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Title: Brave and Bold Weekly No. 363, A Hoodoo Machine; - or, The Motor Boys' Runabout No. 1313.
Author: Mathews, Stanley R.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Brave and Bold Weekly No. 363, A Hoodoo Machine; - or, The Motor Boys' Runabout No. 1313." ***

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_), and text
enclosed by equal signs is in bold (=bold=).

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A freight train was almost at the crossing, and, unless
Motor Matt could check the runabout in its wild flight, it would surely
be demolished by the onrushing locomotive.]

       *       *       *       *       *

BRAVE AND BOLD WEEKLY

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

=No. 363.= NEW YORK, December 4, 1909. =Price Five Cents.=



A HOODOO MACHINE; OR, The Motor Boys’ Runabout No. 1313.


By STANLEY R. MATTHEWS.



CHAPTER I. THE CAR THAT WOULDN’T BEHAVE.


“Sufferin’ whirligigs, Pard Matt! Look at that bubble wagon! Is it
trying to turn a handspring, or ‘skin the cat,’ or climb that telephone
pole? I reckon the longhorn up front don’t know how to run the thing.
Either that, or else he’s ‘bug’ with a big ‘B.’”

“I should say it’s the car that’s ‘bug,’ Joe. The driver seems to be
trying to control the machine in the proper manner, but it won’t be
controlled. What’s your notion of it, Billy?”

“Hoodoo car, Matt. Look at the number of her--thirteen thirteen. Double
hoodoo. You couldn’t expect no chug wagon with such a tag to behave
anything else than disgraceful. Lo and behold you, if she don’t turn
turtle in the ditch before she goes many more miles then my name’s
not Billy Wells. Watch ’er; keep your eye on ’er an’ I’ll bet you see
something.”

The three boys were driving along the Jericho Pike well toward Krug’s
Corner--Matt King, Joe McGlory, and Billy Wells. Billy belonged with a
New York garage from which the boys had secured the touring car they
were using that morning. He was a living road map, this Billy, and
could go anywhere up-state, or over Long Island, or in Jersey on the
darkest night that ever fell, and he knew every minute just where he
was.

Matt was doing the driving, and Billy sat beside him as guide,
counselor, and friend. In the back of the machine was McGlory.

That was Thursday. Matt and his chum were heeding a summons that
carried them toward the Malvern Country Club, near Hempstead. After
transacting their business at the Country Club--they did not know what
it was, but believed it would not take them long--they were planning to
return to Krug’s Corner for their noon meal, and then back to Manhattan
by Jackson Avenue and the Williamsburg Bridge. But plans are easily
made, sometimes, and not so easily carried out.

The day was bright, the roads were good, and the motor boys were
enjoying themselves. Well along the Jericho Pike they had come up with
a white runabout, two seats in front and a deck behind, and the actions
of this car aroused their curiosity to such an extent that Matt slowed
down the big machine in order that he and those with him could follow
and watch the performance.

There was only one passenger in the white car, and he was having his
hands full.

The runabout would angle from one side of the road to the other, in
apparent defiance of the way the steering wheel was held, and sometimes
it would go its eccentric course slowly and sometimes with a rush--so
far as those in the other car could see--without any change in the
speed gear.

The driver of the runabout worked frantically to keep the machine where
it ought to be, but the task was too much for him.

Once a telephone pole gave him a close shave, and once his
unmanageable car gave a sidewise lurch that almost hurled it into a
machine going the other way.

“What’s the matter?” Matt hailed.

The man in the runabout looked around with a facial expression that was
far from angelic.

“If I knew what was the matter with this confounded car,” he cried in
exasperation, “do you think I’d be side-stepping all over the road the
way I am?” Then, muttering to himself, he humped over the steering
wheel again.

“He’s happy--I don’t think,” chuckled McGlory. “The car’s getting on
his nerves.”

“A car like that would get on anybody’s nerves,” commented Billy. “The
number’s enough to set mine on edge. Thirteen’s unlucky, no matter
where you find it. That’s right. And when you get two thirteens bunched
together, you’ve sure got a combination that points a car for the scrap
heap. I wouldn’t hold down the cushions in that roadster for all the
money in New York. No, sir, that I wouldn’t,” and Billy shook his head
forebodingly.

“Oh, splash!” scoffed Matt. “When a car fools around like that, Billy,
there’s something wrong with its internal apparatus.”

“Matt,” went on Billy solemnly, “I’ve seen cars that hadn’t a thing
wrong with ’em, but they was just naturally crazy and never’d run
right. Steer ’em straight, an’ they’d go crooked; point ’em crooked,
an’ they’d go straight; throw on the reverse, an’ they’d go for’ard;
give ’em the third speed an’ they’d crawl; give ’em the first an’
they’d tear away like lightnin’--and all the while, mind you, the
engine was running as sweet as any engine you ever see. The Old Boy
himself takes charge of some cars the moment they’re sold and in a
customer’s hands. I’ve worked in a garage for five years, and I know.”

Matt laughed. McGlory laughed, too, but not so mirthfully. The cowboy
had a little superstition in his make-up and Billy’s remarks had left a
fleeting impression.

“Gammon, Billy, gammon,” said Matt. “If a car is built right, and works
right, it is going to run right. That stands to reason.”

“A lot of things happen,” insisted Billy, “that don’t stand to reason.
Now, take that runabout. The engine’s working fine--from the sound of
it. Eh?”

Matt admitted that, so far as the hum of the motor was concerned, the
machinery seemed to be doing its part.

“Well, then,” cried the triumphant Billy, “why don’t the blooming car
run like it ought to?”

“It’s the steering gear that’s wrong,” Matt answered, “not the engine,
or----”

Bang!

Just then the runabout blew up a forward tire. The machine tried to
turn a somersault, and its passenger went over on the hood and tried
to knock off one of the gas lamps with his head. When Matt brought the
touring car to the side of the runabout, and halted, the man was on his
feet, shaking his fist at the silent white tormentor.

“If I had a stick of dynamite,” he declared wrathfully, “I’d blow
this infernal machine to kingdom come! I’ve been fiddling around the
Jericho Road for two mortal hours, and I could have made better time if
I’d left the car and gone on afoot. But I’ll hang to it, and make it
take me where I’m going. By George, I’ll not be beaten by a senseless
contraption of tires, mud guards, and machinery.”

Matt had jumped out of the touring car and was sniffing at the damaged
tire.

“What makes that smell of gasoline?” he asked.

“I put in a tube this morning, and washed out the chalk with gasoline,”
said the man.

“Never use gasoline for cleaning the tubes,” counseled Matt. “Get all
the chalk you can from the outer tube, and then soak it in wood naphtha
or ordinary alcohol. No wonder your tire blew up. You left gasoline in
the shoe, and when it got hot, it mixed with a little air in the tube
and something had to happen. Have you got another shoe?”

“Yes.”

“And a jack?”

“Of course. When a man goes out with a car like this he ought to carry
a small garage around with him.”

“Well, we’ll help you get on the shoe.”

Matt and Billy worked. McGlory stood near, watching and talking with
the owner of the car.

After the tire had been repaired, Matt looked over the runabout
critically. Much to his amazement, he could find nothing wrong.

“It’s the double hoodoo,” whispered Billy; “that’s all that’s the
trouble.”

“Much obliged to you,” said the man, cranking up. “Now we’ll see how
she acts.”

He got in, went through the operations for a fresh start, but the
runabout began backing. While the man shouted, and said things, the
runabout backed in a circle around the big touring car, then dropped
rearward down a shallow embankment at the roadside--and its passenger
had another spill, out over the rear deck this time. For a second, he
stood on his head and shoulders, then turned clear over and made a
quick move sideways in getting to his feet. He was afraid, evidently,
that the runabout was coming on top of him. But the car, almost in
defiance of the laws of gravitation, hung to the side of the steep
bank, its position nearly perpendicular.

“Speak to me about that!” gasped McGlory.

Matt was scared. From the top of the bank he stood staring while the
man got out of the way.

“Are you all right?” Matt asked.

“No thanks to that fiendish machine if I am,” sputtered the man,
laboring frantically up the slope. “It has tried to kill me in a dozen
different ways since I left home with it. I’m done. Life’s too short to
bother with such an infernal car as that.”

Fairly boiling with rage, he started along the road on foot.

“Wait a minute!” shouted Matt. “Where you going?”

The man turned.

“Krug’s,” he answered. “I’ll get a decent, respectable car there to
take me on.”

“You can telephone to a garage from Krug’s,” suggested Billy, “and they
can send some one to get the runabout home.”

“I’m done with the runabout, I tell you. It can stay where it is until
the tires rot, for all of me.”

“I’ll agree to get it back to the city for you,” said Matt. “My name’s
King, Matt King, and I’m staying at----”

The man’s rage subsided a little.

“You’re Matt King?” he inquired.

“Yes.”

“I understand, now, how you happen to know so much about tubes. They
say you’re pretty well up in motors, too. Well, here’s where I give you
the job of your life. Matt King, I make you a present of that runabout.
Take it--but Heaven help you if you try to run it.”

Thereupon the man whirled around and strode off.

“Oh, I say,” yelled Matt, “you don’t mean it. Wait, and I’ll----”

But the man swung onward, paying no heed to what Matt was calling after
him.

Matt King turned and peered in amazement at his cowboy chum.

“Sufferin’ tenterhooks!” exclaimed McGlory. “You’re loaded up with a
bunch of trouble now, pard.”

“Come on,” urged Billy, moving toward the touring car with considerable
haste. “Don’t lay a finger on that runabout--don’t have a thing to do
with it.”

But Matt was face to face with a proposition that caught his fancy. A
refractory automobile! Never yet had he encountered a machine that had
got the best of him. And this runabout couldn’t do it--he was positive
of that.



CHAPTER II. MATT KING’S RESOLVE.


“That man was so mad he was locoed,” observed the cowboy.

“Certainly he was, Joe,” agreed Matt. “If he hadn’t been, he’d never
have given away that machine. It’s a powerful car and worth twenty-five
hundred of any man’s money.”

“Don’t tamper with it, Matt,” implored Billy. “When that fellow gets
over his mad spell he’ll want the runabout back. Let him have it--and
let him find it right where he left it.”

“If he hadn’t been worked up like he was,” said Matt, “he wouldn’t have
given the car to me. I won’t take it, of course, but Joe and I will use
it to take us to the Malvern Country Club, and then back to Manhattan.
By to-morrow that fellow will be looking for me and wanting his car
back.”

“You wouldn’t think of such a thing as wanting to bother with that
runabout!” gasped Billy, from his seat in the touring car.

“Yes, I would,” answered Matt. “Why not?”

“The number--thirteen thirteen!”

“Bosh!”

“It’s a hoodoo car.”

“Never mind about that, Billy. You go on to Krug’s Corner and get a
stout rope. If you overtake the owner of the runabout you can give him
a lift. See him, anyhow, and tell him we’ll take the runabout to New
York and that he can have it whenever he wants it.”

“Don’t do it!” begged Billy. “I’ve seen enough of these hoodoo cars to
know they’ll prove the death of somebody. Don’t let that runabout prove
the death of you!”

“Go get the rope, Billy,” said Matt sharply, “and hustle back with it.”

There was that in the voice of Matt King which proved that he had made
up his mind, and that there was no shaking his determination. With an
ominous movement of the head, Billy started for Krug’s Corner.

“Pard,” remarked McGlory earnestly, “I reckon the runabout is heap bad
medicine. Do you think you ought to mix up with it?”

“Are you going back on me, Joe?” asked Matt.

“Not so you can notice. I’d get on a streak of greased lightning with
you, if you said the word, and help you ride it to the end of the
One-way Trail, but I think this is too big an order for us. Sufferin’
thunderbolts! Why, pard, that car won’t mind the helm or do the thing
it ought to do even when you pull the right thing. When it began to
crawfish around the road, the reverse wasn’t on.”

“I don’t know about that. It’s on now,” and he looked down at
the runabout. “I guess the man must have thrown on the reverse
instinctively when the tire blew up. Think of rinsing the chalk from
the outer tube with gasoline!” Matt laughed. “There was good cause for
the tire going wrong, and there may be other good and sufficient causes
for the machine’s sizzling around like it did. Anyhow, we’ll try it,
and see how it will behave for us.”

“But how can we lay a course for the Malvern Country Club? Billy will
have to show us.”

“Billy can tell us how to go, and we’ll get to the Country Club all
right. Hello! What’s this?”

Matt began slipping and sliding down the slope at the side of the
runabout. Just at the point where the driver of the car had taken his
header, the young motorist picked up a long manila envelope, unsealed.

“I reckon that dropped out of the man’s clothes while he was upside
down,” ventured McGlory.

“That’s a cinch,” said Matt. “There’s no address on the envelope, and
no printed card in the corner, but it may be we can find the man’s name
and address on the papers inside. If he won’t come for his car, we’ll
take it to him.”

“I’m a Piute,” mumbled McGlory, “if I feel right about this runabout
business.”

“Billy’s talk about hoodoo cars has got you on the run,” grinned Matt.
“You’ll feel different when we’re slamming along the pike with the
runabout under perfect control. It’s my opinion that man doesn’t know a
whole lot about running a car.”

While Matt was moving here and there about the steep bank, making a few
investigations of the “hoodoo” machine, Billy came racing back.

“There’s your rope, Matt,” said he, tossing a coiled cable into the
road.

Matt crept warily up the bank to the front of the runabout.

“Did you see the man, Billy?” he asked.

“Sure I did. Let him ride with me for half a mile.”

“You told him what we were going to do?”

“I did. He says that if you get that car back to the city, and try to
turn it over to him, he’ll have you arrested for assault with intent
to do great bodily damage. He says the runabout is a powder mine, and
liable to blow up at any minute. ‘Tell Matt King to keep it,’ he said,
‘providing he’s got the nerve.’ That’s the way he handed it to me. Take
my advice,” Billy clamored desperately, “and leave it alone!”

“Joe and I are going to use it,” answered Matt. “Hand me an end of
that rope, pard,” he added to the cowboy.

McGlory passed him the rope, and Matt made it secure to the front of
the runabout.

“Back up, Billy,” called Matt, “and tie the other end of the rope to
the touring car. You’ve got to give us a lift into the road.”

“What if something should happen?” demurred Billy.

“Nonsense!” said Matt impatiently.

“You can’t give the car back to that fellow if he won’t take it.”

“We’ll make him take it. He’s a very foolish man, and he’s going to
feel differently when his temper cools.”

Billy, not in a very comfortable frame of mind, backed the touring car
close to the edge of the bank. The rope was made fast, and Matt and
McGlory went to the foot of the bank to push while the big machine
pulled.

The attempt was successful. The runabout sputtered--perhaps
defiantly--as it yielded to the tugging and rolled up the slope. Matt
looked the machine over and could not find that it had suffered any by
the slide down the slope.

“It’ll hang together till it gets you, Motor Matt,” observed Billy
grewsomely. “That’s the way with these hoodoo cars. They never go to
pieces till they kill somebody.”

“You’re too good a driver, Billy, to talk such foolishness,” returned
Matt. “Now, tell us how to get to the Malvern Country Club.”

“Ain’t I going with you?”

“Three of us couldn’t ride very comfortably in the runabout.”

“But hadn’t I better go along in the touring car so as to be handy in
case of accidents?”

“Oh, Joe and I will get along. We’re not going to have any accidents if
we can help it--and I feel pretty sure we can.”

Billy laid out the course the boys were to take with considerable
detail. When he was through, Matt felt that he had the route clearly
fixed in his mind.

“If the runabout’s too much for you,” Billy finished, “all you’ve got
to do is to phone the garage, and I’ll come a-runnin’.”

“Where did you get the rope?” asked Matt.

Billy told him he had borrowed it at Krug’s.

“We’ll leave it there,” said Matt, “on our way past the Corner.”

“You may never get to Krug’s,” answered Billy, in extreme dejection.

“Pile in, Joe,” said Matt, “and we’ll throw in the clutch and scoot.”

McGlory, it must be admitted, climbed into the runabout in a way that
proved his lack of confidence. Matt cranked up, listening with deep
satisfaction to the smooth singing of the engine, and then got into the
driver’s seat.

Billy, in the touring car, watched tremulously and waited. From his
appearance, he was plainly expecting that the white car would turn a
few cartwheels and perhaps land upside down in the middle of the road
with Matt and McGlory underneath.

But nothing of the sort happened. Car No. 1313 moved off in the
direction of Krug’s as nice as you please--moved on a hair line, with
none of the distressing wabbling which characterized its previous
performance with its owner at the wheel.

The cowboy gathered confidence. Looking behind, he waved his hat at
Billy.

“Don’t whistle till you’re out of the woods!” yelled Billy.

He shouted something else, but his words faded out in the increasing
distance.

“Speak to me concerning this!” laughed McGlory, straightening around in
his seat. “This little old chug cart is a false alarm, after all. It
seems to understand that there’s a fellow in charge who knows the ropes
up and down and across. Fine!”

“We’ll see the owner of the machine at Krug’s,” said Matt, “and get his
address.”

“But he can’t have the runabout till we’re done with it,” protested
McGlory.

“I should say not! We’ve sent Billy home, and that leaves us only this
car to take us back. Ah, there’s Krug’s! We’ll stop for a few minutes.”

Matt tried to stop, but he couldn’t. He went through all the motions
for cutting off the flow of gasoline and switching off the spark.
The clutch was out, but the engine still had the car, and the engine
wouldn’t stop.

An automobile was just coming out of the sheds. The runabout came
within an ace of a head-on collision. Fortunately the steering gear
still worked, and Matt scraped mud guards with the other car and he and
his cowboy chum bounded on along the road.

McGlory yelled frantically. “Jump!” he cried; “let the old contraption
run its blooming head off!”

But Matt wouldn’t jump, and he wouldn’t let his chum go over the flying
wheels. Dazed and bewildered, he bore down on the brake.

The speed slackened, but they were half a mile beyond Krug’s before the
car made up its mind to stop. Then McGlory tumbled out, while Matt sat
astounded, his arms folded over the steering wheel and such a look on
his face as the cowboy had never seen there before.



CHAPTER III. A DEMON IN CONTROL.


“Get out of that, pard! Get out!” McGlory was wild with apprehension,
and sprang up and down at the roadside and waved his arms. “The way
that car acts would make the hair stand up on a buffalo robe! What are
you staying there for?”

“I’m trying to guess how that happened,” said Matt.

“Then stop guessing. You can guess till you’re black in the face and
you’ll still be up in the air. Cut loose from that bubble wagon--that’s
your cue and mine.”

“There’s a reason for the car acting as it does,” declared Matt, “and
I’m going to get down to the bottom of the mystery. We might just as
well put in a little time right here. It’s not a very long run to
the Malvern Country Club, and we can waste another half hour without
missing your appointment.”

“If you took my advice,” muttered McGlory, “you wouldn’t touch that
machine with a ten-foot pole.”

There was a determined look on Matt’s face as he leaped into the road
and began an exhaustive examination. He could find nothing wrong;
nevertheless, he went over the ignition system carefully, step by
step; then he took the carburetor to pieces, ran pins through the spray
nozzle and sandpapered the float guides; and, after that, he went under
the car, broke the gasoline connections and drew wires through the
tubes.

The cowboy heaved a long breath of relief as Matt reappeared from under
the car.

“Find anything out of whack, pard?” McGlory asked.

“Not a thing,” answered the mystified Matt.

“Then you’re about ready to admit there’s a demon in control of the
car?”

“I don’t believe in demons.”

“If a car won’t stop when it ought to stop, and if it won’t go straight
when you’re steering that way, and if it backs up when everything is
set for going ahead, I’m a Piute if I don’t think there’s something
else got a hand in running it.”

Matt was silent. He was facing a proposition that was new to him,
but he was dealing with motor details with which he was perfectly
familiar. Here was an ordinary four-cycle engine, and an ordinary
float-feed carburetor; the transmission was of the common sliding-gear
variety; the fuel tank was under the seat, and the gasoline was fed
into the engine by gravity. Why was it that the different parts did not
coöperate as they should?

“Come on, Joe,” said Matt, putting on the coat which he had laid off
while at work, “we’ll go back to Krug’s and see if my tinkering has
helped any.”

“I can’t pass up the invitation, pard,” returned McGlory, “but if any
one else gave it to me, I’d say _manana_. Every minute we’re aboard
that runabout, we’re sitting on a thunderbolt that’s not more than half
tame. Here goes, anyhow.”

The cowboy climbed to his place, and Matt “turned the engine over” and
got in beside him. Then they backed until the runabout was headed the
other way, whereupon Matt changed speeds and they slid over the pike as
easily as a girl tripping to market. No. 1313 behaved like the prince
of cars. No one, from its present performance, could ever have dreamed
that it was anything but the mildest-mannered little buzz wagon that
had ever come out of the shop.

“I’m stumped,” declared McGlory. “She acts as though she had never
thought of such a thing as taking the bit in her teeth. I reckon, pard,
you must have done something that started her to working in the right
way.”

“I’ll never be able to understand how she ran for half a mile without
any gas in the cylinders or any spark to cause an explosion,” said
Matt, as he came to a stop in front of Krug’s. “Return the rope, Joe,”
he added, “and see if you can find the owner of the runabout.”

McGlory was gone for ten minutes. When he came back he reported that
the man who had cut loose from the runabout was nowhere to be found,
and that a fellow answering his description had been taken into a car
by a friend and had motored off in the direction of Hempstead.

“Then,” said Matt, “we’ll stop thinking about the owner of the car and
continue to use it just as though it belonged to us.”

They turned south from the Corner and moved away in the direction of
Hempstead at a good rate of speed. The runabout kept up its excellent
behavior, answering instantly Matt’s slightest touch on steering wheel
or levers.

“You’ve got the best of her, pard,” observed McGlory. “When you
hip-locked with her, after she ran away from Krug’s, you must have
poked a wire into something that was causing all the trouble.”

“I couldn’t have done that,” answered Matt. “Still, no matter what the
reason, the car is acting handsomely now, and we’ll let it go at that.
Read that telegram to me again, Joe.”

McGlory fished around in his pocket until he had brought up a folded
yellow sheet. Opening it out, he read as follows:

  “‘Meeting of syndicate in the matter of ”Pauper’s Dream“ Mine
  postponed from Wednesday night to Thursday night. Meet me eleven
  o’clock Thursday Malvern Country Club, near Hempstead, Long Island.
  Important.

  “‘JOSHUA GRIGGS.’”

The “Pauper’s Dream” Mine was located near Tucson, in Arizona. It was
owned by a stock company, and the cowboy had a hundred shares of the
stock. A friend of his, named Colonel Mark Antony Billings, had induced
him to invest in the “Pauper’s Dream” when it was little more than an
undeveloped claim. Development seemingly proved the claim worthless,
and McGlory had been surprised, while he and Matt were in New York, to
receive a letter stating that a rich vein had been struck, and that
the colonel was planning to sell the property at a big figure to a
syndicate of New York capitalists. Random & Griggs, brokers, in Liberty
Street, were the colonel’s New York agents, and the meeting of the
syndicate was to be held in their office.

Two bars of gold bullion from the “Pauper’s Dream” mill had been sent
by the colonel to New York, and McGlory had been requested to get the
bullion and exhibit it to the members of the syndicate at the meeting.
Matt and McGlory had had a good deal of trouble with that bullion, and
the cowboy was not intending to take it from the bank, to whose care it
had been consigned, until three o’clock in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, this telegram from Griggs was taking the boys to the Malvern
Country Club; but just why it was necessary for McGlory to talk with
Griggs was more than either of the lads could understand.

“Griggs, I reckon,” said McGlory, as he returned the telegram to his
pocket, “is one of the members of the firm of Random & Griggs.”

“That’s my guess,” returned Matt; “but, if he is, why couldn’t he talk
with you at the office in Liberty Street instead of having you come all
the way out here?”

“I’ll have to shy at that, pard. Maybe Griggs is a plutocrat, and is
accustomed to having people jump whenever he cracks the whip. Like as
not he didn’t want to go in to the office to-day and just shot that
message at us to save him the trouble of going too far for a palaver.”

“He told you all it was necessary for you to know, in the message. The
meeting was postponed from last night to to-night. What else is there
that he could want to tell you?”

“Pass again. Maybe he wants to ask about the colonel’s health, or----”

The cowboy bit off his words suddenly. Without the least warning, the
runabout had made a wild lunge toward the side of the road.

“She’s cut loose again!” yelled McGlory, hanging to the seat with both
hands.

Matt was holding the steering wheel firmly. So far as he could see,
there was not the least excuse for the car’s making that frantic plunge
toward the roadside.

Just ahead of the machine was a railroad track, and the noise of an
approaching train was loud in the boys’ ears. Matt was thinking that,
if the runabout repeated the performance it had given at Krug’s Corner,
he, and Joe, and the car, stood a grave chance of being hung up on the
pilot of a locomotive.

Before he could disengage the clutch or give a kick at the switch,
one of the forward wheels struck a bowlder. The car jumped, throwing
McGlory out on one side and Matt on the other.

As Matt fell, he caught at the two levers on the right of the driver’s
seat and clung to them desperately. Although the car was running wild,
with no hand on the steering wheel, yet it bounded away along the
centre of the road, dragging Matt along with it.

With his elbows on the footboard, and the lower half of his body
trailing in the dust, Matt endeavored again and again to get back on
the running board and regain a grip on the steering wheel.

A freight train was almost at the crossing. Unless Matt could check
the runabout in its wild flight, it would surely be demolished by the
locomotive or else hurl itself to destruction against the sides of the
swiftly moving box cars.

The situation was desperate to the last degree. Unless he could get
hold of the steering wheel and regain his seat, nothing could be done
to avert the threatening catastrophe. If he let go, and abandoned the
runabout to its fate, he was in danger of being thrown under the racing
wheels.

A demon of perversity seemed to possess the car and to be bent upon the
destruction of Matt King.

Again and again the young motorist tried to reach the steering post
with one hand and wriggled up onto the running board. Each attempt was
unsuccessful until a lurch of the car helped in executing the manœuvre.

Hanging to the wheel, Matt threw himself over the upright levers,
dropped into the driver’s seat, disengaged the clutch and jammed both
brakes home.

Even then he was in doubt as to whether he would succeed in stopping
the car. If it continued mysteriously to refuse control, there was
certain destruction for both Matt and the car against the side of the
train, the box cars of which were already flashing over the crossing.

But the car stopped--stopped within a yard of the rushing box cars!

Matt dared not throw in the reverse, fearing the machine might move
forward instead of backward, so he dropped into the road and lay there,
panting and exhausted, while the freight rolled on.



CHAPTER IV. THE MANILA ENVELOPE.


“Sufferin’ doom! I’m beginning to think Billy had a bean on the right
number, pard, when he said this car would have to kill somebody before
it settled down and acted as though it was civilized.”

Matt looked up and saw his cowboy chum. McGlory was rubbing a bruise on
the side of his face and was carrying the long manila envelope in his
hand.

“Why didn’t you let the car go to blazes?” demanded the cowboy. “What
did you want to hang on to it for? The best place for the blamed thing
is the junk pile.”

“I couldn’t let go without getting run over,” explained Matt, rising to
his feet.

“Well, you’d feel a heap more comfortable under a pneumatic tire than
you would under a train of box cars!”

McGlory’s face was white, and his voice trembled. The strain he had
been under was just beginning to tell on him.

“The owner of the runabout,” he went on, “showed his good sense when he
cut loose from it. The car’s like a broncho, Matt, and you never can
tell when its fiendishness is going to break loose. If we had a keg of
powder, I’m a Piegan if I wouldn’t scatter that sizz wagon all over
this part of Long Island.”

McGlory glared savagely at the white, innocent-looking machine.

The freight train had passed, and Matt was leaning against the car and
cudgeling his brains to think of some reason for the runabout’s acting
as it did.

“It brought us out of Krug’s Corner as nice as you please,” he mused.

“Which is just the way it took us into Krug’s Corner,” proceeded the
cowboy. “That’s the way the pesky thing works. First it lulls you into
thinking it wouldn’t side-step, or buck-jump, or do anything else that
was crooked or underhand for the world; then, when you think you’re all
right, the runabout hauls off and hands you one. That’s the meanest
kind of treachery--reaching out the glad hand only to land on you with
a bunch of fives. There’s something human about that car, Matt.”

“Inhuman, I should say,” muttered Matt. “Well, it’s too much for me.
Get in, Joe, and we’ll cross the track to those trees over there and
rest up a little before we go on to the Malvern Country Club.”

“Damaged much, pard?”

“Jolted some, that’s all.”

“Same here. I landed in the road like a thousand of brick. This is
my first experience with a crazy automobile, and you can bet your
moccasins it will be the last. I didn’t know there was such a thing.”

“There isn’t,” said Matt. “How can you put together a lot of machine
and have anything but a senseless piece of mechanism?”

“I’m by, when you pin me right down, pard, but if this car isn’t
locoed, then what’s the matter with it?”

“Something must go wrong.”

“Goes wrong and then fixes itself,” jeered the cowboy. “If you’d
look the blamed thing over this minute, you wouldn’t be able to find
anything out of order.”

Once more Matt started the car, and once more it acted like a sane
and sensible machine, carrying the boys to the shade of the trees and
stopping obediently to let them alight.

Matt flung himself down on the grass at the roadside and examined his
watch to ascertain whether it had been injured. He found the timepiece
in good condition.

“Ten-fifteen, Joe,” he observed, replacing the watch in his vest and
noticing that his chum was still carrying the manila envelope in his
hand as he sat down beside him. “What are you holding that envelope
for?” he inquired.

“I reckon I’ve gone off the jump myself, Matt,” laughed McGlory. “It
dropped out of my pocket when I fell into the road. I picked it up, but
have been too badly rattled ever since to do anything but hold it in my
hand.”

McGlory was about to put it in his pocket when Matt suggested that he
examine the contents and see if he could discover the name and address
of the man who owned the runabout.

The cowboy pulled out a couple of papers. Unfolding one of them, he
read some typewritten words and gave a gasp and turned blank eyes on
his chum.

“What’s wrong?” queried Matt.

“Listen to this,” was the answer. “‘Private Report on the Pauper’s
Dream Mine, by Hannibal J. Levitt, Mining Engineer, of New York
City.’ Wouldn’t that rattle your spurs, Matt?” cried McGlory. “The
syndicate had an expert go out to Arizona and make an examination of
the ‘Pauper’s Dream,’--you remember the colonel told me about that, in
his letter. Here’s the report! It drops into our hands by the queerest
happen-chance you ever heard of. Mister Man takes a header from a crazy
chug cart, unloads the machine onto you, and then hustles for Krug’s,
leaving the report behind. He’s not at Krug’s when we get there, so
the report is left in our hands. This couldn’t have happened once in a
million times, pard!”

Matt was rubbing his bruised shins and allowing the amazing event to
drift through his brain. It was queer, there was no mistake about it.
In fact, all the experiences of the boys that Thursday morning were on
the “queer” order.

“You say,” said Matt, “that the document is headed ‘Private Report.’
Why should it be a private report if it is for the syndicate?”

“Private for the syndicate, I reckon.”

“Hardly that, Joe. Unless there’s some skullduggery that report ought
to be public property--public enough so that it could go into a
prospectus. What’s the other paper?”

McGlory opened the other document, and found it to be a letter from
Colonel Billings, dated nearly a month previous.

“It’s a letter from the colonel, Matt,” the cowboy announced, “and
is addressed to Levitt. The colonel says he will not pay Levitt the
balance due until Levitt sends him the private report on the ‘Pauper’s
Dream’ proposition.”

“Great spark plugs!” exclaimed Matt.

“What’s strange about that?” demanded McGlory. “If Levitt made an
examination of the property he certainly expects pay for it.”

“But not from the colonel, Joe! Levitt was examining the mine for the
syndicate, and he’s not entitled to any money from the colonel unless
he’s doing shady work of some kind.”

“Speak to me about that!” muttered McGlory. “It looks as though we’d
grabbed a live wire when we got hold of this yellow envelope.”

“I don’t like the way the business stacks up,” said Matt earnestly.
“The owner of this troublesome runabout happens to be Hannibal J.
Levitt, and he’s playing an unscrupulous double game. Glance through
that report and give me the gist of it.”

Eagerly--and a little apprehensively--McGlory looked through the
private report. His face grew longer and longer as he read.

“Sufferin’ poorhouses!” he cried at last. “Levitt says, in this report,
that the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ isn’t a mine, but a pocket, and that the
pocket has been worked out. In other words, pard, my hundred shares
of stock are worth just about what they’ll bring for scrap paper.
And the colonel had me worked up till I thought I was going to be a
millionaire! Riddle: Where was Moses when the light went out?”

McGlory fell back on the grass and kicked up his heels dejectedly.

“Can’t you see through the dodge your Tucson colonel is working, Joe?”
asked Matt.

“Dodge?” echoed McGlory. “The ‘Pauper’s Dream’ is just a hole in the
ground. We can’t any of us dodge that.”

“The colonel,” went on Matt quietly, “is paying Levitt to make a false
report to the syndicate. To-night the syndicate meets and decides
whether or not it will buy the ‘Pauper’s Dream.’ Levitt’s false report
has already been submitted, I suppose, and read. You show up at the
meeting with the two bars of bullion, and a sworn statement from the
colonel that they came out of the ten-stamp mill on the ‘Dream’ during
one week’s run. That clinches the proposition. The syndicate, relying
on Levitt’s honesty, and, incidentally, on the colonel’s, pay over a
big sum for a worthless hole in the ground, and----”

The cowboy leaped erect, flushed and excited.

“And the colonel,” he cried, “divides the proceeds among the
stockholders! That gives me a big profit on my five hundred. Oh, well,
I reckon I’ve got my dipper right side up during this rain.”

McGlory chuckled. Matt stared at him as though he hardly believed what
he heard.

“Pard,” said Matt quietly, “it’s a game of out-and-out robbery.”

“That’s the syndicate’s lookout, not mine. If they want to drop half a
million into that hole in the ground, what is it to me?”

“I don’t think you mean that, Joe,” said Matt, getting up. “We’ll go on
to the Malvern Country Club and find out what Griggs has to say to you.
We’ve got plenty of time to figure the matter over before the Syndicate
meets to-night.”

Matt’s face was set and determined, and there was a smouldering light
in his gray eyes, which proved that he had nerved himself for some
duty which might be disagreeable. McGlory was wrapped in thought--so
concerned in his own affairs that he forgot Matt, forgot the
treacherous nature of the runabout, forgot everything but the “Pauper’s
Dream” and his chances for winning or losing a fortune.



CHAPTER V. THE UNEXPECTED.


The unexpected happened at least twice to the motor boys between
ten-thirty and eleven o’clock that Thursday morning. First, they
naturally expected to have trouble with the runabout, but it carried
out its work handsomely and deposited them in the Malvern Country Club
garage at precisely five minutes of eleven.

There was not much talk between the boys during the ride. McGlory
was concerned with his “Pauper’s Dream” reflections--and Matt had
reflections of his own. Besides his thoughts, which were none too
agreeable, Matt had to recall Billy’s instructions for finding the way,
and also to be on the alert for any sudden tantrum on the part of the
runabout. But the tantrum did not develop, and the boys left the garage
and made their way across the broad lawn of the clubhouse to a porch
which extended along the front of the building.

“I’d like to see Mr. Joshua Griggs,” said McGlory to a stout person
wearing side-whiskers and knee breeches. The servant looked the boys
over.

“Wot nyme?” he asked.

“Matt King and Joe McGlory--two nymes.”

“’E’s hexpecting you. This w’y, please.”

The boys were ushered through a great apartment with a beamed ceiling
and a fireplace that covered half of one end of the room, up a flight
of broad stairs, and along a wide hall. Here the servant paused by a
door and knocked. A mumble of voices, coming from the other side of the
door, ceased abruptly.

“What’s wanted?” demanded some one.

“Mr. McGlory hand friend, sir.”

“Send ’em in.”

The servant pushed open the door, drew to one side, and bowed the boys
out of the hall. Then the unexpected happened for the second time.

There were two men in the room, and the atmosphere was thick with
tobacco smoke and a reek of liquor. A box of cigars was on a table;
also a decanter and two glasses, a bowl of cracked ice, and a bottle of
“fizz” water.

A man was seated in a comfortable chair, rocking and smoking. This man
was Hannibal J. Levitt, owner of the unmanageable runabout.

The other man was tall and gaunt. He wore a black frock coat and gray
trousers, a flowing tie, and a big diamond in the front of his pleated
white shirt. His hair was a trifle long and a trifle thin on the crown.
A mustache spread widely from his upper lip; and a wisp of pointed
beard decorated his chin.

This latter individual exploded a hearty laugh as McGlory recoiled and
stared like a person in a trance.

“Howdy, son?” barked the man in the long coat, sweeping down on the
cowboy and seizing his hand. “Something of a surprise, hey? Lookin’ for
Griggs, by gad, and you find me!”

“Colonel!” gulped McGlory. “Speak to me about this! Why, I thought you
were in Tucson?”

“Made up my mind at the last minute that I’d better trek eastward and
make sure the deal for the ‘Dream’ went through.” He slapped McGlory
on the back. “A fortune, my boy, for all of us, by gad! The ‘Dream’s’
a bonanza--gold from the grass roots down. But present your friend;
present your friend.”

The colonel turned beamingly toward Matt.

“My pard, Matt King,” said McGlory. “Everybody has heard of him, I
reckon.”

“You do me proud,” bubbled the colonel, seizing Matt’s hand and pumping
his arm up and down. “A friend of McGlory’s is a friend of mine. Allow
me”--and he turned toward Levitt, only to find Levitt leaning across
the table, his jaws agape. “Well, well, well!” mumbled the colonel.
“What’s flagged you, Levitt?”

“We’ve met before,” grinned Levitt.

“How’s that?”

“These are the young fellows to whom I gave that confounded runabout.”

“A conspiracy, by gad, to keep me from meeting McGlory! How’d you
expect him to get here in a motor wagon you couldn’t run yourself?”

“I didn’t know who the lads were, colonel, or I’d have been more
considerate. But”--and here he turned to Matt--“how _did_ you do it?”

“We had plenty of trouble with the machine,” said Matt, “but we made it
bring us.”

The situation was clearing. Levitt, at the time Matt and McGlory had
met him that morning, was also on his way to the Malvern Country Club.

“Re-markable!” cooed the colonel. “But it’s a terrible land for dust,
ain’t it?” He poured something from the decanter into the glasses.
“Irrigate!” he said. “Advance by file, my young friends, and refresh
the inner man.”

“None for me, colonel,” answered Matt, whose opinion of the colonel was
dropping by swift degrees.

“That’s the way I stack up, too, colonel,” grinned McGlory.

The colonel looked horrified.

“From Arizona, Joseph,” he murmured, “and you won’t indulge?
Ex-traordinary, I must say. Smoke?” And he indicated the box of cigars.

“No, colonel,” declined Matt.

A sheepish look crossed McGlory’s face as he met the colonel’s
inquiring eye.

“I’m in line with my pard,” said he.

“Astounding!” gasped the colonel. “Both habits are
reprehensible--exceedingly so. I honor you highly, my lads,
but--ahem!--your shining example is one by which I may not profit.” He
turned to the mining engineer. “The fire-water is before us, Levitt,”
said he; “charge!”

Two hands gripped the glasses simultaneously, and a gurgling followed.
The colonel dried his lips elaborately with a large yellow handkerchief.

“The day, Joseph,” he resumed, “is not far distant when you can own a
private yacht, a racing stable, an imported car, and a lordly mansion.
I have come personally to New York to drive the business through and
clinch it. To-night we show the moneyed interests what we’ve got up our
wide and flowing sleeves. Half a million in coin, my son, will rise to
the bait like a speckled trout to the alluring fly. But be seated, be
seated; let’s all be seated.”

Matt took a chair by an open window, and McGlory dropped into another
at a little distance.

“The telegram I received, colonel,” observed the cowboy, “was signed
‘Joshua Griggs.’”

“Even so, my dear youth,” smiled the colonel, lowering himself into
a chair and lifting his feet to the top of the table. “Mr. Griggs
lives in Hempstead. I am enjoying his hospitality, and he has put me
up at this most delightful club. I arrived yesterday afternoon, and
I yearned to clasp your honest palm before we met in Liberty Street
to-night. Incidentally, I will relieve you of further responsibility in
the matter of the bullion. Being somewhat fatigued after my long and
arduous railroad journey, the Syndicate meeting was put off. To-night,
however, we shall be there; and to-night, my son, we put our fortunes
to the touch.”

The colonel was altogether too loquacious to suit Matt--too fluent and
insincere. That he was entirely capable of engineering a huge swindle
Matt felt sure. And Matt regretted to note that the colonel exerted a
powerful influence over McGlory.

“Is this deal for the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ on the level, colonel?” inquired
the cowboy.

A lighted bomb, suddenly dropped in front of the colonel and Levitt,
would not have caused more consternation. The colonel’s feet fell from
the table with a bang, and the mining engineer once more threw himself
half-way across the table top.

There followed a period of silence. The colonel, after an odd look at
Levitt, was first to speak.

“McGlory,” said he, “you are my friend, and I would take a good deal
from a friend. Has my integrity ever been questioned? Have you any
reason to believe that this mining deal is not on the level?”

“Shucks!” deprecated McGlory. “Is the syndicate anxious to buy a pocket
that’s been worked out? Have they got so much money, these Syndicate
fellows, that they want to drop some of it into a mine that’s a ‘dream’
in more senses of the word than one?”

This was another bomb. Levitt went white, and breathed hard. Colonel
Billings drew a deep breath, studied McGlory’s face, and then looked at
the ceiling. Then once more he was first to speak.

“My son,” said he, “you talk like a buck ’Pache with more tizwin aboard
than is good for him. And yet you must be in your sober senses. What
are your grounds for expressing yourself in that--er--preposterous
manner? I wait to learn!”

“Well,” answered the cowboy, “when Levitt took his header from that
runabout of his, on the Jericho Pike, a long yellow envelope dropped
from his pocket----”

“I breathe again!” interjected the colonel. “You found it, McGlory?”

“That’s the size of it.”

“And you read the contents of that yellow envelope?”

“Matt and I wanted to find out the name of the man who owned the
runabout. That’s how we happened to read the ‘private report.’ It
wasn’t good reading, colonel.”

“It was for private perusal by the inner circle, my son,” said the
colonel. “Levitt and I were vastly worried over the loss of that
report. I will trouble you for it, my boy.”

The colonel reached out his hand. McGlory took the envelope from his
pocket, and was about to pass it over when Matt reached forward and
caught it from his fingers.

“I beg your pardon,” said Matt, “but I was the one who found this
envelope. I gave it to Joe when I threw off my coat, east of Krug’s
Corner, to tinker with the runabout. I am going to take care of it.”

All four were on their feet--Matt determined, McGlory puzzled and
bewildered, the colonel wrathful, and Levitt with a dangerous gleam in
his eyes.



CHAPTER VI. A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION.


“Well, by gad!” exclaimed the colonel, realizing suddenly what sort of
a lad he had to deal with in Matt King.

“What’s that for, pard?” inquired McGlory.

“It don’t belong to you, or to McGlory, or to any one but me!” said
Levitt. “If you try to keep that document, King, you’re nothing more
nor less than a thief.”

The red ran into Matt’s face.

“Softly, softly,” breathed the colonel. “This talk of thieves, Levitt,
is a little premature. Matt King is a friend of McGlory’s, and he could
not be that if there was any yellow streak in his nature. No, by gad!
We are all gentlemen here. King, sir, if that manila envelope contains
papers belonging to our mutual friend, Levitt, you will return them to
him, will you not?”

“After a while,” said Matt; “not immediately.”

The colonel seemed thunderstruck.

“You hear?” muttered Levitt, between his teeth. “He’s trying to play
double with us, Billings! Those papers mean a whole lot to me, and I’m
going to have them!”

The colonel’s mood underwent a change. Attempts at conciliation having
failed, there now remained nothing but vigorous action. His first move
was to pass rapidly to the door, turn a key in the lock, and drop the
key into his pocket. Then he once more approached Matt.

“May I inquire, young man,” he bristled, “what you mean by this most
remarkable conduct?”

“I’m trying to protect Joe and myself,” Matt answered.

“Protect? Protect yourself and Joe against what, in Heaven’s name?”

“Against being drawn into a criminal act by you and Levitt, and being
compelled to take the consequences.”

“He talks like a fool!” snapped the mining engineer.

“He is misinformed, that’s all,” said the colonel.

“I’m not misinformed,” went on Matt sturdily. “These New York
capitalists hired Levitt to go to Arizona and investigate the ‘Pauper’s
Dream.’ He made two reports, one private and the other for the members
of the Syndicate. One says the mine is no good, and the other, of
course, gives it a glittering recommendation.”

“How do you know,” asked Levitt, his voice shaking with anger, “that
the Syndicate’s report is different from the other?”

“Because Colonel Billings is paying you for making it,” replied Matt.
“Would the colonel give you good money for handing that private report
over to the Syndicate? Hardly. Colonel Billings is here to sell the
mine.”

“How do you know Billings is paying me anything?”

“He has already paid you a little, and you came out here this morning
to receive the rest of it. If that crazy runabout of yours hadn’t
interfered, you’d have been able to turn the private report over to the
colonel, and no one would ever have been the wiser.”

“How do you know all this?” Levitt’s voice was husky.

“There was a letter from the colonel in the envelope along with the
report.”

“By gad!” Billings whirled on the mining engineer. “You don’t mean to
say, Levitt,” he asked, “that you had so little sense as to keep that
letter of mine?”

“Why shouldn’t I keep it? It was the only thing in the way of an
agreement that I had with you.”

“Then”--and the colonel tossed his hands--“that lets in the search
light on the two of us.”

“And we’ve caught a tartar in this meddling young whelp,” ground out
Levitt, waving his hand toward Matt.

“He’s an intelligent youth, Levitt,” declared the colonel, “and
amenable to reason. Let me talk with him. My dear young man,” said the
colonel to Matt, “assuming that what you say about the report is true,
in what way are you legally liable through association with Levitt and
myself?”

“You’re trying to swindle a company of New York capitalists,” answered
Matt, “and Joe and I, not knowing the deal was crooked, have already
been dragged into it. If we allowed the plot to go on we would be
equally guilty with you and Levitt, and we could be arrested and sent
to prison.”

A tolerant smile crossed the colonel’s face.

“Suppose I assure you that there is not the remotest possibility of
any of us going to prison,” said he; “will you give up that report and
letter?”

Matt hesitated, not because his determination was wavering, but because
he wanted to put his thoughts in the right words.

“It means a fortune to McGlory,” urged the colonel; “and what kind of a
fellow are you to euchre a friend out of a fortune?”

“It’s not an honest fortune,” declared Matt, “and Joe can’t afford to
accept it. Besides, what good would it do him if he found himself in
the penitentiary for obtaining money under false pretenses?”

The colonel was beginning to lose patience.

“You’ve got less sense than any cub of your years I ever met up with!”
he cried irritably. “How much money do you want for that report and
letter? That’s your play, I reckon; and I’d rather shell out a hundred
or two than have any trouble with you. How much do I bleed?”

The colonel measured Matt with wrathful and inquiring eyes.

“You haven’t money enough to buy me!” declared Matt.

“Aw, cut it short!” broke in Levitt savagely. “What’s the use of
fooling with him any longer?

“Wait!” cautioned the colonel. “McGlory,” he went on, to the cowboy,
“what do you mean by lugging such a two-faced longhorn into a private
and important council like this?”

“You’re wide of your trail, colonel,” said McGlory, with spirit.
“There’s nothing two-faced about Matt King, and you can spread your
blankets and go to sleep on that. He’s the clear quill from spurs to
sombrero, and the best pard that ever rode sign with me. Don’t you make
any mistake in taking his sizing.”

“Well, what is he trying to rope down and tie your bright prospects
for?”

“He’s got more sense in a minute than I have in a year, and you can bet
your boot straps he knows what he’s doing--even if I don’t.”

“You’re far wide of your trail, Joseph. Matt King is committing an
illegal act this minute. He has property belonging to Levitt and
refuses to give it up. He could be jailed for a thief. But we’re not
going to jail him. We’ll just take that report and letter from him.”

“Then you’ll have to walk over me to do it, colonel!” asserted McGlory.

“By gad!” muttered the colonel. “You’ve got as little sense as he has.”

“Brainwork never was my long suit, but I’ve seen enough of Pard Matt to
feel safe in banking on any notion that he bats up to me.”

“Bah!” gibed the colonel. “I’ll talk with you later, McGlory, and take
pains to show you the error of your way. As for Matt King, he’s a false
friend. He’s jealous because you’re about to come into a fortune, and
he’s doing all he can to shift the cut and leave you stranded.”

“That’s not true!” said Matt. “Joe knows me better than that.”

“Sure I do, pard. Come on, and let’s get out of here.”

The actions of the two men were threatening. McGlory started toward the
door; but happened to remember that it was locked, and that the colonel
had the key in his pocket.

“Cough up the key, colonel,” said the cowboy. “Don’t force me to yell
and have up that fellow with the knee pants and the lilocks.”

“It will be better for you youngsters,” growled the colonel, “if you
don’t raise a commotion. The surest way to see the inside of a lockup
is by calling for help. Are you going to hand over those papers?” And
he turned to Matt. “Last call.”

“I’ll return them,” said Matt, “but not till after that meeting
to-night.”

He slipped the manila envelope into the breast of his coat. Having
planned what he considered was the best move, the young motorist was
never more resolute in seeking to carry it out. Even though he was
retaining Levitt’s property, yet right and justice upheld him in doing
so.

“By Jupiter,” murmured Levitt, his eyes flaming, “he’s intending to
take that private report to the Syndicate meeting to-night! If he
does----” He gulped on his words, finishing with a significant glance
at Billings.

Matt was wondering how he and McGlory could get out of the room
without making too much of a scene. He understood very well that the
colonel could inaugurate a pursuit, in case he and his chum succeeded
in getting away with the envelope and its contents, and that, for a
time at least, any story the colonel and Levitt chose to tell would be
accepted. Temporary advantage was all on the side of the colonel and
the mining engineer.

“He won’t show that paper at the meeting, Levitt,” gritted the colonel,
now thoroughly aroused. “We’re done fooling with him.”

He stepped toward Matt from one side, while Levitt advanced from the
other. The cowboy tried to push closer to his chum, but the colonel
held him back. One of the colonel’s hands went groping in the direction
of a hip pocket. Matt guessed what the hand was after.

“The window, Joe!” he called.

Simultaneously with the words, the king of the motor boys whirled,
pushed through the window, lowered himself swiftly from the sill, and
dropped.

The colonel grabbed at the hands on the sill, but they pulled out from
under his gripping fingers; then, looking downward, he saw the lithe,
agile form of Matt King lift itself from a flower bed and fade from
sight around a corner of the building.

Two young fellows with golf sticks were crossing the lawn and had
witnessed Matt’s drop from the window. Naturally they were surprised at
the peculiar proceeding and stood looking up at the colonel.

“Catch him!” bawled the colonel; “he’s a thief!”

That was enough. The two members of the Country Club darted away after
Matt.

McGlory was making preparations to drop from the other window, but the
colonel grabbed him at the critical moment and forced him into a chair.

“Off with you, Levitt!” the colonel called. “You can catch that young
cub! And when you do overhaul him get the report and the letter at any
cost.”

As he finished the colonel flung the door key toward the engineer.
The latter let himself out of the room and bounded excitedly down the
stairs.



CHAPTER VII. AN OLD FRIEND.


Matt hoped that McGlory would be able to follow him; but, if the cowboy
found this to be impossible, then Matt would do his best to prevent
the report from falling into the hands of the colonel and Levitt. That
report was the one thing of vital importance. On it alone hinged the
success or failure of the colonel’s gigantic swindling operations. Matt
must escape capture at any cost, in order to retain possession of the
report.

The course of his flight carried him toward the rear of the Country
Club grounds. He heard the colonel’s shout to the young men just
in from the golf links, and he knew there would be a pursuit. Of
course Matt could explain the situation and perhaps escape legal
complications, but if caught he would be compelled to give up the
report.

He darted across a tennis court, leaped the net, dodged behind a clump
of lilac bushes, and ran toward the edge of a grove that bordered the
Country Club grounds on that side. Between the lilacs and the grove was
a rustic pavilion. A flower bed was near the pavilion, and an old negro
was kneeling beside the bed, his back toward Matt, and industriously
pulling weeds. Matt had not much time to give to the negro, but hoped
that he was giving his whole attention to his work. As he came around
the pavilion Matt heard sounds which indicated that more pursuers
were after him--these coming from the direction of the garage and the
stables.

To reach the timber without being seen seemed hopeless, and Matt looked
hurriedly around for some place in which he could secrete himself.

The floor of the pavilion was elevated some two feet or more above the
surface of the ground. The opening between the floor and the ground
was filled in with panels of close latticework. One of the panels was
broken, and Matt dropped to his knees and crawled through it.

This was not as secure a hiding place as he would have selected, if he
could have had his choice, but his emergency was such that he had no
time to look farther.

Lying flat on the ground, so that his form would not be visible to his
pursuers, Matt watched and waited.

The two young men with the golf sticks broke into view around the lilac
bushes. They were closely followed by three others, employees of the
club, evidently, for they wore overclothes. Matt recognized one of them
as having been in the garage when he and McGlory left the runabout
there.

The old negro had lifted himself to his feet and was facing the five
pursuers. Freedom or capture for Matt depended upon what the old negro
knew. Scarcely breathing, the king of the motor boys listened for what
was to come.

“Say, uncle,” panted one of the young men from the links, “did you see
a fellow running this way?”

“Ah did, suh,” replied the negro. “Ah was as close tuh him as whut me
an’ yo’ is, boss.”

Levitt at that instant rushed around the bushes. He was in time to hear
the negro’s answer to the question.

“Which way did he go?” Levitt demanded. “He’s a thief, and we’ve got
to capture him and recover some stolen property. Which way did he run?
Quick!”

The old darky turned and deliberately pointed away from the pavilion
and to a point in the encompassing timber which led toward the road,
well to the north of the clubhouse.

“Dat’s de way he went, boss,” said he, “an’, by golly, he went jess
a-hummin’.”

“This way, men!” shouted Levitt, leaping off in the direction indicated
by the negro.

The six pursuers disappeared at a run, and left Matt gasping with
astonishment. Why had the old darky put them on the wrong track? It was
preposterous to think that the negro had himself been deceived.

While Matt was turning the matter over in his mind, and puzzling his
brain with it, the negro began to whistle softly and to limp in the
direction of the pavilion. On reaching the broken panel of latticework,
he leaned against the railing of the pavilion.

“How yo’ lak dat, Marse Matt?” he chuckled. “Didn’t Ah done send um on
de wrong track, huh? En yo’ all thought Ah wasn’t lookin’ at yo’, en
dat Ah didn’t know who yo’ was! Har, har, har!”

The darky laughed softly as he finished talking.

Matt’s wonderment continued to grow.

“Great spark plugs!” he muttered, recognizing an old acquaintance. “Is
it--can it be--Uncle Tom?”

“Dat’s who Ah is, marse! Hit’s been a right sma’t of er while since
Ah had de pleasuah ob seein’ yo’. De las’ time we was togedder was in
Denvah. ’Membah all dem excitin’ times we had in Arizony, dat time dat
Topsy gal en me was wif dat Uncle Tom’s Cabin comp’ny? Golly, I ain’t
nevah gwineter fo’git dat! Who’s been doin’ yo’ mascottin’ lately, huh?
’Pears lak no one had, f’om de ha’d luck yo’ is in.”

Matt recalled Uncle Tom very vividly. The aged negro had belonged to
a stranded company of players, and Matt had helped them out of their
difficulties. But that had happened in the Southwest, and here was
Uncle Tom about as far East as he could get. The world is not so large,
after all, and many strange and unexpected meetings occur.

“I’m more surprised than I can tell, Uncle Tom,” said Matt, “to run
across you, here on Long Island, and at a time when I certainly needed
a friend. It may be that you can help me even more, but----”

“Ah’s pinin’ tuh do all dat Ah can fo’ yo’, Marse Matt,” interposed the
darky earnestly.

“But,” went on Matt, “this is hardly a safe place for me. If the coast
is clear I guess I’d better crawl out and get into the woods.”

“Yo’s right erbout dat, marse. Ah’s so plumb tickled tuh see yo’ dat I
come mighty nigh fo’gittin’ yo’s bein’ hunted fo’. Wait twell Ah take
er look erroun’.”

Uncle Tom stepped away from the pavilion and swept a keen glance over
the grounds in that vicinity.

“De coast am cleah, Marse Matt,” he announced, returning to the side of
the pavilion. “Yo come out an’ hike fo’ de woods, en Ah’ll foller yuh.
Den we can talk a li’l, en you can tell me whut mo’ de ole man can do.”

Matt pushed through the broken lattice and gained the timber line at a
point opposite the place where his pursuers had vanished. Here, for a
time, he was safe, and he sank down behind a mask of brush. Uncle Tom
was not long in reaching his side.

“Golly,” he beamed, looking Matt over, “but hit’s good fo’ sore eyes
jess tuh see yo’, marse. Ah nevah expected nuffin’ lak dis. Mouty
peculiah how folks meets up wif one anotheh sometimes, dat-er-way.”

“How did you happen to wander in this direction, Uncle Tom?” Matt asked.

“Mascottin’,” answered the old man gravely. “Ah be’n mascottin’ fo’
er prize fighteh. Terry, de Cricket, is whut he called himse’f, en Ah
won a fight fo’ him in Denvah, en another in Kansas City; but in New
Yawk Terry, de Cricket, done ’spected me tuh do all de wo’k, en he went
down wif er chirp, en dey counted ten on him. Ah couldn’t help dat,
but Terry he ’low Ah was losin’ mah mascottin’ ability, en he turned
me loose. Topsy done got er job in er house in Hempstead, en Ah picked
up dis place at de Country Club. But Ah doan’ like hit, marse. Ah’s er
ole man, en hit’s backachin’ wo’k. Yo’ needs er mascot bad, en now’s de
time tuh take me on.”

Uncle Tom was a humorous old rascal, and professed to believe that he
possessed mystical powers as a luck bringer. He declared that he had
helped Matt, and Matt humored him by letting him think so, giving him a
few dollars now and then to help him keep body and soul together.

“I’m not in shape just now, Uncle Tom,” said Matt, “to hire a private
mascot of your abilities. You see, I’m mixed up in a bit of trouble
that I’ve got to work through alone.”

“Bymby, Marse Matt, mebby yo’ all can make er place fo’ Uncle Tom?”
pleaded the negro. “Jess remembah whut Ah’s done fo’ yo’ in de past.
Ah nevah mascotted fo’ anybody dat Ah liked so well as yo’se’f. Dat’s
right. Has yo’ got a dollah yo’ can let go of wifout material damage to
yo’ own welfare?”

Matt extracted a five-dollar bill from his pocket and pushed it into
the negro’s yellow palm. Uncle Tom’s gratitude was so intense it was
almost morbid.

“Yo’s de fines’ fellah dat evah was,” he declared, grabbing Matt’s hand
and hanging to it. “Dat’s de trufe. Ah’d raddah wo’k fo’ you fo’ nuffin
dan fo’ some odders fo’ er millyun dollahs er day. Dat’s right. Yo’s de
same ole Marse Matt, en yo’----”

“I haven’t much time to talk, Uncle Tom,” interrupted Matt. “When I
left the clubhouse I had to drop from a second-story window. I made
it all right, but I left a friend behind. My friend’s name is Joe
McGlory. Do you think you could get word to him?”

“Shuah Ah can!” replied the old negro promptly. “What kin’ ob a lookin’
fellah is dat ’ar Joe McGlory?”

Matt described his chum’s appearance, and the darky listened closely.

“Find out,” Matt finished, “whether McGlory is still upstairs in the
clubhouse. If he is I don’t suppose you can communicate with him, for
you will have to do it privately. Providing you can get word to him,
tell him to meet me in the grove at the roadside, a quarter of a mile
north of the clubhouse. Got that?”

“Yas, I done got dat, marse.”

“If you can’t get word to McGlory inside of an hour, then you come and
tell me, will you?”

“Yo’ knows, Marse Matt, yo’ can count on Uncle Tom. Ah’ll do whut yo’
say, en Ah’ll wo’k mah ole haid off mascottin’ fo’ yo’ while Ah’m doin’
it.”

The old darky slipped away through the edge of the timber, and Matt,
none too sanguine, proceeded to lay a course for the spot where he
hoped to be joined by his cowboy chum.



CHAPTER VIII. THE COLONEL TRIES PERSUASION.


For a few moments McGlory struggled in the grasp of Colonel Billings.
He was excited, and angry over the way Matt had been treated, and
he would not have hesitated to do the colonel an injury if he could
thereby have escaped from the room and followed his pard.

“Quiet!” ordered the colonel sternly. “You don’t understand this thing,
McGlory, or you wouldn’t be fighting to escape from me. I’m the best
friend you ever had, if you only knew it.”

“Nary, you ain’t!” panted the cowboy. “My best friend just risked his
neck dropping out of the window. You’re trying to get me into trouble,
and Pard Matt is trying to keep me out. Take your hands off me,
colonel!”

“I will, Joe, just as soon as you promise to sit still and hear what I
have to say.”

McGlory reflected that it was too late to follow Matt, who was probably
doing his best to evade Levitt and the others who were hot on his
trail. The cowboy reasoned that he could find his chum later, and that
there could be no harm in listening to what the colonel had to say.

“Go on,” said he curtly.

“You’ll stay right where you are until I’m done?” asked the colonel.

“Yes.”

Billings drew back, dropped into a chair, and laid a friendly hand on
the cowboy’s knee. His voice changed, sounding the depths of friendly
interest and personal regard.

“Joe,” he remarked, “ever since your father took the One-way Trail
I’ve sort of felt that I was responsible for your welfare. I knew your
father mighty well--better than any one else in Tucson, I reckon--and
him and me was bosom friends.”

McGlory had no personal knowledge on this point, but he was willing to
take the colonel’s word for it.

“If I can do anything for Joe,” the colonel went on, “I says to myself
that I won’t leave a stone unturned to do it. When the ‘Pauper’s Dream’
proposition came under my management I knew I had the chance I wanted
to turn your way. I sold you a hundred shares of the stock at five
dollars a share, and we went on to develop the claim.”

“And there wasn’t any more gold in the shaft,” spoke up the cowboy
dryly, “than there was in a New England well.”

“That’s what everybody thought,” returned the colonel, “but I knew
better.”

He got up, went to the table, and helped himself to a drink from the
decanter.

“Better have a nip, son, eh?” he asked, as by an afterthought, before
leaving the table.

“Not for me,” replied McGlory stoutly. “Pard Matt don’t believe in that
sort of thing, and I get along better when I make his notions my own.
I’ve found that out more than once.”

The colonel sighed resignedly, but did not press the point. Returning
to his chair, he continued his persuasions.

“I knew when I sold you that stock that there was a reef of rich gold
ore under the ‘Pauper’s Dream.’ I didn’t want it found until the right
minute. Those who had bought stock in the claim got scared. Some of
them sold their stock back to me for a song. When I’d got enough of the
stock to give me a controlling interest _I found the gold vein_.”

“That was a double play,” said McGlory bluntly. “There wasn’t anything
fair about that, colonel.”

“It was all fair. Some of the stockholders were trying to freeze me
out. By letting them think there wasn’t any gold in the ‘Dream’ I
turned the tables and froze _them_ out. It was simply a game of diamond
cut diamond--and I was a little too sharp for my enemies. That was all
right, wasn’t it?”

McGlory thought the colonel had a fair excuse for acting as he had done.

“When we laid open that gold vein,” pursued the colonel, “buyers
flocked around the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ like crows around a cornfield. They
wanted to buy. I saw a chance to deal with this New York syndicate for
big money, so I had the syndicate send out an expert to examine our
property. Levitt came. I asked him to make out a true report for the
syndicate and a private, false report for--other uses.”

McGlory opened his eyes.

“I see I’ve got you guessing,” laughed the colonel gently. “This is
how that private report came to be made out--that private report
on which your misguided friend has built such a fabric of unjust
suspicions. The men I had frozen out of the company began to threaten
legal proceedings. The proceedings wouldn’t have amounted to that”--and
the colonel snapped his fingers--“for those fellows hadn’t a leg
to stand on; but do you know what they could have done? Why, they’d
have tied up the mine for a year or two and prevented the sale to the
syndicate. In order to get around that I hired Levitt to make out that
fake report, and leave it where those soreheads could see it. Now
my hands are free. The sale can be made to the syndicate, and we’ll
all win a fortune--providing your misguided friend doesn’t take that
cock-and-bull story of his to the meeting to-night.“

“Couldn’t you explain the matter to the syndicate, colonel, just as you
have to me?” asked the cowboy.

“I could, yes; but they’d shy off. A little thing like that sometimes
knocks a big deal galley-west. It’s best not to let any intimation of
that fake report reach the ears of the syndicate until we have the
syndicate’s money safely in our clothes. Young King means well--I’ll
give him credit for that--but he’s shy a couple of chips this hand, and
if he butts in we’re going to be left out in the cold. That’s all there
is to it.”

“Why didn’t you explain this to Matt?”

“The explanation is for our own stockholders, and not for outsiders.
A word, a whisper might leak through and reach the fellows who could
block the deal. We mustn’t allow that. My boy, my boy”--and here the
colonel became very gentle, very fatherly--“I’m doing the best I can
for you. I’m trying to hand you a fortune, and you’ve got to help
me--in spite of Pard Matt. It’s your duty to help me. You’ll never have
such a chance to pick out a brownstone front on Easy Street, and you
mustn’t let the opportunity slip through your fingers.”

To say that Joe McGlory was not influenced by the colonel’s words would
be to say that he was not human. The cowboy wanted money, not for its
own sake, but for the great things he felt he could do with it. Not
the least of the cowboy’s desires was to help Matt in some of his
far-reaching aims in the motor field. He accepted Billings’ story, and
he reached out and gripped his hand heartily.

“I’m with you, chaps, taps, and latigoes!” he exclaimed. “But say,
can’t I tell Pard Matt? If he knew----”

But the colonel was afraid of “Pard Matt.” The king of the motor boys
had a brain altogether too keen.

“Not a word, not a syllable,” adjured Billings. “All that I have said,
Joe, you must keep under your hat--until after the meeting to-night and
until after the ‘Dream’ is sold. You must buckle in and help me and let
Matt think what he will. Afterward, when the money is divided, you can
show Pard Matt where he was wrong, and he’ll be glad to think that he
did not interfere with us in our work.”

“But he’s going to interfere,” murmured McGlory. “Whenever Matt King
sets out to do a thing he does it. That’s his style. He’s got the fake
report, and he’ll use it at the meeting to-night--thinking he’s doing
me a good turn.”

“I believe that Levitt will catch him,” asserted the colonel.

“You don’t know my pard as well as I do,” returned the cowboy
dejectedly. “I wonder if I couldn’t----” McGlory paused.

“Couldn’t what?” urged the colonel.

“Never mind now. I’m going out and see if I can’t do something.”

Billings stared steadily at the lad for a moment.

“All right,” said he, “go and do what you can. Remember I have
confidence in you, and you’re not to breathe a word regarding what
we have talked about. I shall have to get to New York before three
o’clock. The bank closes then, and I’ve got to get that bullion. I’ll
have to start in a fast car by one. Come back and report to me before I
leave.”

“I’ll do it,” replied the cowboy, hurrying out of the room.

The colonel chuckled, threw himself back in a chair, and lighted a
cigar.

“Easy, easy, easy!” he muttered. “I can wrap McGlory around my fingers
and not half try. Now, if King is captured, and if I can be sure he
won’t meddle with me to-night, everything will be serene.”

The resourceful colonel accepted his worries calmly. He had too much
dignity to take part in a foot race, so he remained in a comfortable
chair by the window and waited for news.

McGlory was back in ten minutes. His face was glowing.

“Matt King dodged Levitt and all the rest who were trailing him,” he
reported.

“What!” The colonel arose excitedly from his seat.

“Don’t fret, colonel,” grinned the cowboy, “it’s not so bad as that.
An old darky who works around the club grounds helped Matt make his
getaway. Matt asked him to tell me to meet him in the woods at the
roadside, a quarter of a mile north. That’s where I’m going now. You’ll
hear from me before one o’clock, colonel.”

“What are you going to do?” rapped out the colonel.

“Something that will make the deal a sure go. I haven’t time to talk
much. _Adios_, for now.”

McGlory was away again like a shot, leaving the colonel wondering--and
fretting a little.

A few minutes later Levitt came gloomily into the room.

“That young cub gave us the slip,” said he savagely, “and I never had
such a run in my life. The fat’s in the fire, Billings.”

“Not so, my friend,” returned the colonel, his quick wit grasping
something that looked like an opportunity. “Can you get hold of a man
who will help you? Are you acquainted with any one about the club
grounds who can be trusted to do a little brisk work and then keep
quiet about it?”

“Well, yes. The man in the garage is known to me, and he’s out for
anything that’s got a dollar in it. But what of it?”

The colonel’s plan was based on the information just communicated to
him by McGlory. He went into the matter swiftly, but exhaustively, and
when he had done the gloom had vanished from Levitt’s face.

“It will work, it will work,” murmured the mining engineer, rubbing his
hands.

“Then go and work it,” said the colonel briskly.



CHAPTER IX. WHAT AILS M’GLORY?


Matt King, in a clump of bushes a quarter of a mile north of the
Malvern Country Club, watched the road and waited for his chum. He had
not much hope that McGlory would join him, for he believed that the
cowboy would be held a prisoner by the colonel.

What Matt was doing, in this particular matter, was all for his friend.
McGlory had become entangled with a gang of confidence men, who were
playing boldly for big stakes. Whether the dishonest game won out or
failed, Joe McGlory must have nothing to do with it. If he profited
by the crime he would be called on to suffer at the hands of the law;
and, even if the law never reached him, his conscience would make
him miserable all his life for the part he had played in such a huge
swindling scheme.

Matt, at any cost to himself, meant to keep McGlory clear of Billings
and his criminal work. What is a friend for if not to stand shoulder to
shoulder with a chum and save his good name? This touched upon one of
Matt’s principles--one of his rules of conduct long ago formulated and
steadily adhered to. And it was a code which had played a big part in
his many successes.

Minute after minute slipped away, and then Matt’s heart bounded as he
heard a crunch of footsteps around a turn in the wooded road. It might
be Uncle Tom who was coming, however, with a report of his failure to
deliver the message to McGlory. Peering through the bushes, hoping
against hope, Matt’s fears suddenly subsided and an expression of
thankfulness escaped his lips.

McGlory was coming!

Matt gave a low whistle. The cowboy answered it, and was soon at his
friend’s side, gripping his hands.

“Bully for you, old chap!” exclaimed McGlory. “I’d like to see the gang
that could lay _you_ by the heels when you make up your mind to get
away.”

“You saw Uncle Tom, then?”

“Sure, or I shouldn’t be here. Old Ebony-face thinks you’re about
the whole works, from the way he talks. A lot of queer things have
happened to-day, but the queerest is your meeting Uncle Tom in this
out-of-the-way corner of Long Island.”

“Wrong, Joe. The queerest--and the best--thing that’s happened is the
way we picked up that private report of Levitt’s. We have to thank the
crazy runabout for that.”

McGlory, although of a different opinion on that point since listening
to the colonel’s persuasions, did not allow Matt to think that he
disagreed with him.

“How did you make it?” the cowboy asked. “Uncle Tom didn’t tell me
much about that. Principally he worked his bazoo letting me know what
a great mascot he was, and how he used to pull luck your way down in
Arizona.”

Matt, briefly as he could, told about the pavilion in the rear of the
club grounds, and how Uncle Tom had sent his pursuers on the wrong
track.

McGlory laughed delightedly. He was playing a part with an important
point in view, and it was necessary to pull the wool over Matt’s eyes.
A despicable part it was, for one who had benefited at Matt’s hands
as had McGlory; but the cowboy was filled with the colonel’s specious
arguments and crafty explanations, and believed that, when the dust of
the affair had settled, and Matt knew everything, he would thank his
cowboy chum for preventing him from making a big mistake.

“The colonel is a schemer, Joe,” declared Matt.

“You bet your spurs he is,” chuckled McGlory. “That’s the way they
raise ’em out in Tucson. The only way to keep a fellow from getting
ahead of you is to get ahead of him first.”

Matt did not approve of these sentiments, nor of the hearty admiration
the cowboy seemed to have for them.

“Billings is scheming the best he knows how,” went on Matt, “to get
himself into trouble, Joe, and he’s figuring to drag you into it.”

“But you’re figuring the other way,” answered McGlory, “and I’ll back
your headwork against the colonel’s any old time. What are you planning
to do now?”

“I’ll have to know, first, what the situation is at the clubhouse as
regards yourself. How is that you happen to be at large?”

“Well, pard, the colonel couldn’t do anything with me, so he let me go.
You’ve got the report, you know.”

The cowboy was weaving a tangled web. The farther he went in his
deceptions the more he was obliged to misstate the facts.

“You can go and come around the clubhouse,” continued Matt, “without
being in any danger from the colonel and Levitt?”

“That’s the way of it.”

“Then our next move is to get back to Manhattan. And, of course, we’ll
have to use the runabout.”

“Why, Matt, we may run off the other end of Long Island if we try to
use that chug cart!”

“We’ve got to use it, just the same, and you’re the one to get it from
the garage. The quicker we start on the return trip the better.”

“You’re going to be at that meeting to-night?”

“We’re both going to be there. You’re to offer the private report in
evidence, and tell all about our adventures this morning. I guess that
will spike the colonel’s gun and block his little game of wholesale
robbery.”

“Then my fortune will go glimmering,” said Joe, but not with much
concern.

“Better to let a questionable fortune go glimmering, pard,” answered
Matt earnestly, “than to do a dishonest thing that would bother you
all your life. And perhaps,” he added solemnly, “it might get you into
jail.”

“Wow!” shivered the cowboy, feigning trepidation. “That’s an elegant
prospect--I don’t think.”

“What’s more,” went on Matt, driving his suspicions home, “the
colonel’s such a schemer that I doubt whether, if he should swindle the
syndicate out of a lot of money, he ever turned over a penny of it to
you or to any of the other original stockholders.”

This caused the cowboy an inward tremor. But he allowed the fear to
pass. Colonel Billings was his father’s friend--he had said so himself;
and the colonel felt a responsibility for his welfare--which is also
what the colonel had said himself. In the light of the colonel’s
persuasions the cowboy was taking his word in everything.

“Well,” remarked the cowboy, “the colonel is up against the real thing
now. He’s due for such a slam as he never had before. We’re the boys to
do it; eh, Matt?”

“We’ll make a stand for the right,” said Matt, “and work shoulder to
shoulder to win out. The colonel talks about a fortune. You and I can
make plenty of money, Joe. I think we have proved that. The motors are
mighty good friends to tie to, whether they’re hitched to submarines,
automobiles, or aëroplanes. We’ll pin our faith to the explosive
engine, and one of these days it will land us honestly in Easy Street.”

The colonel, McGlory remembered, had mentioned “Easy Street.” But
not as Matt had done it. The longer the cowboy talked with his chum
the more he hated himself for the part he was playing. If he talked
with Matt too long McGlory was sure his purpose would slip from him,
and that he would let out everything about the inner history of the
colonel’s manipulations of the “Pauper’s Dream.”

“I’d like to look inside that manila envelope once more, pard,” said
McGlory. “There’s a part of that private report I didn’t sabe, and I’d
like to read it over again.”

Matt King promptly drew the envelope from his pocket and passed it to
his chum.

“It’s evidence of the rascality of two men, Joe,” remarked Matt,
“and----”

McGlory sprang up quickly and stepped out into the road. He paused
there, flashing his eyes up and down. Apparently he was looking for
somebody or something, but really he was fighting with himself. He
had reached the point where he must play up his scheme for all it was
worth, or else turn his back on Billings and a fortune.

The cowboy felt sure he was about to do the right thing, but to put
himself in a wrong light with his beloved pard for only a few days was
proving a harder task than he had reckoned on. Abruptly he clinched his
resolve. Slipping the manila envelope into his pocket, he turned to
look at the apprehensive face of Matt among the bushes.

“What is it, Joe?” queried Matt. “Some one coming?”

“Some one going,” replied the cowboy, “and it’s me. You don’t
understand this, pard. Don’t think too hard of me until you know
everything.”

Thereupon McGlory whirled and took to his heels, racing in the
direction of the clubhouse.

Matt was so amazed he could not move or speak. What ailed McGlory? What
did he mean?

“Joe!” he shouted, starting up from the bushes.

But the cowboy was already around the turn in the road and lost to
Matt’s astounded eyes.

While Matt King stood there, his mind nearly a blank, staring down the
road and wondering, a sharp voice came from behind him.

“Quick on it, Kelly! Now’s your chance!”

It was Levitt’s voice. Matt turned, only to be confronted by the burly
individual from the club garage. In a flash the man grabbed him and
hurled him crashing to his back among the bushes.

“Steady, my lad!” threatened Kelly. “I don’t want ter be any rougher
with ye than I have ter, but orders is orders--an’ they say you’re a
thief.”



CHAPTER X. IN THE GARAGE.


Matt was so bewildered on account of McGlory’s actions that he offered
little resistance to Kelly and Levitt. Anyhow, the manila envelope had
been taken from him, and Levitt--as Matt reasoned--had nothing to gain
by the capture.

“Here’s the rope, Kelly,” said the mining engineer, coming close.
“Better put it on him.”

“You don’t have to tie me,” protested Matt. “I’m not a thief, Levitt,
and you know it. I’m willing to go, and go quietly, wherever you want
to take me. I guess I can explain the affair to the authorities so that
I’ll soon have my liberty.”

Levitt gave him an odd look.

“We’ll see about that,” he answered. “Tie his hands, anyway, Kelly,” he
added.

Matt lay quietly while the rope was placed around his wrists. He
was wondering why Levitt didn’t search him for the report. To all
appearances the engineer wasn’t giving a thought to the document.

“I haven’t that manila envelope, Levitt,” said Matt. “If you’ve made
a prisoner of me just to recover that you’re having your trouble for
nothing.”

“I knew you didn’t have the envelope,” was the surprising answer.
“McGlory got that. Kelly and I were close enough to hear him talking
with you and to see him when he ran down the road. He fooled you that
time, and no mistake.”

There was growing bitterness in Matt’s heart as he listened.

“You knew McGlory was to take the private report from me?” he asked.

“Well, Billings told me the cowboy had put up a deal of some kind.”

“So McGlory had planned the scheme with Billings, had he?”

“Yes.”

“And McGlory took the report to Billings?”

“That’s where he went with it.”

The breath hung in Matt’s throat. His chum’s treachery had been
deliberately planned and executed. McGlory was playing into the
colonel’s hands, and bringing about his own undoing. Naturally Matt
inferred that his friend thought more of his prospective fortune than
of his comradeship. Choosing the dishonest wealth, he had turned his
back on his friend.

Sad and disheartened, Matt allowed Kelly to pilot him through the
woods. With head down, the young motorist stumbled onward, more
concerned with his sorrowful reflections than he was over the place to
which he was being taken.

Suddenly Matt’s forward movement was stayed, and he heard Levitt
speaking:

“I’ll look out for him, Kelly, and you go ahead and make sure that
there’s no one around.”

Matt lifted his eyes. They were at the edge of the woods, immediately
behind the garage.

While Levitt took charge of him, the prisoner saw Kelly cross the
open space separating the timber line from the garage, and enter the
building by a rear door. He came back presently, leaving the door ajar.

“Not a soul there, Levitt,” said he. “Come on with him, and come
quick.”

Matt was hurried over the intervening space and into the garage. There
were only two cars in the garage--the runabout and a large touring
car--and not another person in sight.

Matt, pushed to the foot of a stairway leading to the second floor, was
told to climb upward. He obeyed. At the top of the flight there was a
door. Kelly pushed it open, drew Matt inside, and Levitt came after
them.

“Are you sure you understand just what you’re to do, Kelly?” inquired
Levitt, in an anxious tone.

“Sure I do,” answered Kelly. “There wasn’t so much of it that I can’t
remember it all.”

“Do your work faithfully and you’ll never regret it.”

Levitt drew back out of the room and closed the door behind him.

“Lay down on that bunk there, my lad,” said Kelly, pointing to a cot at
one side of the small room.

It was a room set apart for the man in charge of the garage, and was
rudely but comfortably furnished.

Matt, still cast down by his cowboy chum’s treachery, was as yet taking
but little interest in what happened to him. He stumbled over upon the
cot, glad of an opportunity to rest with some degree of comfort while
his mind regained its normal powers and allowed him to think clearly of
McGlory’s case.

Kelly secured his feet with an end of the rope that bound his hands.

“I’m going to be as considerate of ye, King,” observed Kelly, “as I
can. No harm is intended to ye--if there was I wouldn’t be helpin’.
But ye’ve got to stay here for a while, an’ orders is that ye’re to
remain quiet. The garage is more or less of a public place, an’ yer
confinement is to be private. If people happened to be below ye might
yell. That wouldn’t do, now, would it? I’m going to tie this piece of
cloth over yer mouth jest to make sure ye don’t say anythin’ so loud it
can be heard downstairs.”

“Wait a minute, Kelly,” said Matt. “Do you know anything about my chum,
Joe McGlory?”

“Never a thing. He’s the boy who came with ye in that runabout?”

“Yes.”

“Well, he’s not known to me at all. You’re the lad that gave us that
chase, and Levitt says you’re a thief. Ye don’t look it, now, but
orders is to hold ye, an’ that’s what I’m doin’.”

“You’re helping Colonel Billings and Levitt carry out a big swindling
game by this work, Kelly.”

“So? Well, lad, I can’t look out for other people. Number One--which is
Kelly, d’ye mind--is enough fer me to take care of.”

“If I’m a thief, why doesn’t Levitt take me to Hempstead and have me
locked up by the police?”

“Levitt doesn’t want to disgrace ye by such a move. Bein’ locked up by
the police gives a lad a bad record. Ye’re far an’ away better off with
me here. We’re to be together three days, and----”

“Three days!”

“The same--no more, no less. We’re going to get along like old cronies,
if ye only behave. Now for the gag.”

Matt submitted while the cloth was put in place. Barely had Kelly
finished when a car was heard puffing into the big room below.

Kelly jumped to a round opening in the floor, near one end of the room.
It was a stovepipe hole, but the pipe was missing.

“One of the members, my lad,” said Kelly, turning away from his
observation of the room underneath and speaking in a guarded voice.
“I’ll have to go and look after the car. But ye won’t get lonesome
against the time I come back. Ye’ve plenty to think of, I take it, an’
that will use up yer time.”

Kelly went out, slamming the door, and Matt could hear him hurrying
down the stairs.

Three days! Matt was to be kept in the garage for three days!

That, no doubt, was to prevent him from interfering with the colonel’s
plans in New York.

The colonel had won McGlory over, and there would be no interference
from him. But perhaps, even without that “private report,” Matt could
do something with the syndicate. It might be that he could save the
cowboy in spite of himself.

Matt had noticed, while he and the cowboy were in the clubhouse
talking with the colonel, that the trickster from Arizona had a
powerful influence over McGlory. The colonel had made good use of that
influence, and had succeeded in turning the cowboy against his best
friend.

The people who had brought the car into the garage had left. A mumble
of talk had floated up through the stovepipe hole, and the prisoner was
able to keep the general run of events that took place in the garage.

He could hear Kelly tinkering with the car that had just arrived. In
the midst of the sounds he heard footfalls, and then a voice, lifted
high:

“Hello! Where’s the man that runs this place?”

That was the colonel. Angry blood leaped in Matt’s veins as he listened.

“Here, sir,” responded Kelly.

“Is that big touring car of Griggs’ in shape for the road?”

“Fit as a fiddle, sir, an’ full up with oil and gasoline.”

Then followed cranking, and the sputter of an engine picking up its
cycle; and, after that, the moving off of the car.

“The colonel’s away to New York,” thought Matt darkly. “He’s gone to
get the two bars of bullion before the bank closes. That’s step number
one in the big robbery. I wonder if Levitt and McGlory are with him?”

For an hour or two longer Kelly was alone and busy in the garage. A tin
clock hung on one wall of the bedroom, and from where Matt lay he was
able to watch the moving hands.

“If I accomplish anything,” Matt thought, “I shall have to reach New
York by eight o’clock. How am I to get out of here and to the nearest
railroad station?”

That was his problem, and it looked as though he would have to work it
out unaided.

He tried to free himself of the ropes, but Kelly had tied them too
securely. In order to work at them to better advantage, he swung his
bound feet over the side of the cot and sat up. But the ropes defied
every effort he made to release his hands.

With the idea of watching what took place in the garage, he slipped to
his knees on the floor and then straightened out at full length. By
rolling carefully, he succeeded in reaching the stovepipe hole.

His view was limited, but it commanded the broad doors leading into the
big room. Kelly was working somewhere in the rear, and could not be
seen.

Matt was about to roll away, when two figures appeared in the door. One
was McGlory and the other was Levitt.

“Kelly!” shouted Levitt.

“Here!” answered Kelly, coming forward.

“Got a car we can use for a trip back to the city?”

“Only the runabout this young fellow came in.”

“I’m a Piute,” growled McGlory, “if I want to fool with destruction by
ridin’ in that.”

“I feel the same way, McGlory,” said Levitt, “but we’ve got to get to
New York. If there’s no other car we’ll have to chance that one.”

“Sufferin’ trouble!” groaned McGlory. “It takes Pard Matt to get any
kind of service out of that old flugee. You can’t handle it, Levitt. I
saw the kind of work you made of it. Can’t we get a rig to take us to
the railroad station?”

“There are no rigs here,” answered Levitt. “It’s either the
runabout--or travel afoot.”

“I’m a cowpuncher, and a cowpuncher ain’t built right for footwork.
Well, let’s chance old Death and Destruction. We’ve got to be at that
meeting, and we’ve five hours to get there. If the runabout don’t go
backward more than it does ahead, I reckon we can make it.”

Levitt seemed as dubious over the attempt to ride in the runabout as
was McGlory.

“Sure,” remarked Kelly, “she looks like a nice, easy-ridin’ little car.
I’ve cleaned her, and oiled her, and pumped her full of fuel, and she
ought to travel.”

“She ought to, that’s a fact,” said Levitt, “but I’m afraid she won’t.
However, we’ve got to take a chance. Hop in, McGlory.”

Levitt speeded up the engine and threw in the clutch. The runabout
moved quietly out of the garage.



CHAPTER XI. UNCLE TOM AGAIN.


Why hadn’t McGlory and Levitt gone to the city with Colonel Billings?

This is the mental question Matt put to himself, and he was at a loss
for a logical answer.

If McGlory and Levitt were hand and glove with the colonel in working
out his nefarious scheme, then there was no reason in the world why
they should not be traveling together--unless the big touring car used
by the colonel had been loaded to its capacity. This did not seem
possible.

Nor could it be that Levitt and McGlory were taking the runabout to get
it out of Matt’s way. They didn’t want to use the car, and they had
asked Kelly for another.

Matt, with his curiosity still unsatisfied, was on the point of rolling
back to his cot, when some one else appeared in the doorway. Hope
leaped within him when he recognized Uncle Tom.

Uncle Tom! Matt had forgotten all about the old negro.

“Marse Kelly, sah,” piped Uncle Tom, “where is yo’?”

“Here,” answered Kelly, coming forward. “What do you want?”

“Marse Partington, whut jess come in on his car, wants tuh speak wif
yo’ er minit, Marse Kelly. He done sont me tuh fotch yuh.”

“What does he want?”

“He didn’t say, suh. He jess say, ‘Tom, yo’ lazy niggah, run tuh de
garage an’ tell Kelly Ah wants tuh see him right off.’ Dat’s whut he
say, an’ ev’rybody knows Ah’s de hardest wo’kin’ man about de place.
Lazy! Ah ain’t so spry as I uster be, but, by golly, Ah’s----”

“Where is Mr. Partington, Tom?” interrupted Kelly.

“Jess sta’tin’ fo’ de golf links, suh.”

Kelly started, and Uncle Tom started with him. Matt’s heart sank. If he
could only have attracted the old negro’s attention there would have
been some one to help him in making an escape.

While Matt lay on the floor, again furiously working at the ropes,
Uncle Tom slipped stealthily back into the garage. His old rheumatic
legs carried him with unusual rapidity out of sight toward the rear of
the room, and Matt could hear him, a moment later, clambering up the
stairs.

Brave old Uncle Tom! He knew of Matt’s plight, and was coming to help
him.

The door of the bedroom was unlocked, and the darky came hurriedly
into the room. He was shaking with excitement, and lost not a moment
hurrying to Matt’s side.

“Marse Kelly would kill me daid ef he knew whut Ah was doin’,” muttered
the old negro. “We’s got tuh hurry, Marse Matt. Marse Partington didn’t
want Marse Kelly, en dar’s gwine ter be ructions when Kelly gits back.”

With trembling fingers he plucked away the gag.

“Don’t be scared, Uncle Tom,” said Matt reassuringly. “Just get my
hands loose and I’ll take care of Kelly if he tries to interfere with
us. I’ll look after you.”

“Ah’s done lost mah job, Motah Matt,” quavered Uncle Tom, as he worked
at the rope around Matt’s wrists. “Ah’s done got tuh git away f’om dis
club place er dat ’ar Kelly will prove de def ob me.”

“You can go away with me,” said Matt.

“But dey all owes me fo’ dollahs fo’ wo’k!”

“I’ll pay you five times that, Uncle Tom, for what you’re doing.”

“Golly!” and the old negro’s courage seemed to return; “five times fo’
is fifty. Whatum Ah gwine tuh do wif fifty dollahs? Ah won’t hab tuh
wo’k no mo’ fo’ six mont’s.”

Uncle Tom’s multiplication was of a weird variety, but Matt did not
correct his mistake.

Finally the knots were loosened so that Matt could slip his hands from
the encompassing coils, and he was but a minute more in freeing his
feet.

“Now, then, Uncle Tom,” cried he, “this way--as fast as you can come!”

He sprang to the door, Uncle Tom lurching after him.

“Doan’ yo’ git too fur away, Marse Matt,” pleaded the negro. “Ef dat
Kelly meets me alone by mahse’f, Ah’s gwine ter be a daid niggah. Stay
by me.”

Matt lessened his pace so that Uncle Tom could follow him closely out
of the room and down the stairs. They started to leave by the front of
the garage, but, as ill luck would have it, Kelly, red and wrathful,
leaped through the door directly in front of Matt.

“Fo’ de lan’ sakes!” wailed Uncle Tom, staggering limply back against
the wall.

“Clear out by the rear door, Uncle Tom!” shouted Matt, picking up a
heavy wrench from the floor.

Uncle Tom scrambled for the rear of the garage at a remarkable rate of
speed.

Kelly swore.

“So this was that nigger’s game, was it?” he growled. “I knew something
was up when I found Partington, and he said he hadn’t sent fer me! I’ll
skin that black villain alive!”

“You’ll deal with me first, Kelly,” said Matt.

“Oh, you!” grunted Kelly. “Git back upstairs. It won’t take more’n a
minute to wind up your clock!”

The garage man drew a revolver. That he happened to have the weapon
spoke volumes for the responsibility he felt as the jailer for Motor
Matt.

“Put up that revolver!” ordered Matt sternly.

“Here’s the way I put it up,” answered Kelly, lifting the weapon and
pointing it full at Matt. “Up them stairs with ye, an’ no more ifs nor
ands about it.”

“Look here, Kelly,” expostulated Matt, “you’re getting yourself into
mighty deep water, and----”

Matt was talking for a purpose--and the purpose was to give him an
opportunity to use the wrench. Suddenly he found his chance, and the
heavy instrument shot forward and struck Kelly on the wrist of his
lifted arm. A cry of pain escaped the man, and he reeled back, dropping
the revolver.

Matt tried to spring past him, but Kelly, writhing with pain though he
was, pulled himself together and struck out viciously with his left
fist. Matt dodged quickly and evaded the blow. The next instant he had
used his right fist with terrific force, hurling Kelly out of his way
and depositing him on the floor in a heap.

How long Kelly sat on the floor, piecing together his scattered train
of thought, he did not know; but when his faculties returned to him,
Matt was gone.

Kelly, muttering to himself and with both hands groping about his
bruised forehead, staggered to the door and looked away in the
direction of the road.

There was no one to be seen. Greatly shaken, Kelly stumbled back to a
chair near a workbench and deposited himself in it.

“Felt like a batterin’-ram,” mumbled Kelly. “If I had been kicked by
a mule it wouldn’t have knocked me out more’n what it did. Who’d have
thought that lad had so much ginger in him? Whisht, now, while I think
what’s to be done.”

Matt King’s escape, Kelly knew, ought to be communicated to Levitt, in
some way, but how was it to be done? Levitt was between the clubhouse
and New York in an automobile.

Ah, Kelly had it! He would call up Krug’s and tell some one there to
lay for Levitt and bring him to the telephone.

Kelly, alert and eager to undo some of the damage that had been caused
the plans of Levitt by Matt’s escape, hurried to the phone in the rear
of the garage, and was soon connected with Krug’s.

“Any one there who knows Hannibal J. Levitt?” he asked.

“I’ll find out,” answered a voice from the other end of the wire.

“Well, hurry up!” implored Kelly. “I’m in a tearing rush.”

In about a minute--an hour it seemed to the impatient Kelly--another
voice floated back along the wire.

“I know Mr. Levitt,” said the voice. “He was here this morning, but
he’s not here now.”

“Sure he’s not there?” responded Kelly. “This is the garage at the
Malvern Country Club--get that? Levitt left here in a runabout an hour
ago, bound for New York. He ought to pass your place in a little while.
Lay for him. If you can, get him to the phone and have him call up
Kelly--Kelly at the Malvern Country Club garage, understand--it will be
worth a fiver to Levitt. Have somebody watch for the runabout an’ flag
Levitt. Will you?”

“Yes.”

Kelly, highly pleased with himself, hung up the receiver. Then he
waited--waited an hour, two hours, three hours--waited until nightfall,
till 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock came, but no call arrived from
Krug’s.

The reason was that Levitt did not pass Krug’s Corner. It was the only
route from the Malvern Country Club to New York--but, nevertheless,
Levitt did not pass.

The white runabout passed, however, and it had two passengers.



CHAPTER XII. A STARTLING MYSTERY.


Matt, on leaving the garage, gave a hasty look around for Uncle Tom.
The old negro was not in sight. Matt could not spend any time looking
for him, in that particular place, and ran for the road, hoping to find
Uncle Tom waiting for him farther on.

In this he was not disappointed. Well toward the place where Matt had
had his memorable interview with his cowboy pard, the negro pushed out
of the undergrowth.

“Marse Matt,” he chattered, “Ah’s been er-waitin’. Ah ’low’ed ye’d come
dishyer way. Whut done happen tuh dat Kelly?”

“I got away from him,” Matt answered.

“By golly, Ah got away, too. Nevah run so fas’ en mah life. Five times
fo’ is fifty. Yo’ all ain’t er-fo’gittin’ dat, is yuh?”

“No, Uncle Tom; I’m not forgetting anything.”

Matt had nearly a hundred dollars in his pocket, and if he had not
thought he was going to need considerable extra money for his trip back
to the city he’d been given the negro nearly the whole of it.

“There’s your fifty, Uncle Tom,” said Matt. “You go to Hempstead and
stay with Topsy until you can find another job.”

“Ah doan’ want no job twell Ah git out ob money, marse, en den Ah’s
hopin’ ye’ll be ready tuh take me on as yo’ private mascot. Ah tells
yuh, marse, yo’s monsus short on luck, seems lak. Yo’s had a powahful
bad streak to-day. Where’d yo’ hab been ef it hadn’t been fo’ Ole Tom?
Golly, Ah’s afeared tuh guess!”

“How did you know I was up there over the garage?”

“Ah seed yo’ when yo’ was brought intuh de garage, marse. Marse
Whitmore, at de clubhouse, done sent me tuh ask Kelly somethin’, en
Kelly wasn’t erroun’ de place. Ah waited; den Ah seed yo’ come in froo
de back do’, yo’ han’s all tied lak dey was, en Ah jess scrooched down
behin’ a car an’ waited twell yo’ was took to Kelly’s room. Den Ah
went off tuh think whut all Ah was gwine tuh do tuh help yo’. Ah clean
fo’got ’bout Marse Whitmore. Went tuh hunt him up, but he had done lef’
de place where he was. De idee got intuh mah ole haid dat Ah could git
Kelly away fom de garage by tellin’ him somebody else wanted tuh see
him, en Ah wo’ked hit out, yassuh. En she wo’ked, didn’t she? Yo’ knows
’bout dat. Say, marse, is five times fo’ fifty er skiventy? ’Pears lak
Ah ain’t jess right en mah ’rithmetic.”

“It’s nearer fifty than seventy, Uncle Tom. If I could spare any more
money, though, I’d give it to you.”

“Yo’s allers gen’rous lak dat, en dat’s de reason Ah likes tuh mascot
fo’ yo’. When does yo’ all think yo’ll need me?”

“I can’t tell that for a while, Uncle Tom. You go to Hempstead and stay
with Topsy. That’s the place for you. You’re getting altogether too old
to work.”

“Huccome yo’ lef’ Denvah? Whar yo’ all been, huh?”

“I’ve been in a good many places, Uncle Tom, since I left Denver. I’m
certainly going to do something for you, Uncle Tom,” answered Matt;
“but I can’t say just when.”

“Ah’s got fifty-five dollahs, marse, en hit’ll las’ me er long while,
yassuh, but doan’ yo’ git de notion hit’ll las’ too long. When hit
plays out Ah wants tuh wo’k fo’ yo’.”

“I’ll have to hurry, Uncle Tom,” said Matt. “You can stroll along to
Hempstead and take your time; but I’ve got important business in New
York.”

“Yo’s allers doin’ somethin’. Nevah seed sich a fellah fo’ bein’
evahlastin’ly on de go. Ah’m gwine tuh root fo’ yo’, marse. ’Deed Ah
is. When good luck come yo’ way, jess yo’ ricollect hit’s Uncle Tom
mascottin’. But Ah can do a heap bettah at dat ef Ah’m ’long clos’ tuh
yo’. Dishyer long-range mascottin’ done li’ble tuh wind up on er snag.
’Membah dat, too.”

“I’ll remember everything, Uncle Tom,” said Matt. “You stay in
Hempstead with Topsy. Good-by.”

“Good-by, Marse Matt.”

Matt shook the darky’s hand warmly, turned and hurried on along the
road.

Uncle Tom was a grafter, but nevertheless Matt had a warm place in his
heart for the old fellow. His peculiarities were all on the humorous
side, and Matt could have enjoyed his talk if circumstances had been
different.

While Matt was striding onward, his thoughts keeping pace with his
swift gait, he heard suddenly the hum of a motor in the distance.

All motors have the same sort of music. The tempo changes with work at
the throttle, but a trained ear can follow the shifting gears; and, now
and then, there’s a man who will recognize his car by the croon of the
engine alone.

It seemed to Matt that there was something familiar in the sound he
heard.

The road, for a long distance at that particular point, lay in a
straight stretch.

The car was coming toward Matt, but the trees on either side of the
road made the approaching machine indistinct. Their boughs dropped
low, and the deep shadows of the westering sun lay heavily across the
thoroughfare.

Suddenly Matt caught a glimpse of white flashing in the gloom.

The runabout! ran his startled thought.

Yes, undoubtedly it was the strange hoodoo car that was approaching.

What did it mean?

Were Levitt and McGlory returning to the Country Club? Had they found
the car more than they could manage, and were they taking it back to
the garage?

This did not seem a satisfactory explanation, and yet Matt could think
of nothing else.

At a halt in the middle of the road Matt waited for the car to draw
near. If McGlory was in the machine, that was as good a time as any for
a meeting and an explanation.

But the cowboy was not in the car, nor was Levitt, so far as Matt could
see, or anybody else.

The car was on the reverse, and backing down the road, most marvelously
keeping a straight line, although now and then lurching sideways a
little and narrowly escaping the trunk of a tree at the roadside.

Here was a startling mystery!

What had happened to McGlory and Levitt?

While Matt wondered, he was making preparations to board the car and do
his best to get it under control.

It was coming at a slow rate of speed, and to leap aboard would not be
difficult.

When within a dozen feet of the young motorist, the car seemed to
recognize an enemy and to attempt to turn aside.

Matt ran forward, stopped, executed a flying leap and gained the
running board. Another moment and he was in the driver’s seat and had
brought the car to a halt.

The reverse gear was engaged, so the runabout had ample warrant for
crawfishing along the road.

There was nothing in the car, however, that offered any clue to the
mystery of what had become of the two who had taken the runabout from
the Country Club garage.

Matt got down and made a hurried examination. The car was in as good
condition as ever, and rebuffed his efforts at getting clues.

There was something uncanny about the machine. Matt admitted it to
himself. It acted in a way that defied all explanation, at times, and
that alone was enough to get on a chauffeur’s nerves.

Perhaps Billy was right, and that the “double hoodoo,” in some
incomprehensible manner, was accountable for the car’s tantrums.

So far as McGlory and Levitt were concerned, there was a possibility
that the car had misbehaved so outrageously that they had put on the
reverse and cast it adrift, to go where it would.

But there were other travelers in the road to think of. Levitt and
McGlory would scarcely take chances of wrecking some other machine, or
of running down a carriage, or some pedestrian.

Matt was deeply puzzled.

“Well,” he thought, “I want a way to return to New York, and here
it is. It meets me on the road, and I should be foolish not to take
advantage of it. Quite likely Joe and Levitt have found other and
more satisfactory means for reaching the city. I don’t blame them for
changing to another car, if they had the opportunity, or for taking a
railroad train if they happened to be conveniently near one. There’s no
railroad very close to this place, though, and the runabout couldn’t
have come far, with no one in control.”

There was enough gas in the cylinders so that the motor took the spark.
The runabout leaped ahead, perfectly obedient to Matt’s hand.

As he swept along he looked and listened for some signs of McGlory and
Levitt. He came upon the two missing passengers suddenly--and what he
saw caused him to jam down hard on the brakes and leap from the car
before it was fairly at a stop.



CHAPTER XIII. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES.


Joe McGlory was kneeling beside the road, tying a handkerchief bandage
around the forehead of Levitt. The latter was sprawled out limply on
the ground, his clothing torn and disarranged.

“What’s the matter, Joe?” asked Matt.

The cowboy’s face was pale, and the set lines of it indicated that he
was himself in pain.

“That’s you, is it, pard?” he asked huskily.

For a useless question McGlory threw a good deal of feeling into it.

“Yes.”

“I might have known you’d come pounding along if I was in trouble.
Levitt is badly hurt. He’s been unconscious ever since he dropped in
the road. I can’t bring him back to his senses--but I haven’t been able
to do much, being about half knocked out.”

Matt went down on his knees, laid a hand over Levitt’s heart, and then
felt of his pulse.

“He’ll do, I think, Joe. Is he hurt anywhere else except in the head?”

“I don’t think so. He was thrown headfirst against the tree there.”

Matt lifted the bandage and surveyed the wound. The light was none too
good, and he asked his chum to strike a match.

“It may be a fracture of the skull,” said Matt, replacing the bandage.
“We’ve got to get him into the hands of a doctor.”

“Hempstead’s the nearest place, I reckon. It can’t be more than a mile
from here.”

“We’ll go there.”

Riding on two seats, with an unconscious and wounded man to look after,
was not going to be child’s play for Matt and McGlory--particularly as
the cowboy was not in very good condition himself. Then, too, cramped
as he was going to be, Matt would have to look after the runabout. That
might be an easy matter, and it might not. It all depended on how the
runabout was going to act.

“Can you help me get him into the car, Joe?” asked Matt.

“I’m not good for much, Matt,” was the response; “but I’ll do what I
can.”

“What’s the matter with you?”

“Just shaken up, I reckon. I’ve had a good many falls, but never one
like that before.”

Matt, when Levitt was lifted, contrived to carry most of the burden.
McGlory groaned when the limp form of Levitt was in the car, and
grabbed at the car seat to support himself.

“Something has happened to you, old chap, besides a mere shaking up,”
averred Matt. “I guess I’ll have to leave you at Hempstead with Levitt.”

“Nary, you don’t. I’ve got to get to that meeting.”

Matt made no answer to this. It brought up a subject which he was not
yet ready to discuss.

“Get into the car, Joe,” said he. “Hold Levitt’s head up between your
knees, if you can. I won’t be able to help support him--the car will
take all my attention.”

“If this infernal contraption goes off the jump again,” scowled
McGlory, “it’s liable to do for all of us.”

In a few moments they were loaded. The cowboy, braced in the seat,
supported the upper half of Levitt’s body between his knees. This left
Matt elbow room for running the car.

The runabout started off cleverly enough, and Matt believed it would
act well for the short trip to Hempstead.

“How did the accident happen, Joe?” he asked, when they were well away.

“I wish somebody would tell me,” answered McGlory. “We were going along
at not more than twenty-five miles an hour when, without any warning,
it buck-jumped, and stopped dead. Levitt was thrown out sideways
against the tree. I missed the trees, but took the roadside on my head
and shoulders, as near as I can recollect. I was dazed for a couple
of minutes, and when I rounded up my wits I saw Levitt unconscious, a
dozen feet from where I was lying. That’s all. I was trying to tinker
him up when you came along. Where did you pick up the car?”

“A little way back on the road. It was on the reverse, and moving
slowly.”

“How did it get on the reverse?”

“I don’t know.”

“Nor I. Sufferin’ brain twisters! The same thing happened on the
Jericho Pike this morning, you remember.”

Matt was silent. Before either he or the cowboy could speak Levitt
began to talk.

“Play the game, Billings! If you’re going to hocus the syndicate,
you’ve got to pay me money enough to make it worth while. A quarter of
the proceeds, Billings, or I give Random & Griggs my private report.
That will cook your goose.”

McGlory gasped.

“He’s delirious,” said Matt.

“He--he thinks he’s talking with Billings,” said McGlory. “Speak to me
about that!”

“It’s just as I told you, Joe,” went on Matt quietly. “Your colonel is
out to make a big winning, and to make it dishonestly. If he----”

Levitt began again.

“You didn’t know I had that private report, did you?” A weird laugh
came with the words. “I’m a bit foxy myself, colonel. The ‘Pauper’s
Dream’ isn’t worth what it cost to put down the shaft. You haven’t any
vein. There was a pocket, but the pocket has been worked out. You’ve
got to come across with a pile if you make me suppress that private
report.”

“I’m the biggest blockhead that walks the face o’ the earth!” declared
McGlory. “I----”

Levitt interrupted him.

“Keep your eye on Matt King, Billings! If lightning hits us, that cub
will be back of it!”

There was something grewsome about that limp form with its bandaged
head, swaying between McGlory’s unsteady knees and mumbling villainous
revelations.

For a while Levitt was silent, and the runabout glided through the
outskirts of Hempstead and Matt inquired the way to the nearest doctor.

The car continued to remain on its good behavior, and carried its
passengers steadily and safely to the walk in front of the doctor’s
office. Some bystanders helped carry Levitt in, and he was laid on
a couch, very white and weak and continuing to mumble his delirious
disclosures.

“What’s the trouble with him?” inquired the doctor.

“Automobile accident,” answered Matt briefly.

“They’re always happening,” commented the medical man grimly. “Who is
he?”

“Hannibal J. Levitt. We’ll have to leave him in your care, doctor. My
friend and I have got to hurry on to New York to attend a meeting at
eight o’clock to-night.”

The doctor, busily examining Levitt, turned up a suspicious face.

“You’ll have to tell me a little bit more about this man before you
go,” said he. “He may have been hurt in an automobile accident, or he
may have been hit on the head with a sand bag.”

“Sufferin’ hold-ups!” muttered McGlory. “Do you take us for strong-arm
men?”

Just at that moment a policeman entered.

“Heard there was an injured man brought in here, doc,” said he.

The doctor explained--not only about the injured man, but about Matt’s
hurry to get away to New York.

The policeman also became suspicious. Matt, however, took him apart
and went into a somewhat lengthy explanation. He told who he was, and
managed to convince the officer of his identity. The name of Matt King
was not unknown to the bluecoat, and he was prepared to take all that
Matt said in good faith.

“It’s all right, Doc,” said the officer, as soon as Matt had finished
talking; “these young fellows didn’t have anything more to do with that
man’s condition than you or I. We’ll look after Levitt. Badly hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Seriously?”

“Not dangerously, if that’s what you mean.”

“Then we’re free to go, are we, officer?” asked Matt.

“Sure. Skip whenever you’re ready. If I want you or your friend I’ll
phone your New York hotel.”

Matt and McGlory, followed by the troubled eyes of the doctor, went out
to the runabout. Before starting, Matt got the lamps to going.

“Now for Manhattan,” said he, climbing to his seat.

“Or the ditch,” added McGlory. “The way I feel now I don’t care much
what happens to us.”

“That’s a funny way for you to feel, Joe,” said Matt quietly.

The car moved off in fine order--an exhibition which made Matt feel
like congratulating himself.

“I’m entitled to my feelings, pard. For what I’ve done to-day you ought
to cut me out of your herd.”

“You made a mistake----”

“A big one; and there was no excuse for it.”

“Yes, there was, Joe. There must have been.”

McGlory mumbled to himself and fell silent.

“You hadn’t got far along the road from the clubhouse,” said Matt,
“when the accident happened. But you must have been gone an hour. If
your pace was twenty-five miles an hour, how----”

“The car bothered us like Sam Hill,” cut in McGlory. “If it wasn’t
one thing, it was two. Neither Levitt nor I was as good a hand at
tinkering as you, and we had to hunt quite a spell before we located
the troubles.”

“You found something wrong?”

“A dozen things!”

“That’s strange! When this runabout gets to acting up, it usually seems
to be without any cause whatever.”

“Well,” finished the cowboy, “that explains how we were going
twenty-five miles an hour, at the time the accident happened, and
didn’t get any farther from the Malvern Country Club.”

After this there was another silence between the chums. McGlory was
getting ready to explain, and Matt patiently waited.



CHAPTER XIV. M’GLORY’S LESSON.


“Pard,” said McGlory finally, “I’ve connected with a lesson this
afternoon that’s made the biggest kind of an impression on me.”

“What sort of a lesson, Joe?” asked Matt.

“The kind that hits you plumb between the eyes like a bolt of
lightning. Did you ever think you were smart, and then wake up and find
yourself the biggest fool in seven states? No, I don’t reckon you ever
did. That’s not the way Pard Matt is built.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Joe. I’ve been there. We all of us take a
wrong course, now and then. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t.”

“Sufferin’ horn toads! Why, I thought all along I was starring myself,
and that I’d laugh at you in a few days for being the one who’d made
the bobble.”

“The trouble with you was, Joe, Colonel Billings had too much influence
over you.”

“He’s got an oily tongue, Matt, and a brain that’s a wonder. After
you dropped from the window, the colonel nailed me and pinned me down
in a chair. I was as mad as a hornet, and ready to give him a right
hook to the jaw, or any other kind of a right-hander that would make
him take the count. That’s how I felt for about a minute--red-hot and
boiling. But only for a minute. The colonel started his tongue, and I
fell on his neck and shed tears of joy because he had singled me out to
help feather-finger the kicks of the plutocrats. Not in those words,
however. The colonel made it look like a just and warranted proceeding.

“The colonel allows Pard Matt is a blockhead, and that he’s taken a
few facts and used ’em as signboards for the wrong trail. The colonel
admits hiring Levitt to make a bogus report; but the bogus report,
according to the colonel, was the one we found, and not the other
gilt-edged prospectus submitted to the syndicate.”

“Why did he hire Levitt to make a report saying that the mine was no
good?” inquired the amazed Matt.

“He didn’t, pard; he only said he did. I find there’s some sort of
a difference between what the colonel really does and what he tells
people he does. He knew the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ was rich, long before he
sold me my stock. Then some of the stockholders who knew the same thing
tried to freeze the colonel out. But the colonel was too wise. He sank
the shaft without finding any gold--just to fool the stockholders who
wanted to get rid of him. These fellows immediately sold out to the
colonel, so that the colonel got hold of the majority of the stock.
That means, of course, that he had the entire say about everything
connected with the mine.

“As soon as he has the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ cinched, Billings begins to
hit the simon-pure, ne-plus-ultra gold-bearing vein. Buyers flock to
the scene. The colonel picks out this syndicate of Random & Griggs’
as the boys to get the mine. Levitt comes out to examine the mine for
the syndicate. The stockholders who have been frozen out begin to grow
restive, and to threaten legal complications. Then Billings shows his
fine Italian hand by hiring Levitt to make out that report, saying
the ‘Dream’ is a pocket, and that the pocket is empty. That’s for the
soreheaded stockholders to see, and they see it. So, in that way, legal
complications are sidetracked while the colonel is selling the mine to
the syndicate.”

McGlory relapsed into silence for a mile, while the runabout behaved
beautifully and drove long shafts of light from the search lamps into
the growing dark.

“That,” continued the cowboy, stirring, “is the yarn the colonel put
up to me. I swallowed it. But, pard, I wanted to tell you. The colonel
said you mustn’t know a thing until after the deal was closed and the
proceeds divided. As I figure it now, I reckon the colonel was afraid
you’d jab a little horse sense into his yarn and puncture it. Anyhow,
the truth remains that he made me believe I’d lose a fortune by telling
you the truth about that private report. ‘Tell your friend about it
later,’ says the colonel, ‘and then have a good laugh with him over the
way he was fooled.’ So I smoothed down my rising feathers, laid low,
and planned to sneak the private report on you all by myself.

“You know how I did that. You trusted me, and asked the old darky
to tell me where you were. As soon as Uncle Tom had delivered your
message, I rushed right off to the colonel and repeated it to him.
Then I met you, executed my brilliant play, got the report, and
delivered it to my good friend the colonel. He now has it in his
pocket, or else he has burned it. Anyhow, you can bet a million against
the hole in a doughnut that he don’t show that report to the syndicate.
The question is, pard, will those syndicate people believe you and me?”

“It won’t matter much,” answered Matt, “whether they do or don’t. By
jumping in there and telling them the truth, we’ll be placing ourselves
on record.”

“I see. Then, if they’re skinned, we can read our titles clear and
they’ll have only themselves to blame. But, pard, what have you been up
to since I worked through that brilliant trick and left you staring at
me from the bushes?”

“I’ve been a prisoner in the loft over the garage,” answered Matt.

“A prisoner?” echoed McGlory. “How was that?”

Matt told him the details.

“Oh, speak to me about that!” growled the cowboy. “Hannibal J. Levitt
never mentioned the fact of your capture to me. If I’d known what had
happened to you, pard, I’d have torn loose from the whole combination,
fortune or no fortune. Why,” sputtered McGlory, as reflection brought
the hidden details more and more before him, “Levitt never could have
made that play if I hadn’t told Billings where I was to meet you! They
got their heads together and worked it out.”

“Why didn’t you and Levitt ride into town with the colonel, Joe?”

“He thought it would be better for us to come by ourselves. He was ’way
ahead of time, you know, and had to go to the bank before closing hours
for the bullion. It wasn’t necessary for Levitt and me to be around
until time for the meeting. Oh, I’ve had a fine run for my auburn chip,
and no mistake. I’ll resign, here and now, from our partnership. The
place for me is the range. Cattle punching is about the scope of my
ability, and it ought to be the height of my ambition. Consider my
resignation handed in, pard.”

“Then,” said Matt, “consider it declined. I won’t accept it.”

“Don’t make any misplay now, old chap,” begged McGlory. “I’m about as
dependable as this crazy runabout. Sometimes I answer the control, but
you’ve just seen how I can take the bit in my teeth and play hob with
everything. I don’t think you can trust me, pard.”

“I don’t know any one I can trust better, Joe,” answered Matt.

“If you mean that, shake.”

Their hands clasped for an instant, and McGlory stifled a groan and
clutched at his side.

“Say,” demanded Matt, “what’s wrong with you?”

“All jarred to pieces. That fall did it. When you shook my right hand I
thought I was coming apart.”

“I wish,” said Matt, “that I’d had the Hempstead doctor look at you.”

“Look at me? Well, I reckon he did. He looked at me as though he
thought I was a sandbagger. And he came pretty near having it right, at
that.”

“You know what I mean, Joe.”

“Sure, I do. But we didn’t have time. We may be late for the meeting as
it is. The colonel has showed his bullion, and flashed that affidavit
about its coming from the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ as the result of a week’s
run, and perhaps the syndicate has been stampeded. We may be too late.”

“We’ll not be too late to go on record,” declared Matt.

“Tell me this, pard,” said the cowboy: “Why were you piking for New
York at the time you met the runabout backing down the road with no one
aboard?”

“I had started for the meeting in Random & Griggs’ office,” said Matt.

“You were going there just the same, eh?”

“Of course.”

“While I was doing everything I could to help the colonel get me into
trouble, you were still hustling to keep me out of it?”

“I knew Billings had influenced you in some way, Joe.”

“That’s the sort of a fellow for a pard! Of course you’re the lad to
tie to. The wonder is that you’re still willing to hang onto me.”

“Random & Griggs must be as badly deceived in the colonel as any one
else,” observed Matt.

“He can pull the wool over any one’s eyes, that fellow!”

“He was stopping at Griggs’ house, and the broker had put him up at the
Country Club.”

“That’s right! And how the colonel has used that Country Club! The
members of the club will be tickled to death if they ever find it out.
You can do something to that tinhorn, Kelly, if you want to.”

“I don’t want to. He was working for Levitt----”

“Just as I was working for the colonel, eh? Maybe he was as badly
fooled, too.”

For some time McGlory leaned back in his seat and kept quiet. Matt was
worried about him.

“How do you feel now, Joe?” he asked.

“I was just thinking,” answered McGlory, “that this hoodoo car is
trying to make up for the tough times it has given us. It’s about the
worst combination of cylinders, rubber tires, and spark plugs that
was ever put together, but, for all that, if it hadn’t cut up a few
tantrums on the Jericho Pike this morning we’d never have found out a
thing about the colonel’s crooked work.”

“That’s so. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, pard.”

“While the car’s running good, Matt, crowd the speed limit. Let’s get
to Liberty Street as soon as we can.”

Matt proceeded to follow out his chum’s suggestion.



CHAPTER XV. HURLING A BOMB.


Half a dozen men were gathered in the private conference room of Random
& Griggs’ palatial brokerage offices in Liberty Street. One of these
half dozen was the colonel. Another was Joshua Griggs. The remaining
four were capitalists.

Colonel Mark Antony Billings was in his element. He had never looked
more impressive than he did then. Levitt and McGlory had failed to
arrive in time for the meeting, but they might come later. In any
event, their presence was not of supreme importance.

In front of the colonel, on the mahogany table, sparkled the two bars
of yellow bullion. They caught the gleams from the incandescent lights
and reflected luring rays into the eyes of the capitalists.

The capitalists seemed greatly impressed. Griggs--the brokerage firm
was to receive a very large commission if the mine was sold--wore a
broad and amiable smile. The colonel was plausible and full of tact,
answering questions promptly.

In the midst of the deliberations the quiet of Liberty Street was
disturbed by the sputter of an automobile. For the most part, Liberty
Street, in the vicinity of the brokers’ offices, was a deserted cañon
at that hour.

But if the automobile disturbed the quiet of the street, it did not
disturb the deliberations of those in Random & Griggs’ offices. It took
a rap on the outer door to do that. Mr. Griggs himself answered the
summons.

“McGlory and Levitt, colonel,” he called.

Mr. Griggs had made a slight mistake. Hearing the name McGlory, and
understanding that Levitt was expected with him, the broker had jumped
at conclusions.

“The expert, gentlemen,” smiled the colonel, addressing the
capitalists, “whom you sent to investigate my little property. A very
painstaking person, and reliable to the last degree. McGlory is one of
our original stockholders; a young man--a mere lad, in fact--but sharp
as a steel trap.” The colonel lifted his voice. “Have them come right
in, Mr. Griggs,” he called.

Matt King and McGlory did not stand on the order. Supporting his chum
by the arm, King and the cowboy passed into the conference room and
stood under the astounded eyes of the colonel.

“Why,” said Mr. Isidore Sleipnitz, one of the moneyed men, “dot ain’t
der expert, Levitt. Neider of ’em is Levitt.”

“But I’m McGlory,” said the cowboy, steadying himself by leaning
against a table. Although his face was white, his eyes glowed with
resolution and steadfast purpose. “Mr. Levitt was thrown from the
automobile and injured. He’s now in a doctor’s office in Hempstead.
This is my chum, Matt King. If he hadn’t picked me up I’d never have
got here.”

The colonel, to put it colloquially, “smelled a rat.” Something was
wrong, and he knew it.

“This meeting, gentlemen,” said he, “is not for outsiders. Mr. King
is not a stockholder in the ‘Pauper’s Dream,’ nor, so far as I am
informed, is he one of your syndicate. I think he had better withdraw.”

“I’m not going to withdraw,” said Matt, “until I tell these gentlemen
of your crooked transactions in the matter of the mine you are trying
to sell them. McGlory and I have come here for that purpose, and----”

“Silence!” roared the colonel, starting menacingly toward Matt. “Do you
think, for a minute, you can blow in here and blacken my character in
the eyes of these gentlemen?” Billings struck a pose, and shoved one
hand into the breast of his long coat. “I am too well known,” he went
on, “to suffer from the maunderings of a cub like you!”

“I’d like to put in a few maunderings of my own, colonel,” said
McGlory. “I’ll have to hurry, too, for I got badly shaken up in that
accident that knocked out Levitt. There were two reports----”

“Silence!” thundered the colonel. “Get out of here, McGlory! Clear out,
I say, and take that other young scoundrel with you. If you don’t, I’ll
call the police!”

Hiram McCormick, another of the capitalists, got up from his chair and
raised his hand.

“This isn’t one of your Southwestern ‘rough-houses,’ colonel,” said he,
“so please remember that. Roar less and listen more, will you? I am
interested in hearing what these young men have to say.”

“If that’s the way you stack up,” clamored the colonel, grabbing his
slouch hat and his gold bullion from the table, “I’ll make myself
absent. I didn’t come here to be insulted.”

He started for the door. Before he could reach it the door of a
telephone booth opened and a blue-coated man, with a star flashing on
his breast, stepped in front of him.

The appearance of the policeman was a surprise to the colonel, Griggs,
Matt, and McGlory. The four capitalists did not seem to think it
anything out of the ordinary.

“Where--where did that man come from?” inquired Griggs.

Inasmuch as he was a member of the firm that occupied the offices, it
might be supposed that he would have had knowledge of any policeman
secreted about the premises. But it was plain he had not been informed
of the presence of this particular officer.

Hiram McCormick was still on his feet. While the colonel was glaring
at the policeman, Mr. McCormick observed calmly:

“Mr. Griggs, we shall have to ask your pardon for the presence of the
officer. He slipped in, by my request, before the colonel came, and
while you were in the board room.”

“What’s he here for?” inquired Griggs.

“That will appear later. Just now he is going to keep the colonel with
us while these young men relieve their minds.”

Colonel Billings understood that he was face to face with disaster--a
disaster so comprehensive that he could not readily grasp it. Heeding a
motion of the officer’s hand, he dropped defiantly into a chair.

“Now, my lad,” said McCormick to the cowboy.

McGlory jumped at once into his recital. Beginning away back in his New
York experience, he told of the trouble he and Matt had had on account
of the bullion; then, after showing the telegram which had been sent
to him over the signature of “Joshua Griggs,” he began narrating the
adventures which had fallen to him and Matt on that eventful day. The
colonel’s double-dealing was shown up in all its ugly brazenness, and
the cowboy finished by regretting that he had not the private report of
Hannibal J. Levitt to offer in evidence.

“Perhaps,” suggested Matt, “the colonel can show it to you, if it has
not already been destroyed.”

“The colonel,” spoke up that gentleman witheringly, “is not here to be
bossed by a fellow of your stripe. Your wild and woolly stories seem to
have made a hit with the representatives of capital, but they’re fakes,
and everybody here will know they’re fakes, before many days.”

“Gentlemen,” put in Mr. Griggs, whose faith in the colonel was dying
hard, “is it right to take the word of these boys against a man so well
known throughout the Southwest as Colonel Billings?”

Colonel Billings waved his hand gently but firmly toward Mr. Griggs.

“Never mind me, sir,” said he. “The kid element seems to predominate
in the meeting, and men of experience and reason are relegated to the
background. Don’t disturb yourself on my account, I beg. There are
other bidders for the ‘Pauper’s Dream.’ The mine will be snapped up
before the week is over.”

“Mr. Griggs,” went on Hiram McCormick, “these young men have come
here--one of them with everything to lose and nothing to gain by
blocking the sale of the mine--and told us a most remarkable story
of guile and duplicity. I may say, however, that neither I nor my
associates are surprised. We have already had cause to suspect the
colonel of double-dealing. Two experts were sent by us to examine the
‘Pauper’s Dream.’ In matters of this sort, it is best not to place all
your faith in one man. Levitt went to the mine, made himself known to
the colonel, and examined the prospect under his supervision. Perhaps
it is not to be wondered at that the colonel bought him. But the second
expert reached the mine in laborer’s clothes, and was hired by the
colonel to ‘salt’ the breast of the ‘Pauper’s Dream’ tunnel. I have
that man’s report here in my pocket. It only arrived to-day, but my
friends of this projected syndicate have all read it. For this reason
we feared we might have trouble with the colonel, and so we smuggled
the policeman into the telephone booth.

“Colonel Billings,” and McCormick turned and leveled a hard look at
the Arizona man, “your rascally game would not have succeeded, even
had these lads not come here and told us of your knavery. We had you
spotted. From now on you will be blacklisted in this town, and you
will try in vain to float any other mining proposition on New York
capital. Mr. Griggs was deceived in you, and he and his partner have
our sympathy, and have not lost a particle of our good will; but as for
you, if you are not out of the city within twenty-four hours we shall
try and see just how much responsibility the law can put upon you for
this day’s events. There is the door; close it from the outside.”

The colonel got up. Calmly he drew a canvas bag from his pocket, and
deliberately placed his gold bars within it; then, holding the bag in
one hand, he allowed the other to dart toward his hip--a move young
King had seen before.

“Look out for him!” warned Matt.

The officer grabbed a revolver out of the colonel’s hand in just the
nick of time. There was a brief struggle, but the colonel got the worst
of it.

“I’ll play even with that cub of a Matt King,” the colonel was heard to
breathe, “if it’s the last thing I ever do.”

“Take him out, officer,” said Hiram McCormick, in undisguised contempt,
“and, of course, you’ll confiscate the weapon. This is not Arizona.”

None too gently the policeman hustled Colonel Billings out of the door.
Hardly had they left when McGlory staggered, tossed his hands, and fell
heavily into Matt’s arms.

Instantly there was a flurry of excitement in the office, Griggs,
McCormick, and the others all hurrying forward to be of what assistance
they could.



CHAPTER XVI. LOST--A FORTUNE.


Joe McGlory drifted back to conscience amid surroundings that were
entirely new to him. He was in a white iron bed. On one side of the bed
stood a woman in a white cap and apron, and on the other side was a
man in black. Over the foot of the bed leaned Matt, his anxious face
clearing a little as McGlory opened his eyes.

“Ah!” murmured the doctor.

“Where am I?” inquired the cowboy.

“In the emergency ward of the City Hospital,” answered the doctor.

“I’ve got about as much right here as a maverick steer in a watermelon
patch. Sufferin’ sister, what a jolt!”

A smile sneaked over the doctor’s face. The nurse turned her head. Matt
laughed, highly delighted.

“He’ll be all right, don’t you think so, doctor?” Matt asked.

“A lad who can come out from under the influence of a narcotic with
such a flow of spirits,” averred the doctor, “is bound to be all right.”

“What’s the matter with me?” the cowboy asked.

“A couple of broken ribs.”

“I thought I’d busted something! Say, Matt!”

“What is it, Joe?”

“The last I remember I was in the office of Random & Griggs. When was
that?”

“Last night.”

The cowboy turned his head so he could see the sunlight coming through
the window.

“And now it’s this morning?”

“Yes.”

“When will I get out of here, doc? This afternoon?”

“If you get out of here in less than two weeks you’ll do well,” said
the doctor.

“Speak to me about that!” muttered McGlory.

“It’s all right, Joe,” said Matt. “I’ll be here every day to see you.”

“Sure you will. I couldn’t stand it if you stayed away. The old
runabout got me, after all!”

“You were lucky to escape as well as you did,” spoke up the doctor.
“You took a long automobile ride, after you were hurt,” he added
severely, “and did a number of other things that were entirely
unnecessary, and which aggravated your condition.”

“Correct, doc,” grinned McGlory; “I was aggravated a whole lot, and no
mistake. Where’s the hoodoo car now, Matt?”

“Billy’s got it in the garage.”

“I wonder that Billy would have it there, considering how he feels
about it.”

“Billy’s not the boss of the garage, Joe,” laughed Matt. “If he was,
probably he’d refuse to give the car storage.”

“Hear anything from Hempstead?”

“Well, yes. Levitt is coming along as well as can be expected.”

“I don’t think you had better talk any more, my lad,” interposed the
doctor.

“I’ll die if I don’t, doc,” declared McGlory. “Give me a little more
rope, can’t you?”

“A little.”

“Where’s the colonel, Matt?” went on McGlory.

“No one knows, Joe. He was ordered out of town, and I guess he’s gone,
or going.”

“He played hob with me, all right. How’s the syndicate?”

“You’d feel highly complimented if you could hear what they said about
you.”

“What did they say about _you_?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Sure you don’t. You never remember what’s said about you, but whenever
any one tips you off concernin’ a pard you keep it right on tap. What
are you going to do for the two weeks I’m laid up?”

“Just hang around and wait for you to get well, I guess,” Matt laughed.

“Don’t hike out of town, will you?”

“No; I’m going to stay right here.”

McGlory looked at the doctor.

“He’s my pard, doc,” said he. “Matt’s his label, and he’s the clear
quill any way you take him.”

“You both seem to stand pretty high in each other’s estimation,” smiled
the doctor.

“I’m standing higher in his than I deserve.”

“Cut that out, Joe,” said Matt.

“I’ll cut it out and paste it in my hat so I won’t forget it. It’s the
best lesson I ever had, and I’m going to profit by it. Lost--a fortune!
That’s me. I was promised a place on Easy Street, and here I am in the
hospital.”

McGlory chuckled.

“You may have lost a fortune, Joe,” said Matt, “but you’ve won
something a whole lot better.”

“I have--two busted ribs and a couple of weeks’ lay-off. Oh, I’m a
lucky dog!”

“Don’t fret about the ribs or the lay-off, Joe,” counseled Matt. “If
you get to worrying, you may have to stay here longer than two weeks.”

“Funny how I shut my eyes in Random & Griggs’ office,” remarked
McGlory, leaping from one subject to another with the abruptness of a
person whose brain is still a little befogged, “and open ’em here. That
was sure a hard ride from Hempstead in. I don’t know how I managed to
hang on. I reckon it was my wish to play even with the colonel that
held me up.”

“The colonel got his deserts, Joe,” said Matt.

“The syndicate was next to him all the time. Our chasing in to tell
what we knew didn’t make such a terrible lot of difference.”

“It put us on record, that’s all. It’s mighty important, sometimes, to
let people know where you stand.”

“Correct, again. But listen. Didn’t Colonel Billings pull a gun on
you, Matt, before he left the office? Seems to me I remember that.”

“He pulled a gun, Joe; but I don’t know what he intended to do with it.”

“Then I’ll put you next, pard. He intended to play even with you.”

“Or you,” answered Matt.

“Not me,” insisted Joe. “The colonel knows I haven’t got sense enough
to make him much trouble. But he’s afraid of Matt King. Look out for
him, pard.”

“The colonel has his orders to leave town, and----”

“That doesn’t mean that he’ll go. During the two weeks I’m holding down
this nice little bed here, you keep both eyes skinned for Colonel Mark
Antony Billings. He’s liable to show his hand when you’re not thinking
he’s within a thousand miles of you. Pretty sudden, the colonel is. He
sprang a surprise on us when we got to the Country Club and found him
there to meet us instead of Joshua Griggs. That’s a sample of the way
he does things, Matt. You look out for him.”

“That will do now,” said the doctor authoritatively. “You’ve talked
more than you ought to.”

“When’ll you blow in here again, pard?” added McGlory, reaching out his
hand.

“This afternoon.”

“That’s you. I’ve lost a fortune, pard, but I didn’t let you get away
from me. We’re pards, same as per usual, and in spite of what happened
at the Country Club?”

“Sure we are. That couldn’t make any difference, Joe.”

“It would have made a big difference with some fellows, but Matt King’s
of a different calibre.”

“That’s what pards are for, Joe,” whispered Matt as he let go his
chum’s hand, “to stand by each other.”

“Like you hung to me,” returned the cowboy, “and not the way I stood by
you. Well, I’ve had my lesson, and we’ll let it go at that. _Adios!_”

Matt turned and left the ward, and the hospital. There were a lot of
people in New York, but it seemed like a mighty lonesome place now that
McGlory was laid up for repairs.

The colonel, being a wise man, considered it good policy to get away
from New York, and head for his favorite stamping grounds in the
Southwest, for neither Matt nor Joe ever saw him again.

When Joe got well Matt had found something in his favorite line of
motors to engage their attention, and with such a team of hustlers to
drive things, the business could not be anything but a success.

THE END.

The next number (364) will contain “Pluck Beats Luck; or, Tom Talbot’s
Trials and Triumphs.” By John L. Douglas.

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THE MISSING BOATS.


Reflecting the hues of the sunset sky lay Lake Menatee like a huge
mirror.

Not a ripple stirred its placid surface.

The fading sunlight lent to its crystal depths the silver of its dying
glory.

While along its shores the forest like an over-reaching shield
outstretched its giant arms to cast weird, fantastic figures first on
the white beach, and then out, out over the transparent bosom of the
waters, going farther, faster and faster, deeper and darker, until the
veil of twilight concealed the beautiful scene.

In the background the rugged Adirondacks kept watch and ward over the
treasures below, and on their seamed and time-scarred forehead lingered
the touch of sunlight long after the shadows of gloom had robbed Lake
Menatee of its beauty.

Not a living creature was to be seen to give life to the solitude of
nature.

Three boats drawn up on the white sand lay side by side, or at least
within a few feet of each other.

They were merely common, flat-bottom rowboats.

There was nothing remarkable about them.

The water may have reached to the stern of one, but to not more than
barely touch it.

Still a close observer might have seen it move, slightly it is true,
but yet a movement perceptible.

Gradually it neared the water’s edge, moved by an unseen power.

So slowly did it move that fully an hour must have passed before it had
gained a foot.

Then the wind, which had died down at sunset, began to sweep across the
lake.

Gently, at first, it stirred the water’s tranquil surface, as if
fearful of disturbing its repose.

Anon it grew stronger.

From the mountains it mustered its powers.

The sleeping waters were awakened.

In angry waves they beat the shores.

The rising tide lent its aid to the mysterious force urging the boat
into its embrace.

Thus the boat was carried more rapidly away, and yet in the next two
hours’ time scarcely three feet was added to the space gone over.

It must have been past midnight, when, with a last quivering shock--a
dying struggle, it seemed--and the boat swung clear from the sand.

A minute later it floated slowly away.

At this moment a crash in the thick bushes, growing a few rods from the
shore, broke the calm and peaceful stillness of the night.

An instant later and the form of a man uprose from the gloom of his
covert.

The moon was just peeping above the Adirondacks’ dark crest, and it was
light enough in the forest for one to have seen that the man was past
the prime of life, though his stalwart form had borne the burden of
years without losing its erectness.

He was somewhat roughly clad, and his long hair and flowing beard were
unkempt. His eyes flashed brightly, but a puzzled look rested on his
sun-bronzed face. His words, that fell involuntarily from his lips,
furnished the key to his thoughts.

“Waal, I hev got to believe it now. But if that don’t beat all nater,
then my name an’t Jarius Bede. See the thing swim along, and there an’t
been a living creetur near it since long afore sundown! I can swear to
that, for I an’t let my eye off on’t in all that time. It is queer.”

As he finished his soliloquy the speaker went down to the shore, but he
did not step upon the sandy beach.

“I won’t do that,” he muttered, “for like as not I should find myself
in the midst of that pond afore I could say Bob Bungles.”

There was nothing to explain the mystery he had witnessed. The other
boats had not moved.

“Waal, waal. I’ll trundle off hum,” concluded the mystified Jarius
Bede; “but as long as I stand up I know I shall never see the beat of
that!”

Throwing his gun over his shoulder, for he was armed with a long,
single-barreled old queen’s arm that had evidently seen its share of
service, he left the place with long, loping strides, in the direction
of home.

Ever and anon he glanced uneasily back, as if expecting that he was to
be followed by some mysterious foe.

“Makes a feller feel queer. Hello! the boys are looking for me, I bet.
I’m glad to see that light ennyway.”

A light was indeed visible in one of the valleys, and after ten
minutes’ walk he came to a rude house, or cabin, around which could be
seen a few acres of cultivated ground.

It was the house of one of the few settlers who had located in that
wild, out-of-the-way region.

Entering without knocking, half a dozen persons sprang to their feet to
greet him.

This family consisted of Jabez Bede, brother to Jarius, his wife, three
strapping sons, and a buxom daughter of eighteen.

“Why, it’s only ’Rius!” exclaimed Dame Bede, with a look of relief, as
if she had feared some danger.

“But where have you been all night, Jarius?” cried Jabez. “We were
gettin’ a-worrited ’bout yer.”

“Jabez, I hev made a diskivery!”

“What?” chorused the listeners in a breath.

“I told yer I shouldn’t kem back till I had l’arnt sumthin’, and I
an’t, that, sure.”

“It is about Ralph, I know it is!” exclaimed Mary Bede, springing to
his side with a glad look on her fair countenance. “What have you
learned, uncle? Tell me, quick.”

“I can prove that he didn’t steal the boat,” was the triumphant reply.

“I knew that he didn’t. But tell us what you have learned.”

“Waal, waal, it’s cur’us, but it’s true. You know that the three boats
were left down on the shore as usual. Waal, I hev been watchin’ them
ever since an hour afore sundrop.”

“Why, Jarius Bede, and we here a-waitin’ and a-worritin’ ’bout yer.”

“Waal, it’s worth the time, I can tell yer.”

While Jarius Bede is telling what he has witnessed we would say that
considerable excitement had been occasioned among the few settlers in
that vicinity by the frequent disappearance of boats from the shores
of the lake. No one could tell where they had gone, but they were as
effectually lost as if the water had swallowed them up.

Finally, Mary Bede’s lover, Ralph Horn, was accused of stealing, or
destroying them, which amounted to the same thing, so long as they were
irretrievably lost.

We can understand now something of the eagerness with which she
listened to Jarius’ story. When he had finished all were agape with
wonder.

“Waal, I never!” exclaimed Jabez. “Who’d a-thought it?”

“And they will believe Ralph now?” asked Mary anxiously.

“They can’t help it, only we have got to prove it to them.”

“Yes, yes,” said her father. “How’ll we do that, ’Rius? It’s an orful
story to believe.”

“Let them see fer theirselves. Guess if they hed been with me they’d
a-thought somethin’ ’sides Ralph Horn was ’round movin’ that boat. But
I must catch a wink of sleep now. In the mornin’ we’ll all go down and
clear up the mystery.”

A few minutes later the light was extinguished, and the Bede family
were in slumberland, though there may be a doubt in regard to one
member. But we won’t call any names.

They were all astir early the next morning, and immediately after
breakfast Jarius spread the news of his discovery.

It required no urging to get half a dozen to accompany him to the lake,
besides the three Bede boys.

To the surprise even of Jarius, the boat he had seen leave the shore so
mysteriously the night before was nowhere to be seen either upon the
lake or on the shores.

The other two were just as they had been left.

“Let’s put one of them jest where the runaway was and then watch it.”

The idea was acted upon, and the entire party withdrew into the cover
of the growth to await the result.

A long, tedious watch followed, but to the disappointment of all, as
well as the chagrin of Jarius, the boat remained as motionless as a
rock. Not a first move was noticed.

“Wait a leetle longer,” whispered the puzzled Jarius; “I thought I seed
it wink jest a bit then.”

Half an hour passed, and still the object of their vain watch had not
been seen to stir.

“It’s cur’us,” muttered the leader; “but that other took an orful long
time to start. Why I was here nigh ’bout six hours all told.”

“Mebbe it has to be night for it to move,” suggested one.

Be that the case or not, they watched until noon, when they abandoned
the fruitless task, and the mystery of the missing boats was more
unfathomable than ever.

Some vented their disappointment upon Jarius Bede, and others were
silent, not knowing what to say.

Jarius was completely dumfounded, and well he might be.

“Tan’t any use to watch longer,” growled one. “We’ve been a set of
fools. The idea of a boat’s moving! Jarius is mad, and we are fools.
Come, we shall be the laughing-stock of all who hear of it. I’ll bet my
gun Jarius got us down here on purpose for some game. If I thought he
had----” and a latent look shone in his flashing eyes.

Jarius did not reply. He had enough to think of besides. Dropping upon
his knees, he looked the boat over and over, and around it. He moved
it, but it lay a dead weight upon the earth.

“It’s queer,” he muttered. “I can swear to what I saw with my own eyes,
but I don’t understand it.”

He had regained his feet, and was about to leave the place, when
suddenly something seemed to catch his attention and hold it.

Pointing to the edge of the water a moment later, he exclaimed:

“Look there, boys! See that sand move! There’s something under it! I--I
have diskivered the mystery!”

Seizing one of the boat’s paddles, Jarius quickly cleared away the sand
where he had seen it move, when a large turtle was disclosed to their
gaze.

Upon further search another was found buried deeper than its mate.

“Waal, waal, it’s plain as daylight now. They were under that boat and
moved it! T’others were moved in the same way. But we didn’t get this
one over the critters.”

“Who’d a-thought!” ejaculated his brother, while the others were
speechless with amazement.

“But where do they go to?” asked one, at last.

“I’ll tell yer!” cried Jarius, as a new idea suddenly entered his head;
“they drift down to the outlet and into Mad River. You know an empty
boat would fare hard there; and we an’t never looked there for them.”

Mad River found its way through a narrow, rocky defile where few had
ever penetrated, but an exploration into the wild region was rewarded
by discovering the wrecks of two boats. Though the others were never
found their disappearance was no longer a mystery.

Of course, Ralph Horn was cleared of all suspicion in the affair, and
that fall there was a happy wedding at the Bede farm. We need not tell
who the bride was, and we can’t tell of “the years of happiness that
followed,” as story-tellers are wont to say, for it was only last week
the marriage vows were spoken.



ESKIMOS TAKE TO REINDEERS.


A letter from Alaska in the New York _Sun_ recently has the following
interesting facts:

Of the twenty thousand reindeer under government supervision in Alaska
about two thousand are above the Arctic Circle where the climate is
much more severe than in their old feeding grounds in Siberia, from
which they were carried by the United States revenue cutters some years
ago. The reports of the local superintendents of reindeer herds will be
forwarded in this, the second mail to leave the Arctic this year. These
reports will show a very small increase in the herds.

The mortality among the fawns this last year was very great, owing to
the blizzards which swept over the tundras in April and May when the
fawning season was on. Newly born fawns, unable to stand up in the
blinding storms and help themselves to nourishment, froze to death by
hundreds within ten minutes after birth. Wolves and half-wolf dogs also
killed many in some of the herds.

At present the herds are kept out on the open tundra near the sea,
where there is no protection from the cutting blasts. District
Superintendent A. N. Evans has arranged to have the deer taken inland
next spring at least as far as the foothills, where the peculiar white
moss on which the creatures feed is abundant, and where there is ample
protection from the winds. It is hoped that this will save the fawns
and prevent the heavy loss of the present year being repeated.

An encouraging feature of the work here, far from markets and utterly
shut out from any considerable contact with white men, is the fact
that the native is slowly but certainly coming to recognize the great
possibilities of the reindeer industry. While every effort has been
made to give as many natives as possible an interest in the herds by
direct ownership of some of the deer, the owners of deer are still a
very small minority.

So valuable has a government apprenticeship come to be considered that
it has often been the deciding factor in determining the outcome of the
dusky love affairs. “When you get some reindeer I will be your wife,”
says the Innuit maiden with the tattooed chin. These wise young ladies
know that the ownership of deer carries with it as a usual thing three
or four years of first-class government rations and piles of cloth and
clothing which Uncle Sam throws about in the Arctic with a generous
hand. So among the natives there is developing a sort of reindeer
aristocracy quite at variance with the old democratic, communistic
ideas of the others who hold no property worth while, and who have not
been favored by the government.

As only a limited number can be appointed apprentices every year,
and thus draw government rations, many are now trying to get deer
from other natives without waiting for government favors. In this few
have succeeded, for the owners, recognizing their great value, are
running the price of female reindeer skyward. With the destruction of
the country’s game and the rising standard of life among the natives
the population will come more and more to depend upon the reindeer
industry, which will doubtless develop rapidly.

Living in a savage state of society with no other domestic animal than
the half-tamed malamoot dog, the process of teaching the Eskimo how
to take care of deer has been slow. Severe measures have had to be
resorted to in many cases to compel the natives to keep their dogs from
the deer camp.

Also it has been found difficult to prevent those who have no deer from
shooting the unfortunate animals that stray away from the herd. These
are considered legitimate prey and until recently were hunted the same
as caribou. This year, however, a great many of these stray deer have
been picked up and put back into the herds which they had deserted.

It has thus been found necessary to put the native herder through
a course of training. Those who get their deer directly from the
government serve an apprenticeship of four years. They are bound by a
written contract, the strict terms of which they cannot violate without
peril of losing their annual allotment of reindeer and suffering
discharge from the service.

During the first three years of their apprenticeship they receive in
addition to the reindeer a generous supply of food free of charge.
Cloth, clothing, traps, guns, and ammunition are also given to the
fortunate apprentice, who soon becomes a person of consequence in the
community. For these governmental favors the apprentice is supposed to
take care of his own deer and to assist in caring for the government
deer.

The work of the herder in a reindeer camp is not arduous, and seems to
be especially attractive to the carefree native. Ordinarily the deer
have a way of taking care of themselves that suits the native. Every
day an apprentice drives the herd to some feeding ground, where they
feed while the herder saunters about or hunts ptarmigan or other game
near at hand.

If the moss is poor the deer may feed for six hours, at the end of
which time they are driven back to the vicinity of the camp and allowed
to remain there until the next feeding time, while the ease-loving
servants of the government sleep or whittle fine old ivory into
curios to be traded off on the ships for the tobacco which Uncle Sam
overlooked in ordering the shiploads of supplies which annually find
their way to the reindeer camps of Alaska.

True, there is other work to be done. Every spring along comes fawning
season, and the deer herders have to stand watch day and night by
turns. Now and then the long, wild note of the Arctic wolf is heard
through the midwinter gloom and a constant watch must be kept by
well-armed men. The repeating rifle made wolves so scarce, however,
that dogs are by far the greatest source of danger.

It seems utterly impossible to train the malamoot dog to herd deer. At
sight of a deer the tamest malamoot becomes as uncontrollable as though
he had never known human restraint and were once more a plain wolf.

Besides guarding the herd occasionally from these dangers, there are
sled deer to be trained, and every June there is a kind of round-up,
when the young fawns are marked, along with all deer that have changed
owners during the year. In the ear of each government deer a little
aluminum button is riveted securely, but all private owners and herders
have a mark which must be registered with the local superintendent and
also at Washington. This mark is made by cutting the ear.

So far the native in the Far North has made almost no use of the
wonderfully rich milk of the reindeer. This milk, which is as white
as the Arctic snows, is at least ninety per cent. cream. In fact, it
is practically all a rich, snow-white, sugary cream. It is the most
nourishing milk in the world, but the government has so far supplied
the camps with condensed milk, and the herders have preferred opening
cans to milking deer.

Unlike the Laplander, the Eskimo does not make a pet of his favorite
deer. When he wants to milk her she is lassoed and thrown down. When
her legs are carefully tied with walrus skin strings and her horns are
safely held by some stout friend, the process of milking begins. When
the last drop is extracted the highly indignant animal is unlashed and
allowed to get up and go about her business.

Sometimes a horn is knocked off or a leg broken before the struggling
reindeer understands that she is to be milked and not branded or
butchered. Under the circumstances the dairying feature of Arctic life
is not very prominent, and the milkmaid’s song is not welcomed by the
wise little animals that have undergone the torture of one milking.

       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

DIAMOND DICK WEEKLY

The heroes of the stories published in this weekly are dear to the
hearts of 60,000 boys. Diamond Dick is a splendid Western character.
=High art colored covers. Thirty-two big pages. Price, 5 cents.=

676--Diamond Dick’s Great Round-up; or, The End of the Reign of Terror.

677--Diamond Dick’s Buccaneer Boy; or, The Ship of the Burning Sands.

678--Diamond Dick’s Encouragement; or, A Runaway Boy at the Haunted
Ranch.

679--Diamond Dick’s Shadow Dance; or, The Hunting of Grisly White.

680--Diamond Dick in Arizona; or, The Mystery of the Missing President.

681--Diamond Dick’s Power; or, The Affair on the Road from Flagstaff.

682--Diamond Dick Solves a Mystery; or, On the Trail of Job.

683--Diamond Dick in the Colorado Cañon; or, Frank’s Sight of Another
World.

684--Diamond Dick on the Farm; or, The Mission of the Strangers.

685--Diamond Dick and the Dummy Deacon; or, On a Silent Trail.

686--Diamond Dick’s Chase; or, On the Track of Charlie.

       *       *       *       *       *

BRAVE AND BOLD WEEKLY

All kinds of stories that boys like. The biggest and best nickel’s
worth ever offered. =High art colored covers. Thirty-two big pages.
Price, 5 cents.=

352--Right on Top; or, Yankee to the Backbone. By Cornelius Shea.

353--A Clue from Nowhere; or, On a Phantom Trail. By Harrie Irving
Hancock.

354--Never Give Up; or, Harry Holton’s Resolve. By John L. Douglas.

355--Comrades Under Castro; or, Young Engineers in Venezuela. By Victor
St. Clair.

356--The Silent City; or, Strange Adventures in an Unknown Country. By
Fred Thorpe.

357--Gypsy Joe; or, The Young Nomad’s Triumph. By John De Morgan.

358--From Rocks to Riches; or, The Copper Coterie. By John L. Douglas.

359--Diplomat Dave; or, A Young Reporter on the Firing Line. By Harrie
Irving Hancock.

360--Yankee Grit; or, With Stanley in “Darkest Africa.” By Harrie
Irving Hancock.

361--The Tiger’s Claws; or, Out with the Mad Mullah. By Weldon J. Cobb.

362--A Taxicab Tangle; or, The Mission of the Motor Boys. By Stanley R.
Matthews.

363--A Hoodoo Machine; or, The Motor Boys’ Runabout No. 1313. By the
author of “A Taxicab Tangle.”

_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,  “  ..............................

  _Name_............................

  _Street_..........................

  _City_......................._State_..............

       *       *       *       *       *

BRAVE AND BOLD WEEKLY

ISSUED EVERY WEDNESDAY BEAUTIFUL COLORED COVERS

If the boys of ten or fifteen years ago could have secured such
thoroughly good adventure stories, of such great length, at five cents
per copy, the =Brave and Bold Weekly=, had it been published then,
would have had ten times its present large circulation. You see, in
those days, stories of the quality of those now published in the =Brave
and Bold Weekly= were bound in cloth covers or else published little by
little in boys’ serial papers, under which circumstances each story was
paid for at the rate of one dollar or more.

Now we give the boys of America the opportunity of getting the same
stories and better ones for five cents. Do you not think it is a rare
bargain? Just buy any one of the titles listed below and read it; you
will not be without =Brave and Bold= afterward. Each story is complete
in itself and has no connection whatever with any story that was
published either before or after it.

We give herewith a list of all of the back numbers in print. You can
have your newsdealer order them or they will be sent direct by the
publishers to any address upon receipt of the price in money or postage
stamps.

50--Labor’s Young Champion.

53--The Crimson Cross.

56--The Boat Club.

62--All Aboard.

65--Slow and Sure.

66--Little by Little.

67--Beyond the Frozen Seas.

69--Saved from the Gallows.

70--Checkmated by a Cadet.

73--Seared With Iron.

74--The Deuce and the King of Diamonds.

75--Now or Never.

76--Blue-Blooded Ben.

77--Checkered Trails.

78--Figures and Faith.

79--The Trevalyn Bank Puzzle.

80--The Athlete of Rossville.

81--Try Again.

82--The Mysteries of Asia.

83--The Frozen Head.

84--Dick Danforth’s Death Charm.

85--Burt Allen’s Trial.

89--The Key to the Cipher.

90--Through Thick and Thin.

91--In Russia’s Power.

92--Jonah Mudd, the Mascot of Hoodooville.

96--The Fortunes of a Foundling.

97--The Hunt for the Talisman.

98--Mystic Island.

99--Capt. Startle.

100--Julius, the Street Boy.

101--Shanghaied.

102--Luke Jepson’s Treachery.

103--Tangled Trails.

106--Fred Desmond’s Mission.

107--Tom Pinkney’s Fortune.

108--Detective Clinket’s Investigations.

109--In the Depths of the Dark Continent.

110--Barr, the Detective.

111--A Bandit of Costa Rica.

112--Dacy Dearborn’s Difficulties.

113--Ben Folsom’s Courage.

114--Daring Dick Goodloe’s Apprenticeship.

115--Bowery Bill, the Wharf Rat.

117--Col. Mysteria.

118--Electric Bob’s Sea Cat.

119--The Great Water Mystery.

120--The Electric Train in the Enchanted Valley.

122--Lester Orton’s Legacy.

123--The Luck of a Four-Leaf Clover.

124--Dandy Rex.

125--The Mad Hermit of the Swamps.

126--Fred Morden’s Rich Reward.

127--In the Wonderful Land of Hez.

128--Stonia Stedman’s Triumph.

129--The Gypsy’s Legacy.

130--The Rival Nines of Bayport.

131--The Sword Hunters.

132--Nimble Dick, the Circus Prince.

134--Dick Darrel’s Vow.

135--The Rival Reporters.

136--Nick o’ the Night.

137--The Tiger Tamer.

138--Jack Kenneth at Oxford.

139--The Young Fire Laddie.

140--Dick Oakley’s Adventures.

141--The Boy Athlete.

142--Lance and Lasso.

143--New England Nick.

144--Air-Line Luke.

145--Marmaduke, the Mustanger.

146--The Young Desert Rovers.

147--At Trigger Bar.

148--Teddy, from Taos.

149--Jigger and Ralph.

150--Milo, the Animal King.

151--Over Many Seas.

152--Messenger Max, Detective.

153--Limerick Larry.

154--Happy Hans.

155--Colorado, the Half-Breed.

156--The Black Rider.

157--Two Chums.

158--Bantam Bob.

159--“That Boy, Checkers.”

160--Bound Boy Frank.

161--The Brazos Boy.

162--Battery Bob.

163--Business Bob.

164--An Army Post Mystery.

165--The Lost Captain.

166--Never Say Die.

167--Nature’s Gentleman.

168--The African Trail.

169--The Border Scouts.

170--Secret Service Sam.

171--Double-bar Ranch.

172--Under Many Suns.

173--Moonlight Morgan.

174--The Girl Rancher.

175--The Panther Tamer.

176--On Terror Island.

177--At the Double X Ranch.

179--Warbling William.

180--Engine No. 13.

181--The Lost Chief.

182--South-paw Steve.

183--The Man of Fire.

184--On Sampan and Junk.

185--Dick Hardy’s School Scrapes.

186--Cowboy Steve.

187--Chip Conway’s White Clue.

188--Tracked Across Europe.

189--Cool Colorado.

190--Captain Mystery.

191--Silver Sallie.

192--The Ranch Raiders.

193--A Baptism of Fire.

194--The Border Nomad.

195--Mark Mallory’s Struggle.

196--A Strange Clue.

197--Ranch Rob.

198--The Electric Wizard.

199--Bob, the Shadow.

200--Young Giants of the Gridiron.

201--Dick Ellis, the Nighthawk Reporter.

202--Pete, the Breaker Boy.

203--Young Maverick, the Boy from Nowhere.

204--Tom, the Mystery Boy.

205--Footlight Phil.

206--The Sky Smugglers.

207--Bart Benner’s Mine.

208--The Young Ranchman.

209--Bart Benner’s Cowboy Days.

210--Gordon Keith in Java.

211--Ned Hawley’s Fortune.

212--Under False Colors.

213--Bags, the Boy Detective.

214--On the Pampas.

215--The Crimson Clue.

216--At the Red Horse.

217--Rifle and Rod.

218--Pards.

219--Afloat with a Circus.

220--Wide Awake.

221--The Boy Caribou Hunters.

222--Westward Ho.

223--Mark Graham.

225--“O. K.”

226--Marooned in the Ice.

227--The Young Filibuster.

228--Jack Leonard, Catcher.

229--Cadet Clyde Connor.

230--The Mark of a Thumb.

231--Set Adrift.

232--In the Land of the Slave Hunters.

233--The Boy in Black.

234--A Wonder Worker.

235--The Boys of the Mountain Inn.

236--To Unknown Lands.

237--Jocko, the Talking Monkey.

238--The Rival Nines.

239--Engineer Bob.

240--Among the Witch-doctors.

241--Dashing Tom Bexar.

242--Lion-hearted Jack.

243--In Montana’s Wilds.

244--Rivals of the Pines.

245--Roving Dick, the Chauffeur.

246--Cast Away in the Jungle.

247--The Sky Pilots.

248--A Toss-up for Luck.

249--A Madman’s Secret.

250--Lionel’s Pluck.

251--The Red Wafer.

252--The Rivals of Riverwood.

253--Jolly Jack Jolly.

254--A Jay from Maine.

255--Hank, the Hustler.

256--At War with Mars.

257--Railroad Ralph.

258--Gordon Keith, Magician.

259--Lucky-stone Dick.

260--“Git Up and Git.”

261--Up-to-date.

262--Gordon Keith’s Double.

263--The Golden Harpoon.

264--Barred Out.

265--Bob Porter’s Schooldays.

266--Gordon Keith, Whaler.

267--Chums at Grandcourt.

268--Partners Three.

269--Dick Derby’s Double.

270--Gordon Keith, Lumber-jack.

271--Money to Spend.

272--Always on Duty.

273--Walt, the Wonder-Worker.

274--Far Below the Equator.

275--Pranks and Perils.

276--Lost in the Ice.

277--Simple Simon.

278--Among the Arab Slave Raiders.

279--The Phantom Boy.

280--Round-the-World Boys.

281--Nimble Jerry, the Young Athlete.

282--Gordon Keith, Diver Detective.

283--In the Woods.

284--Track and Trestle.

285--The Prince of Grit.

286--The Road to Fez.

287--Engineer Tom.

288--Winning His Way.

289--Life-line Larry.

290--Dick Warren’s Rise.

292--Two Tattered Heroes.

293--A Slave for a Year.

294--The Gilded Boy.

295--Bicycle and Gun.

296--Ahead of the Show.

297--On the Wing.

298--The Thumb-print Clue.

299--Bootblack Bob.

300--A Mascot of Hoodooville.

301--Slam, Bang & Co.

302--Frank Bolton’s Chase.

303--In Unknown Worlds.

304--Held for Ransom.

305--Wilde & Woolley.

306--The Young Horseman.

307--Through the Air to Fame.

308--The Double-faced Mystery.

309--A Young West Pointer.

310--Merle Merton’s Schooldays.

311--Double-quick Dan.

312--Louis Stanhope’s Success.

313--Down-East Dave.

314--The Young Marooners.

315--Runaway and Rover.

316--The House of Fear.

317--Bert Chipley On Deck.

318--Compound Interest.

319--On His Mettle.

320--The Tattooed Boy.

321--Madcap Max, the Boy Adventurer.

322--Always to the Front.

323--Caught in a Trap.

324--For Big Money.

325--Muscles of Steel.

326--Gordon Keith in Zululand.

327--The Boys’ Revolt.

328--The Mystic Isle.

329--A Million a Minute.

330--Gordon Keith Under African Skies.

331--Two Chums Afloat.

332--In the Path of Duty.

333--A Bid for Fortune.

334--A Battle with Fate.

335--Three Brave Boys.

336--Archie Atwood, Champion.

337--Dick Stanhope Afloat.

338--Working His Way Upward.

339--The Fourteenth Boy.

340--Among the Nomads.

341--Bob, the Acrobat.

342--Through the Earth.

343--The Boy Chief.

344--Smart Alec.

345--Climbing Up.

346--Comrades Three.

347--A Young Snake-Charmer.

348--Checked Through to Mars.

349--Fighting the Cowards.

350--The Mud-River Boys.

351--Grit and Wit.

352--Right on Top.

353--A Clue from Nowhere.

354--Never Give Up.

355--Comrades Under Castro.

356--The Silent City.

357--Gypsy Joe.

358--From Rocks to Riches.

359--Diplomat Dave.

360--Yankee Grit.

361--The Tiger’s Claws.

362--A Taxicab Tangle.

363--A Hoodoo Machine.

364--Pluck Beats Luck.

365--Two Young Adventurers.

366--The Roustabout Boys.

=Price, Five Cents per Copy.= If you want any back numbers of our
weeklies and cannot procure them from your newsdealer, they can be
obtained direct from this office. Postage stamps taken the same as
money.

=STREET & SMITH, PUBLISHERS, 79-89 SEVENTH AVE., NEW YORK CITY=

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in
the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have
been corrected.





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