Which is which?, or, Winning a name by proxy


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Which is which?, or, Winning a name by proxy

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Title:
Which is which?, or, Winning a name by proxy
Series Title:
Brave & Bold
Creator:
Cobb, Weldon J.
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (29 p.) 29 cm.: ;

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Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Detective and mystery fiction ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028876085 ( ALEPH )
07223933 ( OCLC )
B15-00033 ( USFLDC DOI )
b15.33 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida
Brave and Bold

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C.ENT.5 Ned was astride the mad monster. He jabbed the end of the flannel across both horns, and, with a rapid movement. wound coil after coil over them and the eyes of the steer.

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B L .IJ Different Complete Story Week Juue..t ellly, JiJI .;)ubscriptJ1Jn la .ju per y,.,,., Entered
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BRAVE AND BOLD. '"lney've found out who carrled away the tongue of the town bell," was whispered. "Maybe the secret of setting the chicken coop on top of the liberty pole is out." "It's all out," broke in the biggest of the farmers, whose ears were keener than the boys guessed, and forty other thi n gs on t op of thcth. Lads, we don't know how many of you have been in those scrapes and scrimmages, for Ned won't tell--" "Hooray for Ned!" p i ped an enthusiastic voice. "Shct up I You're in it, that's sure. We' ll leave your cases t o your families, but as to our own respon s ibility, we're going to bring Ned up with a short turn. We've stood getting into beds with one leg sawed off, we've tried to guess the wind blew p e pper into the coffee, but when the whole town c o mes down here with a story of chang e d si gns, mov e d steps and tilted sidewalks, and when Ned ties a bunch of firecrackers to the tail o f our prize sixty-dollar heifer and sends her shooting no one ye t has found out where, it's time to call a halt." "So we've sidetracked Ned," put in the second Ormsby. "And at seven o'clock we're going to give him the licklnir of his life," added the remaining farmer. They were turning the curve Qf the barn at this. Standing against it were three strong hickory limbs. Each of the brothers pic ked up one. "I'll dust all the wickedness out of his coat," remarked the c i d er, stripping the bark from the lithe switch. I fancy this will do something more than tickle his vanity," '\nno unccd his brother, giving the rod a swish that made the rtir si ng. "We invite you boys to be present at n public ceremony that ma y do you some good, and will certainly keep Ned from active bus in e ss in the mischief line for a few days to come," added the other Ormsby, sourly. "Just take a seat in the private box till t he performance begins, for begin it will at seven P. M. sharp." The farmer moved over to a woodp ile, as the six boys ba cke d to the private box" in question-a section of rail fence. Whew I" whi s tled one of them. He's in for it," muttered a second. "Boys, it will about kill ed to be whipped publicly." Let's mob those old villains, rescue Ned, and cut for lt." Y e s but where is Ned?" Combined attention was fixed on the barn. Its door was padlocked, its upper windows barred. Six pairs of eyes roamed .::ve r the i;xpressionless structure, seeking a of the accred-11 e d l ea der In every piece of mischief that had set Glendale by \Ile ears since summer began. Glendale was famous, and Ned Brooks had made it so, and it (\ad co me to be natural that when any nei ghbo ring villager t hou gh t of Gle ndale, he thought at once and at the same time of Ned. Scapegrace Ned his uncles, with whom he had lived since he could rememb e r du b bed him. Thoug htless Ned indulgent moth ers with boys in the same category made it out. Thoroughbred Ned to the core, was the verdict of his chums and confederates, every time! Ned Brooks was fun personified. To eat, rest or sleep when a piece of rare mischief was in sight or reach, was with him to waste the sunniest moments of lif e The result was that Ned and his chosen familiars had become about as dreaded in the district as the guerrillas, the ku-klux, the white caps, the college raiders of modern history. "There he is I" suddenly exclaimed an cager voice. "Oh, Ned, hello I I say, Ned I" Across the unglazed window frame a figure fluttered abruptly. ' Did some one call for the castle moat, or was it fancy?" piped a che ery voice and two cheery eyes w i nked and blinked. "Oh, Ned !" returned d o lorous tones in unison. If th e y me ant to express dread or sympathy, the jolly captive refused to accept the homage. As if enjoying the flavor of his o\vn irrepressible pers o nality immensely, Ned nodded and smiled with careless bravado. "Ned, you're in an awful fix I" sang up a special chum and friend. "Well, I've got no medals coming, I guess," answered Ned, coolly. "They're going to whip you." "They think they are, yes. Don't waggle and bob so terrific ally, boys. I'm not frightened." "They've found out all about the bell, and the hen coop, and--" "Why, those are just the chips and sawdust of genius com pared to what I've bl o cked out during my brief period of private retir e ment," asserted Ned. "But, b o ys, you're wasting time if you're waiting to see me walloped." "Are we?"-dubiously. "Yes. If they try it--" Ned's eyes flas hed He was ab out to make some startling declaration when there was an interruption. Something frighte n ed the boys, and, like a flock of sheep, they took to their heels. "The y're set on cl' ping my wings, sure," muttered Ned, look ing and listening fro his eerie prison aloft. "Whipped? No!" He shut his lips rmly with pride and resolution. He fixed his eyes on the winding, tree-fringed highway, followed it with his glance till it melted into the hills, followed it in imagina tion over the hills and far away-into a new country, amid new scenes new faces, a new life Suddenly his attention was centered on two forms entering the gate. A queer-looking man was carrying a box. By his side, with a tired, sullen, hangdog air tramped a boy. They halted and conversed. Then the man opened the box and t o ok out a rolled-up white garment of some kind. Thi s he handed to the boy, who disappeared in the shrubbery. He himself advanced toward the spot where the three Ormsbys stood. Pardon, gents he began smirkingly, "but which is Mr. Ephriam Ormsby?"

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BRA VE AND BOLD. 3 "T11a t's me." nodded Ned's elder rel a tive. "Man that lost the prize heifer ? 'Tm him; what of it?" "He re s a note for you. Sent by a friend, l\fr. Jacks on, of Wood v ille." "Kno w him, cer ta inl y .'' spok e Ormsby, op e ning the tender e d missive. "What' s this? 'Here is the man I spoke to you about. He h a s been doing some wonderful things in his line here, and maybe he can help you.' Oh, I see I" he exclaimed, brightening up; "you're the f ello w who pretends to have second sight-hyp"Can you find the heier-tha t's the question?" "I c a n t r y, t h at 's my an swer. It w as a good enough one or your fri e nd, Mr. Jacks on, when he l o st his gold w a tch.'' "Go ah e ad I'll pay the ten dollar s ." T11e man lookfd at th e western s ky. I "The sun will be down in half an h o ur," he s aid "Tht" hl"st i nflue nce s don't work till t h e n. I w ant to make trance prepa r at ions o n the b oy. Where can I hav e a few minutes' qui et? T h i s will do. Oh. i t's l o ckt-d." The st r anger had a d va nced to the barn as if c hoosing its s eclunoti st, clairvoyan t?" sio n for his alleged mitiatory o per at ions. Ormsby unlocked its "Si r I" demurred the man with dignity "I am not a. fortune d oor, and man and boy disapp e arl'd. telle r ." "'Nell, at any rate you prrtend to be able to restore lost articles find the stokn and all that?" "I pretend no thirg. By my occult science I employ c e rtain mys tic faculties to d:vine what is hidden from the common eye." "Ah I and you want a chance to find my lost heifer?" "I offer my services, certainly." "Can you do it?" "I found your friend's stolen watch can try on your property. I guarantee nothing, The influence may not bt favor in your es peci:il case.'' "What's your charges?" "Ten dollars. That includes the trance dream, the tracking, the mystic: spell, et ct/era, ct cetera, ct cetera." Ormsby refl e cted. He was evidently impre s sed. "It's a bargain," h e declared fin:tlly. "Abac a cbbra candra I" muttl:'r e d the man in an impressive bass tone that s o nnd c
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4 BRA VE AND BOLD. "Say," protested Ned, curlousty, "won't you ten me 1omething?" "Well, what ls ltl"' "Your dream business I Does that man really find things? do you trace things? does the bird--" The contemptuous look on the boy's face checked Ned's Inno cent questioning. ''Well, for 1omething green ais grass rlght off the hat, you're the whole pie crust I" he jeered. "Does he find things? Yes, the nearest tavern when he's got his skates on.'' "When he's--" began Ned, dubiously. "Say!" ejaculated his informant impatiently, "where have you be e n brought up, anyway? See here I old Mapleson is a fake f-a -k-e-see ?"-and with a delusive laugh at Ned's puz z l e d face, the boy turned over on his side and pro ceeded to go to sleep. Ned rubbed his chin reflectively. Evidently he was not high enough up in current city patter to hold a conversation with this post-graduate, who a m i nute later was snor i ng loudly. Peering from the window, Ned saw the strange man seated on the doorstep of the house, making away with a quart measure of milk nnd some doughnuts, while his host, Ephriam Ormsby, stood drinking in the wonderful talcs he was narrating. Then N cd slipped downstairs. Over a hook hung the dream boy's white garment where he had thrown it. Ned pushed at the front door, but found the padlock caught. Then he paced the barn floor restlessly. "Just to get out," he breathed anxiously, "before the licking bee begins! Yea, I have fully made up my mind. There's too much to face here, all coming at once-I'm going to slope I" "Gruffy and those other two are watching the barn," he rc p
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BRA VE AND BOLD. "Exactly, fifteen dollars, I sa:y it's cheap. Here, sir, is your the wreck of a. garden that had flourlhed here when the brokenlost heifer. The occult is vindicated--" Ned did not linger to hear the balance of the bombastic tirade. Free of the sheet robe, he crept through the shrnbbery, gained an opening, ran like a deer and paused only when he had put two miles between himself and possible pursuit, hot as fire, large as life, happy a.s a king. CHAPTER III. A DAD START. "The right door or the left-which?" N e d Brooks spoke the words-a new Ned, a changed Ned, two weeks older, two weeks shabbier, versed in a hard city experience that, looking back, seemed like two years. Ned stood in the entry to a building on a busy Chicago street. It was a hall about twelve feet square. On one side was a door, 011 the other side was a door. "He came in here-didn't I see him ?-he's gone through one of tho se doorways. Which? Bah I" Ned turned the right and then the left knob, and fell back with an exclamation of defeat. "No go," he continued blankly. "They're locked. He must have had a latchkey. Hello I Here's something I didn't notice." In a dark corner a big sign was tilted face toward the wall, :;ind Ned fancied he saw chinks of lig2t beyond one sloping side. "Sure enough," he uttered, advancing and inspecting. "Here's creeping space, and the re's a hole right through the brick side of the building. I do believe the fellow went this way. He didn't exactly look like a person with latchkeys and such luxuriesno, he looked worse than when I first saw him, worse evcri than I do, and that," sighed Ned, with a rueful glance at his apparel, "is pretty tough. Now, wherever does that hol.e go to?" There cobwebs over the sign, as if it had stood there for a long time, and it was covered with dust. Ned diclnt mind that. He crept forward. A jagged hole was reached. About twenty \ bricks had been burrowed out of the side wall iit some pipelaying or wire-&tringing work and the gap never repaired. Ned wriggled his head through the hole to get a view beyond, turned squarely around, started his feet through the aperture, let his body slip after it, hung for a minute, and dropped about four feet into broad daylight with a curious, interested: "I declare l" For Ned stood in as queer, cozy and unheard-of a snuggery as the heart of a great city ever boasted. The peculiar -avenue of entrance to the spot was mysterious enough in all reason, the spot itself was an oasis, a green jewel set down in a desert as secluded, as apparently unknown to surrounding thousands, as if it were buried deep in the heart of the wilderness. On two sides and the rear the unwindowed brick walls of surrounding buildings ran up a hundred feet, while a great signboard covered whole front of the lot, shutting it in from all outside view. The lot itsel{ was overgrown with bushes and stunted trees, down structure in its center was a modem residence. This building wa1 fa.st going to pieces. Below half the win dows were gone, aloft its toppling tower was supported by braces running to the nearest bdck wall. "It's deserted and silent as the grave," breathed Ned. "Surely no one lives here. Did that boy come here? What a queer feeling l" The "queer feeling" descnl>cd was to realize that here he was house-cl like an anchorite amid grewsome coolness, isolation, while the city's hum and roar beat against the protecting sign in front like a tumultuous sea. Suddenly Ned started up, his face expanded eagerly. "Hello t" he called out, and made toward a figure coming from the house. "Eh? hello yourself I Who a.re you? what broug-ht youOh!" His challenger halted. It waa the dream-tracker boy-the' one whose sheet garment Ned had donned, whose identity Ned had stolen two weeks since. He was more sullen-faced and ragged than ever. With a lowering eye he regarded the intruder, but Ned smiled in his frank, impetuous way. "Know me?" he queried brightly. "Don't scowl so dreadfully. I suppose you don't care much for me, for I played you quite a trick back at Glendale." "Yes, you did." "But you helped me out of the fix of my life. Out of !tr' corrected Ned, with an abrupt grimace. "I hardly know that; for if the two weeks I've spent here is what they call city life, I've had a dose." "What do you want?" The dream-boy chopped off his words as If they were bits of kindling wood. "Why, I hardly know,'' responded Ned, a trifle embarrassed. "Truth is, I was pining for a whiff of home, hungry for the sight of a friend. There's no fun here-all hard grubbing. When I got sight of you on the street outside it was like a gleam of sunshine to see a face I knew. I had to put after you. Why, what's the matter?" Ned started back His comPll.Qion had caugh,t his arm ex citedly. The dream-boy was no dream as to either cheerfulness or cordiality, that was sure, but his face now relaxed. "Hold on l" he jerked out, facing Ned. "Just thought of it. Look here!" Ned looked here, there, everywhere, but received no enlighten ment. The dream-boy was looking steadfastly at him, as if study- ing some scheme concerning him. "I'm going to tel1 you something," he said. "Yes?" nodded Ned. "You know the fakir-Mapleson ?" "The man who finds things?" "Finds nothing!" snorted the boy contemptuously. "The fakir,

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6 BRA VE AND BOLD. the old fraud I I've known. him to my cost. Well, he shipped me at G l endale "Sent you adrift?" "Y cs, drat him!" uttered the boy bitterly. "The miserly old hunks I Your uncies were so tickled over his finding the heifer that they invited him to stay all night. The next morning, when we started on he was chipper as a lark, seemed to have got the big head all of a rndd e n, gave me a dollar and told me the partnership was dissolved." "\\"hy ?" "I le said he'd struck something better than risking tar and. frathers for bamboozling grangcrs. I rem i nded him that he owed me ten dollars by rights. 'You busy yourself finding the boy who cut stick from here night,' says he, 'and rt! make it ten times ten.'" "!'deaning me?" "Yes.'' "\Vhy, how queer I" commented the puzzled Ned, "He said it; I forgot it. I see, now, that I've accidentally run 1cr oss you again." "See what?" "Are you in for n spec?" demanded the drC'am-boy. "A spec?" r e peated Ned, slowly. "You mean--" "A chance tc get grub, a bunk, chink. You look as if you c e ded them. Look here-you see this place? I came here to !ind an old fellow I knew once. I guess he's gone out of busi ness, though, for his furniture's all gone." "\Vhat kind of business?" asked Ned, curiously. "Eh? why," stammrred his informant, "he was a sort of--of broker. Dut that's neither here nor there. Here's a safe place to roost for a night or two. The police won't disturb us here." "\Vho's afraid of the police?" Ne-d's companion flushed and scowled, and went on rapidly: "Mapleson will give me something handsome to find you." "I don't see why, unless my uncles asked him to." "They didn't." "How do you know that?" "Ilec::iuse I heard them say they wouldn't move a finger after you. You'd chosrn your bed and you must lie in it." "Oh 1" muttered Ned, looking down ruefully. "Dut does want you. Don't tell me I I've studied the old skeesicks closely, and somehow or somewhere, the night he at your house, he got on the track of some information thal interested him mightily in you, and changed all his plans." "NonsC'nse," muttered Ned. "ls it? Will you test "How?" "! think I know where, by a day or two of inquiring, I can get on Map!eson's track." "Suppose you do?" "You stay here; I'll forage for grub, and you can be comfortable. l f I find Maplesnn i t's a hundred dollars before I produce you I'll give you harf." "Fifty dollars?" exclaimed Ned, excitedly. ''I'll do just that." CHAPTER IV. HARO LUCIC, Ned Drooks ne,,er thought beyond the immediate pre'sent, in the first flush of eagerness and ruriosity a wakened by the ra,her startling proposition or the dream-tracker boy. The fact was that Ned had gone through so hard an experience since coming to the city, that the idea of getting enough to get out of it again dazzled him. Ile had c e rtainly struck the seamy side. the ragged edge, ever since the night he reached the great metropolis. Looking back over it now, it seemed a.s 1 he had done little but battle rebuffs, hard knocks, hunger and extreme poverty. He couldnt go back home-oh, that never I-to be laughed at; but given the chance. he would ue willing to try his luck 111 some quiet vil!Jge, where things were more familiar than amid this constant clamor for elbow room and bread. The dream-tracker boy seemed very much impressed with the new idea that had lifted him out of his moodiness. He pro duced from his breast pocket half a loaf of bread and a couple of smoked herring. "Now, look here," he said, "things are square if you don't queer them. Here' s a cozy uunking place, thcres enough to last you till to-morrow. I'll take a hunt for Maplesun, and don't you stir away from here !Ill I come back." The rest of the aftemoon was neither lonely nor long to Ned. It was a positive relief to itet off the crowded streets, and Ned enjoyed rambl ing o\cr the quaint house and inspecting its queer crannirs and corners. He [ell to sleep that night lrnildini;: a wonderful wall of mystery and magic around the fu1111y old hcrtrtitage. Two hours after a light breakfast the next morning, however, he began to tire of the monotony. dream-boy had not reap peared, and thinking oYer things in a calmer way, Ned got rest less, began to wonder what possible interest l\iaplcson could have in him that he made his discovery worth a hundred dollars. "Queer I" ruminated Ned. "l\laybe rm going to strike one o{ those mysterit:'S they tell about, but what mystery can there be in my humdrum life? Queer fish, thOie two, boy and man, reg ular schemers, and queerest of all this queer place. \\llrnt a den it would be for a lot of rounterfciters \Vonder what the old fellew that boy tells about used it for when he was here?" Ned determined to take a walk and strolled to the lake front. As he was strolling along, something shining caught his eye It was a silver dollar. Ile gave an exclamation of joy as he picked it up. Then he hurri<'d back to the hole in the wall. Lying upon a rotten bench, at rear of the dilapidated old house, was the boy who had started out in search of the finder, l\lapleson, the day previous. He jumped up with a startled cry at beingsudrlrnly awahned. "I didn't do it! Dont arrest me! I'll promise--" "Hey! hey! wh::tt are yott frightened at?" put in Ned. "It's me. d o n t you see?" Oh, so it is. l \\.'hc:-n.-have you b een? 1 thoui;hl you was to stay here till 1 got back?" said the boy, irritably,

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BRA VE AND BOLD. 7, Ned related hi s experience, and proudly exhibited his silver threatening that he'd play him even yet, he tlonced away to the dollar. exit of the lot and left Ned alone. "That will keep us till you find Mapleson, eh?" he asked. "I 1 suppose you haven't yet?" The dream-boy utttered a sort of disgusted growl. "No, nor ain't likely to," he vouchsafed. "Is that so, now?" "Yes, 'tis." "I thought you knew people who knew where Mapleson could be found?" '"Well, they don't, for the reason that it's rumored that Maple son got into sonie trouble in Indiana and is probably in the lock up. He's used to that though, the old sinner II' "\!Veil," declared Ned, "I'm awfully curious to know what he was so anxious to find me about, but if he's that kind of a man I don't know as I care to have anything, to do with him." "I am tired, and discouraged, and sick of life. I wish I was dead," muttered N"ed's companion, bitterly. "Oh, no, you don't I" dissuaded Ned, who was good at cheering up people. "I say, it's none of my concern, but you're a queer coot-act like a cut-and-dried misanthrope at times." "I should think I would," growled the boy: "I'm that worried, and knocked about, and hounded--" "\Vho's hounding you?" put in Ned, shrewdly. "None of your business," snapped the boy, flushin,i;:up smartly. "'Tend to your own affairs." Ned had already about half made up his mind that it was the police who were the hounders. "Say," began Ned's companion after a pause, with a rather shifting look in his eye, "I've been thinking." "Have you?" nodded Ned, encouragingly. "Yes. I've got to get away from the city." "And I'd like to." "Then we're two of a mind It isn't safe for me here, never mind why. Now, then, we've missed on llfaplcson, but if we had a little money we might invest it hunting him up, see?" "Yes, if we had it," asserted Ned, "but we haven't." "You've got a dollar." "\Vhat does that amount to?" "Lots. See here, I've a plan," continued the boy eagerly. "You lend it to me, and I 'll make twenty dollars out of it." "I'd like to know how?" "\Veil, I will. Old Mapleson taught me something about cards that will make me a winner every time. You stake me with the dollar, and see if I don't rake in a whole potful of shekels." "Say," protested Ned, indignantly, "I suppose the English of all this is, you want me to gamble?" "\Vhy-you see--" "Yes, I see interrupted Ned, forcibly, "and I simply won't do it!" For a minute his disappointed companion looked mad enough to fight him, and desperate enough to try to take the money away by force. Then scowling, muttering, denominating Ned a selfish cat, "He's gone, and I hope for good," muttered Ned. "He's a dangerous companion. I'll leave for good, too, to-morrow. I'll stay here to-night, and then I'll strike for new fields. Where, I wonder? I hope it will come to me what is best to do with the morning." I did For rousing up with daylight Ned discovered that an enemy had visited him while he slept-his late companion had "played him even," as he had threatened. A rolled-up bundle that Ned had put at the side of his bench couch was missing. It had contained his cap, his coat, his shoes and his treasure nest egg-the silver dollar. Penniless, half clad. Ned Brooks faced a new day in the great bustling city, forty times worse off than ever. CHAPTER V. ITAl!TING AFl!ES:S:. "It's a burning shame I" Ned Brooks knew no more fordble way of expressing his sen timents, but he put all the energy and indignation of his nature into the statement. He grew bot denouncing treacherous thievery of his late associate, he grew cold !lnd gloomy aa he contemplated his un comfortable situation. Then, taking stock of his remaining possessions and prospects, Ned ruefully decided that he was about as near bankrupt as a person could well be and hope to face the world. An innocent but frivolous record in the past, the possibility of a mystery in his life according to the finder, Mapleson, a sore home-greeting if he ventured back to Glendale, a street gamin's hardships if he lingered in the magnet city-there was the out look and it was glum and forbidding enough in all reason. What was he to do? If applications for work when he hnd been decently clothed had met with rebuffs because he was friendless and had no references, what kind of a reception could he hoped for attired like a roustabout? Ned was one of those boys who have to keep moving. The old hermitage had grown distasteful to him-such disagreeable associations had become attached to it. He would have to venture out into the world some time. It might as well be the present, he finally decided. Ned got into the street by the old avenue of exit. He looked down its crowded pavements timorously. A scurry ahead of him and some excited shouts put to flight Ned's thoughts all of a sudden. "Hello, what's up?" he muttered, running forward as the c:-owd ran. From the doors of a large meat market two or three men were piling out as if for their lives. A policeman, rushing up valiantly, club in hand, turned with them after a glance ahead. "lt's a mad steer l" yelled the foremost of the lll.t.a. _,,_

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8 DRA VE AND DOLD. The crowd swayed back at the announcement. Then it did not wait for the completion of the man's explanation of how the animal, supposedly tightly roped in a shed, had got loose and invaded the shop, sweeping all before him. For there was a terrific crash, and the bellowing monster, in an attempt to pass through the doorway, crushed the wood and glass panes of the obstrecting harrier as if it was an eggshell. Out came the steer, and there was a wild scramble. Women screamed, men dodged into the nearest stores, venturesome urchins mounted boxes and awnings, and filled the air with noisy clamor. The steer madra rush down the street and dispersed a hundred frightened pedestrians. Two wagons, locked in a frantic effort to escape, barred farther advance. And, content with riddling the tailboards with a couple of ugly horn thrusts, the monster, lash ing its tail and bellowing till he could be heard half a mile away, made straight for a red shawl hung in front of a dry-goods store, slipped on the smooth stone walk, went half through the great glass window, and snorting and pawing, remained there viewing his surroundings with a lurid, calculating eye. "Shoot him l shoot him!" yelled several voices. "No, no," demurred the frantic owner of the animal. "Ile is blooded stock. He is to be shipped." ''l 'll ship him!" pronounced the doughty policeman, and, drawing a revolver, he fired once witb,iut producing any e!Tcct on the strer, snappecj his weapon several times, looked into its chambers, muttered something about his cartridges being at the station, anJ ran like a good fellow as the steer discni;agcJ his bleeding haunches from the show window, preparing for an onsbught in some new direction. "Do something-oh, will no one do something?" shrieked the proprietress of a candy and fruit store, whose wares were -mostly on the sidewalk, and were therefore liable to destruction at any moment. "Y cs, I will I" rang out a clear, confident call, and Ned Brooks was its author. In a calculating way for two minutes he hnd regarded the steer, now more frightened at the hubbub about him than en l
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BRA VE AND BOLD. 9 pursuers at his heels had not the steer. distracted general attention just then. It slipped on the sidC'walk, and, in getting t1p, poked its head another window. The crash caused a shout, and the 5hout a rush forward. So, when Ned had darted through the crowd, most eyes were strained in the opposite direction. "That's him. I see him, and I'm going to catch him," muttered Ned. doughtily The chase was started in the middle of the road. Down it Neel ran. The boy ahead turned and saw that he was recognized. The boy behind shamed for him to stop. The fu:;:itive wheeled :it the first corner and was lost to sight for a moment. Ned redoubled his speed. His coat, shoes, cap and silver dollar comprised the stakes he was running for, and he farther ahead than at its beginning, except in the way of ex perience. "That don't buy bread," observed Ned, cynically, "and I'm hungry. There's a few crusts back at I.he hermitage, but 1 hate to go there, and yet why not? It's a safe and cozy bunking place, if nothing more, and some time that dream-boy may sneak back there. I hope it. I'd stand the loneliness just to meet him once again. I know I shall never feel quite right till he and I have had it out, and one of us gets a good, old-fashioned black eye. There's the butch'.!r's. Say I what's the matter with--" Ned checked himself Ile had unconsciously reacht'd the scene of his recent exploit with the steer, and his interjection meant what was the matter with hunting up that munificent reward the proprietor of the meat market had promised him? "It looks cheeky," refl<'cted Ned, "but I saved a lot of dambound to recover them. age, and I need all I can gather in just now." Rod Ly rod, yard Ly yard he gained on the fugitive. Yle was Ned passed the boarded-up dry-goods store window, and so near, after a run of two squares, thJt, as the latter made for hovered about the meat market entrance. the sidcw:ilk to dar into some doorway or alley, Nelil'll his arm and slOpped him, wheeling him clear around face to face. "Oh. you v.ill have it, will you?" :marled the boy betwt-en his gritted teeth. Smack! came a second terrific fist blow. Ned went back like a falling brick. His head struck the stone sidewalk, and he thought it must ha1e cracked open. the perils of the morning, while inside the fat old butcher was volubly detailing all the circumstances of the same to a party of chosen f ricnds. Ned smiled hopefully and drew a trifle as he heard him speak these very words: "Ilut for that boy, my bill for damages might be five httndrcd dollars instead of ten. I'd like to reward him. Gentlt'men, I shall stay ai.yake nights hoping he'll put in an appearance." "Mister," fluttered Ned, his eyes twinkling, though somewhat abashed, ''] haven't the heart to see your rest broken." "Eh?" ejaculated the butcher, with a start. "\Vhy, it's the very Loy. Come here; come in." lie draggt'd Nt:'d tht' threshold in a rough, excited man ner. He patted him nnd slapped him, and hcld him out at arm' length for the inspection of his admiring friends. "That's the boy! here's the identical hero l" he declared. "I told him I'd reward him, Rnd I shall. You wait a minute, bub." He dove for the ice box. Ned felt a little mean at the thought of standing around waiting for a present. Bnt then he had earned it. And he was a boy all through, and a seedy, hungry, He got up briskly as he could, but decidedly muggy and weak. prospectless boy at just that moment. He was for calling out now, for the drram-boy was skirting the "Here," cried the butchrr, all aglow with beneficence. "I never comer and woulrl be out of sighr in a minute. Ne? was a ft er him again, but as he turned the corner the boy had vani5hed. He had dropped a bundle, however, which Ned picked up and examined. "His old togs." exclaimed Ned, disgustedly. He did not like his defeat. ''1 suppose he'll steer clear of me for the future," he rumibreak my That's yours." "Gracious I" cried Ned, agog. "Taken back, eh?" chuckled the man. "Sort of overcome? I'm not foolir.g It's yours, all yours." "ls it, now?" mouthed Ned. "Sure; and say. lad, you deserve it. I don't grudge it," and he pressed into Ned's blinds the magnificent reward of a magnifim1.tcd. "for he sees I'm determined. Hcigho I what am I to do cent act of heroism-a bologna sansage now?" It was fully three inchesfthick and thirty long. If it had \Vhat, indeed? I .twas along in the day, and he was no been caught in a loop it would have dragged along the l:'rotmd

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tlO BRA VE AND BOLD. Ned looke d blank, then astounded, then glum, and finally amused. It waa a come-down from high expectations. For a econd he was mad and wanted to fling the sausage at the head o f its parsimonious own e r, but a later thought sent a reckless laugh to his lips He hooked his arm through the immense halter, n odded briskly and backed to the street with a slightly sarcastic s mile, but the words spoken nattily enough: "Thank you, sir! I am, indeed, quite overcome, but-everything goes." "It's not so bad," he decided a little later, as he was seated on a rotted bench masticating the juicy sausage along with dry crusts. "There's enough for eight separate and distinct meals, so the old butcher has saved me from danger of starving for a d ay or two. Wender what will come next? Hello! I declare I f here ain't something right ready to hand." Yes, and a startler-a startler of a weird, puzzling description. He had gone to the rear door to get a drink of water from the sink faucet, when he aware that it was covered with chalk marks that were not there when he had left in the morning. The dream-boy could not have made them, for he would a earcely dare to return to the presence of his victim, and had not Ned just seen him a mile away? No; Ned felt sure that the staring, glaring record the chalk marks delineated was portentous-that they meant something, b ut whose the hand that had placed them there? Thrilling, Ned Brooks read them, convinced that he had come to one of the most significant guideposts yet placed along his path of life. "Ned," the inscription ran, "wait here or come again. I have discovered the secret of the ages, and we arc rich!" CHAPTER VII. THR WRONG NED, Ned Brooks stared at the chalk inscription on the old door as if it held some writing of fate. 'Stay here,' he muttered i "then aomcbody knowa I've been h ere before?" Who? Not the dream-boy? No; the handwriting wa1t neat and cl assic as copperplate, and Ned was p ositive could not have b een made by his late hieving associate. '''Or come back continued Ned. "Well, I shan't stir fa r, I'll wage r !" It was a message full of full of meaty surmise. '.''I have discovered the secret of the ages, and we are rich,'" N ed read for t h e twenti eth time from the queer scroll. It him a queer feeling. To a boy who had anticipated dol i ars and had got sausage, all promises were leery, but there was a luscious, nabob-like touch to those words. "'We?'" ruminated Ned; "then I'm in it, for, I'm Ned. 'Secret of the ages'-that smacks fine. 'Rich.' What's going to strike me?" Ned fluttered around like a boy waiting for Christmas all the :rest of that afternoon, and the echo every outside sound made h im start nervously and fix his eyes on the hole in the brick wall, a s i f it was the mouth of some Aladdin-like cave, and the veritable maroic:ian of old himself was about to appear in his great act o f turning everything into gold. But no one came. Toward dusk the loneliness became monot o nous, and Ned turned his attention to practical things. He opened the bundle that the dream-boy had dropped in his flight. Ned uttered a growl of disgust as he revealed its contents. They turned out as he had anticipated-his despoiler's old clothes. "Shows his meanness," muttered Ned. "Wouldn't leave these here for me when he stple mine, but kept them to sell for the trifle they'd bring. Humph! a trifle it would be, too," he com mented, inspecting the familiar brown and blue checked coat and cap, and the patched, misshapen shoes. "They'll do till we get rich,' though," he concluded, with a jocular grimace. Ned donned the garments, hunted up his abandoned stockings, and felt more natural to be completely attired again. He took another try at the sausage, felt tired, then bored, and determined on a stroll on the gay, lighted streets before he turned in for the night. There had been a fascination for Ned about the crowded city thoroughfares after dark ever since he came to the city; but after taking in their sights for a mile or less he turned back for the hermitage. ''I'll just take one more peep at the chalk message, and then snooze till morning," he said, when he arrived there. Ned went around to the rear door. Before it he halted, and at it he stared. "Shol" Ned tapped his head and rubbed his chin. The writing was no l onger there. There were streaks of whitey vagueness here and t here, but all form and letter continuity had disappeared. "He's been here," muttered Ned, disappointedly, "and rubbed it out for fear some stranger might read it-of course that's itand he's coming again. I'm ten times more curious than ever, but I'm ten times more co nvinced of there being something in the affair. He's been here twice. Three times and out, Ned Brooks! y ou'll know your fortune at last Ned took his place on the bench and tried to sleep. It w a s no u se. He could close his eyes, but it was only to g o over the events o f the day in waking daze. If he opened them, e very bush, tree and board of the old house reminded him of the mysterious chalk writer, and set his nerves on a new jump of conjecture and s uspension. Ned heard two o'clock strike from some distant steeple; then three. He was getting a little drowsy now, :uid was drifting off famously into the land of dreams, when there came a peculiarly startling sound. Thud! "What was that?" muttered Ned, sleepily, but sat up and looked a round. He turned and glanced toward the hole in the brick wall The

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BRA VE AND BOLD. II noise eJtactly resembled that cau5ed by a person landing on the soft earth from a short hciiht. "No, it's no one come yet," he ruminated. "Must have been an t'cho from the strtet. Eh? \Vhat nonsc1111e I" Ned had completed the circle of scrutiny by bringing his tyeli ;i.cross the house, and the iTOund intervening btwcen it and his cozy garden couch. Then with ardent cxclamltions he sprang from his sitting posture. "It wasn't there before!" he breathed, staring directly at the ground where the moonlight cast a radiant glow. Ned rubbed his eyes a nd continued staring. An inch at a time he advanetd. An inch at a timr he bent over, till his body was nearly double, put out his hand and touched a yellow, shimmering oblong object. TIH'n he essayed to Ii ft it with one hand, pa. rtly succel'dcd, caught it in two hands, held it neartr to his eyes, and dropped it on the bench with a startled, almost sc:ircd face. Ile knew what It was now I The sense of weight and texture, of color-prescience, call it what you will, lmt Ned Brooks knew what it was. .. I heard it fall,' he gasped, in a hoarse, bewildered way, and he looked up, but vainly. "lt came down." \Vhere from? :\Ieteorites wtre not of that shape or consistmcy, profli;:ate were not around pelting cats with their rcasures. ''\rho dropped it?" breathed Ned, a-trembling; "how? Why here? for it's a br:ck-a solid brick of gold!" Neel looked at the brick, and thl'n up into the sky from whence it must hive with a VC'ry nrnch mystified l1rain. in mg gold I" he mumbll'd. The "something n1ore" began to happen. Past his he:id came whizzing a !Jtmdle, large hut soft, as if made up of bedclothes. Following it came something very hc:"avy, for it struck a por t '!Jn of the cormce and snapped it to flindcrs as if it were made These props were not three feet from the top of the next building, and climbing now from its roof to them was a man. ''Gracious!" goi.rgled Ned, For the lone figure aloft, that of a man whh long white beard and snowy white hair, wa.s almost !pectral in the white moon light. "He threw them!" breathed Nt'd-"brick and all. That's his way of getting in here. My 1 he don't mind crossing thoie 11imsy boards. Who is he?" "Heyl" The man aloft waved his hand quite gayly, looked down and nodded. "He sees me, he means me. Hey I" responded Ned, but weakly. "That you, Ned?" sang down the man. "It's me," gulped the wondering starer. ''I'll be with you in a jiffy." "\Vhew I this is-exciting, this is funny I" muttered Ned. "Who can he be? I don't know him, but he knows me. Oh, it's the man who wrote the chalk scra\oil, sure. He said he'd cnme, and he's come. He said we'd be rich, and don't the gold brick prove it? I'm pms and needles all over." The man d:sapp<'arcd in thci tower. Ned drew again into the doorway to listen. He could hear the footsteps of the newcomer sound hollow and approaching on the various stairways. finally he dimly outlined in the kitchen. He glided to Ned and gave him a hearty smack on the shoulder. "On hand, eh?" he cried. uYcs." "Got my message?'' Ned mutterl'd his assent. "Good I J lef1 word for you at Jellaby's, and thought you'd find me out. You are here alone?" "Alone!" repeated Ned. "That's capital. Now, then, I'll get my traps together. Thought .,f it best to get setlle
PAGE 13

I2 BRA VE AND BOLD. dragged boxes, bundles and other stuff into a heap, Ned stood in the dark doorway mute and dazed. The man had not given him time to ta\k other than by mechan ical replies. The man had not given him time to think, and every minute Ned's wits went woolgathering farther and farther away from the center of coherency. He was certain he had never seen the man before, and could not for the life of him guess how he came to know his name. The man referred to things he knew nothing about. That stag gercd Ned, but he was so mixed up, startled and dazzled, that he weakly accepted the situation, and waited to see what it would next evolve. "Now, then,'' spoke the man briskly, coming back to the door way, "we'll get those things into the house and talk a bit. Herc we are, snug as bugs in rugs, eh, lad? And partners I Ned the trusty, Ned the prudent, Ned the sharp, shrewd and secret. Ho, ho! Hi!" In a playful way he had caught Ned's arm and waltzed him into the moonlight. Of a sudden his tone of badinage dropped. He had caught a square sight of Ned's face. "Hi!" he repeated, hut Ned stood confused and silent, a veritable bump on a log. The man had looked rathei: august and dignified at first. As he stared, however, his eyes took a kind of a gleam that changed his entire aspect. They were wicked, threatening. "I thought you was Ned?" he said sternly "I am.." "Not the Ned." "It's my name," gulped the other Ned. ''You called it, and I wswered." "How did you come here?" Ned shrank from the persistent questioner, who had becol'n<: suddenly transformed from a genial, benevolent old joker into a mixture of judge and bully. He listened as Ned gave a skeleton outline of his acquaintance ship with the old hermitage. Then he seized Ned's arm. He led him silently, rudely, square up to the hole in the wall. Before it he paused. There was a latent fire in his eye that brooked no cavil-he looked a man who could riot be trifled with. Giving Ned a push, he comprehended the close of the interview and hia 1tri<:t meaninii in two forcible words: "Be off I" CHAPTER VIII. A WINNER AT LAST. "Be off!" repeated the man, gruffly, and Ned obeyed. He crept through the hole in the wall and behind the tilted sign with promptitude. "Don't you try to come back; you'll find this place bricked solid -don' t you go to blab. about my secrets, either, or you'll get into serious trouble." The words followed Ned to the door of the next building. He stood there in a miserable daze. He was puzzled and dis appointed. He had got a taste of mystery, a glitter of opulence, and now the paradise of magic, mystery and millions was shut to him-it was intended for some one; else. "Not this Ned, some other Ned, any old Ned, but me-just my luck!" he muttered, a trifle bitterly. "The dream's over, the pl a y's ended, and I'm Ned, the homeless, once more." With a dreary sigh Ned started toward the street, but whisked into the hailw
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, BRA VE AND BOLD. 13 CHAPTER IX. "FOii MOTHER'S SAK!t. "I'm living at last!" Ned Brooks came out of a restaurant, his first square meal for days under his brand-new suit of clothes, a toothpick tilted jauntily, nine chinking dollars in his brand-new pockets. He was a brand-new boy. The clothing store made no more o, paying their offer than of giving him a drink of water. The cashier asked him to duplicate the ticket he had handed in with his guess; the handwritings were compared, and Ned received a te!J.-dollar bill and an order for a fifteen-dollar suit of clothes, without any care whether he was B. Edwards or Edward B. It seemed to Ned as if Dame Nature was intent on making him all over again, in his rapid metamorphosis from rags to respect ability. Ned was glad to be decently attired, because he could approach a man and a.sk for a situation, without having fluttering rags suggest that he was either very lazy or very unfortunate to get In such a condition. He had got a sheet of paper and an envelope, had written out a statement, and this is what it read: "Na.me, Edward Brooks; home, a country village; friends in the city, nine; ambition, to succeeed thrpugh hard work. Try me." He Aad thrust this into his pocket with the "To Whom It May Concern" letter of the dream-boy, too busy with thinking to care to know the contents of the latter. Down the street Ned sauntered. His plan was to enter every establishment where he saw "Boy Wanted" hung out. A blind lane ran into the street where Ned momentarily paused to watch a breakdown. "Say, bub," spoke a voice suddenly at his elbow, "some one wants you." "Eh? what?" returned Ned, sharply eying the &peaker. "I guess not." "Oh, yes; yonder. He sent me after you/' The man pointed to a basement saloon with curtains half drawn, as if sunlight was a foe to its occupants. "You can't lure me into trouble. Get out," pronounced Ned, tartly. "Let your 'some one' come out to me, if he wants to." "He can't." "Why?" "Well-he <;an't, that's why." "I never went into a saloon in my life and I won't begin now," said Ned, defiantly, and started on. "Look-there he Is, the fellow who sent for you," called out his companion, eagerly pointing. A single glance halted Ned. The blind of the saloon waa pulled nside. A wretched, haggard face peered out. -"The dreatn-boy-the boy who 11tole my clothes!" ejaculated Ned. That bby was beckoning to him. For an instant the thought of his wrongs spurted Ned to make for him as for a criminal. Then he remembered. He was "a gentleman" now. He was free of the old troubles. Let the old combination slide-the finder's mystery, the dream-boy, the gold-brick enigma and all The clear and legitimate was his new province. But, as the dream-boy continued to beckon, there was a pleading something in his gestures, a certain desperation and woe in hia face, that touched Ned inexpressibly-he could not tell why, "I'll go I" he declared impulsively. Ned shrank as he descended the steps of the saloon. He evaded a lot of men playing cards and drinking, and went to a solitary corner where hi.a bcckoner sat. The boy's face was white and wincing with pain, and one limb lay across a stool in a helpless way that suggested injury. "Hello I" hailed Ned, charily. ''I saw you, I sent or you. Say, sit down-I'm all broken up." The dream-boy looked it. Ned was instantly disarmed. All the old sullenness had given way td furtive ;rpprehension, the bold eyes were haunted with a despair that told of mental trouble .of no ordinary character. "Help met" For a moment the boy sat without speaking, and rai s ed his eyes full of tears with the words. "Why," spoke the astounded Ned, "sort of queer to ask me to help you, when--" "When I robbed you-abandoned you?" broke in the other, his voice ringing with sobs. "You're right. T'm a scoundrel, a blur, a blot, but-help me I Shall I tell you something? I've come to the end of my rope." "I'tn sorry." "I've come face to face with ten years in prison if I'm caught, and caught I will be if I stay in this city. I'm lurkinll," in this den like a hl!nted rat, sick, wounded." "What's the matter with yotir leg?" "A bullet." ''How did you get it?" "Don't ask---0h, don't ask!" The dream-boy's face went down in his hands, and his form shook with weeping. Ned guessed that, lured by some disreputable gang. into burglary or thieving, the dream-boy's reward had been a bullet from the police. "Listen," went on the latter. "I don't dare to go to a surgeon or iihospital here-they'd give the clew; but, say, oh, believe me I I've not a friend to help me but you. Get me to St. Louis. I've got a chance there to--to reform, tci be honest; oh, truly I truly I I'll turn square around-I'm sick of all the put and it1 wickedness. Can you do it-will you do it?" \ Through his frantic tears the boy looked at Ned's new attire, as if seeking encouragement in his changed appearance. Ned wu reflecting deeply. Was the boy in earnest-had he the right to help a criminal? "Just one more thing," sobbed the dream-boy. "I'm no good, but I-I've got a home. I ran away from it. I wa11 decent once. and I've got a mother. Sure aa Heaven, sure as I think of her, bad u I am, I'll tum. Give me a chance for the Wai of your own mother I Try me I" He was down on his knees now. Ned lifted him. cryini himself. Sincere or fraud, the dream-boy had won. Mother I The nall).8 wu a memory, the semblance a lon41.y grave; but the aame ha.cl power to atir Ned .Brooks u throuala a holy infiuenco. "I'll do it I,. "You will "?" "Yes." Not another word, but business. Ned, anxious to get the unpleasant affair off his hands, the dream-boy half frantic lest he should change his mind. Ned got a cab. The dream-boy was helped into it, and they drove to the uptown station of a railroad. A train left in half an hour. Ned had just one dollar left when he placed the ticket to St. Louis and another dollar in the hands of the dream-boy, and saw him ensconced in a comfortable reclining-chair, "Good-by 1" &aid the latter throuih hia tcar1; "'rnaat eb, iruat mo.l"

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BRA VE AND BOLD. "I take your word," spoke Ned, solemnly-"your word given to lieavcn, your word giveJ1 to my dead mother. Rcmi:mberl" '"Cod bless yo11 !" Like a whiff 1'oy and train vanished, yet Ned stoed dreamily down the polished rails. A presence sumcd to haunt him-the dream-boy's broken benigcn, a blessing that was to hover ovu his path in a way he little dreamed a step or two farther a!on&" the course of his career, CHAPTER X. BY PROXY. Ned Brooks came back to his own affairs with a practical shrug of the shoulders. "Only one dollar left," he grimaced. "I'm 5pending money pretty fast. Pshaw! who cares? I'd do it again. I've 'helped a wom and weary brother pulling hard against the stream.' Right or wrong, I feel the better for it, and now to hustle for myself." Ned got back to the business portion of the city. The day was pretty we!! spent, and after a half-mile stroll with no window announcement to be discovered of boys wanted, he was about to buy an evening paper and scan its help columns, when he noticed a dozen or more boys ranged along iron steps leading up to the office of a big mercantile establishment. They were chatting and jostling, and seemed to be waiting for something, and curious Ned drew near and waited, too. "What's up?" he of the nearest lad. "'Doy wanted.'" "Eh?" murmured Ned, pricking up his ears. "I see no sign." "Ad vertisemcnt in the evening papers." "-' "Oh! you can't all get the situation?" "No, they'll take their pick." "ls it a free-for-all, then?" smiled Ned. "'0ihy not?" Just then a carriage drove up lo the curve ; a very old man got out. Ned oLservcd a gent :eman at the offiC'C window wave his hand, and decided that the aged newcomer was the father of some member of the firm. He drew asidt' respectfully to allow him to ascend the steps. The old gentlrman took hold of the railing. The boys crowded ahead blocked his way. "I say, fellows, stand back I" sang out Ned. "This gentleman wants to get in." Ned's good-naturf"d direction was followed 011t amiably enough, but in getting out of the old gentleman's way the boys crowded en masse behind him, so as to regain their positions of advantage. An ominous crack echoed as they bunched against the railing. The old gentleman uttered a cry of alarm and plunged sideways. "Grab him I" shouted Ned, abruptly, but was first at his side, grabbed him alone, hung on with might and main as he partly fell, and supported him, quite perturbed himself, as he saw what had happened. Tht' railing, pressed against by the crowding boys, had parted rrom tU top slot, and that end loose, it dropped two feet. I lad nnt Ned grasped the old man he would have gone headlong into the stone-paved area twenty feet brlow. "Father," cried the man Ned had seen at the window, ap pearing at the door with a starlled face, "are you hurt?" "IJ!ess me-n-no, only shaken. \Vhere's the brave fellow who saved nie ?" nut his son, whom Ned decided must be the "Thurston" of the "Tlrnrsron & Company" on the door, hast .. ned his father into the offil"e, whilfl' N .. d tried to th,. railin&-"Which of you boys he.lped the old gentleman?" !ounded a new voice, and Ntd turned to face a clerk. Twenty fingers imiicated Ned. To Ned the clerk 1.ddresied llim!lelf with a pleasant smile. "Mr. Thurston wants to see you," he said, and ltd Ned through an office, and into another, where we.re seated th.e old gentleman and the man who had helped him in. "Are you the lad who assisted my father?" bee-an the latte. "\Vho saved me from a terrible fall, Jameli," put in the old man, smiling at the flushini Ned, who mumbled something about ''the railing getting loo1e." Dut Mr. Thurston was sharp, businesslike, definite. "You were waiting to apply for work, I presume?" he asked. eying Ned keenly. "I would like work, certainly," assented Ned. "Have you any recommendations?" In an embarrassed way Ned felt in his pockets and drew out an cnv-elope. "l have a sort of statement," he began, stammeringly. "Let me sec it." He took the envelope as if he had not a minute to spare, read it, handed it back, and entering the next room, said brusquely: "Follow me. 'Nolfe!" "Yes, sir?" nodded the cashier. "Make ar. entry. New office boy. You sit down yonder." "What name, sir?" asked the cashier. "Edward Pollard." "What?" gulped Ned. Siami The private office door went shut, the proprietor disappeared, the cashier's pen scratched its new record. Ned wondered if he had heard aright. ul'\cd Pollard I" he breathed. "Why, that isn't my name, I'm Ned 13rooks. Oh-h I" ny rh::inre eye landed on the recommen9ation Mr. Thurs ton had just returned to him. "Great goodness!" he g::isped. "I handed in lhe wrong en velope. It's the dream-boy's 'To \Vhom It l\fay Concern.'" He opened it and read. It pttrposed to be a crtdential recom mending as an honest, energetic boy, one Edward Polhrd. "His name is Ned. too, Ned Pollard. Oh, I understand who was the Ned the man with the gold brick wanted, now I Ilut I must correct the error here. I can't be sailing under falie colors. I must explain--" \Vhat? Ned, hal f-arise n, plumped back into his chair. To explain that the letter of recommendation was not his would involve other bothersome explanations, might Mr. Thurs ton's opinion of him and his decision. The business man's word had gone out, giving Nl'd Pollard work. To all intents and purposes he was Ned Pollard. "Shall I Jet it go?" reflected Ned. "No," and he started for the inner office. "Yes"-as he caught a sight of his employ<'r's stern face. "'vVhat's it to him whether I'm Tom, Dick or I larry, so I do my duty? vVhat's the necessity of ad\'ertising who and where I am for my uncles to fin
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BRA VE ANb BOLD. l5 But the motive, the soulful impulse was what would tell at the last-would prove that Ned Brooks was buildini better than he knew. That in making a name for two, he was following that earnest, unselfish course that fixes our place "in time' Valhalla sure." "Pollard I" Ned started from his reverie. From his office door his new employer was beckoning. Ned hesitated; the new name sounded so Then he approach ed with a polite : "Yes1 sir.'' "Report here tO-t;JOrrow morning, and I'll tell you your duties. Your salary will be eight doll a rs a week." That afternoon Ned rented a room near by, arranged for his meals at a convenient restaurant and, it looked to him, was making the brightest, most hopeful start in life that had ever fallen to a boy's lot. "Ah! ready for work?" nodded Mr. Thurston, as Ned entered his office the next morning. "Yes sir." "Have you arranged for your living accommodations near the store?" ''I have, sir. The mere mention that I was to enter your em{>loy made it easy for me to get a n ice, respectable place." "Very well, you will enter on your duties at_ once. My father is resp o nsible for insisting that you have a capabilicy somewhat beyond that of an errand boy." Ned flushed and fidgeted. "Thank you, sir." "So I am going to try you at collecting bills in the city trade. See the cashier. He will start you on your work." Ned bowed and left the room. But still his conscience was not quite at rest. Was it right? Was he wise in disguising his own proper Identity? "Let it go I It's too late now," sighed Ned, philosophically. "I gave Ned Pollard his liberty, he gave me his name. Let ua see who makes the best use of his gift I" CHAPTER XI. NED, THE DETECTIVE. In four days the ex-harum-scarum of Glendale had become a business boy of Chicago in the full sense of the word, and Ned Brooks enjoyed the transitio n. The Thurston establishment was quite an ex;tensive one. It3 specialty was seeds, sugar, spices, dri ed fruits and baking powder. This latter commodity had cost the firm a very large sum of money. They had purchased a meritorious formula for making it, had advertised largely, and it was to make collections where the same had been placed on sale that Ned was now sent out. Within twenty-four hours he had demonstrated a natural aptitude for wheedling money due out of unreliable debtors, and hurrying up reluctant ones, and had become a general favorite about the store for his bright-natured, accommodating ways. The big storerooms of the place had a strange fascination for Ned. There was something tangible about the business. They were not like the offices, where figures and white paper represented everything. Here was solid value, real goods. One whole partitioned-off floor was given over to the manufacture of baking powder. Ned was very much interested in watching its development, from the mixing of the great white mass, through its weighing into pounds and ounces, to being cn !:Owder the best, and therefore buy it. Now, I happen to know that it is not the best. It is poor quality, under weight, and hu jumped into popularity so suddenly that I am suspicioua." "Yes, sir; of what, may I ask?" insinuated Ned. "I hardly know, but the detective's report does not aatiafy me. Underhanded work is going on that he has not traced. These de tectives only look at the surface of things, unless interested. You arc a shrewd, careful boy. I want you to take a week off from all other employment. I want you to probe, question, investigate, not the grocers, but the consumers. I want you to come to me a.t the end of the week with a definite explanation of why we are lo sing sales, and I believe you can do it" "Yes, sir," murmured Ned, confidently, "I believe I can do it" "That's all." Ned knew it was all. Mr. Thurston closed a thousand-dollar deal and bought a penny paper on the same business principleshort, terse action, and that decided it. The next day Ned put in visiting grocers and getting them L'V discuss the baking-powder problem, and the next he dcvotctl! to their customers. "My I've got a pretty big flea in tny ear-several of them, in fact;" he soliloquized, two afternoons later, as he entered the office in quite an excited frame of mind. '' :\1r. Thurstoh," he announced, going into that gentleman's presence, "I h;l.ve somethin.i to

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BRA VE AND BOLD. "About the baking powder?" "Yes, sir." "Proce<'d, only put it in a nutshell." "V cry wdl, sir. The grocers am friendly, and :ill right. The matter is with the GOrnmmers." "In what way?" "There i3 on< general report-your baking powder i9 not so iood as it used to be." "Impossible I '.Ve exercise the same care, use the same materials." "One can is all right, and the next is all wrong; and one lady, who se husband is a chemist. says he analyzed a can, and found it contained Solie acid, a cheap tart counterfeit that is dangerous to health." "Nonsense!" cried Mr. Thurston, quite angrily. "I see how it is-Crouch has pai-d this man to that to injure our business. A better, pun'r powdci than ours was never m:ide. Does this complete your investigations, then?" "No, sir. I consider th 1 t 1 have just begun tht>m. Mr. Thurston, I intend to run this thing to earth, and I can do it." "Take your time." Ned bowed his wv,y out. He h3d not told Mr. Thurston every thing-he had left out his personal suspicions. He was positive that something crooked was going on. He belie'Ved tht' customers, and he believed the chemist's w i fe. In other words. Ned Brooks convinced that the secret of the growing 'unpopularity qf. 1he Thurston baking powder could be traced to hut one cause-the powder was being doctored. Who by? Surely at the instigation of a rival. Yes, N cd was firmly satisfied that the Crouch people, in some inexplicable wny, were putting the deleterious substance, the solic acid into the pure article in order to break up the popularity ;mg sales of the genuine brand. "They probably buy big lots of the jobbers, doctor it and rlis trib11tt' it to \ tht> grocers. 1.'11 investigate and sr.e," decided Ned. "and I'll take a walk through our factory here again." Ned invest1gaLed the proces> of manufacture at once. He had pas'.'ed through the mixing room, the boxing room and the label room, and had come to the department where the top was put on by Winfield and the guarantees inserted. Winfield wa, rt"ading a letter as Ned approached, and did not at once noticf' lhe lacier. Ned noticed him, however, and the ktter in his band. His quick eyes could not help but observe both-his quick eyes took in two lines of the epi>tle. They cprnprised a whole volume of revelation; they gave Ned a clew in a tlotsh. "We must put out another consignment of' the doctored stuff.'' it read. ''Act at onct> and--" "Gracious I" gasped Ned. "Eh? What-what you doing here?" demanded \Vinfield, nrng with a frightful scowl and crumpling up the letter !!15lilnUy. "l was looking over the plant," answered Ned, calmly, passing ,,n, and," he added, with an excited Rash of the eye as he left the room, "nailing tnith at last I Yes, I've struck the clew. That .fell o w Winfield is at the bottom of all this mischief, and-I'm going_ to run him and the baking-powder mystery ,to earth before' another sun ri&es." Before another sun rises-Doughty Ned! Past adventures were to pale into in
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AND BOLD. on the next floor. At its sida ran the letter chute. He ap proached and studied its slot. "It can be done," he breathed excitedly. ""What's that notice? 'Five h1111dred dollars' fine and two years' imprisonment for de facing, obstructing or plunde"'" "Well, don't stop me now," expGiitulalctl Ned, trying to break away. "I'm in a hurry, I'm aftu a man-what do yoci want of me?" Hi! captor ha'1 held firmly onto Ned de11pite his efforts release. Bending his lips close to Ned's ear, he whispered sevei;i, impress ive words that gave the wondering Ned seven 11li:>tinct ilirills and shocks: "Boy.., I want to make your fortune!,. CHAPTER XIII. 11llAZZLE-DAZZ!..E.'' "Boy, I want to make you rich l" Ned Brooks wavered in his pursuit of Winfield. The mag nificent offer, the mainificent words and ilie magnificent man ner of their speaker dazzled him. "That's a big thing to say," he murmured luxuriously. "And I can do it. Cc.mic in." "Where?" I "Here. There. See?" Ned did not see much. He experienced a jerk. Something" opened like a spring flap, something shut like one, and he fftl.t as if he had been shot throuih a solid wall and it had closed up after him. "Why," he cried, amazedly, and looked uouu.d, "we're inside the big sign front !" "Sure 1 I've put a door to the street beyond the platform here, but I'll defy any one to even find its cracks. Sit down; you're kind of Hurried. Look around. Get your breath." Steps and a platform had been built up to the new exit to the street. Ned rested against the railing and peered about him. Except for this change tlte old hermitage was procisely in its original condition. He had no care to regain the street in any particular hurry now, for Winfield was, of course, out of sight by thii; time, A week previolls he had declared that he glad to forget the dream-boy, the hermitare, tbe gold brick, and all that weird and unprofitable section of his past; yet curiosity and interest had now been awakened l:ike living sparks in his mind all of a sudden. Ned's august-looking host watched Ned's face clorely fOI' some time before sp<'aking. "Sort of wonderful how I came to hail you?" he. queried suavely. "Just that," admitted Ned. "It was queer. I was standing outside my secret door heTf' looking around when I saw you coming 'Whew!' I. 'togged up!' But I nev'er forget a face. 'Good l' says r; 'my wish hand. I want a smart, intelligent boy. Here he is.'" Ned looked straight into the speaker's eyes challengiA'lgiy. "Say," he projected, "am i any more smart and intelligent than I was the night you found out I wasn't the Ned you supposed. and fired me as if I was a spy?" "Eh? Ah!" stammered the man. "Times are different.'' "Are they?" "Radically. It another Nrd I wanted, and I'd pick him now if he was at hand, but I can't find hide nor hair of him." "He is stayini a\ny 1from Chicago, then," murmured .Ned. "Not being able to locate tum," pursued Ned's host, "I must get a substitute. I've go;it to have one--one I can trust. You've

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.I8 BRAVE AND BbLb seen something of me, and can guess I'm back of some grand plan, can't you, now?" "Yes, I've had such ideas, I'll confess." ''And I am. Let's get down to business. See here, you're working, aren't you?" Ned nodded affirmatively, and told where. "Better than ever," chirped the oid man. "It shows you're re liable, and I've got to have a reliable helper. Here's a square proposition. Will you give me your evenings from seven to nine if I promise to make it worth your while?" "What doing?" asked Ned. "Easy work." "And honest?" "Honest as-as star-gazing," declared his companion volubly. ''Turn it over in your mind, don't be in a hurry. Plenty of boys in the world t!ut will jump at the chance, only I've taken a fancy to you. Here you are I Bright career of a progressive business boy's days, very ,.proper, very elevating; sure accumulation of wealth nights, the real stuff, the rhino. Isn't that a great com bination? Why, in five years you're a Stewart and a Rothschild combined!" Ned fluttered. He was captivated. If from eager curiosity al one, he must know what lay behind the dazzling offer "My evenings are my own," he announced after a long spell of thought. ''I'll engage them." "For so much money?" "No; on a percentage basis." "On what?" "Selling something." "And that is?" "Something I make." "What?" insisted Ned, pressing his point tenaciously. "Goldi" CHAPTER XIV. THE TABLES TURNED. The remarkable statement of Ned's new acquaintance fairly took Ned's breath away. "Gold I" he voiced amazedly. "Exactly!" "You make it?" "I make it." "What out of?" "Mud, water. air. I've discovered the secret of the ages." "Then you're an alchemist?" "No, I'm not. They tum dreamers, mostly; I'm a gold-maker." "And you can produce it?" "Just as fast as I like." "I don't believe it !" "Proof talks, don't it?" "I suppose sir." "Come here." Ned's companion led the way across the garden. At the back kitch en door hung a lantern. The man took this down from its hook and started to enter the house. "Hold on," he halted. "I'm Deiderick." "Yes, s\r-Mr. Dei
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BRA VE AND BOLD. possible that be had turned shadower and bad followed Ned h11re? No, Ned knew th11t he must have passed him unnoticed as he eame in, that Winfield was waitin: fr an .-rder to ite fill11d, for j Ujt then a clerk S11ng out: "Hen' s your solic acid Mr. Selk acid I The last of the final clew was in Ned's possession, fer that was the suiistanre that had be.en put in the Thur;ton bak in: powder, to its detriment, and. here was where Winfield was buying it "Let me pass/' spoke Ned, as put out a shaky, detain ing hand. "Wait a minute. I would like--" ') Nod dodged by him. He got to the door and out on the street. He saw the white-faced Winfield hurrying after him. Ned quic k ened his s teps; Winfield quickened his. I want to spea k to you-a few words," gulped the latter, overtaking him, Ned backed to a police patrol box at the edge of the 5idewalk. "Speak out, but keep your distance," he specified. "I know what you're after." I want to know how you came to have a letter I mailed an hour :igo yes." Very w-ell, Mr. Winfield, candidly, I swiped' it, as the street boys say." "You stole it!" cried Winfield, getting very much excited. "You robbed the mails. It's a penitentiary offense. Give it up or--Whe re's th e re a polic eman?" Winfield had grabbed Ned. Evidently he hoped to frighten him into surrendering what he must know, taken in conj unction with his purchase of t he solic ac i d, would be irresistible proof as to his guilt in the matter of doctoring the baking 1powder. J u st at that moment, by a fortunate accid e nt, a man came a-round the corner. Ned recognized him at once. It was the de tccti\ e, Turner, whom the firm had first empl oyed. Ned called to hlm. Explanations followtd, and, in iipite of Winfield's expoitula. tions, Turner took him into custody. Ned was free to return to Deiderick. He had delivered up the in t ercepted letter to the officer Could he dep end on his n o t bungling t he cas e ? He fancied he could. "It's best i n his hands. He knowi the firm; he'll end it up better than I could. and let !iim have the credit of it. It's the gold -maker now, anyway.'' Two whistles, a low, long one and a quick, loud one, brought Deiderick to the secret door in the big sign, when Ned reached the herm i tage. Got the stuff?" inquired the gold-maker, admittin1;t him. "'l es, sir." "Now, then, all you've got to do is watch, but I'd feel very much disappointed if you didn't go into th e partnership." "V. hy, I don't see why I s h o uldn t, if it doesn't interfere with my dut i es at the store." "It won't." "And is all straight and regular?" "As a die." "Then I am sure I will be glad to go in with you. But what am I expected to do?" Sell the gold See here, lad, you've got sense, and can understand that for me to pile it out wholesale would be to get a crowd of harpies and spies about me. No; I'm going to produce a little at first, sell it quietly, not g l ut the market. For all I know, I may not be a ble to get it perfect every time. 'come in." He bad a blaz ing fire under the crucible now. Ned saw that it was empty. Deiderick put in a gill of sand, of water, of various liquids: He stirred 1the steaming mass, and fhen put a cover over itl Ned watched in silence. ridi culous! he told hhme1f-. how impossible were the predicti0'1'1s of tile alleged gold-m:at.r. Still, he was intent, anxioua, hopeful. He saw the man bet1'17, or affect ooruiderable excitement, as ho apin lifud "11il Offr and. stirred the masa. _"Quick! where1s the a'lum ?" be demancie6. "On the bench outside." "Bring it in. It's almost ready. Quick--q,uiek !" Only for a minute were kc!ttle and operator out of Nad's sight. When he returned with the two packages, De.iduiak was stir-ring like one mad. "Pour :t in.'' Ned emp tic>d one "The other." Ned tipped the second bflg of powdered alum. Clink I The mass steamed furiously, t he rapidly-moving spoon hit something metallic at the bottom of die crucible. "Ifs forming I" cried the man. Ned was greatly excited. It all looked like a legitimate experiment to his enrapt senses. "Out of the way !" ordered Deiderick. The gold-maker dipped t he spoon deep. Out came a yellow glittering lump, big as an apple. He flung it hissing and steaming to the floor. Into the crucible Ned had s e e n notl1ing go but sand, liquid and the alum-out of i t bis wondering eyes saw a solid mass positively co m e The man ta_pped the smoking nugget witll his spoon triumphan t ly. "Was I right i'" be demanded. "Listen, look, ic:el-gold, pure gQld?" CHAPTER XV:. AN li:NEMY FOR LIFE., "Gold!" cried the money-maker, and he hit the het nugget an. other mu s ical tap, and glanc e d shrewdly at Nelil to see how he took it all. "You made that out of alum, water and sandi'" voiced Ned half artict1lateiy. "Dldn' t you see me?''' "I-I certainly did. It's marvelous, it's incredible. Say!" cried Ned, de s perately, "I can' t take it all in. It don't seem real." "Don't try t!l1 ust reap benefits. Put the lump in your pocket." Ned did so . "To-niorrow morning go into a jewelry store. Let them test it. See if it's pure, 0. K. Toward noon slip in again. Ask if they want to buy it. They'll inquire where you got it. Have a Thurston card ready--" "Hold on I I don't like that,'' demurred Ned. "Only as a guarantee of your respectability-a pointer that you can be found s tr.aight goods on deck, when wanted, at all hours. Let them think some proud family in poor has melted down their rings and pins rathei than pawn. See? You are simply agent for1 the parties who don't wish to be known. Take it o r leave it a t ten dollars the ounce, come here to-morrow night, and we'll talk further business." "Y GiU put an awful lot of confidence in me to trust me with ive hundred dollars worth of your property I" insinuated Ned. you're honest; just as the jewelers will think you're ho n est when you show you re connected wit}\ the great, spotlesa

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20 BRA VE AND BOLD. Thurston firm. Business transaction; divide profits. Do you, or don't you, do it?" "Yes; I'll do it. Why, what's that?" interrupted Ned, as a stirring, cracking sound echoed from some part of the old structure. "Oh, the wind, rats, rotting timbers," answered Deiderick, quickly. "It's settled? Yes. Don't lose it." No danger of that I As the man hustled Ned out through the little sign door, without gi v ing him time to think, the latter gra sp ed, rolled, pinched that rough nugget over and over in his pocket. He had never been respon s ible for so much value before. And part of it was his I How much? \l\Thy, if only one per cent., at the gold-maker's possible rate of producti on, Ned saw immeas urable riche s "If it turns out brass"-began Ned, and checked himself. "I'll follow orders," he decided, "and know to-morrow. I'll carry out the progra mme just as directed." Ned then decid e d to go to Mr. Thurs ton's home. The de tective might have taken Winfield th e re. If not, at all events, the merchant would be glad to learn the remarkable developments of the evening. Just as Ned reached the place-in fact, just as he gained the lower front step of the mansion-its great doors were opened sud denly "Go, go, sir I ingrate and scoundrel that you are. But for your free confession I would land you in jail." Ned's employer was the speaker, and his face was white and angry as he ushered out a shrinking, cringing visitor. "It's Winfield!" breathed Ned. "The det e ctive brought him here. It's all over, the truth. is known, the case is ended." "It's hard lines on me, sir," whined the abject wretch. "Mr. Thurston, I'll play into your hands and doctor Crouch's wares, and break his business up for a consideration--" "Bah, you reptile!" Down the steps came Winfield, and an ingignant foot-thrust help e d him. "You immeasurable thief l How dare you suggest such vil lainy?" roared Mr. Thurston. "There will be no need of cir cumventing the Crouch outfit by underhand means. Before tomorrow night the police will make this conspiracy public. I advise you to take advantage of my leni e ncy and get out of the way before the explosion comes, for some one is going to gc.t hurt." "Ha I" hissed Winfield, coming to a stock-still halt. He glared in an envenomed manner at Ned as his malevolent eye fell upon him, recognizing the author of all his present troubles. Coolly Ned passed on, cringingly the other faded back; crime headed downward; honesty headed upward-up the steps, and up the royal ladder of success one more rung. "Pollard, my dear young friend I" Never had Mr. Thurston greeted his employee so fervently as now, seizing his h;md and drawing him into his lforary with nothing but warm words of commendation. He told of the arrival of the detective with the culprit, Winfield. Tht: latter was forced to open the intercepted letter and offer its contents for inspection. It proved, as Ned had surmised, that the Crouch firm had bribed him out of malice and rivalry to break up Mr. Thurston's business. Frightened with the visions 6f jail, Winfield confessed every thing. Ned's heart overflowed with satisfaction as he left the place half aft hour later, followed by the grateful declaration of his employer that he had probably saved its great baking-powder intue.st from destructiaa. "Guess it will be fast traveling up the business ladder now,'' chirped Ned, as he passed down the steps. "Say, what would the boys of Glendale think if they knew how I'm fixed; they simply wouldn't believe it. And the nugget l Ned, the model merchant; Ned, the modern Midas--" "I've got you !" "Have you?" From the sh a dow of a tree a form had sprung before Ned, a hand fierce and trembling gTasped his throat. "Boy! you've done me the bad tum of my life to-night, you've hounded me do w n, you have ruined all my prospects." "How about y our ruining Mr. Thurston?" demanded Ned, partially extrica t ing hims e lf. "Listen I" hi ss ed the villain Winfield. "You're up I'm down. Take care I I sw-car to devote my life to getting even with you. Brick by brick I will pull down the Thurston business into the dirt of ruin. See if I don 't; see if I don 't!" "You're quite tragic, \Vinny," remarked Ned. "Let me go, or--" With a snarl the baffled, infuriated miscreant flung Ned from him. Ned came fiat, and the crazy bone of his elbow hit the pavement. The pain was m a dd e ning, Ned had to utter a howl, and the utterance alarmed Winfield, who took to his heels. "You villain," panted Ned, reached out for a missile, found none, tore the nugget from his pocket in his frenzied agony, gave it a fling and got up. He saw Winfield tum the corner with a screech and a stagger. His hat fell off, and he did not come back after it. He had vanished when Ned reached spot and picked up the nugget. "Yes, it's gold, right enough," muttered Ned, pocketing it and kicking the abandoned hat aside. "It's too heavy not to be. It's made a hole in that tile, and probably a bump on Winfield's head that he won't forget in a hurry. But now to fori:et him. Threaten? Bahl who's afraid of him?" Who, indeed? For Winfield had been banished from associa tion with all honest men that night. For all that Ned Brooks had made of him the enemy of his life. CHAPTER XVI. THE ONB CHANC. ''You can't come in hare." ''Well, I guess so." "Don't be gay, young man; this establishment is in the hands of a custodian." "What?" "Thurston & Company have gone to the wall." Ned Brooks staggered back as if the rough-coated man seated in the office doorway, his big cane barring1 entrance, had knocked him squarely in the face. It was a week after the unmasking of the treacherous Winfield, and things had gone well with Ned Brooks-"easy as sliding off a greased log," he had chucklingly denominated his rare upward and onward progress a score of times. His n ame-his new name-had been in the publ ic prints. "Ned Pollard," with the detective, Turner, was delineat e d as a shre\y d, faithful employee who had run down Winfield's rascality and placed the Thurston baking powder squarely back in public favor. Winfield had disappeared. Against his empl oyer, Crouch, Mr. Thurston immediately brought a suit for heavy damages and his attorney told him that Ned's testimony would be sufficient to win him hiso C
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BRA VE AND BOLD. 21 The day following the revelation Ned submitted the nugget for the inspection of a jeweler. It was gold, pure gold, and the man gladly purchased it at ten dollars an ounce. When Ned went to report to the gold-maker, the latter handed him twenty dol'iars, stating that he would devote a little time to getting his app::iratus in better shape, told him to meantime pick out some new jeweler to sell the next batch to, as he did not wish to attract attention by too numerous sales to one individual, and that in a week he would be ready for wholesale business. With this Ned was content. His success had encouraged the to enter into manufacturing in a large way, he theo rized. Soon things would go humming! And, meantime, he de voted all his ene r gies to the firm's business, and was running one afternoon to r eport an exceptionally large order, when he found himself blocked at the office door, as has been related. Ned gripped the iron railings in a spasmodic sort of a way, and stared vacantly at the gruff warden of the doorstep. "Thurston & Company gone to the wall?" he muttere d in an in credulous gasp. "Mister, you're fooling I" "Am I?" railed the man with the cane; "oh, no! Shut like a clam till some arrangement's made. That's the ticket h ere, and all the clerks have gone home. Won't exactly say the sheriff is in possession, but mighty near itY "Let that boy in." Mr. Thurston's stem voice sounded b eyond the glib custodian, and the latter stepped aside with cringing servility. "Certainly, sir; only you said--" "To admit no one without my word. I give it now. Ah! there is my father!" as a carriage drove up to the curb. "Mr. Thurston-Oh, sir! what does this mean?" voic ed Ned, anxiously, with a pained glance at the merchant's white and worried face. But his employer simply waved him to his private office, and Ned sat there, quivering with suspense and dread, until Mr. Thurston approached with his aged father. "My son I" exclaimed the latter, sinking gaspingly into a chair, "what is this I hear?" "Closed up, father." "Oh, impossible!" "No, it is only too true." "But--" "Crouch." "Eh?" "A retaliatory move. We showed them up as rascals in the baking powder scheme, and Crouch is intent on revenge. How he did it I can't guess, but for a week he seems to have had agents out everywhere buying up our paper. He got a block of large notes due to-day and presented them this morning, just after we had checked out our last dollar at the bartk for yesterday's claims." "But you knew these were out-you should have provided for them." "I did. I made a definite arrangement with the firm holding them to extend them sixty days. They were cajoled into selling to Crouch. He pressed for payment and I wasn't ready to paythat's the long and short of it, and he has put in a custodian." "vVell ?" "Until noon to-morrow. If they are paid then, we resume. If not, a receiver will be appointed, and-we go under." "Never!" cried the old man, springing excitedly to his feet and evincing more vitality and pluck than N
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22 BRA VE AND BOLD. Ned unlocked the front door of the cottage. Inside. as he had been told, was a lantern This he lit, and closing and re-lock'ng the door. w'nt into the sittinc-room. all right," he murmured, at the littie steel re cerracL in its accustomed place. "Whew I I'm hot wi t h my or the room's :twful close." Ned drew up ;,i and opened a window. Then placing the lante1 n directly at the side of the 5afe, he knelt and pas5ed his hand O\'er the combination disk. "Eleven," he murmured, "twenty-one, fourteen." Click! a turn of the knob and open came the safe door. "There it is all right enough," he dC'clared, making out the package 1\lr. Thurston's fathrr had described. and he d knew who had t:iken it. "\\'infielu I" hi: fairly screamed, and dashed for the open window. It took Ned perhaps four seconds to cross the room. In two he guessrd what the abstraction of the package anti hi' recognition of the thid implied. I-le must have been [ollo11ed cle:ir from the city: must ha\'e rrcpt noiscksly in through the windnw l w hJd m carelessly opencd while ht: manipubting the s;1fe. Only a flasl11ng g!Jnce l\'rd had of thr [ug-iti\'C'. for \\'infidd }l.lcl rmde a divr through the w indow. In fact. kgs alone were in the room as Ned hndr' d agains! him. l .'pcn the floor by a pan of tacks anu nails .1nd a h:1mnicr. Grahliing ont di,appe;1ring coat tail of the thid in onr hand. with 1he other l\'rd the hammer. "I know you, rvbL,r I scoundrel I Throw back thJt package I Crnsh ?\cd a good rhance to whark hi5 clll'my, anti hr had never dri1 cn a n:iil with the vig-M th:tt hr no\\' rim, ... that hammer head against \Vinficlnly a clocl;:ing ning of his limhs struck th, rabl'd sash. It r.ame down with :1 rlattcr. and thcrr hr a prisoner shn1ild he do? !'\eel askcd him.l urdt:r !" Nt d had no i11tc111icn nf ah:1ndo111ing \\'in!icld to his fate. Tt was a query \\'Int :o du w:th such a clan;;cro11s cnt nt)'. h111 hr c:o11ld nr11 lta1C' him f s1Jfor:ite. I le had dr:iwn aidr to 1antali11 his \'ictim l,y him bdieve himself abandont'd. Intl as varin11s e\'idcnces of strangula tion edwcd forth stepptcl forward to re:le:1:w thr sulTt"n r Justthen. hnwc1er. dcsprr:.itirn kd \\'infield to a miq!: ty tfTnrt A fearful wrench drove tlw wi11d11w tr) tl111d<"rs. a Sl"c'ond wri n1h slittecJ trousers al1111g the ckt:ii11ing nail,; irom th1 lrncn down Out on the purch "11 a!I fours h scramblc d. rolkd. got 11p and i.:Jand al..iuut him. "\\'here i. he?" ravnJ the miscreant. unexp.'ctedly lihnatt'd, "oh, where i> he?" That N1'd did not dttm it to answC'r Of a sud elm, from a whinin!Z. helpless craven. \Vinfic:IJ lucl lwcn mc:amC1r phos< cl into a r:ig-ing. fnucious challengn. Liberty had. it ><:emed, his courage. Ned saw he w:is in a tcrrtper for hattlt.', Ntd ltt." was rcady for liattk. fnr sud denly \\linfidd drew 0111 a rl'vnlvt:r he could not reach 1111til now "\\'hnv' I'll 1mke rny,t:lf scanc," deci1hd l\',11. "Stop!" shouted \Vinliclcl's 1oil'<' <1s >.:cd slarted fnr tl)c ro:'lcl. "fie scc:s 111r," lir,.athed N1d "H:imml'f to pistol? llanlly I-le won't dare tire. he isn't quile a; mt1rdrru11s as th:tt." \Va:m't he I Oner mort thr nrdH 10 h:ilt rang out. Tlwn a shot. "You '" ni .. near l..iy, Lnt nunr. ocrnpic:rl Nc:ir the sicJ,.. of the roacl. ri.:hty

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BRA VE AND BOLD. rods down it, were a couple of horses. They were saddled :md grazing, but where were their riders? Now here in sight, Ned discerned plainly, as he continued on, q uivering and dodging as a second shot cut the air. "It's getting serious," he panted. "No one to help me. Where's the owner of the horses? Some silly couple, meandering maybe a mile away, or sportsmen gone fishing in a boat. Cricketty I" Ned h ow led, but limped on. A third shot had winged him. Somewhere between the knee and ankle it had struck-he felt a 1harp pain and a warm trickle. He was so near one of the browsing horses just then that it jerked up its head, almost touching him. Ned r eached out and grabbed the bridle. It backed. "Stop I roared the 'Winfield, nearer still. "Oh, yes ; catch me. Get up! get up!" Ned had clung to t he hammer. As he whipped nimbly to the saddle he reversed it and gave the animal under him a smart whack. He caught an ejaculation of dismay and rage from his pursuer, and he fancied some distant shouts succeeded to his bold ap propriation of the steed, possibly uttered by its owner. Then, flying like the wind, a turn of the head notified Ned that the companion horse had been put into service. "Winfield I he's mounted. It's even odds again after all,'' haz arded Ned. Hardly. The road lined the loneliest part of the lake, the horse Winfield rode was the better speeder of the two. Ned recognized that instantly. He dug his knees close and plied the hammer handle as a whip. The desperate race began. Ahead a boy with a quarter of a million in his ke eping; behind, a desperate criminal with four shots left in his revolver. CHAPTER XVIII. IN TIME. Ned breathed hard and thought harder as he urged on the steed he rode to its very limit of speed. "He's got the best horse," muttered Ned, flinging a swift glance over hi s shoulder, "but I'm the best rider." If there was anything in horsemanshi p, Ned believed he would win. There was no moon out, but the beach road was particularly clear of trees just where the race led, and there was not much chance of getting into hidtng. Ned knew something of the route. Three miles ahead was a camp alive with people clear through the season, and this side of that some hills and morasses and thickets, where he would be at home, where Winfield would be all at sea. "I'll give him a hard nut to crack in -a minute or two,'' chuckled Ned, thinking of a narrow water neck, beyond which a patch of reeds would afford him a chance to detour and evade if he could maintain the lead. "Neck or nothing now I" breathed Ned, bending low. "On, good fellow-on on on He won't take it I" Ned nearly went over the horse's head. He had come to the water neck. Tu round it he should h,_ve diverged at a turn .five hundre d yards back, a point just reached by his pursuer. The horse refused to enter the water. It came to a stop with a suddenness that shocked and uns ea ted Ned. He fell forward, and despite a wild grab-out, landed on his head directly under the horse' s feet. The fall must have temporarily stunned him, for when Ned look ed around him confusedly a distressing and dismaying situation of affairs was revealed. \Ninfield had come up as he lay there unconscious.
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BRA VE AKD I30LD. "Further," announced Ned, "I intend to start for Gcnev:i right off." "I loity toity I I sre you!" "'i\>u do? Amble!" "Eh?" "Drop that club." uSay--" I" "\\' hg so?" "This!" If ever a startled schemrr looked do.wn lhe mmzle of a rrvolver with a sinking feeling, it was \\"intidd at just that moment. His own revolver, tool Nrd had it. \\'infield clapped his hand to his pockcL Down wull the club, annc till--" '"Nnnn." "] c:in't wait. I must he in tlw city thfficn he> knn \1 r Th11r,tnn ,cry \\'Cl!. Cn11IJ ridr hirycle? No. A lHJ r>e? Likl' a Ct'nt;1urwn1111dc head? Dizzy. He shuok LO: megrims. l !tiw his foot hurl! !hh a mere scratch. EJc,n n'c!ock' !Ir h:1d just rntnrd the ci:y limits. A p'Lrk policeman chcckec! his with a warning. l\'c:d go\ ,licyond him and dug in the spurs ai:;ain. The h:ili hour w:is striking as he came in sight of the Thurston store. It \\'aS two blocks he felt faint and was i;waying in t11e saddle. but he could sec a little knot of clerks outside. "\Vhna I"' I le slippl'C('llt, and :i eolurnn c>r twu is casil v m ade out of a trivial incident. N:d Brooks !:.st exploit. hu\\!'\'Cr, comprisNl no trivial inci dent. It had dont him up complttcly, and lie an imalid prisoner for a weLk. he sen ml day of his inactivity he knew th;u hr had again gut into print. & Company dttmcd it best to kt publiC" know the full rascality of the Crouch firm. lt would set them exactly ri.;ht i11 popular opin'on. and it would unm.1sk a commercial pirate. The result was, that all the splrndid cirploit in which Nect had just figured delineated in sensational was reprobated. Thurs:on & Company \\'ere put 011 their f"t arou11d ai,:;iin. a littk 1hi1tn(ss, a li1tk pallor and a ting(' in 'ne foot wl.cre the bullet was iast hvaling up, were all runindt1r. Thurst0n arr:mgcd for Nud and a lawye1 to gu up Lo Like Geneva and SL1stain :1 suit for when news carrn that the wily prisoner h;id taken ad vantage of 1heir im.icti< i: y during Ned's sickness, had obtained a writ of liabca corpus, and, giYing a flimsy bail bond, had disap pcand Crouch undoubtedly stood hack of him. '"I've got a werk of leisure," reflected Ned, one afternoon. "It's more than thar since I saw Dciderick, the gold-maker. I prom isfd 1 would. and I'll iO this e,ening." Ned followed 0:1t previous instructions when he came to the jus1 at hut the long. low whistle and the short, loud one had to be repeatd before Deidrrick appeared.

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BR1\ VE AND DOLD. The latter looked nustered. annoyed and un't'.t tht> cash on that. and don't delay. I'm really in hard .;traits. "\Vhy. Mr. Deiderick," obscrYC'd Ned, casually, "this piece isn't round and puddkd likl' the other?" "No, !-that is-it's di!Tcrenl. yes.'' "But you must have molde d it?" "E -.::ict ly More convenic-111 ?" "I dnn't see." murmurt'd Ned. thoughtfully, but he took the gold and started o n his mission. \\"hen he camt' to the jewelry store where he had made his arrangemmt, he found it closed. He went also to 1he man he had sold th(' first butch lo. H(' was eager 10 huy, b111 could not get the cash. He a check, and ed put back for the her mitage to if Diedcrick wonld accept it. "That's Queer," he exclaimtd, as. coming in sight of the big sign, he saw a strnnger disappear through the secret doorway. Ned hurried steps. "llcllo!" he ejarnbt<'d Tht> door's open." Oprn it \\':JS, an im it:ition JO t't11er for any \'11rio11! N d <'tJding him away, but was he aware that a stranger ha you ever r! I'm no dealer. Gold's my specialty, aniderick, turning white. "f'ollowed trapped!'' snarled two of the men, springing to their feet with bristling mi<'n. "That's me," nodded the detrctiv('; all, the favor of your company is requested by the chief of police.'' "Down h'.m!" l'ed smoth<'rec! a wild shriek. At the words, Deiderick lifted the heavy iron dipper. With a sickening crash it came down on the dctective'a skull. He ft!l back wi1h a groan and lay hkc a cJ.,d. Dci a combined rush for Deiderick. Th('y tosst' d him aside as if he was a feather. They ru:.hcd through the open doorway. The tcrnfird, uc\\ilderrd Ned had stood watching all these strange happt'11ings like one in a horrid dream. I le could not make out why the detective should lurk around nnd confront lhnse in hi> ollicial capacity, but he traced the malcrnknce of the wicked criminal in the officer's down [all, :md murderous desperation iii the actions of the men who had rushed in to end, the gold-maker's work. About to hasten to the strtxt and call the police, Ned wavrred, for a and frantic yells attracted his attention again to the kitchen. The men who had rushrd into it in search of the inscnsil.Jle de tective rushed out agJin "- prccipilatrly. \\'h;;l had cceurrl'd Ned coul d only surmise, but the kitchen was ablaze. They must have upset the furn:ice, or a stray spark must have exploded some of the 'gold-maker's chemicals. "Get out of I" shouted the gold-maker. "You've done it. Then will be a crowd hae soon." "Fire \\'ill
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BRA VE AND BOU A man with a knife was rushing at Ned. The horror-scene was complete. Had he invaded a nest of demons? They meant to dispatch him, too. Of that, however, Ned really thought lit tle, Just then the detective's certain doom was more keenly in his mind. The kitchen was a mass of flames. He knew that Deiderick must have thrown the officer in the room bey"ond. He made up h is mind. A cry of baflled rage and consternation rang out as Ned made a bolt for the fire-wreathed kitchen door. Over its threshold he dashed. Through the billowing maze of flames he fought his way. His clothing afire, his face blistered, his hair scorched to the i;calp, Ned stumbled into the room beyond the kitchen. "I've found him!" he panted, staring at a prostrate figure. "He's alive!" murmured Ned, bending low for an inspection. Ned Brooks had found the detective; yes, he had found him al ive also-but of '"hat avail? For the man, lucklessly helpless, and the boy, keenly alive to the certainty that a horrible doom was tightening its grip with every swiftly-advancing moment, were completely hemmed in by fire. CHAPTER XX. G:RIT TO THE CORI!.. Ned tore off his blazing coat .and stared about, gasping for breath. "We're in a dreadful fix," he quavered in a low, awed whispe r. "What is best to do?" He did not any time. Headed right or headed wrong, action was the suggestion of the dilemma of the moment. The fire had crept through two passageways around the room he was in. This apartment had no windows-in fact, it was a kind of kitchen storeroom, with only one other door. Toward this Ned dragged the insensible detective. He dared not venture across the kitchen now. Its floor had probably burned through, and even if he got the officer outside, their enemies might still he hovering there. A narrow, winding stairway started at the door Ned had gained . He would go up until he discovered a window. He panted, struggled with his burden. He lifted, dragged, propped and pushed. Would the stairway never end? It wound round and round discouragingly. It had no windows, and as Ned finally saw its railinged top he discovered that he was worse off than ever. The stairway ended at the attic. Ned deposited his burden on its floor. In one end was a window, but heavy planks it. The other end was taken up by the tower; from its rotted, dismantled side Ned stared d own. "That settles dropping," he shuddered, glancing far, far below. Deiderick and his late associates were nowhere to be seen. At the big sign front there was a great hammering, and a crowd filled the street. Then a swirl of sparks shut out all view, and the attic began to fill with smoke. "If I could only arouse the detective," munnured Ned; but l'urner lay like a log. Except that he breathed, there was no evidence that the blow with the iron dipper had not ended his career. The fire was momentarily encroaching upon them. Ever and anon a crash would shake the building, telling of the fall of some rotted timber. "We must g.;t out of this, and we must do it quick, if we don't :want to be engulfed," murmured Ned. "It's up, that's sure \Veil, Deiderick sent his goods down from the next roof, the tower prop runs four feet below it, and he descended that way .. Can't we go up the same?" Ned could. Arriving at the top of the turret stairs and com ing to its open side, he observed that his own escape was guaranteed; but what of his helpless charge? "I'll try 1t," came from Ned's lips, grimly but tremblingly, after a minute's deep thought. He got Turner to the top of the turret stairs. A six-inch plank ran from the tower to the blank brick wall ten feet distant on a very slight slant. It was simply a support to keep the tower from tumbling, and was held in place by its sheer weight. There was danger of the plank giving way beneath a double weight; there was danger of toppling halfway across; there was the rising fire to brave; there were four feet to climb be fore the ne:i-.--t roof was reached, but all these were inevitable con comitants to the only forlorn hope of escape presented. Ned staggered as he got the limp, heavy form over one shoulder, with feet dragging. The pulling weight was crushing, he was half blind ed, but across the plank he started. Creak I the ominous sound seemed to crack a heartstring, but it amounted to nothing. Across I' Ned thrilled. Panting, shaking from head to foot, w edged up against the brick wall he sto o d. He had passed the abyss. Four feet aloft was the next roof and safety, but how could he reach it-how even budge the crushing weight that made him stagger without toppling over? He reached up one hand; he groped across the stone coping. It was fortunately narrow. Ned took a tight clutch; then he began to pull himself up, an inch at a time, and with him rose his burden. His bones seemed to crack as he got the head and shoulders of the detective across the coping. He pushed and boosted. Half the strain was relieved, but-he could not budge the form another inch. All Ned could do was to prop the detective on a frail balance. Operati ons had come to a stop. A blasting breath of fire swept up the brick wall, and Ned shrank. Another I He groaned in helpless horror. Swish! A grateful spurt of water showered across him. There was a terrific hubbub below. Then huzzas. Something scraped the prop phnk and it quivered. Clinging still, Ned ventured to gaze down; the top of a ladder had dropped into pbce just at his side. He had been seen; he was saved! "This man first-Turner, the de tective!" he gasped. as a hel meted fireman came up the ladder to his side as two others ap proached on the next roof. They took the detective up and they took Ned down. The passage to earth, out of the hermitage grounds and some way, somehow, to his lodgings, Ned never afterward remembered, although he did not faint nor drop on the way. He was put to bed by the policeman who accomp:mied him. The same officer awakened him in the morning and after his breakfast told him respectfully that the chief of poli ce wished to see him for a few moments. Ned could guess why-the mystery of Turner's condition needed explaining, and he could gwe it, and he ac:companied the officer willingly. No enlightenment as to "7hat he theorized or knew did Ned rcceiYe from the grave, close-mouthed head of the service, how ever. He engros sed ly to N ed"s story, and said simply:

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BR:\ VE A.ND DOLD. "Mr. Turner is at the hospital, delirious. shall want to see you again when he recovers his reason." "Ye!. sir," nodc!C"d Ned, "but what w:is he doinii there, and those criminal&? The man who made gold--" "lie made no gold." interrupted the chief. "\\' hy, sir, I saw him--" "My son," spoke the offiC"ial, plac-ing a gentle hand on Ned's shoulder as he led him to the door, "your action in saving the detective's life, your past record, tells me that you arc all straight, but as to the gold-maker, as you term him-you have ucen grossty deceived--" "Dut how? I can't undcrs:and--" "Don't try to for a ft'W days, and say nothing to anybody. \Ve are after Deiderick and his crowd. \\ncn they are caui;ht you will hear some wry star:ling disclosures." J\"cd proceeded to the store. revoking many theories in his mind that would fit the official's They were disturbed he entered the Thurstun establishment by a hail from the cash'er: "Oh, Ned!" he called out .. Yes, sir." "A man has been here for you-in a carriage. and an invalid lady t1ith him." "f-'or me? Why, who can it he?" nrnrmurcd N rd. '1)011"1 know. but he was dre;idfully Hnxious 10 find you. S"id he'd call again. and aslsed \\'here you Ji,cd very poi.rticular ly. Ah I tl1ere he is no' alone and n foot this time." A tespectahly man just thrn entered the office. "Has the boy I inquired for come in yet? He i!n't at his room." the m:rn began. "Herc he spoh the cashier. "You wish to see me?" asked !'\ed. curiously. Hy cs," replied the man; "your mo1her wan ls you." CTl APTER XX!. A !'OSlTtON. N'cd stnrcd at the man if he h:id taken leave of his senses. "S:iy !" he ejacul:itd vocifrro11sly; g11<.'SS not." Ned hdeen here after you hcr1cl," persi5ted the man. "Not mr," Ned, vehemently. "It must be some one else you are looking for." N' C'd was about to add that hi mother heen dead for over 1cn years, when the man ques1ioned him sharply: "You're Ned Pollard, aren't you?" HEh ?" \\"'th a sudden shock. the first wan of dawning enlightenment, Nnl s1raigh1ened up rigid. sn'1 1ha1 your name?" per5istnl his "They-they call me so," murmured Ned faintly. "Then there's no mistake. t.lrs. Pollard, your mother, is now at your room waiting for you and erJzy to greet you." "At my room-:\lrs. Pollard I Wait I Let me think." \Va,ing b:ick the man faintly, Ned sank swaying to a chair. :11 y he's overcome, isn't he?" Ned heard his visitor remark feeli11gly. "Yes. Didn't rxpcct it. Sort of shnc-k." asserted the cashier. "i\ p.-r:ind bor that. full of nobll' emo1 ir-ns." Th,. words cut Nd like a l:nifr-hlade. A grand uoy, was he? Yes, a grand rascal, a heartless deceiver! Full of noble emotions? At moment coward consci<'nre hall drove him to fly the city and bury himself in the deepest solitude. For he was about Iv be unmasked, stripped of borrowtd plum age, up as a double-dealing deceiver, aud that, 100, by a l>roken-hcarted mothrr. '"I see i1 all now," he groaned in spirit. "This Pollard must ue the mother of 1he dream-boy-what will say when she learns of my villainy?" l\ed put it extnvagantly. He had done no wrong, but he was dreaufully rattled at that moment. lie bC'carne m>re ra!tled as his visitor himself him and confitl<"t1tial. "l underst;mtl th<" situation," he rcmarkc-d. ""You was pretty hart! lot a year ago, I !cam, but you can im:i;,;ine motl1cr's joy when the papers to:d of your heruic Lad, I'm no religioner, bvt the happ111ess you've brought to that puor olJ wom:tn by chani:ing your wa1s makes me believe in prayer. You know for a year shr's been an invalid. She was dying hy inches, mourning for the boy who ran away and never came bark, when IV<" read about you in paper. Ned I my brave, tnie Ned I he"s come out ri(ht at last r she cried day and night. We wanted to write to you. No; 1hc must see you. Two hundred miles I \e brought her, sick, as she is; and now she's found you, she says she'll never leave you again. How pale you are, lad I You look of glad." "l "11 to her. 1"11 make a clean breast of everything," murmured N I'd, inroherent ly. "Eh?" stared the m:111. Nrd stancd from the store. He felt fairly desperate. "It's awful!" he told himself; "not whal J"ve done; that wnn't look so l.iad, fot I had no bad motives, but the terrible shock of of this poor old woman. Oh I what shall I say to her-how can I com fort her?" i\cd's heart was lic:iting like" a trip hammer as he opened the door of his room, thr man close.> behind liim. '"l\Jrs. f'olla1d. hert's your boy, and from whJt his firm says, you may well he prriud of him," cried Ned's comp:1111on. In the c-enter of th room sat a sweet-faced woman. Ned's senses were in a blur, hut he noticed that her eye! were bandaged, her anns Olltstretched, her soft features suffused with an eager, ierapluc glow. '"Ned, Ned! Oh. my lost, loved boy I Heaven is kind I" Into her yearning arms the man fairly led Ned. The latter was shaking from head to foot. lle was almost crying. h was pitiful-the deception. ''Speak loud to her, if you speak at all," remarked the man to Ned. "Thi; last at tack of erysipelas has left her pretty near deaf, and her eyes are so had tbe di:>ctor says the bandai:c must not be remoHd for 'I werk." BJ:nd-or prac-tically so? Like a drowning man clutching at a straw. l'\ed's heart took sudden hope. A mw had come to his mmd; his avowed intcntion of con fcssion was dcferrc,J. He must spare this happy, devoted creature a shock that might kill her, and he thought he could do it. Mrs. Pollard h:id hold of his hand now, and was caressing it aneen. As her word' let out a hint here and there, Ned Brooks realized 1hat the dream-boy had, indeed, reason for his uitter remorse. Ned spoke to the man \\'Ito had brought 'J\Irs. PolTard from tht heal:h resort where harl staying. '"She can probal>ly hear you be ter than she can me," he ex plained. "Try and tell her that J am happy to aiake her com-

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28 HK A VE AND BOLD. fortable; that my landlady will give her a nice room, and attend to her every want, but that business will take me away for a week, maybe." The man did as Ned requested. 'The mother's face shadowed at the hint of parting, and then it brightened. "Only a week?" she smiled "Why, then I shall be able to ace him-the doctor said so. Oh, Ned! my dear, dear boy I how c hanged, how kind you are I Heaven has given me a new son, new life, new hope." "What a scoundrel a boy must be to grieve a mother like that I" murmured Ned. as he left the house half an hour later. The man who had brought Mrs. Pollard to the city had de parted. In charge of Ned's landlady, she was bright and happy, and reconciled to Ned's avowed departure on a brief business trip, and now Ned was started to make that trip a reality. The gentle, motherly attentions had made N' ed's heart yearn; the happy, patient face had appealed irresistibly to him. He had a week's respite. "I'll do one good deed if I can," he declared. "I'll make that wom an happy in reality when that bandage comes off her eyes." Ned walked straight 1:0 the residence of Mr. Thurston's father, full of a gre1tt, exciting idea He found the old gentleman at home and was warmly received "Vv'hy, Ned, you look worried," spoke the elder Thurston, with a conc erned glance at Ned's pale face. "I am," confes se d Ned, gravely. "Mr. Thurston, I have a con fession to make in confidence." Ned told all then-what he had told to nobody else since his arrival in the city. He narrated the peculiar c ircum stances that h ad led to hisadopting Ned Pollard's name; he outlined the con sequences involved. "Mr. Thurston," he concluded, humbly, "what do you think of a boy who acted a s I have?" "Think!" cried the old gentleman, excitedly, grasping both the questioner's hands. "Ned, my brave, true fellow! I think angels directed the impulse that made you seek to win for a broken name ihe glory of heroism and right doing." "But what of the poor mother?" m11rmured Ned. "How can I face her when she sees?" 1 "Ah! that, indeed I" sighed the old gentleman, thoughtfully. "I've guessed out a way," hinted Ned, timorously. "Yes Ned?" "And I want your sanction. I want you to look after Mrs. P ollard while I am away." "You are going away?" "I must." "What for?" Ned's answer came clear and "I am going to find and bring back the real Ned Pollard." CHAPTER XXII. FOUND. To find a needle in a haystack-that was the task, theoretically, t hat Ned Brooks had set for himself io accomplish. To find a needle in a haystack within a week-that was the lim it of time allowed. Ned left the city that night on the St. Louis fast express. Behind him things were, in a measure, sat i sfacto ry. He had pl enty of money in his pocket, and indefinite leave of absence, ari'd Mr. Thurston's fathe had promised to see that Mrs. Pollard W
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BRA VE AND BOID. ttn doilan, and he drank ln Mapleson's report of the drcam boy's reformation as if it was the pure cream of delight. "Yes," he nodded, "Mr. Mapleson, we met once before." "Where, now?" Ned told him. He revived the scene at the farm of his uncles, where he had assumed the dream-boy's sheet garment and had played the dream-boy's part. "Say I" exploded Mapleson, betraying intense excitement, "you're the boy that ran away?" "That's me," acknowledged Ned. "Say I I hunted for you. Look here I Where are you-where can I-that is, I want to make you a proposition," continued Mapleson, more excitedly still. "What about?" "A secret. Look here I I'm not prepared to-day, but I've got some information desperately important to one Ned Brooks. You're Ned Brooks. Where can I see you in-let me see-two days, a week?" Ned handed him one of the Thurston cards. "I'll be there after to-morrow-provided I find Ned Pollard, as you say I will," he added, significantly. "You will. I'm not deceiving you. Next week 7 Young man, I'll astonish you I" If Ned Brooks had not been so anxious to find Ned Pollard, he might have tried to find out more about Mapleson's pretended secret. He left that individual very thoughtful and excited. If it amounted to anything, Ned knew he would soon see him in Chicago. Belleville was over in Illinois, and a lively coal mining town. Ned did not get there tlll after five o'clock in the afternoon. He was surprised to find the business street rather deserted, but glad intelligence greeted him as he entered the general store of the place. "I am looking for a boy named Pollard," he said; "Ned Pollard." "This is the right place to come to, then," affirmed the storekeeper. "He works here?" "Started in Monday." "Is he here now?" "No; he's gone where all the town's gone that can get there." "\\' here's that?" "To the mines. There's been an explosion of fire-damp, and fifty men are suffocating." "Oh, dear I" murmured Ned, distressedly. He had no difficulty in l ocating the mines, for stragglers across fields were all headed in one and the same direction. Some five hundred people must have been grouped about a great, yawning hole in the ground, up through which came a vague sort of vapor. Women were wailing, children weeping, men moving about with pale, agitated faces. Others were just windlassing the lowering bucket to the surface. Ned got a peep through the crowd. He saw them lift out a man, white-faced and fainting: A groan went up from the throng. "What is it?" asked Ned of a bystander. His companion explained. The bottom of the shaft was filling with poison gas, which must soon spread to the working cham ber, where some fifty men were imprisoned. Twice they had tied the hose that connected with the air-pump to a miner's waist and had lowered him. He had pulled the signal rope fifty feet down, overcome by the fumes. "Unless they connect It soon, It's all day with the men below I'" groaned Ned's informant. ] ust then a cheer went up. "What's that?" inquired Ned, pressing through the crowd. "A new volunteer." "A boy!" Ned edged forward. He saw a boy standing on the edge of the lowering bucket. They had tied the connecting hose to his waist, and he was holding a wetted sponge to his nostrils. "Shoot me down quick," he ordered, "and I'll make it.,. "Pray Heaven you may," moaned a distracted woman. "Stop that boy-stop!" Incoherently, Ned Brooks parted crowd. He jostled, scrambled, staggered his way to the mouth of the pit. For the voice had made him take a second view of the brave volunteer's face. He had found Ned Pollard I "That boy!" he cried. "I must see h\m I" "Too late-he's started down." "Then I'll go, too!" With a jm;np, to the amazement of the men at the windlass, Ned landed in the descending bucket. Its occupant stared at him; two pairs of eyes met, and both honest eyes now. "Ned Pollard I" "Ned Brooks I" Two pairs of hands met in fervent silence. Then both shot down in the great iron bucket into the dread abyss of death. CHAPTER XXIII. IN THE NICK OF TIME. Ned Brooks had acted on one of his vivid in Jumping so recklessly into the descending iron bucket. But Ned had only one idea in his mind at the moment of his rash l eap-he had found the missing dream-boy, and he was satisfied. The latter had instructed the men at the windlass to lower quick, and they were obeyin: orders. Whiz 1-N ed Brooks realized a quick descent, a dense dark ness a quick choking up, but he gasped ardently to his com panion: "I've heard about you I" "Keeping my promise-leading a new life? Oh, that comes easy now!" was the bright rejoinder. "But what brought you here? I've heard of you, too, for it must be you that was in the papers-'N ed Pollard'--" "Yes; I had to take your name. I come from your mother, Ned." "My mother I" uttered the dream-boy, starting sharply. "Yes; she found me out from the printed reports of Ned Pollard's doings--" "She is at Chicago?" "And thinks I am you ." "How can that be?" "She is temporarily blind. She is at my home. She sees by this time. I came to hunt you up, for it would break her heart if you-were "Ned I Ned!" shouted the dream-boy, catching the swaying, swerving figure that brushed him. "He's gQne under-the gas I" Ned slipped from his arms. hi the bottom of the bucket. At that moment there was a dull shock. Tang I-the bucket struck the bottom Gf the shaft. Utter darkness was around him, but the dream-boy had been

PAGE 31

BRA VE AND BOLD. down that shaft on a casual visit of curiosity the d&y previous. He knew its outlines, and he knew, from careful descriptions, where to find the pumpinr apparatus, but as he clambered over the edge of th" bucket, he staggered as if a weight was IJearini him down. The deadly fumes hovered, thick and penetrating-. Not a sec ond had he to lose. Over his mouth he pressed the wetted sponge. Then he grabbed the signal rope of the elevating gear, and gave the order to lift. He was cutting off escape should he fail to adjust the pump hose or get to the chambers as yet free from the noxious fumes; but he knew that one minute of insensibility in that atmosphere might mean death t o Ned Brooks, unable to fight the insidious fumes, and-he saved his friend I Above ground the raise signal was greeted with a groan. It must indicate another failure, for time sufficient had not elapsed to adjust the hos!! attachment. "It's empty!" shouted an excited voice, as the bucket appeared. "No- Cilld had fonnd hones t employment. It rnus1. have been some of the heroic spirit Neu Drooks' ex-

PAGE 32

BRA VE AND BOLD. ample in Chicago had infused that caused him to volunteer to go d o wn into the m i ne to save fift y imp e ril e d li v es And save them he did. It was easy now to make light of the narrow rruss he grazed in attach ing the pumping hose, in creep ing, half dead, to a remote working chamb e r for he had battled desperate chances. When the deadening gas had been lighten e d, and the men, one by one, were drawn up to the surface, Ned Pollard found him s elf a hero. He found Ned Brooks vanish e d, too, but he soon learned how i t was, and surmised th a t he had b e en taken to Chicago. Thither the dream boy, irresist i bly attracte d, had come to seek out anew the friend who had led hi s wayward fo o tsteps aright, and the mo ther for wh o m his bett e r i mpulses now y e arned. "It was not I, mo t ht>r, who d i d all the n o bl e things the papers attributed to Ned P o llard he confes se d. "It was brave Ned Brooks who took my broken, worthless n a m e and put a crown of laurels around it, and bra.ve s t, nobl est of all, to save you from disappointment, 1sou ght me out." "Stop there, Ned Pollard l" cried Ned Brooks, and he entered the room impetuou s ly. "Boil down all my t rifling exploits and find the lives of fifty men saved by them, if you can. No, no, Mrs. Pollard; you may be proud of your b oy. What he did yes terday is the d e ed of a century." "Oh, is it so?" cried the dream-boy, brightly, as he caught Ned's hand and put it into that of his mother, who covered it with grat eful t e ars. "Then we're quits. The world says 'Ned Poll ard' rescued a great firm fro m ruin, gave back to the police force its best detective, 'Ned Poll a rd,' eh? Well, I played tit-for tat. The new s paper men were thick as bees around the miners after the rescue. They w a nted my name to herald to the world. I gave it to them. Look here." Ned Brooks whi s tled in dismay, and stared at a newspaper qui c kly unfolded. There was the story of the mine rescue, four c olumns of it, and "Ned Brooks" w a s its hero. The long ac count was squared off. Ned P o llard and Ned Brooks divided honors indeed There w a s a clean breast to make of it all to Mr. Thurston, Ned decided, but that turned out no hardship. Nothing but admiration was expres s ed by the head of the firm, wh e n, that afternoon, Ned call e d at the store. He came away buoyant and e x cited. According to Mr. Thurston, all complications were pretty well settled, and he might start in at practical business the following Monday morning, in charge of all city sale s in the baking powder department. "Can I hire a helper?" Ned ventured. "Your name sake? Yes. A boy acting as he has deserves the past blotted out, and all the encouragement possible. By the way, Pol-I mean Brooks," continued Mr. Thurston, "our law yers inform us tha t the suit against Crouch may come up any day. So hold yourself in readiness, for you are the main wit ness." This remark was emphasized as Ned sat in his room just after dark with the dream-boy, discussing their mutual glowing busi ness prospects, for the landlady interrupted them by appearing with the words: "There's a coachman here says he is to take Ned Pollard to his employers' lawyers' office-Dickson, Attlebury & Murch. Which Ned is it?" "That means me," nodded Ned Brooks. "I won't be long," he said to his companion. "Mr. Thurston spoke to me to-day about the case, and I suppose his lawyers want to get my evidence against C nmch in shape." Ned ran down the stairs. A close carriage stood at the curb, and its driver beckoned to Ned, helped him into the vehicle, slammed the door, and springing to his box, started up the horses. "I hope I won't be kept long a.t the lawyers' office," began Ned. "What?" A glinting flame from a fruit stand torch shot through the window suddenly, and opposite him sat-his old-time enemy, Winfield 1 Ned made a motion toward the door handle. "Is thi s--" he began. Busine ss!" interrupt e d Winfield, catching Ned's arm detaln in g ly You see, our s i de is pretty well posted. The suit Cro uch com e s up to-morrow. It means a big sum saved if the w i tn e s ses a in t pres e nt. l won t be. Turner, the detective, is laid up. Tha t telltale letter I wrote we recovered. There's only you my dear young friend; if we could induce you to leave the country to m o rrow, it mi ght save Crouch half he owns, and it would put a life competenc e in my grasp." "Well, I won't! cried Ned, stoutly. "A trap, ch? Kidnap-ing? Do you think-" Fl a p! With a suddenness that evidenced careful preparation and prac tice, over the mouth of the speaker Winfield slapped a great pla s ter. It stuck like flypaper; it shut out breath and utterance better than a gag. Ned put up his hands-they were instantly seized. He struck out. They were handcuffed. "How's that?" crowed Winfield. "Wind shut off, maulers in quod. This is your last public act for a spell, my energetic friend, and 'The Mi s sing Witness' will be a woot1y mystery for many a m onth t o come." The occurrences of the ensuing half hour proved Winfield'a talk to be no buncombe. The carri age drove into a gloomy court. Ned was conducted up several st a irways of a large, unlighti;d building, and was led into a sort of s toreroom where a lantern burned "It's Crouch's warehouse," he theorized. "What a.re they go ing to do with me, anyway?" Standin g prac t ically helpless by a window looking down on the stre e t h e lis t e ned. Winfi e ld was speaking to the coachman. "Get the a s ylum man, qu i ck, now!" he ordered "All ri ght-only, say, we had a hitch-behind for a block or two after s t arting." "Oh, d on't bother me with stupid suspicions I Some mischievous urchin." "No-an old man." "Some lazy t r amp, I suppose." I whip_ped him off but, say! I vow I fancied he was lurking opposite the a lley when we drove in here." "B o sh! Get our man, and hustle the boy to his future home pro mptly." Winfi e ld grinned his most disagreeable grin at Ned as he en tered the room and locked its door. He took out his penknife and slitted the plaster so Ned could b re athe more freely "Know where you're going?" he j e ered. "Into the charge of a man running the safest lunatic asylum i n the State. Oh, you'll get n ear no witness stand till he undoes the bolts and bars, trust him for that." Ned tri e d to take things coolly. He was not frightened. A cha nce to escape would c o me somewhere along the line, he was confident of that, only he hoped it would present itself in time to make him of service in the suit in court. "Ah I is ilia.t my man coming?" spoke \Vinfield, after a long pause, as footsteps sounded out s ide. He ran and unlo c k e d the door. The lantern shone quite dimly, and he did not fully make out his visitor till he had got clear over the threshold. "Why," h e ejaculat e d, with a start, "it's not my man I Here I who are you? Get out!" "No," answered a definite voice, "not till I get what I came for -that bQy." Ned started. The "hitch-behind "the old tramp was re"the 11'1dging wonder," the dream-finder. "You see1 I've came 'way up from Missouri to find this boy" he spoke. 'I fo!lcwed the carriage. I see you are up to pocus of seme sort, l:mt I can't help that. I've got a claim on dlat boz first, and he cmnes with me." 'He 000.'t r'

PAGE 33

BRA VE AND BOLD. ''\Vho says it?' "I do." "The best mw wins!" Slam! Thf' contestants flew at one another like battlin! bears. Backward. forward, Mapleson down, \Vinfield up, Mapleson reeling, Winfield gone to one knee. Suddenly-A jar, a.nd both l:mded against a wire netting in one corner of the room. There was an appallinz shriek from Winfield as the netting tore 1oose. The two men seemed to io through it as if it was paper. Ned Brooks held his breath, and grew sick at he:irt. Echoing knocks and a h-.vy thnd endeti. in 1-groans, and then all was 1till. Winfield and Maplcson had gone down the elevator shaft I CHAPTER XXV. CONCLUSION. Ned was altnl'>st too horrified to move, but the opened-up way to escape uri:,"Cver results of his assumption of a new role ensued. Th:it night's de' dopments ended up the Cronch plot forever. 'Winfield. it falling. had hroken one arm and an ankle. He would be a crippl for life, and when Cr0t1ch was informed of the failure of his last wicked plan, he made arrangements to leave the city, a disgraced man, at once. Mapleson was brought to the station with some terrible bruises, but not permanently disabled. . . \Vhen he got his wits back, he explamed hi s busmess with The night he sle pt at the farm of Ned's uncles, he stated, m usual poking prying way, he investigated a bureau. "I found a will there, lad," he told Ned. "Did you?" "Yes, from your cousin, who originally owned the farm." "Go on" smiled Ned. "It rour uncles half the farm, you the other half." "Indeed!' "They never told you, eh? Now, then, if you will divide w it h me what you get, I'll give you the will for 'uustins them." ,, "And so that is your great secret-your wonderful mys:ery? laughed Ned. "Why, Mr .Maplescn, I knew that five years ago." "You knew it I" gaipcd the discomfited Maplewn. "Certainly. A later will established the rights of my and if forty wii!s favored me, l would not trouble th0sc s1m;Jle, honest old souls. No; they cared for Scape1'race Ned when .no one else would and now I'm able to make my own way, with no 1-egacy but brains, and no capital but Mr. Mapleson departed the next day, a saoder, wiser man. That same afternoon Ned Brooks and his namesake went to see the detedive, Turner, who reported convale;cent. He wekomed with c ffnsion the boy who had so.ved his life. Then he glanced suspiciously at Ned Pollar d. "Seems as if I've i;een you before?" he remarked, the alert de tective in an instant. "If yoq have, forge't it at once," insinuated Ned Brooks. 'Tle's my friend, Mr. Turner." "That's enough for me, !ad-and now about your gold-maker, ch?" "Yes, T'd like to know nbout him, for I've got a lump Gf bis gold still in my possession." "He'll neYer claim it, for he and his crowd seem to have left the country for good." "But why?" asked Ned. "To evade arrest." "For making gold?" "For makini;c nothing," ejaculated the detective, d e rishely. "That was a "But I saw him--" "Fool you-exactlv. The crucible and ch('mic:ils were nil a blind. He slipped. in the gold lump while you wasn't looking." "Never l" "Yes. he did. You see. he was at the head of a of thit'ves, and melted dO\Vn the gold they stole. Susocctrd characters. they had to sell it on the sly, and got very small prices for it. He de vised the alchem'st schc-me to hide 31! that." "Thrn," spoke Ned, rather sadly, "there are no gold-makers in the world, after all?" ''Oh, yes," famt: the prompt reply "\Vhere ?" "You're one." "Eh?" "Art'n't you? Why, lad, every ambitious, bny is a gold-maker from the starL uc ,ambition, estv industry. and the cruc1hle 1s expC"ne11ce. T s n t that true? _red Brooks put his hand r>n the shouldrr of the" boy whose frfrndship had come to be a rare boon, whose good name and good fortune hi' had won by proxy. He thought of the glowing business nrospccts that lay b <'fore them mutually, of the pleasant home life the restored mother 's would ins:ure. "Yes it's true!" assented Ned Brooks. "but th,. re's' somethin14 bettrr th'ln m1 kin
PAGE 34

Young Broadbrim 1 Weekly MORE READING MATTER THAN ANY 5c. LIBRARY PUBLISHED -.---. C Handsome _c--r .1Ce -_, e:t:1 tSe Colored Cov ers Tales of the thrilling adventures of a young detective whose success in hunting down all classes of criminals is unequalled. 1-ATEST TITLES 52. Young Broadbrim, the Boy Detective ; or, The Old Quakerts Youthful Ally. 53. Y ourig Broadbrim in Kansas City; or, What Was Found in the Flood. 54. Young Broadbrim on an Aerial Trail; or, The Terrible Ordeal of Fire. 55. Young Broadbrim and Company; or t Solving the Mysteries of Rockwood. 56. Young Broadbrim Triumphant; or, The Girl Cracksman. 57. Young Broadbrim Fighting an Unknown Power; or, A Scientific Murderer. 58. Young Broadbrim on a Weird Case; or, The Mystery of the Phanton1 Voices. 59 Young Broadbrim at Coney Island; .. or, Dandy Dick Shanghaied. 60. Young Broadbrim on a Newsboy Mystery; or, Dandy Dickts First Case. To be had of all newsdealers or sent upon receipt of price by the publishers STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street, New York I :t


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