce look, "we'll make him tell if we
have to lash him to a tree and flog the truth out o' him."

"Wretches," said the mandarin, "no matter what your hard thoughts may
counsel, or your wicked hands contrive, you cannot make me tell what I
do not know."

Grattan would not trust Bunce to search the mandarin, but proceeded
about the work himself. Two chopsticks, a silver cigarette box, an
ivory case with matches, a bone-handled back scratcher, a handkerchief,
a fan, and a yellow cord some three feet long were the results of the
search.

There was no ruby. Grattan prodded a knife blade into Tsan Ti's thick
queue in his search for the gem, and even ripped out the lining of his
sandals, but uselessly.

"You know where the ruby is," scowled Grattan, giving way to more wrath
than McGlory had ever seen him show before; "and, by Heaven, I'll make
you tell before I'm done with you."

Tossing the yellow cord to Bunce, Grattan drew back and ordered the
sailor to secure the mandarin's hands in the same way he had lashed the
cowboy's.

Tsan Ti seemed to accept the situation philosophically. But that he
was in desperate straits and hopeless was evidenced by his remark when
Bunce was done with the tying:

"Despicable person, I had rather you put the yellow cord about my
throat than around my wrists."

"You'll get it around the throat when we get back to the pocket," said
Grattan brutally. "Take charge of McGlory, Bunce," he added, "and come
with me."

Tsan Ti was ordered to his feet. Thereupon, Grattan seized his arm and
pulled him along through the woods.

McGlory would have given something handsome if he could have had the
use of his hands for about a minute. Bunce would have been an easy
problem for him to solve if he had not been hampered by the knife
laniard. As it was, however, the cowboy was forced to get to his feet
and, with the sailor as guard, follow after Grattan and Tsan Ti.

Captors and captives traveled for nearly a mile through uneven country,
thick with timber, then descended into a ravine, followed it a little
way beyond a point where it was crossed by a wagon road, and came to a
niche in the gully wall.

Perhaps the term "cavern" would better describe the place where
Grattan, Pardo, and Bunce had pitched their temporary camp. The hole
was an ancient washout, its face covered with a screen of brush and
creepers.

In front of the niche, standing in a place where it had been backed
from the road on the "reverse," was the blue automobile. Leaning
against the automobile were the two motor cycles; and from the tonneau
of the car, as Grattan and Bunce approached with their prisoners, arose
the form of Pardo.

"Well, well!" exclaimed Pardo, thrusting his head out from under the
top. "If we haven't got visitors! Where did you pick up the mandarin,
Grattan?"

"Between here and the Gardenville road," answered Grattan. "It was easy
work. Both the chink and the cowboy were kind enough to yell and tell
us where they were."

Pardo, understanding little of what had really occurred, opened his
eyes wide.

"Tell me more about it," said he.

"After I get the prisoners in the pocket. Bunce, bring a rope. Hold
McGlory, Pardo, while he's doing it."

Pardo jumped down from the automobile and caught the cowboy's arm.

"I guess you're a heap easier to deal with than your friend, Motor
Matt," was his comment.

"No guess about it," said McGlory, "it's a cinch. But I'm not fretting
any."

The cowboy's eyes were on the stolen car. What a pleasure it would
have been to snatch that automobile out of Grattan's clutches, leaving
him and his rascally companions stranded in the hills! But that was a
dream--and McGlory had already had too many dreams for his peace of
mind.

Tsan Ti was shoved by Grattan through the bushes, under the trailing
vines and into the washout. Pardo dragged McGlory through, close on
their heels.

"Sit down, both of you," ordered Grattan, when the prisoners were in
the gloomy confines of the niche.

Tsan Ti and McGlory lowered themselves to the bare earthen floor. Bunce
came with the rope, and it was coiled around the cowboy's ankles, and
then around the mandarin's.

"I've taken you in, McGlory," observed Grattan, to the cowboy, "for
the purpose of finding out what Motor Matt is doing; and I've captured
the mandarin with the idea of getting the ruby. I'm a man who hews
steadily to the line, once he marks it out. I'll have my way with both
of you before I am done. Mark that. You can't get away from here. Even
if you were not bound hand and foot, you'd have to pass the automobile
in order to reach the road--and Pardo, Bunce, and I will be in the
automobile. We're all heeled, which is a point you will do well to
remember."

Having eased his mind in this manner, Grattan went out of the niche,
Bunce and Pardo following him. They could be heard climbing into the
automobile, and then their low voices came in a mumble to the ears of
the prisoners.

"Fated friend," gulped the mandarin, "the ten thousand demons of
misfortune are working sad havoc with Tsan Ti."

"Buck up!" returned McGlory. "We're pocketed, all right, but matters
might be worse."

"What cheering thoughts can I possibly have?" mourned the mandarin.
"The Eye of Buddha has escaped me, gone I do not know where, in the
possession of that Canton dog, Sam Wing, who----"

"Hist!" breathed McGlory, in a warning voice. "Grattan doesn't know who
has the ruby, and it may be a good thing if we keep it to ourselves.
Don't lose your nerve. Motor Matt is around, and you can count on him
to do something."

"Motor Matt is both notable and energetic," droned the mandarin, "but
for him to secure the ruby from Sam Wing is too much to hope for."

"There you're shy a few, Tsan Ti. I'll bet my scalp against that queue
of yours that Matt has already captured Sam Wing and recovered the Eye
of Buddha."

Tsan Ti stirred restlessly.

"Do not deceive me with hope, honorable friend," he begged.

"Well, listen," and McGlory proceeded to tell Tsan Ti what had happened
at the spring.

Tsan Ti's hopes arose. He had been ready to grasp at anything, and here
McGlory had offered him undreamed-of encouragement.

"There are many brilliant eyes in the plumage of the sacred peacock,"
he murmured, "but by them all, I vow to you that there is no other
youth of such accomplishments as Motor Matt. And, by the five hundred
gods of the temple at----"

"Cut it out," grunted McGlory. "You've got Matt and me into no end of
trouble with your foolishness. When you get that ruby into your hands
again, stop fumbling with it. Pass it over to some one who knows how
to look after it, but don't try the job yourself. This is first-chop
pidgin I'm giving you, Tsan Ti, and I don't know why I'm handing it
out, after the way you hocused my pard and me with that piece of red
glass. But it's good advice, for all that, and you'd better keep it
under your little black cap."

Tsan Ti relapsed into thoughtful silence. The mumble of voices
continued to creep in through the swinging vines and the bush tops, but
otherwise the quiet that filled the "pocket" was intense.

The mandarin was first to speak. Leaning toward the cowboy, he
whispered:

"There's a chance, companion of my distress, that we may be able to
make our escape."

"What's the number?" queried the cowboy.

Thereupon the mandarin began revealing the plan that had formed in his
mind. It was the fruit of considerable reflection and promised well.



CHAPTER VIII.

SPRINGING A "COUP."


Stripped of its ornamental trimmings, the mandarin's plan was
marvelously simple. McGlory was to roll over with his back to him, and
he engaged to gnaw through the knife laniard. When the cowboy's hands
were free it would be only a few moments until he removed the ropes
from his ankles and set Tsan Ti at liberty.

This accomplished, McGlory was to set up a racket, calling Grattan,
Bunce, and Pardo into the pocket. As they crashed through the brush in
one direction, the mandarin would crash through it in another, reach
the motor cycles, and rush away on one before Grattan or his companions
had an opportunity to use their firearms.

"H'm," reflected McGlory. "That's a bully plan, Tsan Ti--for you.
You're the boy to look out for Number One, eh? This surprise party
you're thinking of springing reminds me of the way you unloaded that
imitation ruby on Motor Matt, and then sat back and allowed Matt and me
to play tag with Grattan."

"What is the fault with my plan, generous sir?" asked the mandarin.

"Of course," went on the cowboy, with fine sarcasm, "I don't amount to
much. I kick up a disturbance in here, and when Grattan, Pardo, and
Bunce rush in on me, you make a run for one of the motor cycles. In
other words, I hold the centre of the stage and make things interesting
for the three tinhorns while you burn the air on a benzine bike and get
as far outdoors as you can. Fine!"

"Pardon, exalted friend," demurred Tsan Ti, "but you overlook the point
that I will be pursued."

"I don't think I overlook a blessed point, Tsan Ti. But just answer
me this: What's the good of escaping? Grattan will have to let us go
sooner or later. If we put up with these uncomfortable ropes for a
spell, we'll both get clear and without running the risk of stopping a
bullet."

"Accept my excuses, noble youth, and please remember Grattan made some
remarks about choking me with the cord in case I did not reveal the
whereabouts of the ruby. That would not be pleasant."

"Sufferin' stranglers!" exclaimed McGlory; "I'd forgotten about that.
Can't say that I blame you for thinking twice for yourself and once for
me. I'll help on the game." The cowboy rolled over with his back to the
mandarin. "Now get busy with your teeth," he added, "and be in a rush.
There's no telling when the pallavering outside will be over with, and
if those fellows get through before we do, the kibosh will be on us and
not on them."

The logic of this last remark was not lost upon the mandarin. He
grunted and wheezed and used his teeth with frantic energy. While he
panted and labored, both he and the cowboy kept their ears sharp for
the mumble of talk going on outside.

Fortunately for the _coup_ the prisoners were intending to spring, the
talk continued unabated. The laniard was gnawed in half, and McGlory
sat up, brought his hands around in front of him, and rubbed the places
where the mandarin's sharp teeth had slipped from the cord.

"You've turned part of the trick, Tsan Ti," commended the cowboy; "now
watch me do my share."

With his pocket knife he slashed through the coil that held his feet,
and he would then have treated the yellow cord about the mandarin's
wrists in like manner had he not been stopped by a quick word.

"The yellow cord, illustrious one," said the Chinaman, "must be untied.
It is a present from his imperial highness, my regent, and I may yet be
obliged to use it in the customary way."

"Oh, hang your regent!" grumbled McGlory, but yielded to the mandarin's
request and began untying the cord with his fingers.

This was slow work, for McGlory's fingers were still numb from the
effects of his own bonds. In due course, however, the cord was removed,
and the Chinaman lifted himself to a sitting posture. The cowboy used
the knife on the rope that secured Tsan Ti's feet, while the latter was
solicitously coiling up the yard of yellow cord and putting it away in
his pocket.

"Now, courageous friend," whispered the mandarin, getting up
noiselessly and stepping to the swinging green barrier at the mouth of
the niche, "we are ready."

"You know how to manage a motor cycle?" queried McGlory, suddenly
stifling the roar that was almost on his lips.

"Excellently well, superlative one."

"Then good luck to you. Here goes."

Above the fearsome commotion McGlory made, the words "Help!" and
"Hurry!" might have been distinguished. Startled exclamations came from
the automobile, followed by a sound of scrambling as the three thieves
tumbled out. Then there was a crashing among the bushes and the vines,
and McGlory rolled back at full length and shoved his unbound hands
under him.

"What's the matter?" cried Grattan, who was first to enter the pocket.

"Mandarin tried to knife me!" whooped McGlory. "Why didn't you take his
knife away from him? I might have been sent over the one-way trail if I
hadn't yelled."

All three of the men were in the niche by that time.

"Where is the chink?" shouted Grattan.

The poppety-pop-pop of a motor in quick action came from without.

"He's tripped his anchor and is makin' off!" yelled Bunce.

"Stop him!" fumed Grattan, and instantly he followed Bunce and Pardo
back through the swinging screen of vines and bushes.

Chuckling with delight, McGlory leaped erect, sprang to the vines, and
parted them so he could look out.

Tsan Ti, his motor working splendidly, was streaking down the ravine
toward the road. Bunce, who had led in the rush from the pocket, had
mounted the other motor cycle and was coaxing his engine into action
with the pedal.

"Catch him, Bunce!" bellowed Grattan.

Bunce's answer was lost in a series of explosions as his motor got to
work. As he whirled away, Grattan and Pardo ran after him to watch the
pursuit as long as possible.

And thus it chanced that good luck came McGlory's way, after all. He
had pretended, when Grattan and the other two came into the pocket,
that he was tied, and the excitement following Bunce's discovery that
the mandarin was escaping prevented any examination of the cowboy's
bonds. Now McGlory had the neighborhood of the pocket to himself,
and within a dozen feet of where he stood was the blue touring car,
unguarded!

A daring plan rushed through the cowboy's head. Why not crank up the
automobile's engine and rush down the ravine?

There was a chance that he could reach the road. If Grattan or Pardo
got in his way, he could run them down; if they drew off to one side
and fired at him, he could trust to luck.

"Nothing venture, nothing win!" muttered the reckless cowboy, and
pushed through the vines and bushes and jumped for the front of the car.

An angle of the ravine hid Grattan and Pardo. One look made McGlory
certain on this point, and another look showed him the rough surface
which the automobile had to get over. There was a fine chance to blow
up a tire or come to grief against a jutting rock, but the cowboy had
staked everything on a single throw, and he was not to be frightened by
difficulties.

He gave the crank a couple of turns, and the engine answered with a
fierce sputter and an increasing rattle of explosions.

That sound, if Grattan and Pardo were near enough to hear, advertised
plainly what McGlory was about. He lost not a moment in scrambling into
the driver's seat and getting the car to going.

The automobile started with a jump, and lurched and swayed over the
uneven ground like a ship in a storm. Bending to the steering wheel,
McGlory nursed the car onward with the spark.

The machine rounded the turn. The road was in plain view--but so were
Grattan and Pardo.

Consternation was written large in the faces of the two thieves. The
car was being hurled toward them, plunging and buck-jumping as it met
the high places, and the two men had to throw themselves sideways to
clear the path.

"Stop!" roared Grattan, drawing a revolver.

McGlory's answer was a defiant yell. As the car rushed by Pardo he made
a jump for it--and was knocked roughly back toward the ravine wall.

_Bang!_

That was Grattan's weapon, echoing high about the racket of the
unmuffled motor. Something ripped through the rear of the top and
crooned its wicked song within an inch of McGlory's head.

But the cowboy laughed. He hadn't blown up a tire or smashed any of the
machinery, he was turning into the road, and Grattan and Pardo were
behind him!

"We've knocked the hoodoo galley west!" McGlory exulted. "Oh, what do
you think of this! _What_ do you think of it!" and he let the sixty
champing horses under the bonnet snatch him along the road at their
best clip.



CHAPTER IX.

MOTOR MATT'S CHASE.


Meanwhile, the king of the motor boys, without the remotest idea as to
what was happening to his cowboy pard, was exacting his own tribute
from the realm of exciting events.

When he started after Sam Wing, Matt had no time to give to any one
else. He supposed that McGlory was following him, but was altogether
too busy to look behind and make sure. It was a trifling matter,
anyhow. The main thing was to catch Sam Wing, and Matt threw himself
into the pursuit with ardor.

McGlory, it will be remembered, had worked upon the theory that the
Chinaman, eager to get as far from the road as possible, had gone over
the hill. But this was incorrect. Sam Wing hustled along the hillside
slope, his course paralleling the valley and the road.

Very early in the chase the Chinaman lost his grass sandals, and a
little later his stockings, but loss of his footwear seemed to help
rather than diminish his speed.

Motor Matt was "no slouch" as a long-distance runner, but Sam Wing
proved a handful for him. From time to time Matt would gain, coming so
close to the hustling Celestial that he shouted a call for him to stop,
but the Chinaman, gathering himself together for a spurt, ducked away
to his usual lead, and the chase went merrily on.

Once Matt nearly had him. A section of treacherous bank broke away
under Sam Wing's feet, and the pursued man flung up his arms and
dropped straight downward. Matt paused on the brink and looked below
for three or four yards to a little shelf gouged from the bankside. Sam
Wing, scarred and apparently senseless, was lying sprawled on the shelf.

Matt slipped and slid downward, fairly certain that he was at the end
of his exciting trail; but, just as his feet struck the shelf, the
Chinaman rolled over the edge and carromed away in a break-neck descent
that finally plunged him into the road.

This was the identical road that led past the spring, and Matt and Sam
Wing were somewhere between the spring and Gardenville. Where Martin
was with the automobile, Matt did not know, but if Martin had been
at that point in the road when the Chinaman rolled into it, an easy
capture could have been made.

There was some one in the road besides Sam Wing, however, and the
traveler was an old colored man, riding toward Gardenville on a mule.
The mule and the colored man were about a hundred feet away from Wing
when he got to his feet. As soon as the Chinaman's eyes rested on the
long-eared brute and its aged rider, he started at speed in their
direction.

Matt jumped into the road with less than twenty-five feet between
himself and Sam Wing. Once more he deceived himself with the idea that
the chase was narrowing to a close.

The mule, throwing its head and swinging its long ears, was ambling
leisurely along the way. The old darky appeared to be in a doze.

Matt, divining Sam Wing's intentions, gave vent to a warning yell. The
darky aroused himself and flung a look over his shoulder. But it was
too late, for Wing had already grabbed him by one of his dangling feet.
Another moment and the negro had been roughly pulled into the road.
Wing scrambled to the mule's back and dug into the animal with his
naked heels. Probably the mule was as startled as his former rider, for
he broke into a lumbering lope.

The chase, just then, took on a hopeless outlook for Motor Matt. If
Martin had only happened along in the automobile, the fleeing Chinaman
could have been brought up with a round turn, but Matt, with only his
feet under him, could not hope to overtake the galloping mule.

The darky, as Matt came up with him, was gathering in his ragged
hat and climbing to an upright position. He wore a look of puzzled
astonishment.

"Ain't dat scan'lous?" he cried. "Ah done been slammed into de road
by er Chinymum! En he's got mah mu-el! He's er runnin' erway wif mah
Gin'ral Jackson mu-el. By golly, whaffur kind ob way is dat tuh treat
an ole moke lak me?"

"It was pretty rough, uncle, and that's a fact," replied Matt,
smothering an inclination to laugh at the ludicrous picture the old
negro presented. "If we had another mule, I could catch the rascal, but
it is too much of a job for me with nothing to ride."

"You chasin' dat 'ar Chinymum, boss?" inquired the darky.

"Yes."

"Has he been up tuh somefin' dat he hadn't ort?"

"He has."

"Den yo' lis'en heah, chile," and a slow grin crept over the wizened,
ebony face of the negro. "Erbout er mile ahead dar's a bridge ovah a
creek, en dat 'ar Chinyman ain't gwine tuh ride Gin'ral Jackson ovah
dat bridge."

"Why not?"

"'Case dat fool mu-el won't cross no bridge if yo' doan' cotch his off
eah en give hit a pull. Mu-els is mouty queer daterway, en Gin'ral
Jackson is a heap queerer dan any othah mu-el yo' most evah see. He's
skeered ob a bridge, en pullin' his off eah done takes his min' off'n
de bridge, lak, en he goes ovah wifout mistrustin'. Now, dat yalluh
Chinymum trash doan' know dat, en ef he try to mek Gin'ral Jackson
cross de bridge wifout pullin' his off eah, dar's suah gwine to be
doin's, en----"

Just at that moment a boy came along on a bicycle. He was evidently
making a long journey, for he had a bag strapped to the handle bars.

"Wait a minute!" called Matt to the boy.

The bicycle halted, and the lad rested one foot on the ground and
looked inquiringly at Matt.

"I wish you'd lend me your wheel for a few minutes," said Matt. "A
Chinaman just stole this old darky's mule, and I believe I can overhaul
the thief if you'll let me take your bicycle."

"Gee!" exclaimed the boy. "How much of a start has the Chinaman got?"

"About three minutes. The darky says there's a bridge a mile ahead, and
that the mule won't cross the bridge unless he's coaxed. Perhaps I can
come up with the thief at the bridge."

"There you are," said the stranger generously, getting out of the
saddle and holding the wheel for Matt.

"Much obliged," returned Matt. "You and the darky come on to the
bridge, and perhaps you'll find me rounding up the mule and the
Chinaman."

"We'll do it," was the answer.

Matt mounted easily, thrust his toes into the toe clips, and got under
way. When he turned an angle of the road, and vanished behind a screen
of timber, he was going like a steam engine.

It had been a long time since Matt had ridden an ordinary bicycle,
but he had by no means forgotten the knack. He was not long in coming
within sight of the bridge, and there, sure enough, were the Chinaman
and the mule at the bridge approach.

The Chinaman was having trouble. General Jackson would not cross the
bridge, and he was braced back, immovable as the rock of Gibraltar. Sam
Wing was using his heels and the flat of his hand in a furious attempt
to force the brute onward. General Jackson did not budge an inch, but,
from the way he wagged his ears, it was evident that his wrath was
growing.

Matt remained silent and bent to the pedals. While Sam Wing was busy
urging the mule, Matt was planning to come alongside and treat the
Celestial as he had treated the old negro.

This design might have been successfully executed had not General
Jackson interfered with it. The mule's temper suddenly gave way
under the rain of kicks and blows, and he put his head down between
his forelegs and hoisted the rear half of his body into the air.
The manoeuvre was as sudden as it was unexpected, and Sam Wing went
rocketing into space.

The bridge was merely a plank affair, without any guard rails at the
sides, and after the Chinaman had done a couple of somersaults in the
air he landed with a thump on the bridge, close to the unprotected
edge. He started to struggle upright, and the hurried movement caused
him to slip over the brink.

He vanished from before Matt's eyes just as he had disappeared from the
caving bank--there was a flutter, a yell, a splash, and Sam Wing was
gone.

Matt threw on the brake, jumped from the wheel, and, after leaning the
machine against a tree, rushed to the bridge.

The creek was narrow, but seemed to be deep, and the Chinaman was
floating down with the current.

There was no time for Matt to linger and explain events to the
bicyclist and the negro. Each would recover his property, however, and
that ought to satisfy both of them. Springing from the bridge approach,
Matt hurried down the bank of the little stream.

The Chinaman, the king of the motor boys thought, must have been made
of india rubber to bear so well the series of mishaps that had come his
way. He came out of every one with astonishing ability to keep up his
flight.

Matt's rush down the creek bank was not continued for long. Sam Wing
saw him and made haste to effect a landing on the opposite bank. He
emerged, a dripping and forlorn spectacle, and left a damp trail up the
bank and into the woods.

Matt did not care to swim the creek in his clothes, and a tree, fallen
partly over the stream, afforded him an opportunity to cross dry-shod.
The tree was not a large one, and there was a gap of water at the end
of it, where the trunk had been splintered and broken away.

With a clear, steady brain and sure feet the king of the motor boys
passed to the end of his swaying, insecure bridge; then, with a leap,
he cleared the stretch of water and landed on the bank. The force he
had put into the jump displaced the tree and caused it to tumble into
the creek. It had served its purpose, however, and Matt, without a
backward look, tore away along the watery trail of the Chinaman.



CHAPTER X.

THE CHASE CONCLUDED.


When Matt came near enough to see Sam Wing, it seemed plain that the
Celestial was yielding to the "blows of circumstance." His flight
dragged. Time and time again he cast a wild look over his shoulder at
the relentless pursuer, and tried in vain to increase his pace.

His random course crossed a road through the timber with a line of
telegraph or telephone poles on one side of it. After a moment's
hesitation, Sam Wing chose the road. It was easier going, no doubt, and
for that reason probably appealed to him in his fagged condition.

But if it was easier for Sam Wing, so was it for Matt. Now, at last,
the eventful chase was certainly approaching its finish.

As the pursuit went on, Matt resolutely closing up the gap between him
and the Chinaman, the timber suddenly broke away to give a view of a
farmhouse and a barn. Between the house and barn stood a farmer with a
rake.

Sam Wing, at the end of his rope and apparently determined on making a
last desperate stand, swerved from the road and ran in the direction of
the barn.

"Hi, there!" shouted Matt, waving his arms to attract the attention of
the farmer, "head him off!"

It was not difficult for the farmer to understand enough of the
situation to make him useful in the emergency, and he started
energetically to do what he could. Swinging the rake around his head,
he hurried toward a point which would intersect the path of the
Chinaman.

Sam Wing, even though he was weary and almost spent, continued "game."
A small, V-shaped hencoop stood close to the point where he halted and
confronted the farmer.

"By Jerry," threatened the farmer, "yew stop! Don't yew try no
shenanigin with me, or I'll comb out your pigtail with this here rake.
What yew---- Gosh-all-hemlocks!"

It was absolutely necessary for Sam Wing to do something if he did
not want to be trapped between the farmer in front and Matt, who was
hurrying up behind. Calling upon all his strength, Wing stooped,
grabbed the small coop, and hurled it at the farmer's legs.

The coop struck the farmer's shins and doubled his lank frame up like
a closed jackknife. He went down, rake and all, and Wing passed around
him and lumbered on toward the open barn door.

The farmer's ire was aroused. Getting up on his knees, he began
calling, at the top of his lungs: "Tige! Here, Tige!"

Tige, a brindled bulldog, came scurrying from the direction of the
house.

"Take 'im, Tige!" bellowed the farmer, pointing toward Sam Wing with
the rake.

The Chinaman's Waterloo was close upon him. He had time to give one
last frantic look behind, and then Tige caught him by the slack of his
dripping garments and pulled him down.

"Don't let the dog hurt him!" yelled Matt.

"Watch 'im, Tige!" cried the farmer. "Good dorg, Tige! Watch 'im!"

The farmer got up and gave the hencoop a vicious kick.

"Jee-whillikins, mister," said he, "what's that slant-eyed heathen been
up to, hey? He looks like he'd dropped outen a wet rag bag."

"He's a thief," answered Matt.

"He barked my shins somethin' turrible with that hencoop. But yew got
him now, an' don't yew fergit it. That Tige is the best dorg fer tramps
an' sich yew ever seen."

Together they walked to the place where Tige, growling savagely and
showing his teeth, was standing over the prone Chinaman.

Sam Wing dared not make a move. Had he so much as lifted a finger, the
bulldog would have been at his throat.

"Order the dog away," said Matt to the farmer. "I want to talk with the
Chinaman, and we'll take him into the barn where we can both sit down
on something and rest a little. We've had a hard chase."

The farmer spoke to the dog and the animal slunk away, still keeping
his glittering eyes on Sam Wing.

"Looks purty meachin', don't he?" muttered the farmer, peering at the
prisoner.

"He's a bad Chinaman," returned Matt, "and he knows it. Get up, Sam
Wing," he added, "and go into the barn. Don't try to do any more
running. You haven't strength enough to go far, and it won't be best
for you."

With wary eyes on the dog, Wing got up and moved toward the barn door.
When they were all inside, Matt took down a coil of rope that swung
from a nail and started toward the prisoner.

"What yew goin' to do, friend?" asked the farmer.

"Tie him," replied Matt.

"That ain't necessary. Tige is better'n all the ropes that was ever
made. All I got ter do is ter tell him ter watch the heathen, an' yew
can bet a pair o' gum boots he'll do it."

The farmer spoke to the dog, that had followed them into the barn, and
the animal drew close to Sam Wing and sat down within biting distance.
Matt, satisfied with the arrangement for the time being, dropped the
rope and seated himself on the tongue of a wagon.

"Sam Wing," said the king of the motor boys severely, "you're a mighty
bad Chinaman."

"Me savvy," answered Wing, whose English was far from being as good as
the mandarin's.

"You stole the ruby from Tsan Ti," went on Matt.

Sam Wing had strength enough left to show some surprise.

"How you savvy?" he inquired.

"I know it, and that's enough. You're a treacherous scoundrel to turn
against the mandarin as you did."

"All same," answered Sam Wing, in extreme dejection. "Ten thousand
demons makee heap tlouble fol Wing. Me plenty solly."

"You ought to be sorry. Tsan Ti trusted you with his money and had a
lot of confidence in you. And you betrayed that confidence."

Sam Wing groaned heavily and caressed his numerous bruises. One of his
hands finally reached the breast of his torn blouse, and he fished from
it a very wet alligator-skin pouch.

"Here Tsan Ti's money," said he, offering the pouch to Matt. "Me velly
bad Chinaman. You takee money, lettee Sam Wing go?"

"I'll take the money," and Matt suited his action to the word, "but I
can't let you go until you give up the ruby."

"No gottee luby," came the astonishing assertion from Sam Wing.

"You took it from the mandarin, didn't you?" demanded Matt.

"My takee las' night, no gottee now."

"Where is it?"

"Me losee when me makee lun flom spling. No savvy where me
losee--p'laps where me makee fall down bank, p'laps on load, p'laps in
cleek--no savvy. Luby gone, me no gottee Eye of Buddha."

It seemed strange to Matt that Sam Wing could carry the alligator-skin
pouch safely through all his varied adventures and yet not be able to
retain the most valuable part of his cargo--the part which, presumably,
he would take care to stow safely.

"Don't tell any lies, Sam Wing!" said Matt sternly.

"No tellee lie--all same one piecee tluth!" protested the Chinaman.

"I'll have to make sure of that," went on Matt.

He searched carefully through the Chinaman's torn and waterlogged
apparel, but without discovering anything of value--much less the
missing gem.

"Where did you have it?" he asked.

Sam Wing showed him the inside pocket where the ruby had been placed.

"Where have you been since you took the ruby?"

A wave of emotion convulsed the Chinaman's features.

"Evel place," he murmured. "My stay in Galdenville one piecee time,
makee tly keepee 'way flom Tsan Ti. Bymby me makee lun fol countlee.
Tsan Ti makee see, makee lun, too. My makee hide in hills, foolee Tsan
Ti so he no ketchee. My heap hungly, heap thirsty. Findee spling to
takee dlink. You come."

Sam Wing shook his head sadly.

"You had the ruby when you were at the spring?" inquired Matt.

The Chinaman nodded.

"And you lost it while I was chasing you?"

Another nod.

Matt, oppressed with what he had heard, and which he felt instinctively
was the truth, resumed his seat on the wagon tongue.

The ruby might be lying anywhere over the wild course Sam Wing had
taken in his flight. Perhaps it was mixed with the loose earth of the
side hill where the Chinaman had fallen, or it might be under the
leaves in the woods, or in the dust of the road, or in the bottom of
the creek.

Of one thing Matt was sure, and that was that to retrace the exact
line of Sam Wing's flight would be impossible; and, even if it were
possible, finding the red gem would be as difficult as looking for the
proverbial needle in a haystack.

The Eye of Buddha seemed to be lost irretrievably. This was like to
prove a tragic event for Tsan Ti.

It was strange what ill luck had attended upon all in any way connected
with the idol's eye; and doubly strange was this final loss of the
precious stone.

While Matt was busily turning the catastrophe over in his mind, the
farmer suddenly gave a shout and pointed through the open barn door and
along the road.

"Great sassafrass!" he exclaimed. "I never seen sich a day fer
Chinamen! Look there, will yew?"

Matt looked, and what he saw staggered him. Two motor cycles were
coming down the road. Bunce was riding one and Tsan Ti the other. Here
was another flight and pursuit, for the sailor was pushing hard upon
the heels of the mandarin.

For only a moment was Matt at loss. Gathering up the coil of rope which
he had taken from the nail in the barn wall, he called to the farmer to
watch the prisoner and ran out of the barn and toward the road.



CHAPTER XI.

A DOUBLE CAPTURE.


Matt was bewildered by the strange turn events were taking.
Encountering Sam Wing at the spring was odd enough, in all truth, and
the weird happenings during his pursuit had been as novel as they were
thrilling; but here, in a most inexplicable way, came the mandarin and
the mariner on motor cycles, wabbling down the road, Tsan Ti in a panic
and Bunce aggressive and determined.

Matt shouted, but the two on the motor cycles were so deeply immersed
in their own efforts that they paid no attention to the call.

To stop the motor cycles was the first step, and the young motorist
went about it in his usual resourceful way. Swiftly he secured one end
of the rope to a telegraph pole at the side of the road; then, bounding
back, he took a turn with the free end of the rope around a convenient
tree. Hanging to the cable that was to form a blockade for the charging
wheels, Matt once more gave his attention to Bunce and Tsan Ti.

The pursuit of the mandarin had reached a crisis. The sailor had come
close enough to reach out and grab the Chinaman's flying queue, and he
was hauling rearward, pulling the mandarin back until his hands had
left the handle bars.

"Stop!" shouted Motor Matt, laying back on the end of the rope.

The command was useless, for pursuer and pursued were obliged to halt
in spite of it.

The mandarin's swaying motor cycle was first to hit the rope. Before
the machine could topple over, Bunce crashed into it. There followed a
rasping volley of gasoline explosions, a roar from the sailor, and a
chattering yell from the mandarin. The two were on the ground, tangled
up with each other and with the motor cycles.

Dropping the rope, Matt rushed at the struggling pair, seized Bunce by
the shoulders, and hauled him out of the mix-up.

A revolver had fallen from the sailor's pocket. Matt sprang to secure
it, and then faced Bunce, who was on his knees and staring about him
dazedly.

"Noble friend!" cried the mandarin, carefully extricating his head from
the frame of one of the motor cycles, "you have again preserved the
wretched Tsan Ti! The evil personage yonder would presently have caught
me!"

Bunce, having finally decided that the situation was one that boded him
no good, started to get up and remove himself from the scene.

"I don't believe you'd better leave us just yet, Bunce," called Matt,
waving the revolver. "Stay right where you are. This is a complication
which you can help the mandarin explain."

"By the seven holy spritsails!" muttered Bunce, falling back in his
original position and looking at Matt and then at the farmer. "How, in
the name o' Davy Jones," he cried, his gaze returning to Matt, "do you
happen to be cruisin' in these waters?"

"Never mind that, for the present. What I want to know is, where have
you and the mandarin come from? And why were you chasing him?"

"I have escaped, highly appreciated friend whose kindness is much
reciprocated," babbled the mandarin, coming blithely to Matt's side and
carefully knocking the dust out of his little black cap. "I have made a
never-to-be-forgotten escape from the hands of evil-minded enemies. It
was your friend from the cattle districts who helped me."

So far, all that Matt had heard and seen had merely bogged him the more
deeply in a mire of misunderstanding. At the mandarin's mention of
McGlory, his speculations went off at a wild tangent.

"Did Grattan and Bunce capture the other car?" he demanded. "Where did
you find Joe and Martin? Where are they now? What's happened to them?"

"Peace, distinguished youth," said the mandarin, putting on his cap and
fluttering his hand reassuringly. "I know nothing about any car except
the blue one by the pocket."

"Blue car? Did you see a blue car?"

"Even so, my amazed friend. And beside the blue car leaned those
go-devil bicycles. McGlory--faithful assistant in my time of
need--helped me beguile Grattan, Pardo, and Bunce into the pocket,
whereupon I secured one of the go-devil machines and fled swiftly. The
one-eyed sailor followed. Which way we came I do not know. Wherever I
saw another road I turned into it. How long we raced is too much for my
disturbed faculties to understand. We went, and went, and at last we
were here, and I found you! Oh, loyal defender of the most wretched of
mandarins, to you I owe my peace, my happiness, and my life! May the
six thousand peri of the land of enchantment afford you joy in the life
to come!"

"Well, by gum!" muttered the wide-eyed farmer, shifting his rake to
the other hand and rubbing a palm against his forehead. "I never seen
a heathen that could talk like that before. Some remarkable now, ain't
it?"

Matt was too deeply concerned with what Tsan Ti had said to pay much
attention to the farmer. He kept his watchful eyes on Bunce, however,
while seeking to get deeper into the perplexing situation that so
suddenly confronted him.

"Let's begin at the beginning, Tsan Ti," said he, "and try and smooth
out the knots of this amazing tangle with some sort of system. McGlory
and I received your telegram. What happened to you after Sam Wing stole
the ruby?"

"I awoke from my dreams in great fright, inquiring friend," responded
the mandarin, "and found the ruby gone, and Sam Wing gone. There was
but one thing for me to think, and I thought it. The train was at a
station, and I jumped from the steps. I looked for Sam Wing, but he had
vanished; then I sent my telegram and waited until you might arrive.
In the gray dawn that came into the east, I saw Sam Wing suddenly flash
by the open door of the railroad station. I shouted and ran after him,
but he evaded me. Ah, the dreary heart-sickness in my breast as I
pursued the traitor!" The mandarin clutched at his frayed yellow blouse
and wrung a fold of it in his fat fingers. "Who can tell of that? I
followed the wagon road through the mountains, looking and listening.
Then I heard some one, afar off, shouting the name of Motor Matt.
Hope leaped high within me, for that name, notable sir, has a magic
of its own. I turned from the road, climbed many rocks, and crushed
through thick growths of prickly bushes, striving to reach the one who
had shouted. Also, I shouted myself, and presently, to my great but
mistaken delight, other shoutings were returned to me. I went on, in
my deceived state, and came to a place where I was captured--made a
prisoner by Grattan and that contemptible mariner of the single eye!
Your friend of the cattle districts was likewise a prisoner."

"McGlory--captured by Grattan!" gasped Matt. "How did that happen? Why,
I thought he was with Martin."

"Not so, deceived friend. He had tried to follow you in the pursuit of
Sam Wing, and he had lost knowledge of his location, and was shouting
to hear some speak and tell him where he was. That is what I heard.
Before I could reach your friend, Grattan and Bunce had also heard him,
and made him a prisoner. Then they heard me, and made _me_ a captive.
Verily, the ten thousand demons have had me under the ban."

"I'm beginning to get at this," said Matt grimly. "Where did you
and Grattan come from, Bunce, that you were placed so handily for
entrapping McGlory and the mandarin?"

"We'd made port in the hills," replied Bunce, "an' was out lookin' for
Tsan Ti an' the ruby."

"They, miserable creatures," resumed the mandarin, with a glance of
contempt at Bunce, "had the blue car and the go-devil bicycles in a
gashed-out spot among the mountains. A cavern, named by them a pocket,
was in the wall of the rough valley. There were McGlory and I taken
and bound. While Grattan, Bunce, and Pardo, birds of evil feather,
were plotting in the blue car, I gnawed the cord that secured your
unfortunate friend's hands, and he freed himself and me. After that
McGlory raised a great clamor. Grattan, Bunce, and Pardo came hastily
to observe what might be the trouble, and I went out of the pocket as
they came in. Then I took the motor cycle, as I have said, and moved
away, followed by the mariner. Is the matter clear, esteemed friend?"

"I'm beginning to understand it," answered Matt. "It's the queerest
mix-up I ever heard of. Strange that you and Joe should fall into the
hands of Grattan and Bunce, as you did, and that you should happen to
lead Bunce this way when you fled on the motor cycle."

"Matter-of-fact youth," remarked the mandarin earnestly, "do you not
realize how strange events happen swiftly in the wake of the Eye of
Buddha? The ten thousand demons are doing their worst continually, and
their powers for evil are vast beyond imagining!"

"We'll pass over that phase of the matter," said Matt dryly, "and try
to get at something that will benefit McGlory. Can you take me to this
'pocket,' as you call it?"

"Not so," replied the mandarin. "I have no recollection how I came from
it, or what roads I took. The roads were many, and the way was long,
and my mind was too greatly disturbed to pay attention."

"Where's the pocket, Bunce?" asked Matt, addressing the sailor.

"I know, messmate," scowled Bunce, "but I'm not showin' ye the course."

Matt was in a quandary. He could not understand why Grattan had
captured McGlory, but he was not intending to let his chum remain any
longer in the hands of the thieves than was absolutely necessary. A way
would be found to make Bunce lead him to the pocket.

"Generous and agreeable friend," spoke up Tsan Ti, "did you succeed in
capturing Sam Wing?"

"I did," replied Matt.

"Then may I request of you the Eye of Buddha?"

"I'll take you to Sam Wing and you can request it of him," said Matt.
"Get up, Bunce," he ordered, "and start yourself for the barn. Will
you," and Matt shot a glance at the farmer, "kindly remove that rope
from the road and set the motor cycles upright in a place where they
will be safe?"

"Glad to do anythin' fer yew that I can," answered the farmer, dropping
his rake and getting busy with the rope.

Matt, face to face with the ordeal of acquainting Tsan Ti with the fact
that the ruby was irretrievably lost, was wondering, as he drove Bunce
toward the barn, what the result of the catastrophe was to be.



CHAPTER XII.

ANOTHER SURPRISE.


Bunce was accepting his hard luck with all the complaisance he could
muster. His pursuit of the mandarin had led him into difficulties
undreamed of, but he still indulged a hope that the resourceful Grattan
might come to his aid. He went into the barn, and recoiled a little as
a savage growl struck on his ears. Tige was still guarding Sam Wing.

"Sit down," said Matt, to Bunce, nodding toward some bags of ground
feed lying on the barn floor. "The dog won't molest you; he's looking
after Sam Wing."

Bunce, plainly uncomfortable, seated himself, watching Tige warily.

The instant Tsan Ti came through the barn door and saw Sam Wing, a cry
of rage burst from his lips, and he flew at his treacherous servant.
Matt grabbed the angry mandarin and held him back.

"That won't do, Tsan Ti," said Matt. "Sit down and take things calmly.
There's your money," and he pointed to the alligator-skin pouch which
lay by the wagon tongue. "Sam Wing turned it over to me. You'd better
count it and make sure it's all there. Hereafter, it would be wise for
you to take care of your money yourself."

Tsan Ti glared at Sam Wing, then stooped down, and recovered the pouch.
The receptacle was filled with soggy banknotes, and, while the mandarin
was fingering them over, he kept up a running fire of talk in Chinese.
The condemnation must have been of the most scathing sort, for the
wretched Sam Wing shivered as he listened.

Presently Sam Wing himself began to talk. He spoke at length, and must
have been acquainting the mandarin with the dread fact that the Eye
of Buddha was lost, for, suddenly, Tsan Ti dropped the alligator-skin
pouch and the wet bills and reeled back against the barn wall. His eyes
became glassy and his face turned white.

Presently he sank down on the barn floor, listless and staring.

"Has he told you about the ruby, Tsan Ti?" asked Matt, his pity for the
mandarin rising paramount to any other feeling he may have cherished
against him.

Tsan Ti did not answer; in fact, he did not seem to hear. He had
suffered a blow that paralyzed his faculties.

"Blow me tight!" breathed Bunce, astonished. "Hasn't he got the ruby?"

"Didn't Grattan search him?" returned Matt.

"Ah, he looked through his pockets and his sandals, and even tried to
find the Eye of Buddha in his queue, but it wasn't there. For all that,
we thought the chink knowed where the stone was an' could be made to
tell."

"He knew where it was--Sam Wing had it."

"Hocused it?"

"Stole it--then lost it!"

"Shiver me!" exclaimed Bunce, aghast. "Then Tsan Ti ain't got the ruby,
an' Grattan won't never be able to put hands on it!"

"It's gone for good," answered Matt. "Now you can see, Bunce, just how
much good Grattan's trickery and double-dealing has benefited him.
You and he stole the ruby from the Honam joss house and brought it to
America; Tsan Ti followed you, under orders from the regent of China
to recover the idol's eye or else to strangle himself with the yellow
cord; the ruby was recovered for Tsan Ti here in the Catskills, but
Grattan kept up his wild scheming and committed one piece of lawless
villainy after another in his attempts to get the ruby away from Tsan
Ti; now we're at the end of the whole business, and neither Grattan nor
Tsan Ti has the ruby, or will ever have it."

Just at that moment the farmer came into the barn.

"I got them machines where they'll be safe," he announced, "an'----
Gosh all Whittaker! What's the fat Chinaman doin'?"

Matt turned to look at Tsan Ti. He had the yellow cord around his
throat, rove into a running bowline, and was pulling at the loose end.

The king of the motor boys hurried to him and jerked his hands from the
cord with a quick movement.

"That will do, Tsan Ti!" cried Matt sternly. "Can't you be a man?
You're not going to strangle yourself while I'm around!"

"There is no hope for Tsan Ti," mumbled the mandarin. "The august
decree of my regent--may his years be many and glorious!--calls for my
quick dispatch."

Matt pulled the cord from the mandarin's neck.

"Listen, Tsan Ti," said he; "don't give up until you know the case is
really hopeless. We can go back over the ground Sam Wing covered while
I was chasing him, and it is possible we can find the ruby."

"Not possible, deluded friend," answered the mandarin. "The
contemptible Canton dog says the gem may be in the water, or in
many other places where its recovery is out of the question. The
blandishments of hope pale into the heavy darkness of my certain
destruction. Present me with the cord, I beg of you. Tsan Ti, mandarin
of the red button, is not afraid to join his exalted ancestors in the
country dear to true believers."

"Wrong in the upper story, ain't he?" put in the farmer.

"In a way," replied Matt.

"He sure had himself goin' with that piece o' yellow string. Them
heathens is queer, anyway."

"I'll not give you this cord, Tsan Ti," declared Matt, "until I can
look over the course followed by Sam Wing and make an attempt to find
the ruby."

"There are other means for performing the quick dispatch," said Tsan Ti
calmly. "I prefer the cord; it is an honor to use an instrument direct
from the regent's hands; but, if the cord is not at hand, other means
will avail me, ungenerous youth."

Matt studied the mandarin for a few moments. In his eyes he read
determination. Matt, matter-of-fact American lad that he was, could not
understand the Oriental custom now exemplified by Tsan Ti--he could
not understand the thousands of years' usage which had made the custom
part of a Chinaman's faith, and he had nothing but contempt for the
exhibition the mandarin was making of himself.

"Get the rope, please," said Matt to the farmer. "I think we'll use
it."

The farmer brought the rope, and Matt, with his assistance, tied Tsan
Ti's hands and feet. The mandarin yielded passively.

"This will not serve," was all he said; "the time for my dispatch will
arrive, in spite of you."

"If you keep on acting in this foolish way, Tsan Ti," answered Matt,
"I'll lose all the respect I ever had for you. Face the music, can't
you? There's no merit in throwing up your hands and quitting just
because you have run into a streak of hard luck."

"You don't understand, ignorant one."

"I understand, fast enough, that you can't hurt yourself while you're
tied up."

He turned away.

"Do you think Tige can watch two prisoners?" he asked of the farmer.

"Yew bet he can," answered the farmer enthusiastically, "two 'r a
dozen. Why, that dorg's quicker'n chain lightnin'."

"Then," went on Matt, "just give Tige to understand that he's to watch
the sailor, as well as that other Chinaman."

The farmer spoke to the dog, and the animal took up a position between
Sam Wing and Bunce. The sailor tried to draw back, but Tige stopped the
movement with a savage snarl and a half move as though he would bite.

"Keelhaul me!" cried Bunce. "Is this what ye call treatin' a feller
white? Why, I wouldn't treat a Hottentot swab like this!"

"I've got you, Bunce," said Matt grimly, "and, no matter what becomes
of Grattan and Pardo, the law won't be cheated entirely."

"What've I done that ye can send me to the brig for? Tell me that!"

"Isn't the theft of the ruby enough to send you to jail?"

"That happened in Chiny, an' we're in America now."

"Well, putting that aside, there remains the criminal work you did at
the Catskill garage last night. You can be sent to the penitentiary for
that, Bunce."

That was a blow that left Bunce gasping.

"Grattan done that," he cried; "it wasn't me planned it."

"You helped Grattan, Bunce, and you were recognized by the night man.
There's a clear case against you, and you'll deserve all the punishment
you receive."

"Say," said Bunce, with a sudden inspiration, "if ye'll let me go, I'll
take ye to that pocket where McGlory is! I'll do more'n that, sink me
if I won't! You let me slip my hawse and slant away clear o' these
hills, an' I'll help ye git McGlory away from Grattan an' Pardo. What
d'ye say, mate? It ain't a job ye could do alone, an' it ain't a place
ye can find onless I show the way. What's the word?"

"I've had enough experience with you, Bunce," returned Matt, "to know
that you're not to be depended on. You'd play some treacherous trick
that would----"

Here a voice--a very familiar voice--came floating through the open
barn door.

"Whoop-ya! Any one around? Show up, somebody, and tell me where I
am and how to go to get to the spring on the trail from Catskill to
Gardenville! Whoo-ee!"

"Woods is full o' strangers to-day, seems like!" exclaimed the farmer.

Matt bolted past him through the door, then halted, and gazed
spellbound at a blue automobile with Joe McGlory in the driver's seat.

This might have been considered the culminating surprise of the day's
events. And it was a mutual surprise, too, judging by the way McGlory
acted.

Leaning over the steering wheel, the cowboy gazed like one in a trance.

"Matt!" he shouted at last, "is this a dream, or the real thing? Say
something, you old hardshell. Sufferin' tenterhooks! I can't tell how
nervous you make me."



CHAPTER XIII.

BAITING A TRAP.


"Is that the New York man's automobile, Joe?" asked Matt, "the one that
was stolen from Martin's garage last night?'

"It's the one, pard," jubilated the cowboy. "I've come through
a-smoking with it from that place where Grattan had me pocketed with
the mandarin. It's queer I stopped here, although I'm off my bearings,
haven't the least notion where I am, and this is the first farmhouse
I've seen for a dozen miles; but it won't seem quite so queer when I
tell you that I saw those machines leaning against the corncrib, and
that the familiar look of 'em brought me in to stir up the natives and
ask a few questions."

McGlory pointed toward a corncrib off at the rear of the barn. The two
motor cycles were leaning against the structure, just where the farmer
had left them.

"I see," said Matt.

"Are those motor cycles the ones that belong to Martin, that were
stolen from us and that we bled a hundred and fifty apiece for?"

"They're the ones."

"Well, now!" chuckled McGlory, "what sort of a day's work would you
call this, pard? We get back the stolen automobile and both motor
cycles. I'm ready to hear the whistle blow."

"There's something else to be done before we finish this piece of work,
Joe."

"Tell me about it."

"Sam Wing is in the barn, there----"

"Whoop! Then you _did_ get the kibosh on him, after all!"

"And Tsan Ti," proceeded Matt, "and Bunce."

"Better and better; but I'd almost guessed that just from seeing the
motor cycles. What have you been doing since we went two different ways
from the spring?"

The king of the motor boys sketched rapidly the main points of Sam
Wing's flight and the pursuit, following with the blockade of the road
and the capture of Bunce.

"And Tsan Ti is in the barn this minute," finished Matt, "roped hand
and foot to keep him from taking his own life on account of the lost
ruby. If possible, I'd like to go over the course of Wing's flight and
look for the Eye of Buddha."

"Might as well look for a nickel in the Pacific Ocean," scowled McGlory.

"It looks like a hopeless case, I'll admit, but I can't leave the poor
old mandarin without trying to do something for him."

"You're too easy with the crafty old heathen."

"You'd be sorry for him, too, Joe, if you could see what a plight he's
in."

"He was as hard-looking a sight as I ever saw when he fell
into Grattan's clutches a few hours ago. If you're bound to go
rainbow-chasing after the Eye of Buddha, why, of course I'm in on the
deal. We'll have to be about it, I reckon, while we've got daylight to
help."

"We can use this car for a part of the work. Wing came along the road
from that direction."

Matt pointed as he spoke.

"Why," said McGlory, "I came from that direction myself. I don't reckon
it's safe to go back that way."

"Not safe?" echoed Matt. "Why isn't it safe?"

"Mainly for the reason, pard, that Grattan and Pardo are trailing this
car. They didn't like to lose it. That hole through the back"--and
McGlory turned to point it out--"was made by a bullet that Grattan sent
after me. I've been traveling roads that automobiles never took before,
and the marks this car left would make easy trailing."

"Do you know positively that Grattan and Pardo are following the car?"

"Well, yes, if you want to pin me down. One of the electric terminals
got loose when I was a short distance away from the pocket, and I had
a time finding out what was wrong. While I was groping around, I saw
Grattan and Pardo chasing toward me. They were a good ways off, but if
you want a picture of a chap in a hurry you ought to've had a snapshot
of me! I was lucky enough to find the loose wire just in time to screw
it to the post, crank up, and fly. The tinhorns were within a hundred
feet of the blue car when we jumped away on the high speed. And that's
how I know Grattan and Pardo are after me. Besides, now that the motor
cycles are gone, those fellows need the blue car to help them make a
dash out of the hills. Jump in, though, if you want to take chances,
and we'll go looking for that hoodoo ruby."

But Matt was not in so much of a hurry now. Leaning against the side of
the car, he fell into a brown study.

"What's to pay?" asked McGlory. "Something else on your mind?"

"Well, yes," laughed Matt; "I'd like to use you and the blue car in
baiting a trap."

"Oh, well, I don't mind. Grattan used me for bait in trapping Tsan Ti,
so I'm getting used to it. But what sort of a trap is it?"

"If Grattan and Pardo are really following you," said Matt, "why
couldn't you go back down the road, stop the car, and pretend you had a
breakdown?"

"Bee-yu-ti-ful!" rapped out McGlory. "I could do all that, pard, and
Grattan and Pardo could show up and gobble me, blue car and all. Fine!
Say, you're most as good a hand at planning as the mandarin."

"But suppose," supplemented Matt, "that two or three fellows were hid
in the tonneau of the car and that they jumped out at the right moment
and made things interesting for Grattan and Pardo?"

McGlory lifted his clinched fist and brought it down emphatically on
the steering wheel.

"Speak to me about that! I might have known you had something up your
sleeve. I think it would work, pard, but who's to hide in the tonneau?
You, for one, of course, but who else?"

"The farmer who lives here seems to be rather handy and to have plenty
of courage, and he's got a bulldog that's a whole team and something to
spare. I guess the farmer, and I, and the dog will be enough."

"Keno! Trot out the Rube and the kyoodle and we'll slide back down the
road with a chip on our shoulder."

Matt went into the barn for a talk with the farmer. He listened
attentively while Matt gave him a résumé of events and a synopsis of
the plan he had evolved.

"I'm with yew," cried the farmer, slapping his hands, "but yew'll have
to wait till I tell Josi' where I'm goin'. If we take the dorg away
from the barn, Josi' ought to watch these fellers till we git back."

"We'll put ropes on the sailor and that other Chinaman," said Matt,
"but it will be a good idea to have them watched, just the same."

The farmer got some spare halters and helped with the tying. When it
was finished, he hurried away to find "Josi'" and to tell him what
he was to do. In ten minutes he was back, bringing a long, spare
individual clad in a "wamus" and overalls.

"Here's the fellers yew're to watch, Josi'," said the farmer, waving a
hand toward Tsan Ti, Bunce, and Sam Wing. "Don't yew let 'em git away,
nuther."

"If they git away, by jing," answered Josi', pushing up the sleeves of
his wamus, "they'll have to walk over me to do it. You be kerful, Zeke
Boggs. 'Pears mighty like you had the hot end o' this job."

"Don't yew fret none about me," answered Boggs. "I wasn't born
yestiddy."

He called the dog, and he, and Matt, and Tige left the barn and crawled
into the tonneau of the blue car.

"How far down the road am I to go, pard?" queried McGlory, getting out
to turn over the engine.

"Oh, a mile or two," answered Matt.

"Maybe there'll not be anything doing," said Joe, as he climbed back to
his seat. "Grattan and Pardo may have become discouraged, and given up
the trail. Even if they hung to it, we'll have to wait some time for
them."

"They'll come," said Matt. "I never had a day pan out so much
excitement as this one has given us. Events have been crowding our way
so thick and fast that they're not going to stop until we have a chance
at Grattan and Pardo."

"I'm agreeable," expanded McGlory. "Anything from a fight to a foot
race goes with _me_. After the way I starred myself by getting lost
in this little bunch of toy mountains, I'm hungry to square myself by
doing something worth while."

"You've squared yourself already by getting back the blue car,"
returned Matt.

"Not so you could notice. Tsan Ti helped me along with that move. The
chance jumped up when I wasn't expecting it, and hit me square between
the eyes. Anyone could have turned that trick."

McGlory was pushing the blue car back along the road at a lively clip.
Matt stood up to look ahead, in the vain hope of getting track of the
red jewel.

"I know what you're looking for, pard," remarked the cowboy, "and
you're not going to find it. A good many peculiar things have happened
to-day, and no mistake; but picking that red stone out of a couple of
square miles of country would be too uncommon. Good luck won't strain
itself to that extent. Think we're far enough?"

"This will do," answered Matt, and McGlory halted the blue car in about
the loneliest spot in the Catskills.

There was a marsh on one side of the road, bordered with stunted trees
and matted bushes. On the other side was the timber.

"Maybe," suggested McGlory, "I'd better head the car t'other way?
That's how I was going when Grattan and Pardo saw me last, and----"

He cut short his remarks abruptly and peered off along the road.

"What's the matter, Joe?" asked Matt.

"Car coming," was the reply. "I don't reckon many cars take this
road, and it's possible Grattan and Pardo borrowed one from somebody
who wasn't looking and are using it to hunt for the blue automobile.
Lie low, Matt, you, and Boggs, and the dog. Here's where I begin to
pretend--listen while I tinker."

"If we have a fight," said Boggs, as he and Matt crouched down in the
tonneau, "by gum, I want yew to let me do my share."

"We'll all have plenty to do, Mr. Boggs," answered Matt, well pleased
with the farmer's spirit, "if those fellows who are coming are the ones
we're after. Don't make a move, though, and don't let Tige loose until
I give the word."

Silence fell over those in the tonneau. McGlory could be heard
pottering around with a wrench, and presently the hum of the
approaching car could be heard.

"I don't like the looks of things," called the cowboy, in a guarded
tone, from the front of the blue car.

"Why not?" asked Matt.

"Can't tell yet. You fellows stay where you are and keep mum."

The noise of the other automobile had grown to proportions which
proved that it was almost at hand. McGlory said something, but it was
impossible for Matt or Boggs to hear what it was.

The other car stopped so close to the blue automobile that the mud
guards almost scraped. Matt, from the depths of the tonneau, caught
sight of a high-powered roadster with two business-like appearing men
on the seats. But they were not Grattan and Pardo.

"That's the car, sure as shooting!" declared one.

"Get out, Gridly," said the second man, "and look at the number."

Gridly jumped down from the roadster and hurried to the rear of the
touring car.

"We've won out, Banks!" he called. "The number's
eighty-one-two-sixty-three."

"What's the matter?" inquired Matt, rising in the tonneau and looking
out from under the top.

"Matter?" grinned Banks. "Nothin' much, only I'm the sheriff and all
you fellows are arrested. You stole this car from Martin's garage in
Catskill last night. Jest be peaceable, and everythin' 'll be fine: but
try to make trouble and there'll be warm doings."

"Sufferin' Jonah!" laughed McGlory. "Wouldn't this rattle your spurs,
Matt?"



CHAPTER XIV.

HOW THE TRAP WAS SPRUNG.


Matt remembered that Martin had said the New York man who owned the
stolen car had sent telegrams and telephone messages all through the
hills. Perhaps, if there was any wonderment to be indulged in, it
should have been because McGlory had escaped the officers as long as he
had.

The king of the motor boys opened the tonneau door and stood on the
footboard, facing Banks.

"You've made a slight mistake, Mr. Banks," said Matt.

"From your point of view," answered the sheriff, "I guess maybe I have.
There happens to be five hundred dollars in this for me an' Gridly,
though, and we ain't takin' your word for it that there's a mistake.
This car answers the description of the one that was stolen, right down
to the number."

"This is the car, all right," proceeded Matt, "but we're not the
fellows who stole it."

"Caught with the goods," jeered Gridly, "an' then deny the hull job!
Nervy, but it won't wash."

"Where'd the car fall into your hands if you ain't the ones that stole
it?" asked Banks.

"My chum, there, got it away from the thieves."

"Oh, that's what your chum did, eh?"

"You're to get five hundred dollars for recovering the car?" said Matt.

"_And_ capturin' the thieves," returned Banks.

"Was one of the thieves supposed to be a sailor with a green patch over
one eye?"

Gridly and Banks must have experienced something of a shock. For a
moment they gazed at each other.

"Somethin' _was_ said in that telegraft about a sailor with a green
patch over one eye, Banks," observed Gridly.

"That's a fact," admitted Banks reflectively. "But we've got the car
and there ain't no sailor with it. I guess that part of the telegram
must have been a mistake."

"There's no mistake about it," said Matt. "We have captured the sailor,
and he's at the farm of Mr. Boggs, here."

Matt drew to one side so the officers could see the farmer.

"Well, if it ain't Boggs!" exclaimed Banks, startled.

"Zeke Boggs an' his brindled bulldog!" added Gridly.

"What the young feller says is straight goods, Banks," declared the
farmer. "The sailor with the patch over his eye is up to my place in
the barn. Josi's watchin' 'im."

"What're you doin' here? That's what I want to know,' said Banks.

"Come out to help these young fellers spring a trap."

"What sort of a trap?"

"Why," put in Matt, "a trap to catch two pals of the sailor--one of
them is the man who helped the sailor take this car from Martin's
garage."

Banks helped himself to a chew of tobacco.

"Jest for the sake of bein' sociable, an' gettin' at the nub of this
thing," he remarked, "you might tell us who you are, young feller, an'
what you happen to be doing in this part of the hills?"

"My name's King, Matt King----"

"Otherwise," cut in McGlory, "Motor Matt. Maybe you've heard of Motor
Matt?"

"I have," said Banks; "he's been doing things around Catskill for the
last few days."

The sheriff passed his shrewd eyes over the king of the motor boys as
he balanced himself on the footboard. There was nothing in the lad's
appearance to indicate that he was not telling the truth.

"I'm not doubting your word at all, young feller," remarked Banks, "but
I'll feel a lot more like believing you if you tell me about this trap
you're arrangin' to spring."

Matt told how McGlory had run away from the pocket, and how Grattan
and Pardo had followed him. He finished by describing the manner in
which Grattan and Pardo were to be lured into the vicinity of the blue
automobile and captured.

"That sounds like a play of Motor Matt's, right enough," said Gridly.

"Anyhow, I don't think it'll work," announced Banks.

"Why not?" asked Matt.

"You can't be sure Grattan and Pardo are follerin' the car; an', if
they _are_ follerin', maybe they've got off the track."

"That's possible, of course; but the chances for success, though
slight, are worth waiting and working for, don't you think? If the plan
fails, we'll be out nothing but our time."

"Two boys, a farmer, an' a dog ain't enough to make the play if it
should come to a showdown," declared Banks. "Gridly and I will be in
on it, I guess. I'll take this machine up the road and tuck it away in
the bushes, then I'll come back, an' Gridly an' I will crowd into the
tonneau with the rest of you. If the game works, I'll be capturin' one
of the men I'm arter; if it don't work, then, as you say, all we'll be
out is a little time. I'll be back in a minute. Pull the crank, Gridly."

The roadster flashed up the road, and Matt could see Banks forcing the
machine into the bushes at the roadside. In a little while the sheriff
was back at the touring car.

"The back part of that machine will be a little crowded," said he, "but
we'll have to stand it if we make the play you've laid out, Motor Matt."

"Suppose you and Gridly get into the tonneau," suggested Matt, "and
leave Boggs, and me, and the dog to hide in the bushes at the edge of
the marsh? We'll be close enough to help if anything happens, and won't
interfere with you if you should have to work in a hurry."

There remained in the sheriff's mind a lingering suspicion that this
idea was launched with some ulterior purpose in view, but a look into
Motor Matt's face dispelled the unworthy thought.

"That's a good suggestion," said Banks. "Get in here with me, Gridly."

"You'd better turn the car around, Joe," went on Matt, as soon as the
officers were in the car.

McGlory started the engine and threw on the reverse, backing the blue
car until he had it headed the other way.

"Now we're ready for whatever's to come," said Banks.

"And it can't come too quick, either," supplemented Gridly.

Matt, Boggs, and the dog retired to the edge of the marsh and made
themselves comfortable among the bushes.

The king of the motor boys was well pleased with the way the encounter
with the sheriff had turned out. There had been, for a few moments, the
promise of a serious complication, but Banks had proved reasonable and
there was nothing more to worry about.

Matt's hope now was that Grattan and Pardo would fall into the trap
that was laid for them. If they did, the motor boys' account with the
unscrupulous Grattan would be settled for all time. They would always
have some regrets on account of the poor old mandarin, but after they
had looked carefully over the course of Sam Wing's flight, they would
have done everything possible to help Tsan Ti.

"By gum," remarked Boggs, while he and Matt were waiting, "I never
knowed yew was Motor Matt!"

"I didn't suppose you'd ever heard of Motor Matt, Mr. Boggs," answered
the young motorist.

"I take a Gardenville paper, and that had a lot to say about what yew
been doin' down to Catskill. Yew've given things quite a stirrin' up in
that town. Is that fat chink the one that come from Chiny to get holt
of the idol's eye?"

"He's the one."

"Well, I'm s'prised; I am, for a fact! Jest to think all this took
place right on my farm! Josi' won't hardly know what to think, and
the----"

"Quiet in there, pard!" came the low voice of McGlory. "They're coming."

"Grattan and Pardo?" returned Matt.

"Sure, and they walk as though they were tired. Now I've got to rustle
around and pretend to be so busy I don't see 'em."

The cowboy opened the hood and fell to tinkering with the wrench. All
was quiet in the tonneau, but there was a load of danger for Grattan
and Pardo in that blue car had they but known it!

Peering from the bushes, Matt and Boggs saw the two men come swiftly
and silently along the road. McGlory, with steady nerves, kept at his
work.

Pardo crept up behind the cowboy and caught him suddenly about the
shoulders.

"I guess that puts the boot on the other leg!" exulted Pardo, drawing
McGlory roughly away from the machine.

"The fellow that laughs last," cried Grattan, "laughs best. You've
given us a good hard run of it, McGlory, but we just _had_ to have this
car. It means everything to Pardo and me. What's the trouble with it?"

"Loose burr," answered the cowboy, with feigned sullenness. "It's been
bothering me ever since I left the pocket. If it hadn't been for that,
you'd never have caught me."

"Probably not," said Grattan. "Small things sometimes lead to big
results. Show me the loose burr and I'll tighten it. After that,
McGlory, we'll bid you an affectionate farewell and show these
mountains our heels."

"The wrench I've got isn't large enough," went on McGlory. "You'll have
to get another out of the tool box."

This was a clever ruse on the cowboy's part to draw the thief to the
footboard of the car--placing him handily for Banks and Gridly.

The tool box was open. Grattan, entirely unsuspicious, went back around
the side of the car and stooped over to get the wrench.

The next moment Banks had thrown himself on top of him, Gridly had
dropped out the other side of the car, McGlory had whirled on Pardo,
and Matt, Boggs, and Tige were rushing out of the bushes.

The trap had been sprung, and sprung so neatly that neither Grattan nor
Pardo had the slightest chance of getting out of it or of using their
firearms.



CHAPTER XV.

BACK TO THE FARM.


The skirmish--for it amounted to little more than that--was over with
in short order.

Grattan resisted stoutly, but Boggs went to Banks' assistance, while
Matt and Gridly went to McGlory's. In almost less time than it takes to
tell it, handcuffs were snapped on the wrists of the prisoners and they
were loaded into the tonneau with the two officers.

"It worked as slick as greased lightning, Motor Matt!" cried the
delighted sheriff. "Those two crooks never suspected a thing!"

Pardo was exceedingly bitter.

"Now, see what your confounded plans have done for me, Grattan!" he
cried angrily. "I was a fool to ever tie up with you."

"If we'd been successful," returned Grattan coolly "and secured the
ruby, you'd have talked the other way. Where's your nerve, Pardo?"

Pardo, still dazed by the suddenness of the capture, sank back into the
corner of the tonneau, muttering.

"This is your work, is it, Motor Matt?" inquired Grattan, leaning over
the side of the car and fixing his gaze on the young motorist.

"I helped plan it," said Matt.

"He was the whole works," spoke up McGlory. "Maybe it wasn't _quite_
so clever as the way you played it on me and Tsan Ti, Grattan," and a
tantalizing grin accompanied the words; "but I reckon it'll do."

"The more I see and learn about Motor Matt," declared Grattan, "the
more I admire his shining abilities. He's a wonder. We've matched wits
several times, and he's always had a shade the best of it. Will you
answer a civil question, my lad?"

"What is it?"

"Where's Tsan Ti and the ruby?"

"Tsan Ti and Bunce are at a farm near here, but----"

"So that old idiot has got tangled in the net, too!"

"But the ruby," finished Matt, "has been lost."

"Lost?" Grattan showed considerable excitement. "How was it lost?"

"Sam Wing stole the ruby from Tsan Ti, on the train, and jumped off
at Gardenville. The mandarin discovered his loss in time to leave the
train at the same station."

"Oh, thunder!" exclaimed Grattan disgustedly. "So _that_ was why Tsan
Ti followed Sam Wing out of Gardenville!"

"And you thought the mandarin was afraid of you, and that that was his
reason for hot-footing it into the hills," derided Pardo.

"Where and how was the ruby lost?" went on Grattan, paying no attention
to Pardo.

"I started out with Martin to look for this automobile," said Matt,
"and we found Sam Wing at the watering place on the Gardenville road.
McGlory and I followed him, but my chum got lost and I was left to keep
up the chase alone. It was somewhere along the course Sam Wing led me
that the ruby was lost."

"Sam Wing is fooling you!"

"I think he's telling the truth, Grattan."

"Bosh! The chink has hidden the ruby and is trying to make you believe
he lost it. If you let him go, he'll find the stone and get away with
it."

"Why not turn him loose, an' then follow him?" suggested Banks.

Matt shook his head.

"I'm positive Sam Wing is giving the straight of it," he declared.

"Well," laughed Grattan, but with an undernote of regret, "I hope
he is. If I can't have the ruby that I've worked for so long, I'm
glad to think that no one else will have it. Where are we bound for,
gentlemen?" and Grattan turned to Banks and Gridly.

"To the Boggs farm to pick up the sailor," Banks replied, "then for the
Catskill jail."

"Very pleasant outlook," observed Grattan.

"Can you drive a motor car, Matt?" asked Gridly.

"_Can_ he?" exploded McGlory. "Say, pard," he added, turning to Matt,
"do you know a spark-plug from the carburetor?"

"No offense," proceeded Gridly hastily. "I was only going to ask Matt
if he would bring our roadster along."

"Boggs and I will come in the roadster," said Matt. "You take the blue
car to the farm, Joe."

"On the jump, pard!" came heartily from McGlory.

"You motor boys are a great team!" exclaimed Banks.

"They're hard to beat," put in Grattan. "If it hadn't been for them, I
should have been in Paris about now, in very comfortable circumstances."

Matt waited for no more, but, accompanied by Boggs and Tige, hurried
along the road to the place where Banks had left the roadster. Matt was
cranking when McGlory whirled past on his way to the farm. Two minutes
later the roadster was crowding the touring car hard, and Matt was
honking for the cowboy to make better time.

"Everybody seems to be your friend, Motor Matt," said Boggs, "even that
there thief."

"Grattan is a strange fellow, Boggs," answered Matt. "He's as talented
a chap as you'll find anywhere, but he'd rather steal for a living than
work honestly."

"Some folks is that way," ruminated Boggs. "They'll waste more brains
an' elbow grease pullin' off a robb'ry that'll bring 'em in a thousand
dollars than they'd need for makin' ten thousand honestly. Look at me,
scrubbin' along on a stony farm, raisin' garden truck for the hotels,
when I might go out with a drill an' a jimmy, an'----"

"Make a nice comfortable home for yourself in a stone house with iron
doors and barred windows," laughed Matt. "There are lots of worse
places than a stony truck farm, Boggs."

"I guess yew're right."

At that moment the touring car turned in at the farmyard and came to a
halt near the barn. The roadster followed and stopped alongside.

Leaving Gridly to take care of Grattan and Pardo, Banks accompanied
Matt and Boggs into the barn. Josi' met them at the door.

"What luck, Zeke?" he asked.

"Best kind, Josi'," replied Boggs. "Got our men, too easy for any use.
The sheriff, here, and his deputy, Gridly, come along jest in time to
help. They want one o' the prisoners we left yew to take keer of."

"They're all here, you bet," said Josi', with laudable pride. "The'
wa'n't any of 'em could git away from _me_."

Banks cast his eyes over the three men.

"What's to be done with the two Chinamen?" he asked.

"I think they ought to go to Catskill, too," said Matt.

"We can carry the sailor in the tonneau of the big car, and there's
room for one of the Chinamen on the seat alongside McGlory. T'other
chink could go with you, in the roadster. Which is the mandarin that
got robbed of the ruby?"

Matt pointed to the dejected figure of Tsan Ti.

"What is he roped for?" asked Banks.

"So he can't put himself out of the way," said Matt. "The regent of
China sent him a yellow cord, and told him that if he did not recover
the ruby in two weeks he was please to strangle himself. I had to tie
the mandarin in that way to keep him from obeying orders."

Banks was not a hard-hearted man, and something in the mandarin's
plight touched him. Perhaps it was the Celestial's hopeless air,
coupled with his torn and dusty garments.

The sheriff stood for a few minutes in front of Tsan Ti, looking down
at him and shaking his head.

"They're a queer lot, these chinks," he commented finally. "Their ideas
are not ours, by a long shot, but I don't know as that's anything
against them. Do you want to take the mandarin with you in the
roadster, Matt?"

"I think I'd better."

Matt bent down and removed the rope from Tsan Ti's ankles. The mandarin
did not want to get up or make a move, but Matt and Banks lifted him to
his feet and succeeded in getting him out of the barn.

As they stood beside the roadster, the mandarin slumping limply in
their supporting hands, a cry came from the road.

"Well, by golly! If dar ain't de man whut got ole Gin'ral Jackson back
fo' me. Ah's monsus 'bliged tuh yo', boss, Ah is, fer er fac'."

Matt looked around and saw the old darky ambling toward the barn on his
mule.

"That's Neb Hogan," spoke up Boggs. "He's got a cabin down beyond about
half a mile. Do you know him, Motor Matt?"

Although old Neb Hogan did not look it, yet he was, at that moment,
engaged upon one of the most important missions of his life.



CHAPTER XVI.

CONCLUSION.


"What can I do for you, Neb?" asked Matt, facing the darky as he pulled
his mule to a halt.

"Ah dunno as yo' can do nuffin' fo' me, boss," answered Neb. "Ah
reckons yo's done about all fo' dis moke dat he can expec'. Yo' done
got Gin'ral Jackson back fo' me, an' dat odder feller found his
bicycle, too. Ah 'lows yo' must hab been in er hurry, 'case yo' didn't
wait fo' me to tell yo' Ah was obliged fo' whut yo' done. Lucky Ah seed
yo' while Ah was passin' Mars Boggs' place. Close tuh where dat white
boy found his bicycle dar was somefin' right on de aidge o' de bridge.
Ah gaddered it in, en Ah thought mebby yo' was de one whut drapped hit.
Ah was wonderin' en mah ole head how Ah was gwine tuh diskibber whedder
what Ah found belonged tuh you--en heah, right when Ah was gittin'
clost tuh home, Ah done sees yuh! Ain't dat fine? Somefin' strodinary
'bout dat."

A faint hope was rising in Motor Matt's breast, but it was very faint.
The foundation of it was almost too preposterous for belief.

"What did you find, Neb?" he asked.

"Ah don't know whedder hit amounts to nuffin' er not, but Ah reckons
yo' kin tell."

Thereupon Neb shoved one hand into a pocket of his tattered coat and
brought out, mixed in his yellow palm with two nails, a fishline, and a
piece of chewing tobacco----

_The Eye of Buddha!_

It was almost sunset, and the early shadows were beginning to fly over
the eastern borders of the Catskills, but there was enough light to
strike sparkling crimson gleams from the fateful gem that lay in the
old darky's hand.

"Does dat 'ar thing b'long tuh yo', boss?" said Neb Hogan.

"Hold it just that way for a minute, Neb," returned Matt.

Then quickly he slipped the cords from the mandarin's wrists.

"Look up, Tsan Ti," went on Matt. "See here a minute."

Apathetically the mandarin raised his head. His gaze fell on the red
gem, glittering amid the poor treasures which the old negro "toted" in
his pocket.

The mandarin's body stiffened, his hands flew to his forehead, and he
gazed spellbound; then, with a hoarse cry, he caught the ruby from
Neb's hand, pushed it against his breast, and fell to his knees,
muttering wildly in his native tongue.

"Well, by thunder!" exclaimed Banks. "Is that the idol's eye, Matt?"

Matt nodded.

"You found that red jewel at the edge of the bridge, you say, Neb?"

"Dat's whar Ah done picked it up. What is dat thing, anyhow? By golly,
dat Chinymum ack lak he done gone crazy."

"It's a ruby, Neb," explained Matt, "and very valuable. The Chinaman
who stole your mule had taken the ruby away from this other Chinaman,
and was trying to escape with it. General Jackson wouldn't take the
bridge, and the Chinaman on his back kicked and pounded him so that
the mule bucked and tossed him to the edge of the bridge. Before the
Chinaman could save himself he fell into the creek. The ruby must have
dropped out of his pocket upon the planks of the bridge. I didn't see
it, though, and it remained for you to pick it up."

"By golly!" breathed Neb. "Ain't dat a mos' 'sprisin' purceedin'? Ah
done finds de ruby fo' de feller whut got mah mu-el back fo' me. Is we
squar' now, boss?"

"Square?" laughed Matt. "Why, Neb, we're a whole lot more than square.
How much do you think that ruby's worth?"

"Kain't be hit's worf mo' dan ten dollahs, I reckons," he guessed.

"It's worth thousands of dollars, Neb!"

"Go 'long wif yo' foolishness! Dat red thing kain't be worf all dat
money, nohow. Yo's foolin' de pore ole moke."

"It's the truth, Neb."

Tsan Ti, jabbering wildly, arose from his bended knees and pulled his
alligator-skin pouch from his blouse.

"Excellent stranger of the dusky race," said he, "I gather from what
I hear that I am in your debt for the recovery of the Eye of Buddha.
Will it insult you if I offer, of my goodness of heart, five hundred
dollars?"

Neb Hogan nearly fell from General Jackson's back.

"Whut's dat he's er-sayin' tuh me?" he asked, rolling up the whites of
his eyes. "Talkin' 'bout five--five hunnerd dollahs, en 'bout insultin'
me wif it. By golly, Ah's brack, but Ah don't 'low no yalluh trash tuh
mek spo't ob me. Somebody hole mah mu-el twill Ah climb down. Five
hunnerd dollahs! Ah won't 'low no Chinymun tuh say no such thing.
Ah--Ah----"

Words died on the old negro's lips. Tsan Ti had pushed a bundle of
money up in front of his face, and Neb was gazing at the bills like one
demented.

"Accept of my gratitude, illustrious one," chanted the mandarin. "You
are worthy--it is little enough."

The darky tried to talk, but the words stuck in his throat.
Mechanically he took the bills, smoothed them out in his hands, and
finally pushed them into his pocket.

"Ah reckons dishyer's a dream," he managed to gasp finally. "Ah reckons
Ah'll wake up tuh heah Mandy buildin' de fiah fo' breakfus. Eider dat,
or Ah's suah gone crazy."

Then, turning General Jackson, Neb Hogan rode out of the gate, looking
back fearfully as long as he was in sight, wondering, no doubt, if
those he had left were not the phantoms of his disordered imagination.

This little scene had been enacted under the eyes of McGlory and the
prisoners in the blue touring car. Grattan's feelings, perhaps, may be
imagined better than described. McGlory was "stumped," as he would have
expressed it.

"Now that Tsan Ti has got the ruby again, pard," called the cowboy, "I
move we pack him in a box, idol's eye and all, and turn him over to
the express company for safe transportation to Canton. If we don't,
something is sure going to happen to him."

"Nothing will happen to him now," said Matt. "The men he had to fear
are in the custody of the law, and from now on Tsan Ti will experience
no more trouble."

"Esteemed friend," palpitated the overjoyed mandarin, "I shall yet
deposit the ruby in the express company's care as soon as I get to
Catskill. The lessons I have had are sufficient."

"That's the talk!" approved the cowboy.

"What shall we do with Sam Wing?" asked Matt.

For an instant a flash of rage drove the happiness from the mandarin's
eyes. But the flash died as swiftly as it came.

"Have you a knife, illustrious youth?" inquired the mandarin.

"Better keep it, pard!" warned McGlory. "Tsan Ti's going to do for
Wing!"

But Matt believed otherwise. Taking his knife from his pocket, he
handed it to Tsan Ti and the latter went into the barn. He reappeared
in a few moments, and Sam Wing, freed of his ropes, accompanied him.

Harsh words in Chinese broke from Tsan Ti's lips. He talked for
perhaps two minutes steadily, the harshness leaving his voice as the
torrent of speech flowed on. When he had finished, he reached into his
alligator-skin pouch, brought out some money, and placed it in Sam
Wing's hand; then, sternly, he pointed toward the road.

"What a fool!" growled Grattan.

"Why didn't he send the thief over the road?" muttered Pardo.

"Speak to me about this!" cried McGlory.

"Looks like there was a few things we could learn from the chinks,"
pondered Banks.

"You're right, Mr. Banks," said Matt. "Tsan Ti is the right sort, and
I'm glad I did what I could to help him. Let's start for Catskill--I
suppose Martin is back there, by this time, and wondering what has
become of Joe and me. Ready for New York in the morning, Joe?"

"I'm ready," was the prompt response, "but will we go?"

"I believe we will," said Matt, climbing into the roadster. "We've seen
the last of the hoodoo. Get in, Tsan Ti, and we'll hit it up between
here and Catskill. You're to ride with me."


THE END.



MOTOR STORIES

THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION

NEW YORK, October 2, 1909.


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HUDSON AND THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE.


A short time ago the newspapers announced that a feat which for four
hundred years stout ships and bold crews have been attempting had been
accomplished by a little Norwegian vessel of forty tons and seven men.

Long ago, the news would have thrilled the harbors of England and
Holland with joy and keen expectancy. Coming in the twentieth century,
it has created little sensation. Perhaps, of all those who read the
announcement, only the few to whom "the Northwest Passage" was a name
full of history and heroism and romance realized what an interesting
achievement had been made. For the practical value of the discovery had
long since been discounted, and no "merchant adventurer" of the present
day would have sunk half his fortune in equipping an expedition to
solve the riddle that puzzled the brains of the men of long ago.

For the search for the Northwest Passage was from the first a business
affair. It was a mercantile question. The whole inquiry arose out of a
trade competition between the northern and southern seafaring nations.

This was the situation: Spain and Portugal had been first in the
field, as regards over-sea discovery; they had found the way to the
treasure house of Asia, and the unspoiled riches of the New World.
The Portuguese held the monopoly of maritime trade with India--the
Venetians had long governed the overland route, and grown wealthy
thereby--and the Spaniards looked upon South America as their private
property.

Of the two, the Spanish settlements on the American coasts with the
mines behind them drew the eyes of the adventurer, who secured his
prizes at the sword's point, but Asia was the more tempting to the
trader. The former dreamed of the sack of opulent cities; the latter
dreamed of bustling wharves, and barter, and English ships coming home
laden with spices and silks, the peaceful spoils of the market place
and the tropical forest and the shark-haunted seas.

How to reach India "by a quick route, without crossing the sea paths
of the Portuguese and the Spaniards," this, in a word, was the origin
of the long and arduous search for the Northwest Passage.

It was the general belief that America was an island, but the size and
shape of it was still only imperfectly known. That there was a water
way round the southern end of the great continent had been proved
by Magellan, who, in his voyage round the world, had passed through
the straits that bear his name. The question now was, did a similar
waterway exist at the northern end?

They believed that America tapered to a point northward, as it did
southward. They little realized how the northern continent spread
itself out into the cold Arctic seas, and with what a network of
islands and ice floes it ended.

And so they sent out ships to search for a water way through those
inhospitable seas, and the first to go was an Englishman, Martin
Frobisher.

Greatly did he dare. We in these days of perfectly appointed ships,
built of steel and driven by steam, can appreciate the hardihood of
this hero and his crews, setting forth in two tiny craft of twenty-five
and twenty tons burden, respectively, to solve the riddle of the
northern seas! They sailed away--Queen Elizabeth herself waving them
adieu from the windows of her palace at Greenwich--on June 12th, 1576,
and a month later they were off the coast of Greenland.

Then came stormy weather. A pinnace with her crew of four was sunk, and
Frobisher found himself alone--one ship among the never-ending ice. For
his consort had gone home, discouraged by the forbidding outlook.

But almost immediately after this disappointment there came a gleam of
hope. He beheld what appeared to be a passageway trending westward. It
seems that this is still called Frobisher Bay. As he sailed through he
thought that he had Asia on one side and America on the other. It was
but a happy delusion. The projecting corner of Asia was far away; he
was only abreast of what has since been named Baffin's Land.

Frobisher's second voyage, made in 1577, was rather a gold quest than a
journey of discovery. A lump of stone (probably iron pyrites) had been
brought home by one of the sailors as a souvenir of the first voyage.
The particles of gold in it fired the fancies of some Londoners with
the idea that Eldorado might perhaps, after all, be among the northern
ice.

So Frobisher's ships went out again, and brought home something like
200 tons of the black stone. A third time they made the voyage, no less
than fifteen ships taking part in the expedition, the object of which
was to establish a sort of settlement for the working of the supposed
"gold mine." But nothing came of the attempt. Bewildering fogs and
perilous storms and threatening icebergs beset the puny fleet; sickness
followed hard upon the exposure and privations long endured by the poor
fellows who manned it, and at last the scheme was abandoned.

Yet in this disappointing third voyage Frobisher had unknowingly come
very near the discovery which originally he had in view! For, in the
words of the writer before quoted, "the truth was that Frobisher's
foremost ships had got farther to the south than was realized, and
unwittingly he had discovered what is now known as Hudson's Strait--the
sea gate of that very Northwest Passage on which his waking and
sleeping thoughts so long had brooded."

He had been carried some sixty leagues up the strait, but as he knew
nothing as to whither it led he reaped no advantage.

Several years went by without another attempt being made to solve the
problem, of the Northwest Passage, but at last, in the summer of 1585,
some English merchants planned a fresh expedition.

Two ships were fitted out--one the _Sunshine_, of London, fifty tons;
the other the _Moonshine_, of Dartmouth, thirty-five tons. The command
was intrusted to a young Devonshire sailor, Captain John Davis, whose
name is familiar to all schoolboys who have drawn maps of the northern
parts of North America.

Though the records of the voyage abound with incidents relating to the
various encounters that Davis' men had with spouting whales and basking
seals, uncouth Eskimos, and Polar bears, the actual achievements of
this expedition were not great. The ships traversed part of what is now
called Davis Strait, and went some way up Cumberland Gulf, but by the
end of September they were back in Dartmouth.

Davis set forth again, next summer, with three ships and a pinnace.
The latter and one of the ships were dispatched up the east coast of
Greenland, while the commander, with the two other vessels, sailed
northwest. He got as far as Hudson Strait and farther. And in a third
voyage he reached a headland not far from Upernavik. The hardihood and
pluck displayed in these attempts to penetrate the ice-encumbered seas
were splendid, but the results did not throw much light on the question
of how to get northwest by sea to the Indies.

Soon after this the kindred question of a Northeast Passage forced
itself upon the seafaring people of Holland, and the city of Amsterdam
fitted out four ships, and sent them forth under William Barents,
in the June of 1594. The story of this and subsequent expeditions
cannot, however, be told here, though it is full of heroism and strange
adventures.

It was the idea of a Northeast route which first laid hold of Henry
Hudson, the intrepid Englishman whose name figures so prominently on
the map of North America. Like Barents, he made his way to Nova Zembla,
but, baffled by the seemingly insuperable difficulties to the eastward,
he turned westward in his third voyage, and again when he set forth on
his fourth and last voyage.

Some of his men were evidently less stout of heart than their
commander, and when there began to be real prospects of being caught in
the ice, the spirit of mutiny got the upper hand. On June 21st, 1610,
with a cowardice that was happily in strange contrast to the usual
behavior of English crews, it was decided to get rid of the captain.
Next morning he and his little son, a loyal-hearted sailor (the ship's
carpenter), and half a dozen sick and helpless members of the crew,
were put over the ship's side into one of the boats, and left to their
fate.

The years went by. Other expeditions were fitted out and sent
northward, but the old reasons for finding out the Northwest Passage
were fast disappearing. The Portuguese monopoly of the sea-borne trade
with India and the supremacy of Spain on the ocean highways were things
of the past. The ships of other nations had no longer to skulk past
these aforetime kings of the sea.

Arctic exploration went on, but the idea of reaching the North Pole
was beginning to take the place of the idea of "making" the Northwest
Passage. That old problem, however, was in prospect of being solved
by the attempts made to solve the former. So that by the year 1853
Collinson was able to sail so far that he came within fifty-seven
miles--a mere pin prick on the map--of accomplishing the Northwest
Passage.

Finally, in 1906, the Passage, which, like a mountain tunnel, had been
worked at from both ends, was penetrated from one opening to the other
by the little _Gjöa_, a Norwegian sloop of forty tons, which sailed
from Christiania on June 1st, 1903.

She was under the command of Captain Roald Amundsen, of that city, and
his right-hand man was Lieutenant Godfred Hansen, of the Danish navy;
the crew numbered seven. She had not been built with a view to Arctic
work, so that before she went north into the realm of the ice king she
had to be fortified somewhat. An ice sheathing of two-inch oak planks
added greatly to her resisting power, and her petroleum motor of 13
horse power enabled her, when she put to sea, to attain a traveling
speed of three knots in smooth water. But the _Gjöa_ trusted chiefly,
like the stout little barks of other days, to the skillful handling of
her sails.

The winters of 1903 and 1904 were spent in harbor on the shores of King
William's Land. Only the premature closing in of the ice prevented the
little vessel from achieving the Passage in 1905.



THE DEATH BITE.


"Well, Ed, let us hear from you to-night. You are always talking of
strategy, flanks, and other soldiering knickknacks. Now tell us a
story."

The boys drew their chairs about the roaring fire, which cast its ruddy
glow about the room, while without the north wind held revelry in the
branches of the trees.

Ed looked over the top of his paper, and smiled.

"What's that you say, Bib? I can't tell much of a story."

Ed drew his chair to the fire. A chorus of supplications came from all
parts of the room, and Ed laid aside his paper.

"In the early spring of 1863 we were encamped near the Pamunky River,
about the time they were undermining the enemy's fort on the other side
of the river. One rainy night a party of us were formed and marched
out. It was well known the enemy was not far off, and I felt anything
but pleasant. The rain poured down in a deluge, and we picked our way
through the woods by the blinding flashes of lightning which now and
then illumined the forest. The heavy rains had transformed the ground
into a swamp. Near the edge of the forest we halted and separated in
squads of five.

"By good luck I had charge of one squad. From under our overcoats we
drew our spades and waited for the rain to slack.

"'Now, Ed,' said the lieutenant, 'you take your men and select a spot
and dig a rifle pit, and if anything comes in your way bang away at it,
for things are getting hot.'

"A few minutes more and the lieutenant and his party were gone. Between
two huge trees we began to dig, and in a few hours we had finished our
pit. The boys tumbled in and all were soon asleep, except Barry; he was
a down-Easter and had been through most of the campaigns.

"The rain ceased falling, and no sound reached us save the pattering
raindrops as the wind dislodged them from the trees.

"I had scarcely taken forty winks, when Barry poked me in the ribs. I
awoke immediately.

"'Look there!' he whispered.

"I looked over the pit and saw a small light swaying to and fro. I
thought at first it was a will-o'-the-wisp.

"'Will I fire at it?' asked Barry.

"'You know your orders, don't you?' I replied. 'Let us both fire at
it.' Both of our muskets were shoved over the top of the pit, and
taking a hasty aim, we fired.

"A loud yell followed the reports, and we saw the light fly upward
and fall to the ground; then all was darkness, and the same quietness
returned.

"'I wonder is he dead?' was the question that arose; and then the boys
returned to their corners and slumbered on.

"Soon the faint gray streaks of morning began to light up the east; and
as I felt very thirsty I took my canteen, and clambered out of the pit,
and started off. A few minutes' walk brought me to a small creek, and I
filled my canteen and stooped to drink. The snapping of a twig caused
me to look up; and my hair fairly raised, for not two yards from me
stood a powerful man dressed in gray; he had pistols, a musket and an
ugly-looking toothpick. A low chuckle came from his lips, and I gave
myself up for lost, as I had not even so much as a penknife with me. In
my eagerness to get water I forgot all. The Confederate seemed to read
me through, for he said:

"'Well, Yank, have you got enough water?'

"I managed to say 'Yes'.

"'Well,' he said, 'get away from here, and think yourself lucky.'

"It did not take me long to get away from that spot. Then I noticed,
for the first time, that our pit was dug on the top of a little hill.
A few yards off on the other side of the creek stood a large barn.
I could see forms walking about from where I now stood. The man I
had met walked toward the barn. The boys in the pit saw him, and the
muzzles of their guns frowned over the top in a minute. At that moment
a detachment of men came to relieve us. They had hardly reached us,
when from behind the barn a party of soldiers hove in sight, dragging
a small fieldpiece, and in a moment more a crashing iron ball came
tearing in our midst. With whoops and yells the enemy dashed on our
little party, and we were soon engaged hand to hand. I felt myself
hurled to the ground and a hand tightening about my throat. Then the
fear of death stole upon me, and the strength of a Hercules took
possession of my limbs. I turned my assailant over and placed my knee
on his breast.

"In vain I looked about for something to put an end to the struggling
man whom I held, but could find nothing. In his belt I saw the handle
of a knife. I seized it with one hand, but in doing so my grasp relaxed
upon his throat, and before I could prevent it he had my finger in his
mouth, and his teeth closed upon it. I fairly howled with pain and
drove the knife into his heart several times. His jaws grew rigid in
death and his teeth cut slowly to the bone and partly bit that, too.
How I yelled! If it had been taken off at once the pain would have been
nothing, but being bitten slowly off was intense. I had to pry open his
jaws with the knife to get my finger out of his mouth."

Ed paused and the boys crowded about him, and the second finger was
minus an inch. We all dispersed that night thinking there has been many
an adventure that befell the brave boys of which the public will never
know anything.



MIGRATION OF RATS.


In nearly all countries a seasonal movement of rats from houses and
barns to the open fields occurs in spring, and the return movement
takes place as cold weather approaches. The movement is noticeable even
in large cities.

More general movements of rats often occur. In 1903 a multitude of
migrating rats spread over several counties of western Illinois. They
were noticed especially in Mercer and Rock Island Counties. For several
years prior to this invasion no abnormal numbers were seen, and their
coming was remarkably sudden. An eye-witness to the phenomenon informed
the writer that as he was returning to his home by moonlight he heard
a general rustling in the field near by, and soon a vast army of rats
crossed the road in front of him, all going in one direction. The mass
stretched away as far as could be seen in the dim light. These animals
remained on the farms and in the villages of the surrounding country,
and during the winter and summer of 1904 were a veritable plague. A
local newspaper stated that between March 20 and April 20, 1904, F. U.
Montgomery, of Preëmption, Mercer County, killed three thousand four
hundred and thirty-five rats on his farm. He caught most of them in
traps.

In 1877 a similar migration occurred into parts of Saline and Lafayette
Counties, Mo., and in 1904 another came under the writer's observation
in Kansas River Valley. This valley for the most part was flooded by
the great freshet of June, 1903, and for about ten days was covered
with several feet of water. It is certain that most of the rats in the
valley perished in this flood. In the fall of 1903 much of the district
was visited by hordes of rats, which remained during the winter, and by
the following spring had so increased in numbers that serious losses of
grain and poultry resulted.

No doubt the majority of the so-called migrations of rodents are in
reality instances of unusual reproduction or of enforced migration
owing to lack of food. In England a general movement of rats inland
from the coast occurs every October. This is closely connected with the
closing of the herring season. During the fishing the rodents swarm to
the coast, attracted by the offal left from cleaning the herring, and
when this food supply fails they hasten back to the farms and villages.

In South America periodic plagues of rats have taken place in Parana,
Brazil, at intervals of about thirty years, and in Chili at intervals
of from fifteen to twenty-five years. These plagues in the cultivated
lands follow the ripening and decay of the dominant species of
bamboo in each country. The ripening of the seed furnishes for two
or more years a favorite food for rats in the forests, where the
animals multiply greatly; when this food fails they are forced to the
cultivated districts for subsistence. In 1878 almost the entire crops
of corn, rice, and mandioca in the State of Parana were destroyed by
rats, causing a serious famine.

An invasion of black rats in the Bermuda Islands occurred about the
year 1615. In a space of two years they had increased so alarmingly
that none of the islands was free from them. The rodents devoured
everything which came in their way--fruit, plants, and even trees--so
that for two years the people were destitute of bread. A law was passed
requiring every man in the islands to set twelve traps. In spite of all
efforts the animals increased, until they finally disappeared with a
suddenness which could have resulted only from a pestilence.



SOME GREAT CATASTROPHES.


"It is the general opinion that earthquakes constitute the most
terrible of the world's catastrophes, both as regards loss of life
and destruction of property," says an English writer. "This, however,
is not so. The convulsion in southern Italy killed not less than two
hundred thousand people, and in this respect it is easily the most
dreadful occurrence of its kind. The historic Lisbon earthquake, which
ranks next below it in regard to the number of fatalities, caused
fifty thousand deaths in that one city alone and about an equal number
elsewhere. The South American one of 1867 was responsible for thirty
thousand. That which destroyed Aleppo in 1822 slew twenty thousand.
These are the four worst earthquakes concerning which anything like
reliable statistics are obtainable, and the total combined loss of
life, it will be observed, did not, at any rate, exceed three hundred
and fifty thousand.

"But when the Yellow River burst its banks in September, 1887, more
than seven million people were drowned in the resultant great flood,
which covered to an average depth of six feet a populous Chinese
province the size of Scotland. Thus, in this one catastrophe, more
lives were lost than in all the earthquakes recorded in the world's
history. Then, again, there is pestilence. The black death killed in
China, where it broke out, thirteen million people; in the rest of
Asia, twenty-four million, and thirty million in Europe, or sixty-seven
million in all. In India alone, and that within the past twelve years,
bubonic plague has slain over six million people, and the epidemic
still rages.

"Famines run plagues a close second. The one that raged in Bombay and
Madras in 1877 slew five million people; and that which prevailed in
northern China in the same year, and which was due to the same climatic
causes, cost nine million five hundred thousand lives."



LATEST ISSUES


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.=

  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.

  30--Motor Matt's Mandarin; or, Turning a Trick for Tsan Ti.

  31--Motor Matt's Mariner; or, Filling the Bill for Bunce.

  32--Motor Matt's Double-trouble; or, The Last of the Hoodoo.

  33--Motor Matt's Mission; or, The Taxicab Tangle.


TIP TOP WEEKLY

The most popular publication for boys. The adventures of Frank and Dick
Merriwell can be had only in this weekly. =High art colored covers.
Thirty-two pages. Price, 5 cents.=

  691--Dick Merriwell's Dandies; or, A Surprise for the Cowboy Nine.

  692--Dick Merriwell's "Skyscooter"; or, Professor Pagan and the
  "Princess."

  693--Dick Merriwell in the Elk Mountains; or, The Search for "Dead
  Injun" Mine.

  694--Dick Merriwell in Utah; or, The Road to "Promised Land."

  695--Dick Merriwell's Bluff; or, The Boy Who Ran Away.

  696--Dick Merriwell in the Saddle; or, The Bunch from the Bar-Z.

  697--Dick Merriwell's Ranch Friends; or, Sport on the Range.

  698--Frank Merriwell at Phantom Lake; or, The Mystery of the Mad
  Doctor.

  699--Frank Merriwell's Hold-back; or, The Boys of Bristol.

  700--Frank Merriwell's Lively Lads; or, The Rival Campers.

  701--Frank Merriwell as Instructor; or, The Skill of the Wizard.

  702--Dick Merriwell's Cayuse; or, The Star of the Big Range.

  703--Dick Merriwell's Quirt; or, The Sting of the Lash.

  704--Dick Merriwell's Freshman Friend; or, A Question of Manhood.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY

The best detective stories on earth. Nick Carter's exploits are read
the world over. =High art colored covers. Thirty-two big pages. Price,
5 cents.=

  652--The Green Box Clue; or, Nick Carter's Good Friend.

  653--The Taxicab Mystery; or, Nick Carter Closes a Deal.

  654--The Mystery of a Hotel Room; or, Nick Carter's Best Work.

  655--The Tragedy of the Well; or, Nick Carter Under Suspicion.

  656--The Black Hand; or, Chick Carter's Well-laid Plot.

  657--The Black Hand Nemesis; or, Chick Carter and the Mysterious
  Woman.

  658--A Masterly Trick; or, Chick and the Beautiful Italian.

  659--A Dangerous Man; or, Nick Carter and the Famous Castor Case.

  660--Castor the Poisoner; or, Nick Carter Wins a Man.

  661--The Castor Riddle; or, Nick Carter's Search for a Hidden Fortune.

  662--A Tragedy of the Bowery; or, Nick Carter and Ida at Coney Island.

  663--Four Scraps of Paper; or, Nick Carter's Coney Island Search.

  664--The Secret of the Mine; or, Nick Carter's Coney Island Mystery.

  665--The Dead Man in the Car; or, Nick Carter's Hair Line Clue.

  666--Nick Carter's Master Struggle; or, The Battle With the
  Man-monkey.

  667--The Airshaft Spectre; or, Nick Carter's Shrewd Surmise.


_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
_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=.

Page 3, changed "come, on then" to "come on, then."

Page 4, added missing period after "asked Pardo."

Page 7, corrected "Mat" to "Matt" in "Matt continued to sit." Corrected
"let's some one else" to "let some one else."

Page 8, corrected typo "mardarin" in "bluff us out of helping the
mandarin."

Page 9, corrected "Mat" to "Matt" in "Matt and I will put the kibosh."

Page 13, corrected typo "tellling" in "no telling when the pallavering."

Page 14, corrected typo "folowing" in "excitement following Bunce's
discovery." Corrected typo "Gardenvile" in "between the spring and
Gardenville."

Page 15, expanded ligature in "manoeuvre." Ligature is retained in HTML
version.

Page 18, corrected typo "flutering" in "fluttering his hand
reassuringly." Corrected "spiritsails" to "spritsails."

Page 21, corrected typo "your'" in "while you're tied up."

Page 23, corrected typo "boad" in "marsh on one side of the road."

Page 25, added missing period after "kept at his work."

Page 29, removed unnecessary quotes around paragraph beginning "They
believed that America tapered..."





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