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The daughter of anderson crow

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Title:TheDaughterofAndersonCrow
Author:GeorgeBarrMcCutcheon
ReleaseDate:January27,2005[eBook#14818]
Language:English
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AndersonCrow



THEDAUGHTER
OFANDERSONCROW
BY


GEORGEBARRMCCUTCHEON
Authorof
BeverlyofGraustark,JaneCable,etc.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSBY

B.MARTINJUSTICE


NewYork
Dodd,MeadandCompany

1907


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. ANDERSONCROW,DETECTIVE
II. THEPURSUITBEGINS
III. THECULPRITS
IV. ANDERSONRECTIFIESANERROR
V. THEBABEONTHEDOORSTEP
VI. REFLECTIONANDDEDUCTION
VII. THEMYSTERIOUSVISITOR
VIII. SOMEYEARSGOBY
IX. THEVILLAGEQUEEN
X. ROSALIEHASPLANSOFHEROWN
XI. ELSIEBANKS
XII. THESPELLING-BEE
XIII. ATINKLETOWNSENSATION
XIV. ACASEOFMISTAKENIDENTITY
XV. ROSALIEDISAPPEARS
XVI. THEHAUNTEDHOUSE
XVII. WICKERBONNER,HARVARD
XVIII. THEMENINTHESLEIGH


XIX. WITHTHEKIDNAPERS
XX. INTHECAVE
XXI. THETRAP-DOOR
XXII. JACK,THEGIANTKILLER
XXIII. TINKLETOWN'SCONVULSION
XXIV. THEFLIGHTOFTHEKIDNAPERS
XXV. ASTHEHEARTGROWSOLDER
XXVI. THELEFTVENTRICLE
XXVII. THEGRINDERISIVE
XXVIII. THEBLINDMAN'SEYES


XXIX. THEMYSTERIOUSQUESTIONER
XXX. THEHEMISPHERETRAINROBBERY
XXXI. "ASYOULIKEIT"
XXXII. THELUCKOFANDERSONCROW
XXXIII. BILLBRIGGSTELLSATALE
XXXIV. ELSIEBANKSRETURNS
XXXV. THESTORYISTOLD
XXXVI. ANDERSONCROW'SRESIGNATION


ILLUSTRATIONS
AndersonCrow(Frontispiece)
"'Safeforaminuteortwoatleast,'hewhispered"
"Ababy,aliveandwarm,laypackedintheblankets"
"SeptemberbroughtElsieBanks"
"Theteacherwasamazinglyprettyonthiseventfulnight"
"'Whatisthemeaningofallthis?'"
Thehauntedhouse
WickerBonner
"Rosaliewasnomatchforthehugewoman"
"Sheshrankbackfromanotherblowwhichseemedimpending"
"Lefttheyoungmantothecareofanexcellentnurse"
"'IthinkIunderstand,Rosalie'"
"'Ibegyourpardon,'hesaidhumbly'"
"Itwasawise,discreetoldoak"
"Thehugeautomobilehadstruckthewashout"


THEDAUGHTEROFANDERSON
CROW


CHAPTERI
AndersonCrow,Detective
Hewasimposing,eveninhispensiveness.Therewasnodenyingthefactthathe
was an important personage in Tinkletown, and to the residents of Tinkletown
that meant a great deal, for was not their village a perpetual monument to the
AmericanRevolution?Eventhemostgeneralisingofhistorianswerecompelled
todevoteatleastaparagraphtothebattleofTinkletown,whilesomeofthemore
enlightenedgaveawholepageandapictureoftheconflictthatbroughtgloryto
thesleepyinhabitantswhoseancestorswereenterprisingenoughtoannihilatea
wholecompanyofBritishredcoats,onceonatime.
Notwithstanding all this, a particularly disagreeable visitor from the city once
remarked, in the presence of half a dozen descendants (after waiting twenty
minutes at the post-office for a dime's worth of stamps), that Tinkletown was
indeed a monument, but he could not understand why the dead had been left
unburied.Therewasexcellentcauseforresentment,buttheyoungmanandhis
stampswerefarawaybeforethefullforceoftheslanderpenetratedthebrainsof
thelisteners.
AndersonCrowwasasimposingandasruggedasthetallestshaftofmarblein
the little cemetery on the edge of the town. No one questioned his power and
authority,noonemisjudgedhisaltitude,andnooneoverlookedhisdignity.For
twenty-eightyearshehadservedTinkletownandhimselfinthetriplecapacityof
town marshal, fire chief and street commissioner. He had a system of
government peculiarly his own; and no one possessed the heart or temerity to
upsetit,nomatterwhatmayhavebeenthepoliticalinducements.Itwouldhave
beenliketryingtoimprovethelawsofnaturetoputanewmaninhisplace.He
had become a fixture that only dissolution could remove. Be it said, however,
thatdissolutiondidnothaveitscommonandacceptedmeaningwhenappliedto
Anderson Crow. For instance, in discoursing upon the obnoxious habits of the
town's most dissolute rake—Alf Reesling—Anderson had more than once
venturedtheopinionthat"hewascarryinghisdissolutionentirelytoofar."
And had not Anderson Crow risen to more than local distinction? Had not his
fame gone abroad throughout the land? Not only was he the Marshal of


Tinkletownatasalaryof$200ayear,buthewaspresidentoftheCountyHorsethief Detectives' Association and also a life-long delegate to the State
ConventionoftheSonsoftheRevolution.Alongthatline,letitbeadded,every
parent in Tinkletown bemoaned the birth of a daughter, because that simple
circumstanceoforiginrobbedthesociety'srosterofanewname.
AndersonCrow,attheageofforty-nine,hadaproudofficialrecordbehindhim
andaguaranteedfutureahead.Doubtlessitwasofthisthathewasthinking,as
he leaned pensively against the town hitching-rack and gingerly chewed the
bladeofwire-grasswhichdangledevenbelowthechinwhiskersthathadbeen
withhimfortwentyyears.Thefarawayexpressioninhiswatery-blueeyesgave
evidencethathewasasgreatreminiscentlyashewaspersonally.Sosuccessful
hadbeenhiscareerasalawpreserver,thatoflateyearsnoevil-doerhadhadthe
courage to ply his nefarious games in the community. The town drunkard, Alf
Reesling,seldomappearedonthestreetsinhishabitualcondition,because,ashe
dolefully remarked, he would deserve arrest and confinement for "criminal
negligence,"iffornothingelse.Themarshal'sfameasadetectivehadlongsince
escaped from the narrow confines of Tinkletown. He was well known at the
countyseat,andonnolessthanthreeoccasionshadhisnamementionedinthe
"bigcity"papersinconnectionwiththearrestofnotorioushorse-thieves.
And now the whole town was trembling with a new excitement, due to the
recognition accorded her triple official. On Monday morning he had ventured
forth from his office in the long-deserted "calaboose," resplendent in a brandnewnickel-platedstar.Bynooneverybodyintownknewthathewasagenuine
"detective,"amemberofthegreatorganisationknownastheNewYorkImperial
Detective Association; and that fresh honour had come to Tinkletown through
the agency of a post-revolution generation. The beauty of it all was that
Andersonneverlostashredofhisserenityinexplaininghowtheassociationhad
imploredhimtojoinitsforces,evengoingsofarastourgehimtocometoNew
York City, where he could assist and advise in all of its large operations. And,
moreover, he had been obliged to pay but ten dollars membership fee, besides
buyingtheblazingstarforthepaltrysumofthreedollarsandaquarter.
Everypasser-byonthisbrightspringmorningofferedarespectful"Howdy"to
Anderson Crow, whose only recognition was a slow and imposing nod of the
head. Once only was he driven to relinquish his pensive attitude, and that was
whenanimpertinentblue-bottleflyundertooktorestforabriefspelluponthe
nickel-platedstar.Neverwasblue-bottlemoreenergeticallyputtoflight.


But even as the Tinkletown Pooh-Bah posed in restful supremacy there were
rushingdownuponhimaffairsoftheepoch-makingkind.Upintheclear,lazy
skyathunderboltwaspreparingtohurlitselfintotheveryheartofTinkletown,
andattheveryheadofAndersonCrow.
Afterward it was recalled by observing citizens that just before noon—seven
minutes to twelve, in fact—a small cloud no bigger than the proverbial hand
crossed the sun hurriedly as if afraid to tarry. At that very instant a stranger
droveuptothehitching-rack,bringinghissweat-coveredhorsetoastandstillso
abruptlyinfrontofthemarshal'snosethatthatdignitary'shatfelloffbackward.
"Whoa!"cameclearlyandunmistakablyfromthelipsofthestrangerwhoheld
thereins.Halfadozenloafersonthepost-officestepswerepositivethathesaid
nothingmore,afactthatwasafterwardworthremembering.
"Here!"exclaimedAndersonCrowwrathfully."Doyouknowwhatyou'redoin',
consarnyou?"
"Ibegpardon,"everybodywithinhearingheardtheyoungmansay."Isthisthe
cityofTinkletown?"Hesaid"city,"theycouldswear,everyman'ssonofthem.
"Yes,itis,"answeredthemarshalseverely."Whatofit?"
"That'sall.Ijustwantedtoknow.Where'sthestore?"
"Whichstore?"quitecrossly.Thestrangerseemednonplussedatthis.
"Haveyoumorethan—oh,tobesure.Ishouldsay,whereistheneareststore?"
apologisedthestranger.
"Well, this is a good one, I reckon," said Mr. Crow laconically, indicating the
post-officeandgeneralstore.
"WillyoubegoodenoughtoholdmyhorsewhileIruninthereforaminute?"
calmlyaskedthenewarrivalintown,springinglightlyfromthemud-spattered
buggy. Anderson Crow almost staggered beneath this indignity. The crowd
gasped,andthenwaitedbreathlesslyforthewitheringprocess.
"Why—why, dod-gast you, sir, what do you think I am—a hitchin'-post?"
explodedonthelipsofthenewdetective.Hisfacewasflamingred.
"You'llhavetoexcuseme,mygoodman,butIthoughtIsawahitching-rackasI
drove up. Ah, here it is. How careless of me. But say, I won't be in the store


morethanasecond,anditdoesn'tseemworthwhiletotietheoldcrow-bait.If
you'lljustwatchhim—orher—foraminuteI'llbegreatlyobliged,and—"
"Watchyourownhorse,"roaredthemarshalthunderously.
"Don't get huffy," cried the young man cheerily. "It will be worth a quarter to
you."
"DoyouknowwhoIam?"demandedAndersonCrow,purpletotherootsofhis
goatee.
"Yes,sir;Iknowperfectlywell,butIrefusetogiveitaway.Here,takethebit,
old chap, and hold Dobbin for about a minute and half," went on the stranger
ruthlessly;andbeforeAndersonCrowknewwhathadhappenedhewasactually
holdingthepantingnagbythebit.Theyoungmanwentupthestepsthreeata
time, almost upsetting Uncle Gideon Luce, who had not been so spry as the
othersinclearingthewayforhim.Thecrowdhadampletimeinwhichtostudy
theface,apparelandmannerofthisenergeticyoungman.
Thathewasfromthecity,good-lookingandwelldressed,therewasnodoubt.
He was tall and his face was beardless; that much could be seen at a glance.
Somehow, he seemed to be laughing all the time—a fact that was afterward
recalledwithsomesurpriseandnolittlehorror.Atthetime,theloungersthought
his smile was a merry one, but afterward they stoutly maintained there was
downright villainy in the leer. His coat was very dusty, proving that he had
drivenfarandswiftly.Threeorfouroftheloungersfollowedhimintothestore.
He was standing before the counter over which Mr. Lamson served his sodawater. In one hand he held an envelope and in the other his straw hat. George
Ray,moreobservantthantherest,tooknoteofthefactthatitwaswiththehat
thathewasfanninghimselfvigorously.
"Aplainvanilla—pleaserushitalong,"commandedthestranger.Mr.Lamson,if
possible slower than the town itself, actually showed unmistakable signs of
acceleration.Tossingoffthesoda,thestrangerdriedhislipswithablue-hemmed
whitehandkerchief."Isthisthepost-office?"heasked.
"Yep,"saidMr.Lamson,whowastoopenurioustowastewords.
"Anythinghereforme?"demandedthenewcomer.
"I'llsee,"saidthepostmaster,andfromforceofhabitbeganlookingthroughthe
pile of letters without asking the man's name. Mr. Lamson knew everybody in


thecounty.
"Nothinghere,"takingoffhisspectaclesconclusively.
"I didn't think there was," said the other complacently. "Give me a bottle of
witchhazel,apackageofinvisiblehair-pinsandaboxofparlormatches.Quick;
I'minahurry!"
"Didyousayhat-pins?"
"No,sir;Isaidhair-pins."
"Wehaven'tanythatain'tvisible.Howwouldsafety-pinsdo?"
"Nevermind;givemethebottleandthematches,"saidtheother,glancingata
veryhandsomegoldwatch."Istheoldmanstillholdingmyhorse?"hecalledto
a citizen near the door. Seven necks stretched simultaneously to accommodate
him,andsevenvoicesansweredintheaffirmative.Thestrangercalmlyopened
theboxofmatches,filledhissilvermatch-safe,andthenthrewtheboxbackon
the counter, an unheard-of piece of profligacy in those parts. "Needn't mind
wrappingupthebottle,"hesaid.
"Don'tyoucareforthesematches?"askedMr.Lamsoninmildsurprise.
"I'lldonatethemtothechurch,"saidtheother,tossingacoinuponthecounter
and dashing from the store. The crowd ebbed along behind him. "Gentle as a
lamb,isn'the?"hecalled toAndersonCrow,whostillclutchedthebit."Much
obliged,sir;I'lldoasmuchforyousomeday.Ifyou'reeverinNewYork,hunt
me up and I'll see that you have a good time. What road do I take to Crow's
Cliff?"
"Turntoyourlefthere,"saidAndersonCrowbeforehethought.Thenhecalled
himselfafoolforbeingsoobligingtothefellow.
"Howfarisitfromhere?"
"Mile and a half," again answered Mr. Crow helplessly. This time he almost
sworeunderhisbreath.
"Buthecan'tgetthere,"volunteeredoneofthebystanders.
"Whycan'the?"demandedthemarshal.
"BridgeoverTurnipCreekiswashedout.Didyouforgetthat?"


"Ofcoursenot,"promptlyrepliedMr.Crow,whohadforgottenit;"But,dangit,
hec'nswim,can'the?"
"Yousaythebridgeisgone?"askedthestranger,visiblyexcited.
"Yes,andthecrick'stoohightoford,too."
"Well,howinthunderamItogettoCrow'sCliff?"
"There's another bridge four miles upstream. It's still there," said George Ray.
AndersonCrowhadscornfullywashedhishandsoftheaffair.
"Confoundtheluck!Ihaven'ttimetodrivethatfar.Ihavetobethereathalf-past
twelve.I'mlatenow!Istherenowaytogetacrossthismiserablecreek?"Hewas
inthebuggynow,whipinhand,andhiseyesworeananxiousexpression.Some
ofthemenvowedlaterthathepositivelylookedfrightened.
"There'safoot-loghighanddry,andyoucanwalkacross,butyoucan'tgetthe
horseandbuggyover,"saidoneofthemen.
"Well, that's just what I'll have to do. Say, Mr. Officer, suppose you drive me
downtothecreekandthenbringthehorsebackheretoaliverystable.I'llpay
youwellforit.ImustgettoCrow'sCliffinfifteenminutes."
"I'mnoerrant-boy!"criedAndersonCrowsowrathfullythattwoorthreeboys
snickered.
"You'readarnedoldcrank,that'swhatyouare!"exclaimedthestrangerangrily.
Everybodygasped,andMr.Crowstaggeredbackagainstthehitching-rail.
"Seehere,youngman,noneo'that!"hesputtered."Youcan'ttalkthatwaytoan
officerofthelaw.I'll—"
"Youwon'tdoanything,doyouhearthat?ButifyouknewwhoIamyou'dbe
doing something blamed quick." A dozen men heard him say it, and they
remembereditwordforword.
"You go scratch yourself!" retorted Anderson Crow scornfully. That was
supposedtobeaterriblechallenge,butthestrangertooknonoticeofit.
"What am I to do with this horse and buggy?" he growled, half to himself. "I
bought the darned thing outright up in Boggs City, just because the liveryman
didn'tknowmeandwouldn'tletmearig.NowIsupposeI'llhavetotaketheold


plugdowntothecreekanddrownhiminordertogetridofhim."
Nobodyremonstrated.Helookedabitdangerouswithhisbroadshouldersand
squarejaw.
"What will you give me for the outfit, horse, buggy, harness and all? I'll sell
cheapifsomeonemakesaquickoffer."Thebystanderslookedatoneanother
blankly, and at last the concentrated gaze fell upon the Pooh-Bah of the town.
Thecaseseemedtobeonethatcalledforhisattention;truly,itdidnotlooklike
publicproperty,thisastoundingproposition.
"Whatyousodernedanxioustosellfor?"demandedAndersonCrow,listening
fromadistancetoseeifhecoulddetectablemishinthehorse'sbreathinggear.
Ataglance,thebuggylookedsafeenough.
"I'm anxious to sell for cash," replied the stranger; and Anderson was floored.
The boy who snickered this time had cause to regret it, for Mr. Crow arrested
himhalfanhourlaterforcarryingabean-shooter."Ipaidahundreddollarsfor
the outfit in Boggs City," went on the stranger nervously. "Some one make an
offer—andquick!I'minarush!"
"I'llgivefivedollars!"saidoneoftheonlookerswithanapologeticlaugh.This
was the match that started fire in the thrifty noddles of Tinkletown's best
citizens.Beforetheyknewittheywerebiddingagainsteachotherwiththetrue
"horse-swapping"instinct,andtheoffershadreached$21.25whenthestranger
unceremoniouslyclosedthesalebycryingout,"Sold!"Thereisnotellinghow
highthebidsmighthavegoneifhecouldhavewaitedhalfanhourorso.Uncle
GideonLuceafterwardsaidthathecouldhavehadtwenty-fourdollars"justas
well as not." They were bidding up a quarter at a time, and no one seemed
willingtodropout.ThesuccessfulbidderwasAndersonCrow.
"Youcanpaymeaswedrivealong.Jumpin!"criedthestranger,lookingathis
watchwithconsiderableagitation."AllIaskisthatyoudrivemetothefoot-log
thatcrossesthecreek."


CHAPTERII
ThePursuitBegins
FifteenminuteslaterAndersonCrowwasparadingproudlyaboutthetown.He
hadtakenthestrangertothecreekandhadseenhimscurryacrossthelogtothe
oppositeside,suppliedwithdirectionsthatwouldleadhimtothenearestroute
throughtheswampsandtimberlandtoCrow'sCliff.ThestrangerhadAnderson's
moneyinhispocket;butAndersonhadaveryrespectablesortofdrivingoutfit
toshowforit.Hiswifekeptdinnerforhimuntiltwoo'clock,andthensentthe
youngest Crow out to tell her father that he'd have to go hungry until suppertime.
ItisnowonderthatAndersonfailedtoreachhomeintimeforthemiddaymeal.
He started home properly enough, but what progress could he make when
everybodyintownstoppedhimtoinquireabouttheremarkabledealandtohave
a look at the purchase. Without a single dissenting voice, Tinkletown said
Andersonhadverymuchthe"bestofthebargain."GeorgeRaymeantallright
when he said, "A fool for luck," but he was obliged to explain thoroughly the
witticismbeforetheproudMr.Crowcouldconsiderhimselfappeased.
ItwasnotuntilhepulledupinfrontoftheWeeklyBannerestablishmenttotell
the reporter "the news" that his equanimity received its first jar. He was quite
proudofthedeal,and,moreover,heenjoyedseeinghisnameinthepaper.Inthe
meantimealmosteverybodyinTinkletownwasdiscussingtheawfulprofligacy
of the stranger. It had not occurred to anybody to wonder why he had been in
suchahurrytoreachCrow'sCliff,awild,desolatespotdowntheriver.
"Thehossaloneisworthfiftydollarseasy,"volunteeredMr.Crowtriumphantly.
Thedetective'sbadgeonhisinflatedchestseemedtosparklewithglee.
"Say, Anderson, isn't it a little queer that he should sell out so cheap?" asked
HarrySquires,thelocalreporterandpressfeeder.
"What'sthat?"demandedAndersonCrowsharply.
"Doyouthinkit'sreallytruethatheboughtthenagupatBoggsCity?"askedthe
sceptic.Mr.Crowwallowedhisquidoftobaccohelplesslyforaminuteortwo.


Hecouldfeelhimselfturningpale.
"Hesaidso;ain'tthatenough?"hemanagedtobluster.
"Itseemstohavebeen,"repliedHarry,whohadgonetonightschoolinAlbany
fortwoyears.
"Well,whatinthunderareyoutalkingaboutthen?"exclaimedAndersonCrow,
whippingup.
"I'llbetthreedollarsit'sastolenoutfit!"
"YougotoHalifax!"shoutedAnderson,buthisheartwascold.Somethingtold
himthatHarrySquireswasright.Hedrovehomeinastateofdireuncertainty
anddistress.Somehow,hisenthusiasmwasgone.
"Dangit!"hesaid,withoutreason,ashewasunhitchingthehorseinthebarnlot.
"Hey, Mr. Crow!" cried ashrillvoicefromthestreet.Helookedup andsawa
smallboycomingontherun.
"What'sup,Toby?"askedMr.Crow,alla-tremble.Heknew!
"They just got a telephone from Boggs City," panted the boy, "down to the
Banner office. Harry Squires says for you to hurry down—buggy and all. It's
beenstole."
"Good Lord!" gasped Anderson. His badge danced before his eyes and then
seemedtoshrivel.
QuiteacrowdhadcollectedattheBanneroffice.Therewasasuddenhushwhen
themarshaldroveup.Eventhehorsefelttheintensityofthemoment.Heshied
atadogandthenkickedoverthedashboard,upsettingAndersonCrow'smeagre
dignityandalmostdoingthesametothevehicle.
"You're a fine detective!" jeered Harry Squires; and poor old Anderson hated
himeverafterward.
"Whathaveyouheerd?"demandedthemarshal.
"There'sbeenaterriblemurderatBoggsCity,that'sall.Thechiefofpolicejust
telephoned to us that a farmer named Grover was found dead in a ditch just
outsideoftown—shotthrough the head,hispockets rifled. Itisknownthathe
started to town to deposit four hundred dollars hog-money in the bank. The


moneyismissing,andsoarehishorseandbuggy.Ayoungfellowwasseenin
the neighbourhood early this morning—a stranger. The chief's description
corresponds with the man who sold that rig to you. The murderer is known to
havedriveninthisdirection.Peoplesawhimgoingalmostatagallop."
It is not necessary to say that Tinkletown thoroughly turned inside out with
excitement. The whole population was soon at the post-office, and everybody
wastryingtosupplyAndersonCrowwithwits.Hehadlosthisown.
"We'vegottocatchthatfellow,"finallyresolvedthemarshal.Therewasadead
silence.
"He'sgotapistol,"venturedsomeone.
"Howdoyouknow?"demandedMr.Crowkeenly."Didy'seeit?"
"Hecouldn'tha'killedthatfeller'thoutagun."
"That's afact," agreedAndersonCrow."Well,we'vegot togethim,anyhow.I
callforvolunteers!Whowilljoinmeinthesearch?"criedthemarshalbravely.
"IhatetogotoCrow'sCliffafterhim,"saidGeorgeRay."It'salonesomeplace,
andasdarkasnight'mongthemtreesandrocks."
"It'sourdutytocatchhim.He'sacriminal,andbesides,he'skilledaman,"said
Crowseverely.
"And he has twenty-one dollars of your money," added Harry Squires. "I'll go
withyou,Anderson.I'vegotarevolver."
"Lookoutthere!"roaredAndersonCrow."Theblamedthingmightgooff!"he
addedasthereporterdrewashinysix-shooterfromhispocket.
The example set by one brave man had its influence on the crowd. A score or
more volunteered, despite the objections of their wives, and it was not long
beforeAndersonCrowwasleadinghismotleybandofsleuthsdownthelaneto
thefoot-logoverwhichthedesperadohadgoneanhourbefore.
It was at the beginning of the man-hunt that various citizens recalled certain
actions and certain characteristics of the stranger which had made them
suspicious from the start. His prodigal disposition of the box of matches
impressed most of them as reckless dare-devilism; his haste, anxiety, and a
single instance of mild profanity told others of his viciousness. One man was


sure he had seen the stranger's watch chain in farmer Grover's possession; and
another saw something black on his thumb, which he now remembered was a
powderstain.
"Inoticedallthemthings,"averredAndersonCrow,supremeoncemore.
"Butwhatinthunderdidhewantwiththosehair-pins?"inquiredGeorgeRay.
"Nevermind,"saidAndersonmysteriously."You'llfindoutsoonenough."
"DoyouknowAnderson?"someoneasked.
"OfcourseIdo,"respondedthemarshalloftily.
"Well,whatweretheyfor,then?"
"I'mnotgivin'anyclewsaway.YoujustwaitawhileandseeifI'mnotright."
And they were satisfied that the detective knew all about it. After crossing the
foot-logthepartywasdividedastowhichdirectionitshouldtake.Themarshal
saidthemanhadruntothesoutheast,butforsomeinexplicablereasonquitea
numberofthepursuerswantedtohuntforhiminthenorthwest.Finallyitwas
decidedtoseparateintopossesoften,alltoconvergeatCrow'sCliffassoonas
possible. There were enough double-barrelled shotguns in the party to have
conqueredapiratecrew.
At the end of an hour Anderson Crow and his delegation came to the narrow
pathwhichledtothesummitofCrow'sCliff.Theywereverybravebythistime.
Asmallboywastellingthemhehadseenthefugitiveaboutdinner-time"right
whereyoufellersarestandin'now."
"Didhehaveanybloodonhim?"demandedAndersonCrow.
"No,sir;not'lessitwasunderhisclothes."
"Didhesayanythin'toyou?"
"Heastmewherethispathwentto."
"Seethat,gentlemen!"criedAnderson."IknewIwasright.Hewanted—"
"Well,wheredidhego?"demandedHarrySquires.
"I said it went to the top of the clift. An' then he said, 'How do you git to the


river?'Itolehimtogodownthissidepathherean''roundthebottomofthehill."
"Didn'thegoupthecliff?"demandedthemarshal.
"No,sir."
"Well,whatinthunderdidheaskmewherethecliffwasifhe—"
"So he went to the river, eh?" interrupted Squires. "Come on, men; he went
downthroughthisbrushandbottomland."
"Hegotlost,Iguess,"volunteeredtheboy.
"What!"
"'Cause he yelled at me after he'd gone in a-ways an' ast—an' ast—" The boy
pausedirresolutely.
"Askedwhat?"
"Heastmewhereinh——thepathwas."
"Byginger,that'shim,rightoutan'out!"exclaimedMr.Crowexcitedly.
"'Nenhesaidhe'dgivemeaquarterifI'dshowhimtheway;soI—"
"Didhegiveyouthequarter?"questionedoneofthemen.
"Yep. He'd a roll of bills as big as my leg." Everybody gasped and thought of
Grover'shog-money.
"Youwenttotheriverwithhim?"interrogatedthereporter.
"Iwentasfurastheclearin',an'thenhetolemetostop.Hesaidhecouldfind
thewayfromthere.Afterthatherunupthebankasifsomeonewasafterhim.
Therewasaboatwaitin'ferhimundertheclift."
"Didhegetintoit?"criedSquires.
"He tole me not to look or he'd break my neck," said the boy. The posse
nervouslyfingereditsarsenal.
"Butyoudidlook?"
"Yep.Iseen'emplain."


"Them?Wastheremorethanone?"
"Therewasawomanintheskift."
"Youdon'tsayso!"gaspedSquires.
"Dangit,ain'thetellin'you!"Andersonejaculatedscornfully.
Theboywashurriedoffattheheadoftheposse,whichbythistimehadbeen
reinforced. He led the way through the dismal thickets, telling his story as he
went.
"She was mighty purty, too," he said. "The feller waved his hat when he seen
her,an'shewavedback.Herundownan'jumpedintheboat,an''nen—'nen—"
"Thenwhat?"explodedAndersonCrow.
"Hekissedher!"
"Thed——murderer!"roaredCrow.
"Hegrabbeduptheoarsandrowed'crossan'downstream.An'heshuckhisfist
atmewhenheseeI'dbeenwatchin',"saidtheyoungster,readytowhimpernow
thatherealisedwhatadesperatecharacterhehadbeendealingwith.
"Wheredidhelandontheotherside?"pursuedtheeagerreporter.
"Down by them willer trees, 'bout half a mile down. There's the skift tied to a
saplin'.Cain'tyouseeit?"
Sureenough,the sternofasmallboatstuckoutintothedeep,broadriver,the
bowbeinghiddenbythebushes.
"Both of 'em hurried up the hill over yender, an' that's the last I seen of 'em,"
concludedthelad.
AndersonCrowandhisman-huntersstaredhelplesslyatthebroad,swiftriver,
andthenlookedateachotherindespair.Therewasnoboatinsightexceptthe
murderer's,andtherewasnobridgewithintenmiles.
Whiletheyweregrowlingabelateddetachmentofhunterscameuptotheriver
bankgreatlyagitated.
"A telephone message has just come to town sayin' there would be a thousand


dollars reward," announced one of the late arrivals; and instantly there was an
imperativedemandforboats.
"There'sanoldraftupstreama-ways,"saidtheboy,"butIdon'tknowhowmany
itwillkerry.TheyuseittopolecornoverfromMr.Knoblock'sfarmtothembig
summerplacesinthehillsupyender."
"Isitsound?"demandedAndersonCrow.
"Mustbeortheywouldn'tuseit,"saidSquiressarcastically."Whereisit,kid?"
Theboyledthewayuptheriverbank,thewholecompanytrailingbehind.
"Sh! Not too loud," cautioned Anderson Crow. Fifteen minutes later a wobbly
craft put out to sea, manned by a picked crew of determined citizens of
Tinkletown.Whentheywereinmidstreamaloudcrycamefromthebankthey
hadleftbehind.Lookingback,AndersonCrowsawexcitedmendashingabout,
mostofthempointingexcitedlyupintothehillsacrosstheriver.Afteradiligent
searchtheeyesofthemenontheraftsawwhatitwasthathadcreatedsuchastir
atthebaseofCrow'sCliff.
"Thereheis!"criedAndersonCrowinawedtones.Therewasnomistakingthe
identityofthecoatlessmanonthehillside.Adozenmenrecognisedhimasthe
mantheywereafter.Puttinghishandstohismouth,AndersonCrowbellowedin
tonesthatsavouredmoreoffrightthancommand:
"Say!"
Therewasnoresponse.
"Willyousurrenderpeaceably?"calledthecaptainofthecraft.
Therewasamomentofindecisiononthepartofthefugitive.Helookedathis
companion,andsheshookherhead—theyallsawherdoit.
Thenheshoutedbackhisreply.


Thenheshoutedbackhisreply


CHAPTERIII
TheCulprits
"Shipahoy!"shoutedthecoatlessstrangerbetweenhispalms.
"Surrenderorwe'llfillyoufulloflead!"calledAndersonCrow.
"Who are you—pirates?" responded the fugitive with a laugh that chilled the
marrowofthemenontheraft.
"I'llshowyouwhoweare!"bellowedAndersonCrow."Sendherashore,boys,
fast.Thedernedscampsha'n'tescapeus.Deaderalive,wemusthavehim."
Astheypoledtowardthebankthewomangraspedthemanbythearm,dragging
himbackamongthetrees.Itwasobservedbyallthatshewasgreatlyterrified.
Moreover,shewasexceedinglyfairtolookupon—young,beautiful,andamost
incongruouscompanionforthebloodyrascalwhohadherinhispower.Theraft
bumpedagainstthereedybank,andAndersonCrowwasthefirstmanashore.
"Comeon,boys;followme!Seethatyourgunsareallright!Straightupthehill
now, an' spread out a bit so's we can surround him!" commanded he in a high
treble.
"'Butsupposin'hesurroundsus,"pantedacautiouspursuer,halfwayupthehill.
"That's what we've got to guard against," retorted Anderson Crow. The posse
bravelysweptuptoandacrossthegreensward;butthefoxwasgone:Therewas
no sight or sound of him to be had. It is but just to say that fatigue was
responsible for the deep breath that came from each member of the pursuing
party.
"Into the woods after him!" shouted Anderson Crow. "Hunt him down like a
rat!"
Inthemeantimeacoatlessyoungmanandamostenticingyoungwomanwere
scamperingoffamongtheoaksandunderbrush,consumedbyexcitementandno
smalldegreeofapprehension.


"They really seem to be in earnest about it, Jack," urged the young woman
insistently,tooffsethissomewhatsarcasticcomments.
"Howthedickensdoyousupposetheygotontome?"hegroaned."Ithoughtthe
trackswerebeautifullycovered.Noonesuspected,I'msure."
"Itoldyou,dear,howitwouldturnout,"shecriedinapanic-strickenvoice.
"Good heavens, Marjory, don't turn against me! It all seemed so easy and so
sure,dear.Therewasn'tabreathofsuspicion.Whatarewetodo?I'llstopand
fightthewholebunchifyou'lljustletgomyarm."
"No, you won't, Jack Barnes!" she exclaimed resolutely, her pretty blue eyes
widewithalarm."Didn'tyouhearthemsaythey'dfillyoufulloflead?Theyhad
gunsandeverything.Oh,dear!oh,dear!isn'tithorrid?"
"The worst of it is they've cut us off from the river," he said miserably. "If I
could have reached the boat ahead of them they never could have caught us. I
coulddistancethatoldraftinamile."
"I know you could, dear," she cried, looking with frantic admiration upon his
broadshouldersandbrawnybarearms."Butitisoutofthequestionnow."
"Nevermind,sweetheart;don'tletitfussyouso.Itwillturnoutallright,Iknow
itwill."
"Oh,Ican'trunanyfarther,"shegaspeddespairingly.
"Poorlittlechap!Letmecarryyou?"
"Youbigninny!"
"We are at least three miles from your house, dear, and surrounded by deadly
perils.Canyouclimbatree?"
"Ican—butIwon't!"sherefusedflatly,hercheeksveryred.
"ThenIfancywe'llhavetokeeponinthismanner.It'saconfoundedshame—the
wholebusiness.JustasIthoughteverythingwasgoingsosmoothly,too.Itwas
allarrangedtoaqueen'staste—nothingwasleftundone.Brackenwastomeetus
athisuncle'sboathousedownthere,and—goodheavens,therewasashot!"
The sharp crack of a rifle broke upon the still, balmy air, as they say in the
"yellow-backs,"andthefugitiveslookedateachotherwithsuddenlyawakened


dread.
"Thefools!"gratedtheman.
"Whatdotheymean?"criedthebreathlessgirl,verywhiteintheface.
"Theyaretryingtofrightenus,that'sall.Hangit!IfIonlyknewthelayofthe
land.I'mcompletelylost,Marjory.Doyouknowpreciselywhereweare?"
"Ourhomeisofftothenorthaboutthreemiles.WearealmostoppositeCrow's
Cliff—thewildestpartofthecountry.Therearenohousesalongthispartofthe
river.Allofthesummerhousesarefartheruporontheotherside.Itistoohilly
here. There is a railroad off there about six miles. There isn't a boathouse or
fisherman'shutnearerthantwomiles.Mr.Brackenkeepshisboatatthepoint—
twomilessouth,atleast."
"Yes;that'swhereweweretohavegone—byboat.Hangitall!Whydidweever
leavetheboat?YoucanneverscramblethroughallthisbrushtoBracken'splace;
it'sallIcando.Lookatmyarms!Theyarescratchedto—"
"Oh,dear!It'sdreadful,Jack.Youpoorfellow,letme—"
"Wehaven'ttime,dearest.Bythunder,Iwouldn'thavethoseRubesheadusoff
nowforthewholecounty.Thejays!Howcouldtheyhavefoundusout?"
"Someonemusthavetold."
"ButnooneknewexcepttheBrackens,youandI.""I'llwagermyheadBracken
issayinghardthingsforfairdowntheriverthere."
"He—he—doesn'tswear,Jack,"shepanted.

"'Safeforaminuteortwoatleast,'hewhispered"
"Why, you are ready to drop! Can't you go a step farther? Let's stop here and
face'em.I'llbluff'emoutandwe'llgettoBracken'ssomeway.ButIwon'tgive
upthegame!Notforamillion!"
"Then we can't stop. You forget I go in for gymnasium work. I'm as strong as
anything,onlyI'm—I'mabitnervous.Oh,Iknewsomethingwouldgowrong!"
shewailed.Theywerenowstandingliketrappeddeerinalittlethicket,listening


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