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Mat, the fugitive, or, The witch-doctor's prophecy

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Title:
Mat, the fugitive, or, The witch-doctor's prophecy
Series Title:
Brave & Bold
Creator:
Whitson, John H.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (29 p.) 29 cm.: ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Detective and mystery fiction ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028876068 ( ALEPH )
07471673 ( OCLC )
B15-00032 ( USFLDC DOI )
b15.32 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Brave and Bold

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Serial

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Fl\IE CE-N T.S A t that moment a light form dartecl across the arena, straight toward the defiant lion.

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BR OLD .fl Different Story Every Week Iutud W-.t/UJI. BJ! Susscrij>lu1' la.so per Jiear. Entered according to Act o.f Conpess in the year I9QJ, ,;, tl
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2 BRA VE AND BOLD. when he rushed with such reckles s ness to the help of the fallen stranger. The lion was rolling over and O\' er, and tearing at the earth, in an endeavor to free his eyes of the sawdust, uttering roar upon roar, and in h!s frantic efforts might have been viewed with laughler, if the situation had not been so serious. \Vhen the youth had asceGded twelve or fifteen feet, he stopped with his arms and legs twined about the pole, and looked down at the screaming beast. He also glanced toward the man he had tried to aid, that in a second or two the lion would again be in condition to
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' BRA VE AND BOLD. 3 One of the brought him his hat. The man he had so signally assisted bustled forward. The big revolver was now out of sight, and the man w as feeling in a hip pocket for his purse. His coat a nd shirt were. slightly torn, but he seemed not to have recei ve d any serious injury. ''That was a brave trick, he declar ed, "and I owe you something for it!" He ostentatiously drew out the purse "If you please, s ir, I'd rather have work, and a place I could call home!" The man looked at him, fixedly. "Out of a job ch? W e ll, I am Capt. Lee Bolton, of the schooner S 01tthern Cross, now lying in the basin ; and perhaps I can give yon something to do. Th_ e boy's face brightened. He was familiar with such work as would probably be rcguired of him on board the Southern Cross. was now friendless and alone in New Orleans, 1vhith e r he had r ecenlly come in a logwood ship from Honduras. >An hour or two before, he had app lied to the boss canvasman r situation. He had not been given regular work, but had b e set to d oing odd jobs to pay for his supper, which accounts for his presence bene ath the menagerie tent. Some business transaction h a d drawn Capt. Lee Bolton to the same place-a me eting and an acquaintance strangely begun, and which was destined to have strange results. Fifteen minutes l ater, when matters were again quiet under Renfro's canvas, Capt. Lee Bollon, and the boy, who had simply given his name as Mat, set out together for the basin in which the Sou. thern Cross was lying. When it was gained, the boy was introduced to the schooner's cook, who was instruded to give him something to eat "I don't believe I'll ever get filled up !" Mat declared, rooking with interest at the many charcoal boats that crowded the basin. "I think I'm hollow to my toes. Had a good supper to-night, too!" The cook, who was hlack as ebony, s h owed his teeth in a grin. "You always fin' plenty to eat, wherevah you fin' Marse Bolton!" Thereupon he got out a dish of steaming hot beans, a number of biscuits, and some c offee; and the boy fell to with as much vim as if he had had no t hing to eat for a fortnight. "Your name is._ Mat, e h? i\Iat what?" The boy star"ted. The w ords had been spoken by Capt. Bol ton, and h e did not know that the captain was anywhere near. 'l\Then he put down the half-uplifted biscuit and looked at Bolton he saw t.hat the latter was inte ntly eying him. Capt. Lee Bolton, of the Soiithern Cro ss was a man of forty or forty-five. with a tanned and weather-beaten face a11d an ex pression of countenance that was not There was something foxy in his attitude. as he sat there gazing a t the boy. Mat had already noticed the craftiness that lurked in the captain's eye. This quickened interes t shown hy the captain was a little sin gular, inasmuch as he had evinced scant curiosity concerning the boy's name and history during the walk to the schooner. "Matio Ducro !" was the reply given to Bolton's question. A slight shade passed ov:er Bolton's face, and a sudden glint of fire shone the purple of his dark eyes. "Rather an uncommon name, that!" "Spanish, I believe," said Mat. again taking up the biscuit. "It would be Matthew Ducro. in English." The captain turned aside his face to hide the queer light that lay revealed in his countenance. "'Where born?" he asked. "Louisiana." Bolton got up and thrust his hands into his coat pockets. "Looks like rain, Tom," he said to t h e cook, suddenly changing the subject. "We must get out of here as quick as we can; and there's a Jot of rope, which I forgot, that must be brought aboard, right away You can help wi ,th the rope?" The qu estion was direct e d to Mat. "Certai nly, sir!" the boy replied, shoving back from the table. A s he got up from his chair he stumbled across the captain's foot falling heavily. It was an awkward accident-if it was an accident. Bolton was at his side instantly, and lifted him to his feet, with many apologies. "I didn't mean to trip you 1 Not hurt, eh?" "Not at all!" confusedly flushing and brushing the dirt from his knees. "That's good. You fell hard enough to break bones. Next time be a little more careful, and watch what you're doing l" "Tom, let me see you a bit. We must get up that rope." The ca ptain turned away, followed by the cook, and !\(lat heard them whi spering toge ther on the d eck. "It's going to rain," Bolton called down to him. "Come along and help us get that rope; and then we'll have a tug pull us through the canal. I want to get out on Pontchartrain as soon as I can!" As there had been, so far, nothing to arouse Mat's suspicion that affairs were not as they should be, he compl ied with unquestioni11g obedience; and, a little later, the three were in the street and hurrying toward heart of the city. When under the full glare of a lamp, the c aptai n threw himself w ith a sudden impetuosity on Mat, bearing him to the earth. "Lend a hand, Tom!" he commanded; and when Mat Ducro overcome with fright and bewild erme nt, ceased to struggle, the captain lifted his voice in a call for the police. One of these blue-coated gentry was just across the way at the morn('nl, and had been sighted by Bolton at the instant of the at tack. This policeman was already hurrying toward the struggling group. "\/\,'hat's th e row?" he demanded, as he came puffing up, swinging his club. "Summon more help,'' Bolton requested; while the negro cook lifted the bewildered boy to his feet. "This young chap's a thief l I thought to do a good turn by him, and he has robbed me!" Mat Ducro's brain spun like a top, under the influence of the unexp ecte d accusation. "That's a lie!" he gasped. Bolton lifted a hand as if to strike him in the face. "No rowiug I" the policeman adjured. "We'll get the boy to the station, and you can have your quarrel out there!" Thereupon, he sent in a call for the patrol wagon, and when it arrived Mat was bundled into it, the policeman and Capt Bolton accompanying him. So confident was Mat in his innocence, and so sure that he could not be held on this absurd ch a rge, that he went along willingly enough He was flushing, though, with anger and humiliation, and cudgeling his brain for some reason that could have caused the ch ange in the captain's attitude. Whet had he done to bring down on his head the captain's sudden wrath and enmity? He recalled the queer look the cap tain had bent o n him, while questioning him in the schooner, but that explained nothing. The fact that his name was Matio Pucro, and that the place of his birth was in Louisiana., could not be urged against him.

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4 BRAVE AND BOLD. Sure that he would not be held for any great length of time on the captain's unsupported testimony, he was willing and anxious to face the officials; but he was sorely hurt by the l o ss of the captain's confidence, and by the thought that th e position he fancied his would now be withheld from him. This last meant a great deal to the homeless boy, who was such a stranger in the Crescent City. Dismounting from the patrol wagon, and marching into the sta tion, Mat walked between the policeman and Bolton with a firm step, though his heart was quaking with ill-concealed fear. "I offered this boy work on my vessel, and the first thing he did was to rob me!" was Bolton's stat e ment, when called on to define his charges against Mat. The officer in whose presence they stood was a little man, in blue uniform, and with a surprisingly bald he a d, and who pe e r e d at Mat inquisitively over gla sses. "What do you say to the gentleman's statement?'' he que s tioned. "rnat it isn't true!" and Mat drew himself up boldly. ''I wasn't on his schooner but a few minutes, and couldn't have h;;td a chance to steal, if I had wanted to. I'm no thief, sir!" Capt. Lee Bolton smiled incredulou s ly, and gave the blue coated officer a peculiar nod. "Search the boy, Williamson!" This was addressed to the officer who had brought Mat in, and who now proceeded to go through Mat's pockets with much celerity. A 'wom jackknife, some cords and matches were fished out, and then \Villiamson breathed hard, as his fingers closed on som e th ing in one of Mat's coat pockets. "Ah!" he said; "what's this?" Mat paled with sudden terror. He had not kn o wn t here was anything in that pocke,. The blue-coated official peer e d over his gla ss es, and Capt. Lee Bolton smiled triumphantly. \Villiamson' s hand c:;m e out of the coat pock e t, and in it there was a roll of bill s Mat st o od in stupefied and s p e echless a mazem ent when he be held the m oney in the polic e man's hand. "I-I don't know how that came there I" he gasped. 'Tm s ure it wasn't-l' m sure I didn't--" "Pretty positive proof!" and the spectacled officer looked at him unm e rcifolly. I knew he had that m o ney in his p ocket!" said Bolton. "I s aw him take it from the s afe, and, for fear he might hide it somewhere, I ordered him to come ashore with me after some r o p e." Then the captain proceedr
PAGE 6

BRAVE AND BOLD. 5 "Bt>tter speak the truth, and tell me all about it," the lawyer declared, coaxingly. "As your attorney, you will see that I ought to know the whole truth. I can't promise to help you otherwise I" Mat persisted in his statement, and then went on to tell how he had chanced to meet the captain of the Southera Cross, and how he had sa ved the captain's life, insbting that these facts could be proved. "It wi!I not help you to prove those things I" and the lawyer again caressed his fat chin, though the smile had faded from his eyes. ''Then you do not believe my story?" Mat demanded. "That portion of it, yes! But when you ask me to believe that Capt. Bolton put the money into your pocket, just to have the p o liceman find it there, you are asking a little too much, young man, as you ought to know I" The hope with which Mat had witnessed the lawyer's entrance was dashed to the earth. Anger and a sense of injustice had come in its place. '-You say you came here to help me. What would you have me do?" The lawyer's glance wavered as Mat looked him squarely in the eyes "Now you are coming to the point. There is nothing for you to do 1.rnt to confess your guilt and throw yourself on the mercy of the judge. If you do that, you will probably get a light sen tence. If you don't--" ''If I don't-what.?" '"You will get from ten to fifteen years in the prison!" In spite of his endeavor to be brave, the youth's heart sank. He was lost for a moment in thought. When he 19oked up, he declared, with flashing eyes: "No matter what the penalty may be, sir, I'll never confess to doing something of which I am innocent. I suppose I ought to thank you for coming here, but I can't what you ask me to do." "Very well I" and the lawyer arose from the cot. "You "ill find, when it is too late, that you are making a mistake. Go your own way, if you prefer a long sentence to a light one!" 1-Ie gave the floor a stamp, and in answer, the guard bustled forward with a j ir.gling bunch of keys. Then thf! celi door ;,vas unlocked, and the lawyer passed into the corridor and out of sight. As the guard turned away, after twisting the key in the lock, and while the light of his lantern still flooded the ce!l, Mat Ducro saw that the bolt had not properly slipped into place; that the C:oor was not securely locked. A wild desire to escape instantly leaped into the mind of the boy. ''I wcmder if that was done on purpose to get me into another trap?" was his thought, as he advanced toward the door. The light of the guard's lantern was fading. Mat took hold of the cell door, pushed it gently. and discovered that it moYed noiselessly on its hinges. A little thought convinced him that it had not been purposely ldt unlocked. He tried to recall the windings of the corridor, and remem br,red that it led past the room below, where he had been interviewed and searched, ;rnd from to an gate. This outer g11te stood in a yard, which was girt about by high brick walls. If he could get into the yard. he might not be arle to scale the walls, even if be could escape the Yigilance of the officers who usually loitered there. heart was hammHing against the walls of his cl1est, and his breath cnme chokingly. He disliked to take advantage of the opportunity thus providentially given, but at the same time he was not willing to spend the best years of his youth and manhood in prison for a crima he had not committed. The course already pursued by Lee Bolton told him what further he might expect frcm that source. ''I'll make a try of it, anyhow!" he gasped, as he ran his fingers over the cold bars. ''If they. catch me, I shan't be any worse off than I am now. This will make them sure I'm guilty, bnt they're sure of it already." When he had listened attentively, and could hear no sound, ha quietly opened the cell door and slipped out into the corridor. Remembering his shoes, he removed them, and, bearing them in his hand, he moved on in his stocking feet, almost holding his breath, and making not a sound. He heard voices from the room below, and saw that a fan o f light fell through a transom i:ito the corridor. Feeling that there was not a moment to be lo st, he scudded softly down the stairway, ran crouchingly past the door of the room, and turaed into the v.ri
PAGE 7

6 BRAVE AND BOLD. He was in the French quarter of the city, and as soon as he could he headed at his best gait in the direction of the French Market an
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BRA VE AND BOLD. 7 here near the edge of the marsh. How long w:U you have to lie close, do you think? \Ve might slip out there!" This was so direct an invitation to confession that Mat at once told him why he had been running frcm the police, and somc tliing of his personal history. "\Vell, :hat's interesting. There's some mystery back of that! what kind of a fellow is this Lee Bolton?" Mat gave a minute description of lhe captain of the Southern Cross . Phil Darrow shook his head. "Don't k1io-w him. He's no good, though, to treat you that way! And after you risked your life for him in the circus!" He clasped Mat's hand and drew him toward a dingy little wimtlow, some distance away. He scraped away some of the dirt from a pane, and peered through. "Take a peep. Not an interesting view, but you can sec a little, and that's better than not seeing at all." Mal saw a couple of chimneys and a section of a big wall. "Is there any other way of getting out of here?" "There's a door," answered tbe gypsy boy. "It's locked, though, and I don't know where it leads to. Come this way, and I'll show 1t to you." The door seemed not to have been opened in a long 1.in1e. "Oh, I we're safe enough here," Darrow declared. "I don't think any one ever comes up here." The correctness of this \TaS shown by the dust which lay thick 011 the floor, and by i>he cobwebs that iestooned the walls. Now that his excitement had spent itself, and he fell safe, lVfat began to realize how tired he was. He dropped down, with his back against the door, feeling that he did not want to stir again for a month, and Phil, squatting in the dust at his side, began to talk of the gypsy ca m p on the edge of the marsh, and of his wanderings. "I should think it would be more fun to be a sailor, though. I know I'd prc:::cr a ship to a wagon." "Not much fun on shipboard," Mat asserted. "It's all Yery well in stories, where everything goes just as it ought to go, bnt when you fackle the real thing, it's a dog's life. You don't get any more to eat than you ougiit to h terrible accusations with a sense of horror and fear. He saw how tunningly he was infolded in the net of false evidence, and how perilous was his situation. Again anring these charges against him. In wbat way had he so offended Lee Bolton? He could only tread around and around in a circle of conjecture and uncertainty. All he knew was that he was a fugitive, falsely accused, and feeling forced to fly from the officers of the law. He had little ei10ugh appetite for the bread that Phil Darrow urged on him. "\Ve'J] get out of here as soon as it is dark," said Phil, in a hopeful tone. "You'ii be safe at the gypsy camp. They'll never think of looking for you there!" The stanch friendship of the young gypsy was a grateful thing to the heart of the hunted boy. Until nearly sunset, they felt they were quite safe there in the attic. Then steps were heard on the stairway below, and two men entered the room just below the attic. :tl'l:J.t Ducro ,started up with a low c-ry, when he caught their voices. One of the tnen was the lawyer who h:id vi4ited him in the cell, and the other was Lee Bolton l

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8 BRA VE AND BOLD. CHAPTER VI. A :BIT OF PUZZLING TALK. Phil" Darrow's hand fell on Mat's shoulder. "Steady, there I" he whispered. "Don't let them hear you. Do you know 'em?" Mat tremblingly sank to the floor. "It's Bolton and the lawyer!" The gypsy boy blew .out his breath in a noiseless whistle. "Crickey l 'tis, eh?" "Do you s'pose they're after me?" Mat queried "Not a bit of it I Keep still, and we'll find what they're up to!" This was such sage advice that Mat Ducro sprawled himself softly on the floor in a listening attitude. / The voices of the men below reached them with considerable distinctness. "So this is one of your offices, is it?" Lee Bolton was saying. "Not a very fancy one for a cove like you I" "It will answer. I'm not here very often, you !mow." "Only when you want to have a private talk with a man of .my character." The captain's words held a sneer. "We'll not quarrel, Capt. Bolton. We came 'dp here to talk about that boy." Phil Darrow gave Mat a triumphant pinch. "He's gone, and it's all your fa.ult!" Bolton angrily asserted. "Do you think I left the cell door open?" in a purring, conciliatory tone. "It looks like it I" "Well, I didn't! Why should I want to do such a thing?" ;,If he'll only leave the country, and never come back, It's the best thing that could have happened!" Bolton growled, dropping heavily Into a chair. "I thought him dead long ago, and here he haa turned up to trouble the. l should never havo !mown him but for his name I" All fear of the men below had vanished from Mat's mind. He was listening breathlessly. A hope grew that something would be said to clear up the mystery surrounding him, and reveal the secrets of the past. It was plain that Lee Bolton !mew more of that past than he himself did. It was equally plain that the lawyer was a rascally assistant of the schooner captain, who had been sent to the cell to drive Mat into a confession. "Where has he been all these years?" the attorney inquired. "Ask me something easy, Dutton I He told me he had come in a logwood ship from It's strange that he should turn up naw to frighten me, when I thought everything was secure." "There can't be any mistake in the boy?" "There ain't many Matio Ducros. Then, he's the very image of old lgnatio. I didn't notice it at first, but he's got the same eyes and hair, and the freckled, tanned face. Oh, I'm not mistaken in the boy. Dutton." "The police are watching for him everywhere?" "All over the city," said Bolton. "I offered five hundred dollars reward for his capture this morning. I hope no one will get it, though. If I can scare him out of the country-give hiJ,n such a scare that he'll never come back-it will be even better than putting him in prison.'; "Yes, I don't kno:w but it will." "How much do I owe you, DuttonP" came the next inquiry, and the boys heard the jingle of coin on table. "How much is It worth to yon to have the boy remain away?" Dutton calmly asked. "That's got nothing to do w:lth it. Here's a hundred. That's more than I agreed on.'' Dutton was heard to grumble at the small payment, and again came the soun d of jingling coins. The listeners were wrought to a fever of excitement. "It gets me how he got out o f the jail!" Lee Bolton continued. "Do you suppose the guard helped him?" Both were reasonably certain that Matio Ducro had no money with which to bribe the guard, and the question could not be satisfactorily answered. Mat and Phil crushed their ears against the dusty floor, that no part of the conversation might escape them, and Bolton and the lawyer continued to talk, and to speculate on the manner of Mat's escape from the jail, and on his probable course of action, now that he was free. They were agreed that Mat would haste n to put as great a distance as possible between himself and the minions of the law, and in the shortest space of time. And this was exceedingly gratifying to Lee Bolton, as was plainly apparent. Then there was some mysterious talk of lands and houses, stocks and bonds, plantations and servants, which the boys understood no more than if it had been Greek. Capt. Lee Bolton was a very wealthy man, to judge by what was said, and by the tone in which he sometimes addressed the lawyer. Mat Ducro had changed his position slightly, and was crouching on his lmees in a listening attitude, and trying to determine within himself whether or not it would be wise to remain in the town and boldly face Bolton's accusations. He had about decided that such a course could not profit him when a loud peal of shrill, cackling laughter caused him to start violently and half fall to the floor. There could be no doubt he had made some noise in this In voluntary movement, and a new feeling of fear smote him. "What was that?". Mat gasped clutching the gypsy boy by the arm. "'Sh I I'm afraid they heard you. Don't move nor speak I It was that blasted parrot I" The boys had he:J.rd the parrot at intervals during the day, but the sound had.never been so near. As they listened breathlessly, they were made aware that the laughter of the parrot and the noise oi'Mat's movement had been cauglft by the two men. "It's only Mrs. Maginnis' parrot," Dutton was heard to say. "I find him up here nearly every time I come. He' s always rov ing around." "But that other?" Bolton questioned. "Are you sure you heard anything else?" "Dead sure-and it was just overhead." The beys stared questionin gly at each other in the feeble light. They feared they were about to be discovered. "Then it was only a rat," came Dutton's reas suring reply. "I thought we were going to have to slide," Phil Darrow whispere d breathing easier. "I should hate to make a break it gets dark." The door of the office below was heard to open, and Bolton's words told t hat he had come out into the corridor. Then he was heard mounting the rickety stairway. "You are fooling away your time," Dutton called after him. "That attic door is locked, and there's nothing in it." Nevertheless, Lee Bolton came straight on, determined to in vestigate the matter and satisfy himself. The captain of the Southern Cross was no fool. To his mind,

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BRA VE AND BOLD. 9 what he ha
PAGE 11

IQ BRAVE BOLD Turning straight away from the decepfrvely hoish:d ladde:i::, he hurrie.d towa>d it wide-thr(')ated chi!Tlney. "We're going do -wn into this," he said. "Let me help you. Ifs 9i;:ily safe place. They won't think of looking in the chimney." Mat saw the shrewdmiss of gypsy boy's plan, and G!imbed agileiy t_p l!1e top of the chimney Slipping down into the sooty hole, he was immediately fol lowed by Darrow, and w!Je n they had clesc<.>nqed a few fad, they settled themseh es as comfortably as possible, stoppin_g their descent by bracing with their back,s and knee s The soot flew about them in a b!inding ,cloud. and the gyp ,s_y bg.y, >""h. o \V:.ls the smiace, saw it whirling out of the flue in a telltale spiral .. He could only trust th2.i the ering d:trkness would keep it from beiHg seen, and that by keep ing quiet, no more would rise. ''Thun.1p ;tway !" he mutj:er.e4, under his breath, as a heally jclL was given to the trapdoor. '"That's a good, stout button, and you'll have to ram it !iarp !" Luckily, there was no fire In the rooms below to scorch the boys or suffocate them with smoke. Another thump was heard. and the trapdoor flew from its place, cl?.ttering heayily 011 :he rQof. Then eame the voice of Capt. Bol to_n, a11d that of another, who was supposedly an officf.r. Dutton also made his presence known by a questl0n. Capt. Bolton, smarting under a sense of humiliation and defe<1t, was roqric!Jy clenoi.mci11g the. boy!> to the lnfonn ing him that one of the young rascals was Ducro, the escaped highwayman. As soen 11s they g-ainec\ the r-oof, they peheld the ladder, and feeling sure the fugitives h;:d escapi:d in that directi.on, they ried toward it, not stopping for a closer search. however, who was too heavy for such slippery climb ing, remained en the roof riear the trapdoor. Capt. Bolton and the officer hastened away over the adjacent roof. but in less than five minutrs tltey came "They must have climbed down into the street," the officer was saying. "But I don't think they can get away. Y e.u're sure one of them was the chap thflt got out of the jail last night?" "Qnite sure," replied Boltrn1. "And he's a desperate I suppose he had it in for me for offering that reward. Anyway, he tried to kill me. If yon want to earn five hundred doilars, land him in the jail again!" "Easier said than done," w2.s the panting reply. "From what I've heard, he can run and climb like a cat. But the boys will be on the lookout for him, and I don't think he can get out of the city." Then baffled trio descended through the trapdoor the attic, and the boys in the chimney began to breathe easier. Phil ol!t at the dark s ky above, and began to think of trying to extricate himself from his cramped apd l.jncomfortable position. Then, st_rangely as it seemed, they heard a door open, and again there sounded the voices of their late pursuers. The policeman had apparently gone, for his voice was not heard, and Capt. Bolton was roundly denotJncing the lawyer for his pusill;rnimos conduct. Dutton was endeavoring to defend himself but not very suc cessfully. "That's queer," was the tl:iought of the two referring to the distinctness with which word was heard. "I'll never rest easy till that boy is in the penitentiary," Bolton asserted. "And I'll land him there inside of a month, see if I don't! He is safe enough for that, if the Gops can only get their grippers on him. Who do yot1 suppose that other CLJb was?" "Think yo. u'd know him again?" Dutton asked, in a brighter tone, pleased that the conversation had changed from his recent exhibition of cowardice. "I don't know. I t was 80 infernally dark in that attic, and, I can tell you! I wasn't given much time to look about me! young rascals fought like tigers. Two grown men couldn't have tied me up in handsomer style." This was said with a mixture of admiration and anger. A short time after there i::;ime a s!mffiipg of feet, and a door was heard to sla;11: then all grew silent. The slow minutes went by, and l\.fat and Phil twisted, their squi,,min.2" motions sending up d011ds of soot. "We'll nave to get out of this!" 1'iat whispered. "I don't be lieve I can stand it any longer." He choked and coughed as he said it. '-'All !"' But Phil Darrow found tht all w:>s not r.i!J"ht, whRn he l'!S sayed to c!i :: b to 1hc top -qf the chimney. Be had always sid ered himself a good climber, but he eould not make 11is way t;p on the inside of that COiJtracted flue. After wriggling and twisting l1nsuccessfully for a f!'W u tli!s, he was cemp.elled to call .dQw;1: "I just can't make it } 1fat VV!! :ire stuck!" Both were now cougl1iP.g Yiolrntly, their nostril s and lu11gs being: filler! with soot, whic:1 Phil' s efforts ccnstantly ciislodg:::d. Try again!"' Mat l1rged. "It's j1,1.5t nv u:;e I I c;a-n't w;et u,p an i.gcl:j !" CHAPTER, VIII Fl\OM TIIF; FRYING-l'AN INTO. Tfil FIRE. As it proved impossible for the hays to climb up the flue, they bega11 to consider wlietb e r it would bl' S..flfe to (ry to desct.md. They had foupd tlnt slipping down was easy en011gh. "\.Vherf! they rni,.,.ht lapd was tl]e thing that troubled them. "We'll be in a pretty pickle if we drcp -into some man.'s parlor," was Mat's whispered exclamation. "We can't stay here, thoi1gh !" said Phil. "That's so-,.-we ca:q't." Forthwith; Mat began to "crJlwfi?h" gown the d ark hole1 mg iqch of the Wf!.Y before him wi t h his feet. He went slo wly and caFefolly. and Phii, following in the same way, show eicd him with soct and ashes. \t and ashes, and large quantities of it had1 puffed out on the floor, and more shook from the c1othing of the boys whenever t)1ey moved. "1nis office will be in a pretty mess!" and Mat Dpcro endeavored to brush some of the black, sticky stuff from his clothing into the fireplace. "W. ell, if this is Dc1tton's office. I just d on't care." Ph.ii avowed. He stepped toward the door and turued at the knob. The door refused to open, and when he examined it, he found it locked and bolted. The look of dismay which came into his face was concealed by the soot. "Stuclf again!" he ejaculated. "Mig)J,t about as well be up the chimney!" t hey cotild breathe freely here, and that was a consideration. ...... ,..i i ... ..,,.,,., ,--h "1,-. .. ,,.:returned they could not guess, and they began to nervous.

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BRA VE AND BOLD. ,I I Phil looked at the gas jet burning in the corner, and then, seeing a mirror, stepped in front of it. He drew back in astonishment. From head to foot he was a mass of soot, and his face was streaked and grimed in a manner most wonderful to behold. "There is one comfort," was his reflection. "I don't think Bolton or Dutton, either one, would recognize us, if they walked into the office this minute!" Then a happy thought struck him, and he began to dampen the soot, and deliberately smear it over his face, thus changing his com plexion to the hue of ebo ny. 0"Better black yourself up a little more, 1Iat,'' was his sugges tion. "Then. i f we do get out of here-which we'll do if we have to smash down the door-we'll be taken for n.egro coal-heavers, or something of that sort, and won't have so much trouble in getting out of the city." Mat Ducro caught at the suggestion, and began to smear his v\\"n face in the same manner The alteration was so con plete that neither would have been recognized by his intimate acquaintance. "We will do!" and Phil grinningly sp read his mouth in imitation of a negro in a minstrel show. "Walk into that tunnel, will you?" "This is no time for joking," again reminded Mat. And. indeed, it was not, for steps were heard ascending the stairway. That Dutton or Bolton was returning to the office seemed reasonably certain. The boys looked at each other questioningly, fearing that they were in a trap. "He don't know we're in here," said Mat, "and maybe we can dash by him when he opens the door." But Phil Darrow h ?d already thought of a better plan. "You slip over to that light, and be quiet about it, and just as he throws open the door, you turn i t out; then I'll ram my head into his stomach aud knock him down, and we'll slide for the street!" This was hurriedly and excitedly whispered, for there was not a moment to lose'. The one coming was already near the top of the stairway, and in less than half a minute would be at the do or. Mat Ducro tiptoed quickly to the gas jet and took hold of the screw, ready to turn th e gas out, while Phil Darrow stooped just beside the door, to bowl over the fat lawyer as soon as the latter maC.:e his appe arance He believed it was the lawyer, for the tread was heavy and ponderous. However. he was resolved to serve Bolton in the same way, should it prove to be that individaal. Each of the boys was tremhling with excitement. As the man drew ne:irer, the heavy fall of the footsteps left no doubt that he was Dutton. Phil was glad of this. for he much preferred an encounter with the fat lawy e r to one with the captain. The lawyer had not show n that he was a brave man, and Phil could not repreRs a chnck!e as he fancied Dutton's astonishment and discomfiture. Dutlon advanced with calm deliberation to the door, jingl e d some keys, and began to unlock it. He was muttering to him self and seemed not in a very good humor. Possibly, he had quarreled ith Bolton. Mat's hand shook so that he could h a rdly grasp the screw of the gas fixture, and Phil crouched still lower in nervous sus pense. Then the door was shoved slowly open, and the burly form of the lawver into vi<"w. The light went out on the in5tant, plunging the room into Egyptian darkness, and Phil Darrow propelled his head with stunning force against Dutton's rotund abdomen. There followed a howl of pain and dismay, as Dutton went down with a crash that shook the building. No more frightened and bewildered lawyer was there ever in the Crescent City. "Oh! oh !" he moan<"d, and then he began to lift his voice in a feeble cry for help, begging in the same breath to be spared. -'Do not strik<' me again. !!"e11tlemen !" h e implored. "Oh, do not! Do not I Take my money. but do not kill me!" Dutton was under the impre ss ion that he had been attacked by burglars, who had gained access to his office, and that he was in imminent danger of instant death. Mat and Phil did not tarry to hear more, but sprang across the prostrate and wriggling body and leaped d ow n the stairway with tremendous bounds. Almos t before they were aware of it, they were in the well lighted street. CHAPTER IX. A DASH FOR LIBERTY. Phil Darrow, who was in advance, slowed up, in spite of his intense desire to run. "\Ve must take it slow," he whispered, "or we'll be suspected, and followed !" The groans and cries of the scared lawyer came to them, with subdued force. They saw they had not been observed, but they knew that Dutton would soon be heard, or that he would recover from his fright, and hasten down into the street, and they walked on, trying to assume an air of calm deliberateness they were far from feeling. The old French-like street was narrow and crowded, and there were a number of negroes in it, some of these almost as black and sooty as the boys. But Mat and Phil were not willing to trust wholly to their dis guise, and at the first cross street they changed their course, and as soon as they reached an alley they slipped into it. So far, there was no sound of pursuit, and they plunged on, walking with quicker gait. Then there came lo them a confused scurry of feet and a com motion which made them think a search was being inslituted, and they broke into a demoralized run. Realizing, however, that this would never do, and that they would surely point themselves out, they again fell into a wall<, and as soon as possible turned into another alley, to more effectually baffle their pursuers. This opened on a street radiant with electric lights, and here they stopped for a moment, to consult as to the best course to foll ow They did not notice that they were standing near a small build ing, until a clog rushed savagely through a doorway. The dog barked loudly, and made a dash at Mat's legs, and he gave it a kick which sent it howling back into the little house. Thereupon, a man appeared-a withered old man-who screamed at them in a high, cracked voice: "You've been wanting to rob me, have you? Take them, Major! Take 'eml" Then he began to call for the police, and to bewail hia lonely and def e nseless condition. The dog again dashed out, with much fierce baying, and the boys saw they could not remain there longer with safety. "Confound the luck!" Phil growled. "We seem to be hunted on all sides!" He struck out at the dog, and then, seeing that the old man's outcries were causing people to hasten in that direction, they ran on down the alley, preferring the lighted street to the perils about them. Flying down the alley like the wind, and when near its end, Phil Darrow tripped and fell over an oid woman, who was crouching there with a basket of apples. "Beg pardon, aunty I" he gasped, scrambling to his feet, and picking up the apples that had been knocked from the basket. Fortunately, he did not try to disguise his voice. Immediately the old woman struggled up and grasped him by the arm. "Is it you, Phil?" she whispered, staring into his blackened face. "Is it you, Phil Darrow? W e"ve been huntin' all over the city for you." Phil ga\e a little cry of astonishment. "Why, Mother Mag1ms !" "Yes, it's me, Phil. I've been lookin' fer you I And that...___? She turned and looked at Mat Ducro. "A friend of mine," said Phil, airily. "New acquaintance, m o ther. But he's all right. He's no blacker than I am when his face is washed-not so blade I want to take him to the camp." Mother Magnus irresolutely shook her head. A s the reader can see, she was a member of the gypsy band to which Phil Darrow belonged, and she had all the gypsy's se cretive caution. She did not fancy thia brina-ing of a strange lad,

PAGE 13

!12 BRA VE AND BOLD. who was rtot of the gypsy blood, into the wagon camp on the edge of the marsh. Phil felt that there was no time to be lost, but he, neverthe l ess, explained, as hurriedly as he could, who Uat Ducro was, and how he had chanced to meet him. "I hope you'll let me go along, i\lother lvlagnus," Mat plead ingly put in. -'I have no place else to go." Only for another moment did she hesitate. Then she took the basket of apples on her arm, and hobbled into the street, closely fellowed by thr boys; but she kept 3haki11g her old head, to show she was not pleased with what Phil had done and that she did not approve of this habit he had of making new and strange acquaintances. Near the curbstone stood a dejected-looking mule, attached to a shabby cart. Mother Magnus was both wary and wise. She had heard enough to know that the boys were in constant danrrer of arrest; Lut she knew, toe, that hasty actions and hurried flight would bring abm1t that arrest quicker than anything else. Her keen saw everything on the street, before she ven tured into the full glnre of the lamps, and she glanced back at the boys. to make sure that their disguise was impenetrable. 'v\'ht:n she had done this, she walked straight toward the cart, giving no apparent heed to anything, and then she turned a.bout, a11d called out, .sharply: "\" ou Jim, you black scamp! jump lively there and untie that mule. You'n: the laziest, no-account nigger in New Orleans!" Phil took this order to himself, and sloucl\ed to the mule's head, and arranged the bridle and lines. !\[other l\lagnus h;1d mounted to the seat by this time, and Mat was climbing in behind. Phil Darrow leaped in at Mat's side, where they squatted on the floor of the cart, and the old woman tcok up a heavy gad and drove the mule into a trot. There were other mule C2.rts in the street, and many negroes and shabby ;vomen. so th,at no one gave them a seco11d glance But in spite of this, the boys felt nenous nnd uneasy, for the glow of the lamp s made the street almost as light as day. \Vhen Mother Magnus had driven two or three blocks in this manner, Rhe turned the mule cart into a street that ran toward t he edge of the marsh. Not once did she speak, however, or look back to see how the boy s were faring. It require.cl nearly an hour to get ot:t of the city; then the dirty tents of the gypsy camp loomed before them through the gloo1;n. l\fother l\1agnus dismounted from the high seat with much more agility than she had shown in the city, thus proving that her rh eumatic limp was but a pretense. "Cricky but I'm glad to get back to the camp again!" Phil avowed, stretching his cramped limbs. He an.d Mat slipped the harness from the mule, and turned it loose to graze on the coarse marsh grass. When they had done this, they followed Mother Magnus, who had gone on toward the tents. The gypsy hoy was about to announce his teturn by a triumphant shout, when he felt Mother Magnus' hand on his arm. He turned around, and saw facin$ him an elderly gypsy woman, well-dressed, but in the gypsr fash10n. "Mother Ferola !" he exclaimed. Then he whispered to Mat: "She is the queen of all the gypsy tribes in this vicinity." "\Vho are you?" the woman demanded, lookirtg M.at over sharply. Her eyes held a strange light, as she curiously scanned his f ea tures. "You are not a gypr.y?" "He's a friend of mine, Mother Ferola," said Phil. "And a friend of a gypsy should be treated a "That' s so! Go arr
PAGE 14

BRAVE AND BOLD. 13 "Oh, I'll fix you up so that yot1 won't be in a bit of danger.'' l\Iother Ferola was quick to think and act. She \Vent to a little box and got out some pigments. These she skillfully applied to the faces and hands of the two boys, completely changing their appearance. ''Your own mother wouldn't know you!" she declared. stepping back and surveying her work. "Now, I'll crop )'Our hair." \\"hen their hair had been closely "'shingled.'" and l\fat's duly stained, they mulatto boys, dressed in ill-fitting and habby garnwnts. ow, Mothn '.\fagnus will give you some then you must get a few wi:iks of sleep, and be in the city by daylight, to begin your work." CHAPTER X. A NIGHT JOURNEY. The sweet strains of a violin rose in the Frenchy street, before the door of the sta irway in Dutton's office. The violin was played by Phil Darro w, and \lat Ducro stood at his s ide, tambourine in hand. The s un was rapidly lowering, and they had played in various quarters of the city, through all the fong hours of the day. They had been successful, too, and their pockets were bulging with small coin. No one had molested them-no one haci given them a sus picious glance, and now grown bold and confident, they had ventured into this street, drawn solely by curiosity. They had not been playing very long, until Dutton appeared on the street, as if he meant to go uptown. f He lo o ked curiously at the lads, and when l\fat ran toward him, shaking the extended tambourine, Dutton stopped and dropped a dime into it. "Thank you," said Mat, touching his ragged hat and pocketing the coin. "The deuce l" Dutton was seen to tremble and change countenance. Then he h as tened away on his shaky legs, and the disguised boys certain they had been reco g niz ed. that Dutton meant to summon an officer, hurried rapidly from the vicinity. They feared to tarry longer in the city afcer that, and as soon as they could they made tracks for the gypsy camp. It was afte r night when they reached it, but a bright moon and the camp-fi res made the surroundings almost as light as day. While they were yet some distance off, confused sounds and outcries came to th em, and when they ran quickly forward, they saw that a slender girl was in danger of her life from the antics of a vicious pony. The gypsies, in their trading, had got hold of a wild and unbroken broncho from the Texas ranges. The treacherous little beast seemed gent le enough until this girl mounted it. Then it had commenced to plunge and buck in the maddest manner. Two or three gypsy men were trying to get a rope over the broncho's head, but it broke past them and dashed out of. the camp. The girl was terror-stricken, and could do nothing to check it. Indeed, she had ceased to try, and was only en
PAGE 15

14 BRA VE AND BOLD. "Do you know why Mother Ferola wants me to go there?" Mat asked. "No; I wish I did. got some cause, though!" "How did you know she told me to go?" The girl laughed. "You won't tell? I poked my head under the tent and listened; that's how I know! Oh, we gypsies ain't angels 1 If we was, we wouldn't go around cheating people, telling fortunes and trading horses 1" l\Iat laughed. "And there's another thing I heard, but not in Mother Ferola's tent." She sank her voice still lower. "You want to be. on your guard every minute. Some of the men were talking about you, and they said that five hundred dollars' reward was offered for your capture. They like money, you know!" A chill of f!!ar swept over the boy. "Maybe they won't do anything now, for they're awfully pleased at what you done. But you want to keep your eyes open!" Mother Ferola slipped back from the seat at this juncture, and the girl drew away, and, though Mat was anxious to question her further on the subject, the opportunity did not come. CHAPTER XI. MAT AS A FORTUNE-TELLER. The low, green marsh lay behind the gypsies, and a grim and mossy forest in front. The tents had been pitched again, the sun was shining, the. children romping, and the ponies grazing. The Crescent City was far behind. Mat Ducro stood in a small, green-curtained tent, that, for a gypsy tent, was handsomely furnished. The big mirror was in there, and the upholstered lounge. Be sides, there were several nice chairs, a few brackets and a little table mvered with crimson velvet. Out in front of the tent there hung a faded crimson curtain, which bore strong resemblance to the gaudy curtains to be seen in front of the sideshows and circus annexes, for it was covered with strange devices, and figures of birds, beasts and serpems, all intertwined with letters and queer hieroglyphics. This tent was the fortune-telling tent of Mother Ferola, where she gave audience to the curiously inquisitive ,;ind superstitious people who came to her to inquire concerning their future. Its appearance was well calculated to strike them with ignorant awe, and tafill them with a belief that she was a creature marvelous for her prophetic gifts. Mat had been sent in there to put the tent to rights. Havinl? completed the task, he was about to depart, when the flap of tne tent opened and a negro hurried in, dropping down almost out of breath on the lounge. Mat stared, for the negro was none other than Torn, the cook of the S o-uthern Crnss. Mat quickly saw that the. black was giv!ng him scant heed, and seemed to be in great agony of body or mind, and even when the black looked up, and fixed on him a pair of glassy eyes, Mat saw that he was still unrecognized. Nevertheless, the boy trembled not a little, for the negro's entrance had been of so startling a character. "Oh, sabe me, marse !. Sabe 'me l" the darky wailed, getting down on his knees and crawling toward Mat, making a piteous spectacle of himself. The mulatto complexion, the changed clothing and the cropped and darkened hair were standing the boy in good stead. ''I'se been hoodooed I I'se gwine die, sho I I feels de comboberation ob pe p'ison in my bones I It's a-wukkin' an' a-wuk kin' up to my heaht !" He put a shaking black hand on his left breast, to indicate the position the poison had reached. "It's de wu'k ob de witch-doctoh I He cas' his eye on me, and he look dis heah way an' dis heah way; an' den de p'ison 'gin to crape up my laigs an' into my body, an' de pains 'gin to shoot th'ough me, an' de ager 'gin to freeze my blood. I'se gwine die, oho'!'' Though Mat was much astonished by all this, and wondered how Tom chanced to be there, he endeavored to conceal his surprise. He was not very successful, though, but the darky was in no condition to observe anything. "\Vhat is it you want?" Mat queried. "Oh, Marse Forchin-teller, I want you to tek away de spell. I want you lo dror de p'ison out'n me. I'se been hoodooed by the witch-doctoh !" "So you' v e been fooling around the witch-doctor, have you?" giving a disguising twist to his voice. "Sit down there at the table If you stand shivering and shaking that way, I can't do anything for you." "Yes, ma : .;e !" The frightened darky, accepting this as strict truth, dropped shiveringly into a chair by the table, and looked appealingly at Mat. So abject was the fear which he manifested, and so ludicrous were the contortions of his features. that the boy could have laughed outright. However, as a preten
PAGE 16

AN]) BOLP. into a rag, tie.cl !JP, hrei!thed !ianf R, What was hii to d? H<} neither fight R .or .fly I c;}IAPTER XII. THE PERILS OF THE FORES"1 .As all thought ot eseap,e was l\Seles .s, and th!"re was no place in the te11t wl1e re Mat DucrQ !'l1ight be safely hidqen, the woman pushed him behind her, q.nd boldly went tg the flap which opened toward the camp. She cast this aside, and stood facing the meri. who re solved on Mat's arres.t. They had been inclined to think well of Mat, he saved the life of Meg Marvel; bi.it the Oft\!r of t\1e fie buq.dred dollars reward had proved too great a temptation. They h somewher11 .over in that woo4&," SflI\;l, i'!warcl L!)e iJlacl} for.t!st. '\I hav..i:n'.t b.ee.n .tl1c re in a long time; but you!}] likely see 1>omebody that ca11 you \he (Vil.y." . With th: s she left the tent, intending to talk aga-i-1-1 of the covetous' gypsies; and Ilfat and Phil b.egan their pr-eparations for depB.rtu.re Mother Femia did not return; and they slipped frop1 the h11\'.k of the tent, took advangige of some live oaks and oi the sereen afforded by a band of and got out of the eamp, as -they b.elieved, without being seen . About an hour later they stood in the edge of big woods thit the boys came near stepping on them. And this was the so-styled t'h"antom Forest, of which tpey had heard, and within whose depths was to be found the singul:oir beipg known as the witch-doetor. No wonder the superstitious negroes shunned the place, and boys could not repress a ihfill of dread as they moved forward. But they, pi.1shed on, fqr Mat was re,;;qlYed to hear what the so-called wit0h-di:><;tor might be able to tell him, and Phil was equally determined to !;>car .l\'.fat company. The swampy nature of the ground increased, and in a short time they found themselves standing on the edge 9f a wide and ]flz:y lagoon. Its waters. were almost as as ink, as they i;ame from the heart of the S'.vamp. A crazy boat lay on the'shore of the lagoon, partially sunk iri the slimy mud; and they saw that this afforded the only means of crossing. At the side, the dim path stretched on into the forest; and there was 110 way by whiqh tht! lagoon might be gone around. Tl1ey pushed the boat into the Witter, c!imb\ld in, and Mat took up the single oar. But he had scarcely shovt!d off, when what he had taken for a black log, rolled lazily over, a pair of wicked eyes looked at him, and the wide mouth of an alligator opened. t Other black logs put themselves in motion, and soon the lagoon waa swarming with the vicious saurians. Mat splashed the paddle in the water to keep them away, which worked well enough for a seGond or two, but they quickly became bolc!er, and two or three of them qiade a dash for tlje boat. As the boys were now out op. the water, peril of returning was as great as that 9 going ahead. "I don't like this a bit," said Phil. The snout of an alligator had grazed his coat, and now he stood up, and, fishing a cl uQ out of the water, prepared to defend himself. The lagoon was exleedingly shallow, and a number of gnarled and scrubby trees grew in it. Mat sat in t he bow, and drove the boat on with vigorous strokes, now and then to rap an alligator over the head with the blade. But he whacked once too often, and the blac!e broke in his hands! He in dismay. He could not well propel the heavy boat with his hands, er with a club. The to the opposite shore was st ill great, and the alligators were constantly growing bolder. While he was debating what to do, a big saurian aros e direc;lv beneath the boat. lifting it bodily ont of th e water, and hurling it with great force agaimt cne nf :he scrnbby trees.

PAGE 17

16 BRAVE AND BOLD. There sounded the crash of breaking timbers, and Phil and Mat were pitched into the lagoon. J\Iat grasped a limb of the t ree, and drew himself up out of the waler, climbing quickly beyond reach of the alligator's snapping jaws; but Phil Darrow was not so fortunate. He was unable to reach a friendly branch, and l\.fat was horrified to see a big alligator open its mouth and rush at him. Phil saw the fierce beast on him also, and splashed the watc.r frantically in his efforts to reach the tree. He would not have succeeded, however, if Mat had not pulled a club fr 0 m the tree, and leaped bravely to his assistance. At this the alligator dived and disappeared, but there were others swimming toward them, reckoning on a feast. Mat grasped Phil by the collar-for l\Iat was much the best swimmer-and together they got back to the tree, and climbed, shaking, into the branches. The broken boat had drifted beyond reach: but it would have been useless. anyway. in its crippled condition. Their p ositio n was deplorable. They were dripping wet. and chilied with cold and fear. Shining eyes and wicked teeth gleamed all about them. Fifty yards or more separted them from the nearest shore, and there was no means of reaching it. CHAPTER XIII. IN THE HOME OF THE WITCH-DOCTOR. In their despair, the b oys lifted their voices in loud shouts t o r help. Again and again they cailed, making the arches of the strange forest ring. Then there came an answering cry from the and they saw a brovn-skinned girl hurry ou t of the from the direction of the witch-doctor's supposed resorl. She took in the tuation at a ghm:e, saw th<: great danger they we1-e in, )1c.uted something, and then d isappeared. Do you rhink she ha s left for good?" Phil asked, drawing up his kgs, an d climbing still higher up the branch. "Probably she has gone for help," answered encouragingly. That this was correct, they soon discover ed. The girl re a ppeared on the shore some distance below, poled a wide, barge-like boat out into tl1e water, leaped into it, and pushed it in their direction. The haples boys could have cried for very joy. They had never b een in so ticklish a position in their lives, and their dread of the alligators was intense. They saw that the barge was much better adapted to navigatinir such an infested place than an ordinary boat; and, thol1gh the alligators bumped against it threateningly, she poled straight on. Now and then she stopped to jab at one that ventured too near. She showed no fear, however, and the boys took courage from her heroic attitude. They had not the least idea who she was: but she was proving their good angel, even though her skin was brovm as a berry and her features decidedly negroid. "Ho!' on!" she bawled. "Don' let dem 'gators git a hold o b ye! Two boys Eke you wouldn't mon make a good meal foh one ob um!" And the boys held on like grim death, drawing their feet up out of re:ich of the snapping jaws. As she came nearer, jabbing wickedly now and then with the pole the alligators sank one by one out of si!iht, making way for her; though they arose again, some distance beyopd, and continued to hovC'r about in a threatening circlr. \Vhen the barge had been driven beneath the tree, the boys dropped from their uncomfortable posi tions, thankful to be saved from the fate that had seemingly awaited them. They b ega n to shower her with of gratitude. "Betteh wait tell you is done safe I" she grinned, showing a double row of ivories. "Dem 'gators is monst'ous pesky sometimes! I had enc clam' right onto dis heah boat on ct. I 'clar' to goodness, I thought he wa> gwine git me. &ho'!" Then she looked at the boys she had rescued w it h an air of "\\'ha' you two totin' you' selves to?" ''vVe're hunting the home of the witch-doctor," said "Do you know where he lives?" She laughed again. "Chile, J think I ought to! J'm his gal. M'lissy Lucindy Jc.rushy Jane is my name; but dey calls me M'liss, feh shawtl My paw's name is Johnsing Jones; but everybody calls 'im de witch-doctah." She was garrulousiy inclined, and continued to rattle on, even after she had commenced to pole the boat from the tree, and while striking at the crowding alligators. Phil said afterward that her tongue made him think of a flutter mill. Just then both Phil and Mat were thinking too much of their recent peril and escape to give close attention to the girl's talk. Under her exertions the barge was soon driven ashore, where they all leaped out. And when the girl had secured it by a rope to a e turned into the ill-defined path and led the way toward her home. The woods perceptibly opened, and soon they ca.tne to higher ground, where were some patches of corn and tobacco. There w:is also a house here, and an inclosed garden. The boys looked at the house wonderingly, knowing it held the witch-doctor they had come so far to see. And they questioned copcerning what strange things he might be able to tell :Yiat, and of tht outcome of the visit. Each was reasonably certain that :.\'[other Ferola had not directed ).fat to visit the witch-doctor without good cause. Mother shown that she knew, in a perfectly natural way, sometlling of Mat's past. and doubtless the witch-doctor knew <\' deal more. Vlith these fecling-s, the boys approached the house following the irirl around the little garden until they came to a paling gate. She lifted the latch of the gate, and they stood before the door of the h ouse. It was set high frorr. the ground on slender posts, and a big dog sn;irled at them out of the darkness beneath the floor; but, though they looked inquiringly about. they beheld none of the snakes which .'.\1eg :VIarvel h ad said filled the "Paw! paw!" the girl called, after commanding the dog to st0p his "yowli n"." ln response. a movement was heard within the h ouse, and soon an oid man appea;ed-an old m:m wi:h a black face and silvery w!1ite hair, who peer ed at them curiously through a pair of gret'n go g)iles "Dese young gemmen has kyarried demse'ves heah to gits dey fawchins tol', I 'spect !" 1 his was the manner in which the girl introduced them; and then the old m an threw the door open and told them to walk in. The room into which they WL're ad mi tied was singularly furnished. Bright ribbons of cloth and paper descended from the ceiling-less rafters. A green. corded cttrtain hung at the one little window, compl.!tely shut! ing out the light. Strips of to bacco hung against the walls, and on the floor were a number of pots filled with dried roots and herbs. A huge basin was visible in a dim corner, a little table and some ch:iirs were in the center of the room, and a big fireplace yawned at the farther end. Besides this, there were shelves in various unexpected places, some covered with snake skim; and shell ornaments and rattles, tiny drnms and medir-inc hags, and r1ueer glass jars abounded. The legs of the little table were coiled serpents, standing on their tails; and, at its stde, a s tuffed alligator. three or four feet high. h el d up a big co rd ieceiver. on which perched an owl. The owl was alive and blinked at the boys, as they fancied, in a most uncanny way. As Phil glanced about him, he felt as if chunks of ice were slipping down his back. and so expressed himself, in a whisper, to Mat. "It's en0ugh to gin any 0ne the creeps!" Mat aYerred, shntg ging his shoulders and the witch-doctor. The light bcirig not of the !Jest tht> witch-doctor stepped into the <:orntt of the room whirh h eld the big basin, and ignited an immense lamp. It gave uut a pungent, aromatic odor, and the which was of a greenish hue, threw a sickly glare on all the belongings of the room. V\Then 1he witch-doctor turned to 1hem ag:ain, they saw he had remOYCd h!s disfiguring goggles. Under the light of the lamp, face was a greenish bronze, and his glowed with singular m enslty. The owl be ga n to move on its perch, probably troubled by the light. and to utter dismal sounds; and the boys felt cree pier than ever. The voodooist scanned Mat's face with a searching gaze, uttered tmclpr hi<; breath. then said, as he squatted on the floor and motioned for them to do

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BRA VE AND BOI.D. 17 ''I'se been a-dream in' ob you, boy! I see you comln', comin'; an' I knows you'll git h eah bimeby. An' now you done come! "De old witch-doctoh kin see sarcumstances an' 'glomerations what no one else kin see. When he b een dreamin' 'bout you he see de who le alphybet o' yo' name spelt out dis way: 'Matio Ducro !' "An' he see, too, all de interestin' sagashiations ob yo' sarcumflex What yo' been an' what yo' gwine teh be! Wha' yo' come f'um an' wha' yo' gwine !" It was quite evident that Mr. Johnsing Jones, the eminent voodooist, p-rided himself on his mastery of big words. He made use of them to impress ignornnt auditors. His statements were opening up to Mat a world of speculation. Mat was wise enough to know that the information possessed by the witch-doctor had been obtained in a manner quite dif ferent from that professed. He recalled the letter mentioned by Bolton's c;ook, and im mediately jumped to the that the contents of that Jet ter had been descriptive of and personal to himse lf, and probably had warned the witch-doctor to be on the watch for him. A feeling of fc;ar was mingled with these thoughts. There was no telling how intimate the witdi-doctor might be with the rascally capta:in of the Southern Cro,ss, nor what wiles might be resorted to to put him i o t he captain's power. The boy almost wished he h a d never ventured into the socalled Phantom Forest. He was' wondering, too, concerning the reasons which had induced Mother Fcrnl a to direct him thither, when the witchdoctor again broke the silence. "You s come heah to git yo' fawchin to!'? I tells de futu'ity an' de retrospec ob p eop les in multitugimous ways. Sometimes I uses de kyads, sometimes I nses de lines ob de han', some times I conversationize s wid sarpents, an' sometimes I spekylates in de d ep's o b de wateh mi'roh !" The beys pretended to be duly impressed with his marvelous power. which exhibition gratified him very much. Getting on his feet. and re::i.ching into a little glass iar. he drew out a writhing blacksnake, which he petted affectionately, and then coiled around his neck. A shudder passed over Mat, bnt Phil Darrow had seen too many blacksnakes to be afraid of them. "1 you'il perambulate dis way young gemmen, we'll try f L!1e mound was a white gravestone; and on the gravestone hi< inscription: "Sacred to the Memory of Matio Ducro." The light went out; and the: voice of the old voodooist sounded in the1r ears: "Let the tn1fe be the trufe what so eveh contrarifies de orognications, let de sea 'vour him!" CHAPTER XIV. A FicHT WITH RATTLERS. Mat's thougnrs were whirl'ing, although he knew nothing but a dever trick had been played, and he but
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face_, hai:I bee..n to iiim By eqt Phil never seen him; so that he was ia doubt as te whetheF th, yrould !& p e a f.riea-4 or a foe. But his doubts were swept away. Mat Duqo, crushed beneath fhc wciwt of the witch-Eloi:tor, couldyet Sl!tt out;