Frank Reade, Jr.'s electric buckboard; or, Thrilling adventures in North Australia

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Frank Reade, Jr.'s electric buckboard; or, Thrilling adventures in North Australia

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Title:
Frank Reade, Jr.'s electric buckboard; or, Thrilling adventures in North Australia
Series Title:
Frank Reade library.
Creator:
Senarens, Luis, 1863-1939
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Frank Tousey
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (15 p.) 29 cm. : ;

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Inventors -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Science fiction ( lcsh )
Dime novels ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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R17-00055 ( USFLDC DOI )
r17.55 ( USFLDC Handle )
024901707 ( Aleph )
64392559 ( OCLC )

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atest and Best Stories are Published in This Librar a No. 78. { col\IPLETE.} FRANK TOUSEY. Punr.ISRER, 3! & 36 NORTH MOORE S'l'REET. NEW YORK New York, April 21, 1 89i. ISSUED WEEKLY. { } Vol. III 5 C JCNTS. Enteed according to the Act of Congress, in the y etw 189!, by FRANK TOUSEY, in the ojJice of the Libaian of Congress, at Washington, D. C Frank Reaae, Jr.' s Electric Buckboard; or, Thrilling Adventures in North Australia, By "NONAME.

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, FRA NK READE, JR. 'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. I The subscription Price of the FRANK READE LIBRARY by the year is $2 .50: $1.25 per six months, postpaid Address FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 34 and 36 North Moore Street, New York. Box 2730. Frank Reade, Jr.' s Ele6tri6 BnHkboard;' OR, T H RILLING ADVENTURES IN NORTH AUSTRALIA. By "NONAME," Author of Frank Reade, Jr., and His Electric Cruiser of the Lakes,'' Frank Reade, Jr., and His Electric Ptairie Schooner," "From Zone to Zone," "'!'he Black Range,'' etc., etc. CHAPTER I. THE ELE C 'rRIC BU CKBOARD. SouTH of the island of Timor m the Indian Ocean and very nearly npou the parallel of 12 deg. south latitude, a ship was plowing its way through a tossing sea. Smoke circled from her funnels and rising high in the a1r seemed to blend with the low lying clouds in one continuous bank of white. Upon her decks stood a number of passengers on thetr way to North Australia, the ship intending to touch at the port of Keats, just below Cape Hay. For many years numerous projects have bello established to explore Arnhem Land as the north of Australia is calle<). It was a wild and desolate country filled with pitfalls and traps for the unwary traveler. There were found the savage wild ben sts of the tropics. the deadly reptiles of the swamps, and the treacherous and murderous bushman. There were reputed rich mines in Aruhem Laud, fields so rich with the ore that it could be had for the turning up with a shovel. This report led many unwary and venturesome men to dare the perils of the wilderness for the saKe of the fortune which they hoped to so easily win. And upon the Raven, which was the name of the steamship which ran over from Java and touched at points on the coast, was a party of men who had come to brave these awful perils, to invade where many had gone and failed to return, and fully explore Arrthem Land. They had not come uuprepared nor were they men who were not thoroughly equal to their Only four in number they were, tltree white men and a negro. The leading spirit of the party was a man known and famed the world over as an inventor. Frank Reade, Jr., was his name and he bailed from Readestown, U. S. A. Noi, a man in his native land was more famous. As the inventor of the" Steam Man,'' the" Electric Horses,' "Sub marine Boat" and other famous creations be was justly celebrated. His three compaui(JDS t'IVere Barney O'Shea, an Irishman, Stanley Martin, a plucky young American, and Pomp, a faithful negro. Barney and Pomp were trusty servants of Fran!;: Reade, Jr. Martin was a young Yale student who was anxious to gain information in extensive travel. Standing upon the deck of the Raven they were engaged in eager conversation and in watching for the coast line of the Australian con tinent. "WE' ought to sight Cape Yan Diemen in an hour," declared Cap. lain Benton, who cume along at this moment, "but for this choppy sea we would have seen it before this," That is welcome news!" said Frank Reade, Jr. with a pleas:mt laugh. "We shall be glad to reach our destination!" "Amen!" cltimed in Stanl e y Martin. "It bas been expectation long deferred. But I presume we shall see wonderful thin gs eoouglt to richly repay us!" There are many wonderful things in Australia!'' declared Capt. Benton, "as you will learn after you have been there awhile. I hope you will enjo;:,: yourselves!" We hope to!'' replied Frank. I am anxious to see that Electric Buckboard of yours once put together. I am sure it must be a wonderful sight!'' 1'he Buckboard is quite machine!"' declared Frank. I feel quite sure that we shall surprise the bushmen not a little." That you will. It goes by electricity you say?" It's motive power is furnished by electric engines. But you shall see and enjoy a ride in the Electric Buckboard when we once reach shore." "I can assure you I shall be uelighted!" Then the captain moved away to another part of the ship. The Electric Buckboard was Frll.nk Reade, Jr.'s latest and greatest invention. For a long time the young bad kept in mind a trip to North Australia, and the Buckboard was designed Cor such a thing. f At tlte first thought one would wonder a little how an electric buckboard could be constructed. The buckboard proper is known to be a wagon without aprings, yet of such length or body that one's weight depending upon a single pliable board is carried without the least jar. U is much used in mountainous regions of the United States. Franll: knew that Arnuem Land was in a large part mountainous. The machine be must devise to traverse that land with then must be of a proper sort to ride smoothly over rough l a nd. The ordmary springs would admit of such jolting that the electric engines would stand a good show to get out of or,ier very soon. So Frank devised t;he Buckboard. Anu before going further in our story, let us take a look at the machine. As it stood completed in the yard of the extensive machine shops at Readestown the Buckboard was a thing of beauty perfection to gaze upon. In shape it was long and narrow, with a light hody and a canopy top. The body was made of tough and thinly rolled steel; four wheels, two in front and two in the rear, supported it. These wheels were possessed of broad and grooved tires of tougb. rubber. This made the vehicie almost noiseless upon smooth ground, even as a bicycle. There were three compartments, each having a broad seat capable of seating four people; therefore, the Buckboard could carry twelve passengers. In the forward compartment, which was near the dasher, was the electric engine and dynamos These were carefully protected by ex tra p a rtitions or s t eel. The forward seat was near the dasher, where two wheels, one for steering or :urning the forward truck, and the other for shutting off speed, were located. Here the steersman and engineer remained. And here, protruding through a loupliole in tbe dasher, was an electric dynamite gun, the invention of Frank Reade, Jr. and truly a deadly weapon. It was worked by pneumatic pressure and could throw a dynamite projectile the dtstance of fully a mile. This projectile which exploded lty impact could blow a hole in the ground deep enough to bury half a hundred men. It was truly a deadly weapon. The second compartment of the Buckboard contained stores, weap. ons and ammunitioc. The third or last compartment contained an electric stpve and all the utensils for cooking, all of which was in charge of Pomp Tbe canopy top of the vehicle was of steel, bullet proof. U iJOll all sides were lateen like curtains made to roll up or let down as the oc casion 1lemanded. These curtains were made of plates of steel and when rolled down, loopholes were displayed, through which shots coald be fired at an attacking foe. The Buckboard had been especially designed for traveling in an en amy's country. The travelers could feel safe even in the presence of an army. Thus was the exploring party equipped for the trip into the wilds of North Australi a. The Buckboard had been designed so that it could be taken apart in sections, and was now stowed safely away in the hold of the Raven. The motive :>f Frank Reade, 1r., was simply that of adventure and research. Before leaving America great excitement had been created when news of the proposed trip was circulated. This had led Stanley Martin, a plucky young Yale student, to apply to Frank Reade, Jr., for permission to accompany him. At first Frank refu8ed, but finding young Martin an agreeable com panion, he had at length consented. But before the party should be long in Australia they were destined to find a mission well worthy of their prowess. What this was suc ceeding events will show.

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.. FRANK READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. 3 Every hour now the Raven drew nearer the Australian coast. Golly!" cried Pomp, who had been straining his gaze for a sight of the Australian coctlnent, "dis chile jes' be glad fo' to set his foot on de lan' once mo'. l'se nebber gwine to lln' any mo' fault." "Bejabers, thaL's well said, naygur!" cried Barney "Yez have nade to improve yer disposition jest a bit." "Wba' am dat yo' say, l'isb!" spluttered the darky Both were warm friends, but dehguted in nagging each other. It was bard to say which one of them held the advantage in this respect. It was generally an even thing. "Yez have grown deaf if yez didn't bear that!" retorted Barney. "Sllure do yez want me to repeat it!" ".If yo\ does, I don' tak' de law in mah han's an' chastise yo' fo' sultin' a gemmen, sah!" "Whnrroo! Yez mane that! Shure av yez want a fall out av Barney O'Shea, there's no toime loike the prisint." Will yo' take back wha' yo' said, honey!" I niver take back; anything!'' Ki dar! Look out fo' vo'sef." Down went Pomp's woolly head like a battering ram. He. made a mad rush at Barney. The Celt dodged, but his foot slipped and he did not get quitefar enough out of the wav. . The darky's hcad struck him in the hips. He was tilted into the air and down h e went like a load of bricks with Pomp on top of him. But Barney got a grapevine, and the two jokers rolled o-v!lr and over upon th e deck. The result was most disastrous. In their rolling they gained the cabin stairway. Unfortunately one of the sailors had le!t a bucket of m olten tar there. It was liquid but not hot. Tl:e two wrestlers went bang against it. The ne x t moment they were covered with it. In trying to recover they w e nt over the edge aml down the stairs. J The bucket of tar went bumping after them. A ladicrous scene it w as. It was liard to tell which was the darky and which the white man. The tar caused their clothing to adhere so firmly that it required sev e r a l of the cre w to pull them apart. E v e rybody was convulsed wit h laughter but the captain, who was a n g ry to think that the t a r had been spilled upon h1s cabin stairs. However, Frank Reade, Jr., punished the jokers by compelling them to cle a n up th e tar from the stairs. The y h1id harely accomplished this when the lookout shouted : "Lund hoi" CHAPTER II AT PORT OF KEATS. IT was an exciLing cry. Instantly everybody was on deck. It was p lain that tho coast was in sight. At once the crew began to make preparations for making port at Port K e ats. The decks were made ship shape, and when the rugged promontory of Cape llay was romoed everything was in order. Keats c o uld be seen at the lower end of a fine harbor. There were a few small sailing vessels in sight. The town itself was a mere village, but romantically situated. Ae the ship ma:le the harbor a distant puff of smoke was seen and the report of a gun beard. It was a salute from the small fort, and Captain Benton answered it by shaking out the Union Jack and aoswerirrg with a small gun for. ward. Then in the deep water of the harbor the Raven cam e to anchor. Instantly the steamer was sullfounded by a legion of boats from the heavy lighter for removing cargo down to th e can:Je
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4 FRANK READK, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. bald, with tears of joy in his eyes.' "I shall pray for you. Be sure and bring Mabel Harcourt back to us safe ilnd well." "We will if we live!'' cried Stanley Martin, fervidly. "But don't forget that you have undertaken an aruuous task. ThP.se bushmen are a pectliarly bad foe to handle. They can follow the trail of a spook, and they seemed to have the miraculous power ot making themselves mvisible at will.'' "Fear not!" said Frank. "1 have trailed the American Indian who is a master of strategy." "But what if we do get killed!" cried Martin, heroically. "Life ia well lost in the cau8e of so beautiful a lady l" Just at that moment the door opened. A D1an of patrician appear anc e crossed the thresh o ld. He paused at sight of Frank and Martin. Friend Archibald, your pardon," he said, politely. "1 was unaware that you were occupied." "Harcourt!" cried the governor, joyously. "Justi the man I want ed to see. Allow me to present to you two Americau gentlemen, Mr. Frank Reade, Jr., and Mr. Mart in." The Englishman lookep surprised. What!" he exclaimed. "This is not the Mr. Reade you were tell ing me about a short while ago!" fhe same!'' replied tbe governor. "Not the owner of the famous Electric Buckboard which can anywhere at the will of the owner!'' It is n-obody else!" The greeting was a warm one. At once Frank and Stanley were frie nds with Harcourt. The bereaved father told his story over aUll over again. Frank and Martin of 'Course expressed their sympathy and assun'ld him or their co-operation. Have no f e ar, sir!'' said Frank, confidently. "If your daughter i s held for ransom no harm will !Je done her. We will be enabled to rescue her." "You will win the undying gratitude of a sorrt}wing fathert" de clared Harcourt. For Mabel is very dear to my lleart." At least you may be assured of one thing," sail! Frank, earnestly. We will do all we can to rescue her.'' I believe yon. May God bless you!'' Gov. Arcllibald now produced some rich Australian wine. All par took of it, and then the governor said: "I would like very much, Mr. Reade, to see your wonderful ma chine. Can you not show it to us?" "With the utmost pleasure," declared Frank. "My men are now engaged i(\putting it togetller down on tbe wharf. If you will come with us I tliink 1 can show you something, the like or which you have not seen before.'' We shall be delighted.'' The two men at once prepared to accompany Frank and Martin down to the wharf. Quite a crowd of the townspeople had gathered there by this time. Barney and Pomp were busily at work constructing the Buci-.."board. 'fhey were just adjusting the wheels as the ptlrty carne up. "Shure, Misther Frank, it will be all ready in tin minutes more," declared Barney. Thin yez kin be aftber takin' a ride in it." CHAPTER III. THE WARNING. BARNEY and Pomp had made quick work in pu ttiug the machine together. In ten minntes as Barnl\y had said it was complete. But of courae the stores were not yet aboard nor the ammunition. Yet the electric engines were l ll'. order : Frank stepped aboard and inspected these. Then he said to the Governor and Mr. Harcourt: "Pray step aboard and I will show you over the machine.'' The men at once complied. Their wonderment was increased, as tlley saw the interior or the Buckboard. They seated themselves upon the middle seat with Frank. Martin and Pomp sat in the rear, while Burney at the dasher handled the electrtc lever. Barney switched on the current and the Buckboard glided from the wharf out into the Its motion was as noiseless and graceful as could well be wished. Down the little street it moved. "Well, this beats all!" cried Leonard Harcourt, in wonderment. "Mr. Reade, you're the greatest gepins on earth!" "Not quite so bad as that," laughed Frank. 4 The buckboard was qutckly out of town. There was a little pass in the bills. Through this it passed and came out UPRP a boundl e s s plain Here was a goo\1 stretch and Burney let the Buckboard out for a fast run. The machine could easily run forty miles an hour on smooth surface. It now shot ajlead like a rocket. The governor and Harcourt literally !Jeld onto their seats in terror. "Whew!" exclaimed Archibald. "This suits me! I don't want to go any faster!" "Is t!Jere not sorte risk, Mr. Reade?" Frank laughed at this. "I think: not he said. By the way, Mr. Harcourt, did not von say your ranch was out this way eomewhere?" There!" cried Harcourt, pointing to a distant rise of land. "Mercy on usJ Have we come thus far in so short a space of time?" "Oh, rou have not seen the best speed of the machine yet. How far is your ranch from tile town?" I About twenty miles." Frank consulted his watch. "Well," he said, we will visit your place and !Je in time for dinner. You can then show me the ugly work of the ous hmen." I shall be delighted; but mercy on us! we shall not be absent three hours from Keats if you keep your word." I shall do it." Wlly, we !lave always considered it a day's run out here. Eh, Arch i bald?" "A fact," affirmed the governor. Ah, well, you are riding with Frank Reade, Jr., now," laughed Frank. "Hold on! here is a little pitch in we road." The machine ran on at increased speed. Just where a shallow riv e r took a wide sweep at the base of some hills was the ranch. There were evidences yet of the fire and the battle with the bush men. But the Englishman bad made good headway toward rebni,jt.ling the pl a ce. Workmen were even now busy there. A great llerd of cattle was seen ns the Buckboard rolled up to the stoc&ade gate. A number of rough-looking men were galloping about on diminutive pomes, something like our Ame rican mustangs The appe arance of the created a sensation, and all If crowded about it. But Frank was busy with tlie governor aud Mr. Harcourt. They de tailed to him in particular the attack of tile and its r e sult. Frank listened attentively, and carefully noted all tile important f a cts. This done, they returned to the Buckboard. The run back to Keats was devoid of incident. Frank kept his word and got tile party there in time for the evening mea1. In the morning," he dec)areclr "we will set out for the stronghold of Black Leon.'' "I would like to ask a favor," said Mr. Harcourt, eagerly, Frank knew what it was before the Englishman spoke further, bot he said: "Well, sir, what is it?" "That I may accompany yon!" Frank took the other's hand, &ud sai
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R1;ADE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. 5 Frank read the curious warning twice. Then he touched the bell wire. In a few moments a native servant appeared. Frank said to him: Ask your master, the governor, to come here at once. Tell him it is something or great imJ>ortance." It seemed an age to Frank before the summons was answered. There was a look of surprise in Archibald's eyes as he came in. Well, Frank," he said, do you want to see me!" ''Yes.'' "I am here!' Read this." Frank handed cuious warning. The governor read it and lhen exdairned in amazement: How did you get this!'' F,rank showed the uirk. "It was thrown thrqugh the window with this," he declared. Through window!" "Yes." Archibald looked at tlie window with horror. His face was pale. "How did they ever get into my gardtm!" he gasped. It's the bushmen. We are in great danger." In danger!" at any moment they may shoot us with their poisoned javelins. That is certain death.'' In spite or his usual hardihood Frank could not help a shiver. Have you not guards allout the place!" he asked. "Yea; but they must have them. Wait and I will alarm the guard. Search must be made. "'We are not safe a moment. Come with me!" But I prefer to stay here," said Frank, drawing a revolver. I have a quick shooter here, and if I get sight of one of tae rogues he will have to be very quick if be eludes me.'' But I beg of you!" pleaded the governor. "Do not linger her11. It is more than your life is worr.h! Gome!" Frank saw that the otber was very mucb in earnest. Believing it the best plan he obeyed. In a very short time the whole place was in ari uproar. Tile town even was arousAd. Arme droves of cattle were passed and groups of herders who looked at the machine with the keenest of wonderment. Far to the horizon line !!'rank saw the blue outlines of what bad been described to him as the Kangaroo Hills. He beaded the Buckboard strarght for them. Soon the immense farms began to fade out of sight and tile Buck board came to the real wilderness. Tile san1y arid plains now took the place or the green prairie. There were clumps of bushes at various intervals. They were in the real bush countty. Here in a region which seemed bardly capabie of supporting any form or life dwelt and reigned t .he terrible bushmen. For days one migbt travel tbrougb this desolate region and fancy himaelf the only human being. He would see not even a footprint, yet behind every bush tbere mlgbt be a lurking black foe. So stealthy, so wily, are the bushmen that their movements are bard to follow. So peculiar their methods that a travAier can be in their deatll circle for days before the fatal blow is struck. With a natural scent l

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-4. 6 FRANK READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. With their rifles and belts, the three ad venturers set out upon the bunt. It was exllilarat.lng sport. The Buckboard bad been left in o. favorable spot in the verge of the bush. The bunters took good care to mark their way so that they might not get lost. And#1us they pushed ahead. Frank bad no fears of Pomp's surety. 'l'be darky hnd pulled down the steel shutters, and in case of an attack could easily make an es cape. Wllat was more, no foe could get at him. For somewhile the three hunters pushed on through the bush. Nothing more, however, was seen of the kangaroos. But suddenly, as the party came to a small clump of palms, there was a strange shriek came from the foliage and a heavy body rusheu through it. What is it?" exclaimed Martin, in surprise. And well he might have asked the qu e stion. A huge bird, the s1ze of an ostrich sprung down from concealment. "An emu!" cried .Frank. "Look out for it!" But even as he spoke Barney fired. '!\he bullet went trae to the roark. The emu, one of the most valuable birds of plumage of the Australian '}'ilds fell in a heap. A moment later the bunters were inspecting their prize. "Mercy on us!" cried Martin; "what beautiful plumage! It can't be beat!" "Bejabers pbwat wud some of the foine in New Yorruk give fer that!'' cried Ba.rney. 1 But attention was almost instantly distracted from the emu to a new wonder which suddenly appeared. The notes of a strange bird song were beard. Suddenly there ap peared in a small open spot in the glade, a most beautiful bird. In plumage it far exceeded tbe beauty of the pe!lcock. "The lyre bird," cried Frank. "What a beautiful specimen!" My goodness!" exclaimed Stanley Martin. '' What would not a taxidermist g1ve for him? Can we not bag him?" And the young American raised his rille to take a sboL at the lyre bird. Bot Frank put a hand on his arm. Dou' t do it," saiu he. Tbe bullet will tear hi1n all to pieces." But the warning came too late. The rifle crac!;;ed and the bird tumbled over in a heap. As luck bad it, I he bullet simply crushed lls brain, instantly killing the bird without injuring the plumage. Martin was delighted with his success and carefully placed the bird in his game bag. 1 The party now pushed on in quest of the kangaroos. 'But shrewd animals !lad evidently sought safer fields. Nothing more was seen of them, but after a time tl.ie bunters came to the sandy sl.iores of a small stream. It was shallow enough to be easily waded, but the three adventur ers were not wholly prepared for this. Shall we cross?'' asked Stanley Martin. But at tba t moment a sharp cry of surprise escaped the lips of Frank Reade, Jr. He h!ld !Jalted and was ir.specting an object in the sand. What is it?" cried Stanley. Why, upon my word?" A glance was enough. It was a footprint In the sand. The three adventurers looked at it for a moment in s:ience. The footprint was large apd of a bare foot. Tl.iat it did not belong to a white mao seemed certain from the peculiar formation. "It is the footprint of a bushman!" cried Stanley Martin. "At last we are in their country!" Frank knelt down and examined the footprint more closely. When he arose he said: "I believe you are right, Stanley. We nmst be on our guard now, for at any mome11t we are likely to get into trouble!" The words had barely left his lips when Barney gave a yell of pain CHAPTER V., POMP TO THE RESCUE. BEGORiu, it's kilt I am!" yelled tile Celt. Frank and Stanley turned to see the Irishman plucking a small arrow from the J:lesh of his arm. It was a thrilling moment. Frank instantly made action. To cover!' be shouted, springing into the bush. The others followed. Then tl.ie young inventor made Barney pull ofi his coat. Pray Heaven that is not a poisoned dart!'' he cried. The incision made by the arrow was but a slight one, but Frank fearlessly placed his lips to the wound and sucked the poison from it. It was the savi11g of Barney's life. Tbe Celt felt exceedingly sick and weak, hut he had yet strength enough t.o keep up Some leaf tobacco was bound on the wound, to also neutralize the poison. Barney rapidly overcame the polson. Meanwhile, Stanley bad been looking for I be rascally bushman everywhere. But if he or his ilk were In tbe vicinity, there was no outward indi cation of it. All was stillness in the neighborhood. Scarcely a leaf rustled, and there was not the slightest evidence of human or animal life. Truly the bushman is a shadow So consummate are they in their bnsbcraft that one might be surrounded by them and travel in their midst for days and y&t never know it. Frank knew that their position now was a most critical one. It was certain that others would quickly come to joiu this one. Real izing this tbe young inventor said: I believe we bad better get out of this locality as soon as possible. The quicker we get back to the machine the better!'' I agree with you!" cried Stanley. "Suppose we make the break." All right!'' The three adventurers at once left cover and started for the machine. As nearly as possible they located the trail. Hut yet this was by no means au easy lnatter. The country had such a sameness and their excitement waaso great that they failed to notice the signs which marked their course. In this manner they kept on for some while. It was a very easy matter for them to thus lose the trail entire! y. It seemed an infinite length of time that bad kept on. Then suddenly Stanley came to a halt. His face was deadly pale. "Upon my word, friends," he declared, "I believe we are lost." Frank drew a whistle from his pocket and blew a shrill blast. "If Pomp is in hearing," be Cleclared, "he will hear that and come." "Begorra, it's mesilf as thinks he's not nnywheres near," declared Barney, dismally. Shure, Misther Frank, it's a bade schrape we're in now." "I guess you are right, Barney," said Frank, dubiously. "Bot let us not lose cour age yet J By no means!" Cl'ied Stanley. Again and again Frank blew the whistle. But no answer came. A tall tree was near by. "Barney," said Fra.nk, "you remember that the machine was not far from the large hill to the north! We went due west." Yis, sor." ''Climb that tree and tell me if you can where that hill is now." All roight, sor." Barney went up the tree like a monkey. When near the top he studied the country closely and theu shouted: "Shure, sor, the hill iR away to the eouthward, and yez kin barely see it." "Mercy on us!" exclaimed the young inventor in dismay; "then we are in for it. We have traveled in almost an opposite direction The hill is twice the distance from us now." "You don't say!" cried Stanley "Then we are in a bad scrape." "It looks like it." What shu!! we do?'' "Try and pull out of it. Barney!" Yis, sor!" "You cannot see anything of the bushmen, can you!" Divil a bit, sor; but whisht, now, it's a bouse I see!'' A house?" Shure, sor-a log cabin!" Frank exchanged astonished glances with Stanley That there should be a dwelling in this out of the way region seemed strange. They could hardly believe it. "Are you sore of that, Barney?" "Yis, sort" Where is it?" "Jist ferninst the ridge of land yon tier, sor. There's a small lake beside it, sor." "All right. Come down." Ban::ey slid flown the tree. "I don't know whether the place bas a habitant, and if so whether friend or foe!" cried Frank. "I am going over to see." "By all means!" agreed Stanley. With tllis decision all started fot: the mysterious dwelling. Pushing through the bush, scarce a hundred\ yards brought them to the gravelly shore of a smal! lal,e. The log cabin was now visible. lt was quite a stable structure, but -the door was broken in and the shutters badly shattered. As the party hurried toward it they saw no sign o! human life. The place was deserted, at least by the living. But near the door the party came upon a grewsome sight. There, half imbedded in the sand, wns the whitening skeleton of a. mao. It must have been there a long while. This told the story. Some Australian farmer hnd been venturesome enough to take up a remote homestead. Tbe result was like many another case. He bad fallen a victim to the deadly bushman. But his habitation had beeli spared, though it was fast going to de cay. But the fugitives had no time for speculation. They had barely reached the door of the but, when Stanley Martin gave a sharp cry. Something whiz?.ed past his ear and struck the logs. There, in one of them, was imbedded a dart. In an instant the three white men sprang into the but. They were not a moment too soon. 'l'be air became fu!l of the poison darts. They cnme flying through the shutterless windows and endangered the lives of the fugitives. Yet not one or the wily natives was to he seen. But that the bush about was fall of them, there was no doubt. It. was a critical situation. But Frank Reade, Jr., was equal to it.

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READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. Bur the windows and doors!" he cried. "Look out and not ex pose yourselves!" The shutters and door were of no use. But Frank ripped up some of the puncheon tlooring. This was employed to barricade the windows and door. Small crevices were lett to fire througll. Then the party opened fire. None of the bushmen could be seen, but the bullets were sent at random into t.he bush. Whether this bad a salutary ellect or not could not be sail!. But of a sudden the darts ceased coming, aud all was the stillness of the grave. There seemed not a single foe in the vicinity. "They are waiting for darkness,'' suggested Stanley. "Or rather they mean to besiege us and starve us out!" "Why, there are doubtless enough of tbem to capture us easily by making a charge." "All, but that is not the bushman's ".Vay. He does not do that sort of thing. They are more cowardly in the open than our N ortb Ameri can ln, I done heal! yo' tiring, an' I jes' come ober fo' to gill yo' help!'' 11 You heard us firiug?'' Yes salll" 11 Why, you must haYe been three or four miles away!" "I done tin I\ I was, eah, !Jut de wind was jes' in my direcksbnn au' it come pooty plain." "Good enough! You have saved onr lives, Pomp." "Yo' don' say 11 Yes, I do." "Bress mah heart, I'se done glad ob dat!'' cned the delighted darky. The rescued adventurers cheered. Then the machine was run nearer to tho door of the hut nod they dodged into the machine. That the bushmen bad not abandoned the vicinity was made cer tain when a number of the poisooed darts came banging against the steel curtains. Once inside them our adventurers were perfectly safe. Only cannon could hope to penetrate that curtain of steel. Frank was determined to give the bushmen a fight. "I know they are spoiling for itt" he oried. "And I (eel like wip ing a few of them out of existence." The manner in which be proposed to do this was quickly made manifest. CHAPTER VI. THE MOUNTAl CAVERN. FRANK went straight to the electric gun. He threw open t)le breech and placed therein a dynamite cartridge. Then he elevated the gun, took a sight and pressed the electric key. The result was thrilling. There was a hiss, a whirr, and a slight recoil. There was no repout as the projectile left the gun. Bat when it struck the ground in the heart of the bush there followed an explosion like a park of artillery. It was one tremendous roar. Then up into the air fifty feet went a column of sand. In it were the bodies of a number of the skulking wretches, and all manner of debris. The Ioree of the bomb waa most terrible. There was blown into the groumt a hole nigh deep enough to sink the log cabin in. Once more Frank placed the electric gun in position. This time he employed a different kind of a projectile. It wall an explosive bomb, filled with fine sl.ot, whioh would sweep a radius or twenty yards, cutting all down before it. It mowed down heaps of brush, and where the bushmen were bid ing they were not agile enough to1avoid this destroyer. Again and again Frank sent these bombs into the bush. A literal path wae mowed for hundreds of yards in all directions m the bush. Dozens of dead bushmen lav about. For once they had met more than their match. It was enough for them, and they at once '>eat an incontinent retreat. In a short while, it was safe to @ay, that all were far beyond runge. It was a victory for the Buckboard and its crew. But.now the question arose as to what move was best to be made It was of course necessary to find the den of Black Leon, and, If possible, to rescue Mabel Harcourt. The Kangaroo Hills were near at hand. Why invade them? I believe that is our best move," declared Frank. The quick er we track the villain down the better." "So say I,'' agreed Stanley. "He may get alarmed and perhaps slaughter the girl." It was decided to at once strike for the hills; so the Buckboard was sent ahead at full speed. It required no little dexterity for Barney at the wheel to pick his way in and out among the bush. But he succeeded admirnl..tly, until at length this was left bebind and the long plain extending to the Kangaroo Hille was reached. This was clear of l..tuelt or obstruction of any kind. The Buckboard glided along at full speed, until at length tho base or the hills was reached. The Kangaroo Hills were rocky and cleft with deep and dark de tiles. A better or mora likely retreat for a gang of robbers or murder ers could not be imagined. Darkness had now settled down, and it was decided to wait un til the morrow before invading the bills. The steel curtains were drawn tightly, and the evening meal was prepared by Pomp. All were hungry anrl partook or it with a keen relish. After supper Frank went forward and put the search-light into requisition. As the powerful rays shot up the mountain side, objects tbere were revealed 'as plain as day. Frank and Stanley carefully examined every part of I he mountain in this way. The result was thrilling. While the senreh-light was turned full upoc the left or nvrth side of the mountain, sudaenly the face of a mighty cliff was shown. Above this was a broad shelf of rock, and upon this there was con gregated a large crowd of human beings. Back of them yawned the mouth of a cavern. They were natives, as could be rluinly seen-bushmen-and carried torches. It was evident that they had seen the Buckboard. As the search-light's duzz!ing rays smote upon them they all llung up their arms as if to war e oti a blow. No doubt the brilliant light had blinded as well as astonished theJFa. "I'll wager that is Black Le.,n's den!" said Frank, positively. Do you really think so?" u Yes.'' Ttien we have gained a great point. I did not think we would find it so soon." We will investigate anyhow, in the morning!'' declared Frank. But-do you tlnnk they will be contenL with letting us alone! May they not try some game to-night?" We must keep a watch on them. I do not think they can do us any harm, protected as we are." "And to-morrow we will try to invade their den!" "Yes." ' How can w,e do that!'' ( That is a hurd question to answer just now!" replied Frank. "We will have to wait until to-morrow before answering it. However, I am confident we shall lind a way." ."I hope sol'' Then Frank shot off the search-iight. Ir. the darkness the glimmer or the torches could now be seen far above. Frank was tempted to send an electric bolt up there from the gun. But on second thought be decided that L his would be a wanton de struction of life. So be refrajped from doing it. However, be calle-d Barney and said: "You will he the first on watch to-night, Barney!" Yes, sor !" "Keep the search-light fixed on that cavern in tbe mountains, and also give it a sweep over the vicinity once in awhile to make sure that it is clear!" All sor!" All in the party were tired. They were glad or the opportunity of turning in, and soon were in the land of dreams. Barney was left on guard the first of the night. The Celt was always a fait bful man at such a post. 1 He kept assiduous watch of the mountain side, and all in lhe vicinity. lie guarded against a surprise

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' 8 FRANK READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. SeYeral times he fancied he saw dark forms hovering among the rock piles on the mountain side. But each time beneath the glare of the search-light they vanished. Pomp relieved Barney at midnight; but the machine was not mo lested that night. The next morning, upon looking up to where the clitr was toeated no sign of a human being could be seen. But ac> they were studying the place, suddenly the burly form of a half naked black was seen to appear not a hundred yards distant. In his hand be carried a white llag. He was a giant o! hill race; big, form was naked save for a breech chmt and short dress or emu reamers. He stood for a moment waving the llag. "Hello!" cried Frank, d truce!" Perhaps ll: ey want to treat with us," said Stanley. More likely it is a de manu for surrender,'' said Frank. I know these black rascals well." That will never do.'' "No," replied young inventor. "But let us s!'e what he has to say, anyway.'' With which Frank raised the steel curtain and stepped out. He held up his bands in token of amity. 'l'his satisfied the black, who now rapidly advanced. When twenty feet distant be made an extravagant bow. Frank afl'ected to ignore this, and snid sternly: Well, what is your errand!" Me come from chief Black Leon," replieu the fellow, in broken English. He send you letter." With which the bushman held out a missive. Frank took lt. It was of coarse paper, and the chirography was rutle and scrawl ing. Thus it read: "FRANK READE, JR .,-You hev seen fit ter not heed ther warning given yer at tiler governor's house, an' now once more I tell ye to torn round an' go bacK. Ye never kin git ther gal without paying ther ran som. W bat's more i! it ain't paid pooty soon, I shall dechLre it off an' make the gal my wife. I'm jest as good II. white man as yew, but I'm in ther bush until! hev made a fortune, an' tten you'll see me out of it. So take my advice and fetch tber thous!Rid pounds. Ther old cove won't feel it, fer he's rich as a Jew. Yures trooly, '' LEON MARTEL., Frank read this peculiar epistle with certainly most peculiar sensa tious. "Well," he muttered, "I must say that is the nerviest ras cal I've met in many&. day. However, I will answer tllis mes8age." With this Frank wrote on the back of the note: "To LEON MARTEL: "I cauuot for a moment think or accepting your ad I consid er that I am really the dictator, and will say now that if you do sur render the l!'dY at once, it w ill be the worse for you. I have tlJe power to blow you and your gang into eternity, "Yours ever, FRANK READE, JR." Frank tendered this to the "Take this to your master!" lie said. But wait!" The fellow paused How many of you are there up there?" It was a shrewdly put question. Frank had hope
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, FRANK RE'ADE, JR.'S ELECTRIC .BUCKBOARD. 9 Once more the bushmen rallied. They were 'BO strong rn numbers that they were only checked for a moment. But Frnnk bad plenty or ammunition. Again and again be fired at the horde. Scores of them were blown into eternity. Their bodies lay in beaps about. While a perfect breastwork bad been erected by the accumullltion or debris tossed up by the explosive shells, their work was most awful to witness. Several times more t,he bushmen tried to cover the Intervening space; but the deadly gun blew them back each Lime. Tbey might as well have tried to stem ttle tide or tbe ocean. It wus death to a certainty. And finally this !act became actually impressed upon them. They broke ranks and incontinently fled. The rout was most severe. Dozens were picked off by the riflemen of the Buckbonrd. While not one on l:10ard the machine was injured. It was a won derful escape from what bad seemed like certain deatb,'for to fall into the bands of the bushmen would have been death. The defenders or the Buckboard could not repress a cheer. But Frank Reade, Jr., knew the importance or prompt action. He called to the otbers.to assist h1m. Come!" he cried. Let us get the machine free or that bowlder be!are they come again." All right, sort" cried Barney, cheerily. "l'se c.omin', sah," returned Pomp. Frank touched the electric spring and the rear curtain rose. Then a.ll climbeG out. There was no immediate danger, for they were out of range; quick action was made. The bowlder was quickly p ed away and removed. The machine now rested on the level. The broken rods were removed and the bent ones straightened. So far as could be seAn, lit.tle harm had been done the machine "All right!" cried Frank, joyfully, as be sprang. aboard. "Now for a trip up lo the cavern." "Then we will beard the lion in his den?" asked Stanley. ''Yes." I hope we shall rescue the girl." "We will try." Frank went to the electric gun and trained it upon the cavern above. Then be pressed the lever. A projeotile was sent into the mouth or the cave. It exploded with terrific force. The way was now clear rot the machine to invade the stll)nghold or the !Jusbmen. Accordingly Frank started the Buckboard slowly up the mountaic side. 'l'he Buckboard had been especially devised for mountain climbing. But soon an obstacle was encountered which seemed a barrier to reaching the cavern. _\. path too nnrrow for the machine to o.'scend was apparen ly ,t he only method of rencbing the cave. What was to he done? Tbis was a problem. \ However, Frank was determined not to be beaten. But ns darkness was shutting down It seemed unlikely that tlley would be able to do more that night. The Buckboard was allowed to rest in a favorable position. .\11 were more or less exhausted, nod Pomp proceeded to get the evenwg meal. But the search-lie:ht was now turned fairly upon the mouth of the cave, and n close watch or it kept. "H tbey are in there I'll keep them there!" declared Frank. "If not, and they try to enter, it will be nt their peril." not a bushman seemed in the vicinity. They bad disappeared most mysteriously. Whether they had aban doned the fight entirely, or were merely indulging in a respite, it was not easy to say. After the evening meal was over a discusioR was held. It was not easy to decide wbnt was the best thing to do. T1me was valuable, most certainly. It the villain, Martel, should see that he wns likely to be beaten, no doubt he would kill the fair captive rather than give her up. It wns a perplexing problem. But finally Stanley Martin said: '' I hnve a plan.': "Ab!'' exclaimed Franlt. "What may it be!" We have got to tak8il'a different course, or we shall never save ber. One of us must try to rescue her by strategy." What! Do you think we can cope with such masters of strategy as these Australian blacks!" asked Frank. "Yet I see no other way!" replied Stanley, positively. "And I will say that I am willing to try it.'' CHAPTER VIII. A,. RISKY EXPEDITION.' FRANK looked at the young man as if he doubted his sincerity. "Do you mean that?" he usked. "I do.'' How will you proceed!'' "I shall first visit the cavern. I shall seek the cover of darkness. I shall try tb invade the den, and if poaeible rescue the prlsocer by strategy.'' Frank shook his bead. "That is rtsky," he said. "I am afraid they will get the best or you." "Nothing venture, nothing have!" That is true.'' If I am willing to try it you wlll nqt object!" "Certainly not.'' Without a word further Martin began his preparations. It was evi dent that be was In earnest. The darkness was now intense. Frank watched him a. mClment and then an inspiration seized him.' Look here, Stanley!'' he said. Well, sir!" "Are you really in earnest!" or course, I am!" I dislike to see you go." \ "Do you!" "Yes!'' "I am sorry. Bllt I have made up my mind, You will give me credit for good resolution.'' "1 do, but as I said befpre, I dislike to see you gQ alone. I am going with you.'' Stanley was astounded. "You?" be gasped, "Yes.'' "Well, I am glad. Do ;rou really mean that!" "Why, or course I do." Stanley again expressed his pleasure. Frank now gave explicit directions to Barney and Pomj:. 11 Hold this position as long as you cnn!" he said. Don't give ic up!'' 11 Don't yez fear for that, sort" cried Barney, confidently. Frank now took Stanley by the arm ami. said: 11 I do not propose tbat we shall take any undue risk in this under laking of ours." What do you mean?" Have you thought how simple a matter it would be for one of those poison darts to take us oil'!'' 11 Indeed I have." Then I propose to use a preventive.'' "A preventive?" u Yes." 11 What i9 it?" Frank took from one of the lockers a long deep box or light stained pine. This be opened and took up a heap or shining steel netting, There it bung, revealed aa steel net armor, of the very finest and most pliable pattern. 11 A shirt of mail!" exclaimed Stanley, in amazement. Yes, there are three entire suits here. Tiley are made of the best steel, and will resist any rille ball. They ore my own ltivention.'' Wonderful!'' cried Stanley, jay!ully. 11 Then we need not rear the dans!'' 11 Not in the least.'' 11 Or anything, for that matter!" 11 Except capture. That would not be pleasant. Now put on your armor.'' In a few moments both men were dressed ill'l the steel net armor. It fitted them neatly. Then, with their weapons, they were ready to leave the Buckboard silently and shadow-like through the gloom. So far as they could see there was not a bushman in the vicinity. for aught they knew, a hundred might be lurking in the shadows about. But cautiously they climbed Ute steep and rocky path to the mouth of the cavern. 1 Tbns far they felt sure that their motions bad been uulleen. Yet with every sense upon the alert they entered the cavern. It was or mighty depth and height. 'l'ruly a better or more inac. cessible stronghold the bushmen could not have chosen. And yet no sign of them was visible. :q they were in the place they were somewhere in Its depths. Not a. sound conld be heard which might come from them. That is queer," whispered Frunl\. "Where are they, Stanieyf' "It must be that this cavern extends deep into the mountain. Probably they are In there. Or possibly there is another outlet, and they have departed altogether.'' "You are right," agreed Frank. "Let us go OQ.-" Darkness lay before them. or course tl:e rays of the electric light could not penetrate further than the mouth at that angle. But Frank bad a small electric lamp of his own invention with him for he had foreseen this exigency. This be now and with excellent results. Down through the arches of the cavern the two explorers went. But a surprise was in store for them. The cavern did not extend a ,. I

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1 0 FRANK READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCK B O AR D limitless distance into the bowels of the earth as Stanley had imaginJ ed. They suddonly came to a l:nlt. They were again in outer air. The cavern roof was no longer BuT Stanley Martin was not the sort to yield so long a.s be had ttem. A more astonishing contingency could hardly have lieen I breath and strength left. . . imagmed. He was mstantly upon hl!l feet. Rtght m to the mulst of h1s foes be "Well!" exclaimed Frank, in amazement. "Where are we at!'' I plunged. "Give it up!" repli&d Stanley. "We're certainly out of the cavern." Right and left he whirled his clubbed rille, for at such short range ' Yes.'' it was useless to stand and lire, CHA P TER IX. FRANK HAS A NARROW ESCAPE. "I think I have it.'' The bushmen went down like ten pins. "What?" The young American literally cleared his path. 'l'his is the end of the cav ern, or rather its other mouth. It Is Then away he dashed into gloom at random. merely a passage through the hill," Arid after htm came the legion of shadow forms. I helieve you are riglit. We are then in a sort of pocket in the He strained every nerve t o distance them. h1lls." But this was not so easy. 'l.'hey clung to hts heels liKe hornets. "Yes.'' The poison darts rattled against the steel meshes of his armor. Just at tbat moment Frank gave a great start. But finally tile pace began to tell. "Lool!" he cried, pointing away into the gloom. He gained on his pursuers, and after a time experienced the satis" Whit is it?'' faction of knowing that he was getting the best of the race. Con't you see?" Hut yet he had been unable to shape his course. He had been A faint star of light was seen in the distance. The two explorers dashing on at random. regarded it a moment curiously And suddenly be felt the earth give way beneath him, he fell "It is a camp-lire." through space into cool waters which closed ever him. "Nor a torcb!" Meanwhile Frank Reade, Jr., was having fully as tbrilling an ex. "It looks like the light from the window of some dwelling!" perience. It may be. At least it is f:>r us to find out, so come along!" 'J.lbe bushmen were close upon him in a mad foot race for life. They started away through the gloom. As they were now right In But fortunately Frank had taken a straight course for the cave. As the enemies' stronghold they extinguished the electric lamp. he ran on he became aware of Lhis. The surface of tbe ground beneath their feet was grassy. Above The glare from the electric light was reflected upon the sky. Tnis outlined against the sky on all bands they saw mountain peaks, guided him. Frank's diagnosis that they were in a sort of pockeL or deep valley, Frank was a swift runner, and the bushmen did not gain upon him. in the hills was correct. He reached the enLrance to the cavern But here dark forms arose Nature could not have designed a better stronghold for the outlaws in his path, \ f o r such the bushmen were. Only lightning quickness and the be s t of judgment saved him then For some while the two men kept on. Then suddenly Frank clutch Quick as a flash he let out with his lists, for he had thrown his rille ed Stanley's arm. away. Down went the man in front of bim. Down!" he gasped. The next one made a blow at hiin with a knife; but the steel mail Down they sank behind a large r o ck. They were not a mo .nent turned aside the blade easily. too soon. . Again Frank struck out savagely with his mailed hand. There is Up through the gloom before them loomed two tall forms. Near no race on earth equal to the American for lightmg at fisticufl's, enough to be touched as they passed. The bushmen evidently did not understand the craft, for Frank It was a narrow escape. knocked them down like wooden pegs. That they were bushmen was certain. Our e:ll:plorers now fuEy They could not star:d up before him a moment. comprehended the risk they were incurring. But he saw that it was necessary to make the quickest sort of an They were right in th" midst of the treacherous foe's stronghold. effort to break through them. Their peril was of the most deadly kind. They were closing upon him with thA greatest of rapidity; of course Of course discoJery meant death. The greatest of care must be weight of numners would tell against him. exercised. But Frank was jst in time. The rashness of their move could be easily seen. Literally they Through the lin e of f oes he burst; he dashed through the c a vern were in a trap. and emerged into the glare of the search-light. It had been easy enough to get into the place. It would be no easy At that moment he was seen by Barney and Pomp, who were below matter to get out. on the Buckboard. But yet neither experienced fear. They w e re cool and ready "Golly!" cried Pomp, "dat. am Marse Frank. for their lives. "Begorra, ph were's Stanl ey?'' asked Barney. "Is the coast clear?" finally Stanley whispered. "I done fear he am kille d or mebbe tal, en prisoner.'' "I think so," returned Frank. Bejabers, if that's so bad ces to the oma uhouns "It was a. close call!" J With which Barney turned the electric gun upward, He wailed un,, We made a great mistake in coming in here. I am afraid we will til Frank bad got into the path yet be captnr!Jd!" Th e mouth of the cavern was till e d with bushmen. "Let us hope not.'' Barney pressed the levl"r. "I wish we could get the machine up here.'' I There was a terrific exnlosion 1n the mouth of the cavern. The bush" Yes, it woul d be an easy matter to capture the place then; permen were stricken down in heap s haps we 61111.11 tind another entrance;" As the smoke clearad away, they had disappeared, retreating int() F or some while longer they waited to make sure that tbe coast wus the cavern. clear; then tbey ventured to go on. A few moments later Frank Read>:!, Jr., reached the machine. For n e ither thought of turning back. Now that tbey were ln the B a rney raised the steel curtain and Frank spruiJg aboarrl. They pocket, they were determined to stay there until something was acwere overjoyed to greet him, but Barne y cried: compli s hed. "F1 utb, sor, an' pbwhativer has become of the other gintleman?" For somewhile they had kept on. Then they became satisfied be" We sep11rated,'' declarsd Frank. "I hope harm has not comet() yond all dooht that the of light which they had seen, came from him. I almost feel bound to go to his aid.'' the window of a cabin or native hut. 7 "Shure, sor. I nope as how no harm will com'.l to him, as it's a. "Perhapl! that is the prison of Mabel Harcourt,'' ventured Stanley. broth av a boy be i!!!" cried Bllrney. "Is it not likely!" Frank now began to worry about Stanley. He kept a constant "It is possihle," agreed Frank, "We will try and lind out." watch for him. "You are right, we will.'' 1 But as time passed and he did not appear, the very worst of fears was now all eagerness. He pushed forward impetuously, assailed him. and this very anxiety came near costing him his life. What should he do? Sodd e nly dark forms seemed to swann about the two explorers. He felt in duty bound to go to the assistancA of the young New Where they came from was not evident to either. Yorker. But how was he do it! But they were instantly surrounded by a legion of foes. "Oh, if there was only a way in which we could get the machine up Hr.d it not been for the armor at that moment their career would to the mouth of the
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FRANK REAI}E, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. 11 Gradually he crept upward. From that height an extended view or the countrv could be bad. The top of the mountain was rough and crag"') But Frank round a pass which seemed to lead over the elevlltion. After some hours or slow work the Buckboard actually crossed the mountain range. The region beyond could be seen. There were boundless plains and lakes or water. Dense forests ex tended to the nortl1ward. Deep in the heart of the hills was the pocket. It seeme4 almost in accessible. But the Buckboard picked its way along until arrived at a point just above it. And here to Fr11nk's joy be saw a smooth descent. Down this the machine went until it rolled out upon the floor of the valley. 'But not a sign or the enemy was to be seen. What d1d it mean? A small creek or stream or water flowed through the valley, and ran into a subterranean passage in the mountain. At the upper end of the valley a small hut, made of palm logs and thatched with wild grass, was seen. This was the hut in which Frank and Stanley bact seen the light the night before. Frankcritically surveyed the vicinity. That is queer!" be exclaimed. What has become or them all?" He took a run around the valley with the Buckboard, but not Qne of the bushmen was in sight. It certainly lookl:ld as if the valll:ly was really deserted. Snrpnsed beyond measure, Frank approached the cabin. The door was open and It seemect empty. The young inventor opened the steel curtain, and leaped down from the Buckboard"\ He approached the cabin boldly. He entered it, and saw that it was on ten an ted. But there was every indication that it had been lately occupied, and as Frnnk looked curlOU9iy about he was given a great start. In on'.l corner or the one room of the cabin was a tal.Jie. Sticking in the center of this was a keen bladed knife. To his astonishment Frank saw that it pinned a scrap of paper down upon the wood. He saw tbaL then! was a scrawling bit of handwriting on it. It was done in blood, aud read: ): e will never catch the fox. When ye get well into ther trap, we will spring it on ye. Take warning! Look out for yerselves, Yures with hatred, LEON MARTEL." Frank turned about with a grim smile. He went back to the Buc;.board. Shore, sor, an' phwat do yez think of it?" asked Barney. Ph were iver have the spal peens gone?" They have g iven us the slip that is evident," declared Frunk. But never mind, we will come up with them yet.'' "Golly, Marse Frank,'' cried Pomp, wba'ebber hab become of Marse Staulev?'' Frank coul;l not answer this question. CH.,WTER X. ADVENTURES. BuT what of the fate or Stanley Martin 1 We h1ft him in rather a serious predicament. The fall which be experienced was over the bank into tbe creek, and
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12 FRANK READE, JR.'S ELECTRIC BUCKBOARD. New strength came to him, and in the still waters of the pool be lloated for o. few moments deliberating upon the best o.td move to make. This seemed to be to drift llown beloiJ> the co.mp-flre and gain the shore there unseen by any of the foe. In this attempt he passed very close to the end of the raft. A deadly fear assailed him that he might be seen by t)le bushmen as he was directly in the glare of the light. But he reached the raft safely. He clutched the corner with one band; voices were near at band. He saw a tall form between him and the tirelight. Instantly he recognized it as that of a whit.e mao. Before him stood several blacks. He was adel Harcourt was gazing despairingly into the gloom and exactly toward Stauley. For a reoment the young adventurer fancied that she must see him. He was even temptnd to arise aud attempt to catch her glance. But second thought couTinced him of the danger of this. Risks he must not take. He knew that these bushmen were the most watchful and trencher ons of human beings. It would be necessary for him to remain constantly upon his guard. This be proceeded to do. Bnt all the while be was busy formulating a. plan for the rescne. He considered the Idea ol bringing one of the. canoes down under the bank where he could readily get iuto it. Then he watched for an opportunity to let Mabel know of his pres nee. Fortune favored him. He succeeded in getting the canoe and then retutned to the bank. 1'o his joy he found that the bushmen had in a body retired into the cave, leaving only two ol their number with the girl. One or these was buoy on the raft. The other sat not far from her, engaged in gnawing a bone hke a hungry dog. With the utmost of care Stanley now began to creep towards the fire. The bushman's back was turned to him. He trusted w fortune that the fellow on the raft should not see him. But just at that moment Mabel turned her gaze upon him. It was a critical moment. For an ir:staut her lips parted as if to emit a cry of great joy. Then her face regained its mobility and one finger was pressed to her lips. It was .a rare bit or sense upon her part, and showed great self commana. As for Stanley, he stood like one in a spell, looking at her. Her transcendent lor a moment held him spellbound. But the critical nature or the situation brought him t o himself. He made a swift gesture to her and then cropt on. But it was lmpOSut. He went down to the river's edge. Here he could look up iDLo the cavern for some ways to where it took a bend. The surged down through it quite rapidly. But now Frank was rewarde<\iwith a startling discovery. Tbie was in the shape of a number of footprints in the saud by the water's edge. 'l'bey were quite distinct and plainly the footprints of the natives. "Ab," he muttered, "they made a landing here. That exp!air.s much." He examined the footprints attentively. Then he looked again into the cavern. He was given a mighty !tart of Around the bend in the cavern there had shot into view a small raft. Upon It were four men. Three of them were blacks and one was a white man. An instant comprehension of tbe truth Jlashed upon Frank. He sprang back with a sharp cry. The men on the raft had not seen him. He rushed back to the machine. "Run her into the bush, Barney," be cried. "Get her ont or sight. We have a golden opportunity to bag our game.'' "Shure, sor," cried t be astonished Celt, "phwat is it?" "Never mind. Do as I teU yoa and then come down here with your rifle.'' Barney at once obeyed. A moment later he was with Frank by the riverside. Then the youur: inventor explained the situation. "I believe it is Martel!" be cried. "II we could only cnpture him I am sure that we can secure the captive girl." Shurtl, sor, we'll do it!" cried Barney. So the two watchers 'c:rouched down in the bush and waited for the raft to appear. Very soon it shot out of the cavern The four occupants poled it to the shore. Then the white man sprang out upon the bank

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' FRANK READE, JR.'S ELEC'l'Ricr BUCKBOARD. 13 As he stood there a tall, powerful 1nan, with bard, cruel features, Frank recognized him from description as Mart I. The young inventor gazed somewhat curiously at the vii in. Truly, be was a p.,rrect type of the brute. Upon springang ashore, Martel reined a shower of curses upon the blacks aucl crieu: "Go on to the sand bar. Wait for me there. I will stop here!" The three bush natives obeyed. The raft went on down with the current. M a rtel watched them until a bAnd in the river hid them from sight. be turned. But a8 he did 80 was to come face to face with Frank Reade, Jr. It wali a tallleau. Frank held a revolver carelessly in his hand, and Barney stood at his stmulder. Martel turned livid. ) The devil!'' be e:asped. "The devil is not here," said Frank, coolly, "but no doubt he will claim you some day.'' A tJis s escapetl the villain's lips. His form quivered as if for a spring, but Frank coolly brough!,.. the revolver up on a level with his heart . "Hands up I" Martel hesitated. l'lle revolver hammer clicked orninou9ly. Slowly the villain obeyed. A deadly light of batfled hatred shone in his eyes. "Who the devil are you?" "I am Fran k R e ade, Jr.'' "Curses I" The tables are turned, my friend. lL looks as if you were iu my power.'' "Bah! with a snap of my lingers I can bring a hundred men here in a moment.'' "And with the slightest pressure of my linger!" declared Frank. "1 can blow you into eternity." Will you do it!" No.'' "Why do you spare my life! I would not spare yours." "I have a purpose!" .. "What is it!" ''I want the release of the girl whom you bold captive.'' Perdition I I will never give it." Then you will die!" Frank's eye glanced along tbe b arrel. But he did not fire. In spite of his bravndo the villain cowered. "Well!" be gritted, t!ually, "how can I compromise? Yon most pay me somll ransom." "Not a cent!" Well, all right. I will accept the terms." Good! produce the girl!" villain took a step backward. Where are you going!'' "To gel tlae girl.'' Frank laugheil sardonically. "Do you think I'm a fool!" ha asked. "What do you mean!" "You would not return." "Won't ye take my word!'' "Not for a cent!" "Well, then," growled the wretch "What are ye going to do about it? I can't do nuthlu' else.'' "Ye3, you can." f' "Wbt.t?" "Recall one of your minions and send him after her. When you deliver her safe and sound into our hands, life and li';erty are Not until then!'' Martel indulged in a. storm of curses. He obstinately refused to accede to this demand. Barney!" said E rank, coolly. ' Put the manacles ,on him!" 15arney advanced with a pair of handcuffs in his hands. It was but a moment's work to SIICUre the villain's writs. "Now," said Frank, coolly, "we'll take you aboard the machine." Martel made no resistance now; but there was a leering, furt ive 1 in his eyes. Very soon all were on board the Buckboard. The villain wns placed iltt!:_he rear compartment. Frank went forward to the battery. He had decided upon a prompt move. He knew that only the most extreme of measures would compel Martel to come to terms. "I'll break his temper,'' chuckled the young in\>'entor. He drew a coil of wire from a locker and connected it with a disc. He d
PAGE 14

l'!o FRANK READE, JR.'S ELEC'l'RIC BUCKBOARD. Straigllt on down the coli'rse of the little stream went the mnchine at full speed. Let us return to the cavern and to brave Stanley Martin whom we left face to face with the bushman who was guarding the captive gul. The situation was a thrilling one and to a mun possessed or less coolness of nerve, it would have been serious inu are strong!" "Yes!" "Then come with me. We have no time to lose. J .fear-ah!" At that moment the bushman on the raft turned his head that wny. The result wns exciting. The fellow sent up a yell thut made the arches of the cavern ring. For a moment Stanley's blood seemed freezing in his veins. But he quickly recovere,1 .He dragged rn.ther than led across the cavern to the bank of the stream. The bushman llad seized his lllow pipe and sent a poison dart a; Stanley. It struck him full and fair in the side. Had it not bten for the armor that moment would have been his last. He instinctively realized the risk of the slluation for his fair companion. Should one of dendly darts bit her-he shut his teeth together wiLh a snap and picked her up bodily jn his arms. Dow n the bank be sprang. Lie down in the canoe!" he cried. You must not be struck by those darts." But you! ' she asked, with a light of fear ln her eyes, "I am protected. I wear a suit of armor ." Out into the pool shot the ct.noe. Stan l ey bent to the paddle. The bushmen came in bot pursuit. The answering cries or the others could be heard. There was no trme to Jose. The blacks' canoe came swiftly after Stanley. 'l'be latter saw that a collision was imminent. He was hardly prepared for a light at close quarters. Ob, for a pistol that he might check the career of the fellow at once! He did not fear for himself but for his fuir charge. Lustily stanley bent to the paddle. ?.Iallel crouched low in the light crafL 1 But now the firelight began to die out and they plunged into the murky darkness of tile subterranean cavern. Swift rapids caught the light craft and carrieJ it at rapid speed down the stream. This wns the last that Sto.nley saw of his pursuer .Alter a time tbe young New Yorker berame satlsl!ed that he bad distanced h1m. For a long time both sat in silence in the canoe. Tbey finally began to talk. Stanley described bow he had chanced to become her rescuer, told her or the electric Buckboard and of Frank Reade, Jr. She listened with deepest intarest. Oh, you .Americans are wonderful people!" she cried. Then she told of ber adventures and her persecution by her captors. But from the first she bad clung to the belief that she would be res cued Tbue chatting time passed rapidly to the two young people. They were suddenly aroused, hJwever, by an unlooked for happening. The canoe suddenly struck an obstacle and stopped. Stanley put his hand over toe ..gunwale and felt that they had grounded up:)U a roclc Then he drew a match from his pocket and lit it. By its transient light be saw that they were at a junction where the 'creek divi:led its waters. Which way should they go! Stanley dislodged the canoe and chose the left hand course. He little knew at the moment that by so domg be bad saved their lives. For far down the right hand passage was another underground ren dezvous or the bushmen. And there they wou!G have encountered .Mo.rtel. It was not long now before the light canoe came out into the open air. It was the break of dny. Stanley allowed the canoe to drift on down the stream for some miles. Then reckoning that there were beyond pursuit, be ventured to go ashore. [THE He made a firs by which to dry their damp clothing. Two hours later Stnnley said: "Reo.lly, I am in a quandary. Which direction shall we take ? We cannot safely remain here." "Home is to tha westward," said Mabel. "I think if we were to make a detour by yonder spur of the mountains we may lind a pass by which to reach the bush plain beyond." "Mercy on us!'' exclaimed Stanley, with perturbation, "you can never atan
PAGE 15

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PAGE 16

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