Young Klondike and the claim agents, or, Fighting the land sharks of Dawson City


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Young Klondike and the claim agents, or, Fighting the land sharks of Dawson City

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Title:
Young Klondike and the claim agents, or, Fighting the land sharks of Dawson City
Series Title:
Young Klondike
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Author of Young Klondike ( Old Miner )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Frank Tousey
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Language:
English
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1 online resources (31 p.)

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Gold mines and mining -- Fiction ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
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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025493606 ( ALEPH )
15008525 ( OCLC )
Y14-00002 ( USF DOI )
y14.2 ( USF Handle )

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Issued Semi-Monthl11-BY SubsC?'iption $1.25 per yem-. Ente r e d a s Second C lass Matte r at the N e w Yoi k N Y., Pos t Office, Marc h 15, .1898, by F'r anlc 1'01 tse y. No. 4. NEW YORK, April 27, 1898. Price 5 Cents. How much am I offered for Claim No. 1 ?" cried Young Klondike, stepping on the table. Dick aml the Unknown held their revolvers ready; a grizzled old miner held up his finger and bid $5,000.

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Stories of a Gold Seeker. Issued Se11ii--Monthly-By Subscription $1.25 per year. Entered as Second Class Mattei at the New York. N. Y.,_Pos.t Office, March 15, 1898. Eintered according to Act of Congress in the year 1898, ii the o.tfice of the Lib1arian of Cong1ess, JI ashinoton, D. C., by Frank Tousey, 29 West 26th Street, New Yo1k. No. 4. NEW YORK, April 27, 1898. Price 5 Cents. Young Klondike and the Claim Agents ; OR Fighting the Land Sharks of Dawson City. BY AUTHOR OF YOUNC KLONDIKE. CHAPTER I. THE COLLISION ON THE CREEK. THERE don't seem to be any color here, Young Klondike." "Not a tra,ce, Zed, not a trace." "May as well give it up, hadn't we? Ye gods and little fl.shes! I don't want to spend my time prospecting in a hole where there is nothing." "We'll try one more panful and then decide." "All right. I agree to that; in fact, I'll agree to any proposition you may make." As you usually do," laughed the young man thus addressed ; "but I don't want you to do that. If you really think we are wasting our time here, we'll pack up and move on somewhere else." "Oh, it's no waste of time if we can get a color. This hole is inside our line, and I don't want to say give up till we really know." The speaker was a small stocky man} whose appearance was peculiar, considering the particular part of the world in which we find him. In the Klondike country red shirts and slouch hats are all the fashion, but he wore an old black broadcloth coat and big cavalry boots coming up above his knees, while his head was covered with a battered plug hat, which up here on the banks of El Dorado Creek right in the heart of the gold diggings, certainly looked very much out of place. His companion was a bright young fellow of nineteen, of intelligent face and quick, active manner. Any one could see at a glance that Ned Golden was a smart boy-one of the kind that "get there." Ned had already "got there." He was one of the richest miners on El Dorado Creek. Indeed, the luck of Young Klondike, as he was usu ally called, had become proverbial all over Alaska. From Juneau to Dawson City the firm of Golden & Luckey were known. Of this firm Ned was the senior partner. Dick Luckey, the junior, was Ned's old time friend and chum, who had come with him from New York City to dig gold in this wonderful Klondike country. Far in the distance, over the hills, a column of smoke could be seen rising. It came from the chimney of what was known in El Dorado Creek as Young Klondike's Mill. To have visited that mill just then would have been to find Dick Luckey with his coat off hard at work superintending a gang of men, some busy in a mining shaft digging for gold; others hoisting up the pay dirt; others wheeling it to the mill; others still en gaged in washing it by steam. There were at least fifty men employed altogether, so it will be seen that partner Luckey had plenty to do. Indeed so actively was the work being pushed at Young Klondike's Mill.that Ned and Dick seldom left it together. On this particular day, Ned had gone down the creek with his old companion for the purpose of prospecting other parts of their claim There was a big land boom on all along El Dorado Creek. Our two boys had received many offers for a por tion of their wonderfully rich holding, and it seemed to them that the time had come to divide it up into claims and sell all that they did not care to work. Hence the prospecting on this particular morning The work went rigl t on.

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YOUNG KLONDIKE A.ND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. Several pansful of gravel were washed, but the golden flakes appeared in none of them. "It won't do, Zed," said Young Klondike, at last. "Gold may be here, but it lies deep. Let's give it up and get on." All right, dear boy. Whatever you say suits the Unknown." They shouldered their rifl e s, and carrying pans, spades and pick-axes, walked on along the bank of the creek. As soon as they had gone down about a foot they struck frozen ground. This is always the way in Alaska, and also in the Klondike country, which, it will be remembered, is in British America. The short summers do not generate heat enough to thaw out the soil below the depth of a foot or so. It remains frozen all the year round, and is such hard digging that fires are usually built to thaw it out. comp a nion. Ned made no allusion to the singular reply of his This was only a surface prospect, however, and Young Klondike did not consider it necessary to fmild That Zed should style himself the Unknown, he a fire here. seemed to take as a matter of course. In fact he did not expect to find gold to any "We've already staked out three claims with good I amount. paying prospects," he said; "that' s something. We shall strike another. I'd like to make it a round I In order to do that it_ would be necessary to dig d -th e'll liave a sale down to a depth of at least twenty feet, when the oze n en w d ,, 1 1 f "Speaking of sales reminds me of the time when I pay 1.rt, a .coarse grave ymg on top o the bed sold out a hundred claims in the Transvaal in '6S," rock, might reasonably be expected to said the Unknown. "You see I'd been working a big All that he looked for was a color, that is a few mine away up above Johannisburg, and--'' flakes of gold here and there. "No ou hadn't! Now, none of that!" broke in If the color should be found a regular full-fledged N d y perfect shaft would be sunk. e What Young Klondike and the Unknown were en-It seemed very rude, but the Unknown did not take gaged in now was the merest preliminary work. it so-he only laughed. The dirt was taken out and broken up fine and then "What's the matter with my having sales as well put in the pan. as you ?" he demanded. The Unknown brought water from the creek in an I don't care how many sales you have, but you didn't have one in the Transvaal in 6S-that was other can and poured it on, then the pan was violently b f th ld di'sco, r ered out shaken, which if gold was present, would have the years e ore e go reg10n was there." effect of sending it to the bottom of the pan by force ,, Who said '6S ?-I said 'SS." > of its grea-ter weight. "No, you didn't. You said '6S. But enough of your yarns. Let's try our luck here." "Huh I remember a time when you used to like to hear my stories, Young Klondike." "That was before I knew you. You've told so many of them since that--" The water was then poured off, as much of the dirt being allowed to go with it as possible, the remainder being carefully examined for gold. "There's a color!" cried Ned, who was doing the panning. "I see it. It's a good show, too. This hole goes. I'll put a gang on it to-morro_ first thing.'' "Come now Come now We are getting the big head since we became millionaires." "By the Jumping Jeremiah, you are right!" said Was this boy actually a millionaire? the Unknown. "I see gold. Yes, and there's a good Strange as it may seem, such was the case. deal of it. What's the value of this claim, Young Young Klondike's luck in the diggings had been Klondike? Half a million?" truly wonderful. "Nothing of the sort You know my ideas. I Some said he was worth a million alone; others want to bring business to this place, and I'm going claimed that it was the firm of Golden & Luckey, of to sell cheap. Five thousand dollars will buy no which the Unknown and Miss Edith Welton were also claim on our land, but anything aboYe that will." members. "Perhaps you're right, but I believe these claims Certain it was, though, that they were the richest ought to bring more money, considering the size of. people in the Klondike, and they were proportionately our strike." respected, of course. I "The sale will prove that. Everyone in Dawson "We'll try it right here," said Ned, changing the City knows what we have got up here." subject abruptly. "This is about the end of our line "Speaking of sails, there's one now!" cried the on the shore. I should say that this gully ought to Unknown, pointing down the creek. be a good place for a strike." It was so. A small boat, with a rough sail made They threw down their tools and went to work. by stretching a piece of canvas between two sticks in A trench was staked out two feet wide by four feet some way attached to the bottom, could be seen work-long. ing its way up the creek. Ned seized a pick and turned up the grass, the Un-I "Now, I wonder who that is?" cried Ned, stepping known removmg the sods with his spade. 1 over to the edge of the bank.

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CL.A.IM AGENTS. 3 "Some fellow after a job, probably," said the Un known. "Well, we'll put hirn to work if he's any good; what's that thing behind it? Great Scott! Why, it's a naphtha launch!" Didn't know there was such a thing in these diggings ; but I'll be hanged if you ain't right." "It certainly is, and it looks like a new one. It must be one of the big bugs of Dawson on the way to our place." "Some land shark, I'll bet a hat." Your hat?" laughed Ned. "No, .dear boy, not my hat. That's a part of me, and wouldn't be of the slightest use to you." I should say not. There are two persons in the boat, Zed, a man and a girl." "And one man in the launch. We shall have a good look at them in a minute, for they've got to come close in shore to avoid the rapids." They stood watching the new-comers. In a few moments they would have to pass directly under the little hill upon which they were, for here th;:i channel ran close into shore, the remainder of the width of the creek being shallow and dangerous, the water running with great rapidity over a mass of loose rocks. There was an old man and a very pretty young girl in the sail boat. The man in the launch was young and stylishly dressed. Evidently he was no miner, and it was equally evident that he 'f,as no expert in managing the launch, far he kept entirely too close to the rapids -something which he all at once seemed to discover, and then with a sudden twist of the tiller he sent the launch over intq the channel in such a clumsy way that it ran head on into the sail boat, causing it to lurch violently, and a flaw of wind catching it at the same instant the boat was suddenly overturned. "Help! Help! Save my daughter! We can't either of us swim!" cried the old man. He tried in vain to get a hold on the overturned boat. It would have been an easy matter for the man in the launch to have given him a helping hand, but instead of doing that he just drove right ahead, to the amazement of the Unknown. "Thunder He means to let them drown cried the latter. But Ned Golden said nothing. It was not his custom to talk, but to act in an emergency like this. Throwing off his hat and coat, he ran down the bank ;nd plunged into the water, swimming out with bold strokes toward the drowning girl, who had just sunk for the, second time. CHAPTER II. INTRODUCING MR. MANTON MILLARD. EL DORADO Creek is deep at the point where Ned Golden jumped into its icy waters. Apparently there would have been little chance of the girl's life but for the promptness with which Young Klondike acted then. The old man had managed to get hold of one of the rocks at the outer end of the channel. He seemed entirely helpless here ; it looked as if he would have boon forced to see his daughter drown, if Ned had not caught her just as she was sinking for' the third time. "Keep tight hold of me, miss. I will save you!" Ned cried. "You have nothing to fear !" "My father! Save my father!" gasped the girl. "Let me go Oh, don't let my father drown!" "I'll save you both !" replied Ned, coolly. "Don't worry! Just keep perfectly quiet! A few strokes will take us ashore !" Meanwhile, the Unknown was giving vent to his feelings. "You murdering brute," he shouted, "come back here with your tub and take that man off the rocks!" "It's no business of mine," retorted the man. "Why didn't they keep out of my way!" "Come back! Come back!" roared the Unknown. "Don't you hear what I say? Come back!" And the man did come back. It was difficult for him to turn the launch, but he managed it. Perhaps this was because the Unknown had him covered with his rifle now. "Don't you shoot me," snarled the man in the launch. "It wasn't any more my fault than it was his. I'm risking my own life doing this." "By the Jumping Jeremiah, you won't risk it if you don't take that man off the rocks! You'll lose it," cried the Unknown. "My barker will bark as sure as eggs are eggs, and you'd spoil your fine store clothes in the drink." By this time Ned had gained the bank, which he helped the girl to ascend. All danger was now over, for the man in the launch had reached the rocks. What he said to the poor old fellow who clung to them, the Unknown could not hear, but he saw the man climb in. Then the launch brought him ashore where tlrn Un kiiown stood ready to help him out. "Oh, how can I ever thank you, sir!" exclaimed the old man, as Ned came down the bank. "You saved my daughter's life. I'm only a poor man,\ but I shall never forget this." "You needn't say a word. Your daughter has already thanked me," replied Ned. "May I ask your name, and where you are going? Perhaps I can help you still further; if I can I certainly will." "My name is Barker," replied the old man, "and this is my daughter May. I've been working up on the Klondike, but the work gave out there. They told me that there was plenty to do up here in El Do rado, so I came. I'm heading for what they call Young Klondike's Mill; perhaps you can tell me

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND 'IHE CLAIM AGENTS. where it is, but we shall have to walk, now !;hat I've lost my boat." "Why, I am Young Klondike," replied Ned. "At least, that's what they call me. There's my mill right over there where you see the smoke. I want all the men I can get. Go right on and ask for Mr. Luckey. Tell him I sent you. He will see that you and your daughter are provided with dry clothes, and to-morrow I'll put you to work." The old man thanked Ned profusely, but the girl seemed rather shy. They started along the bank immediately, and Ned turned to face the man in the launch, who had now come ashore and stood nervously chewing upon an unlighted cigar. "Well, sir, did you want to see me?" asked Ned, coldly. "Are you Mr. Golden?" asked the stranger, extending his h:md. "That's my name," replied Ned, but he paid no attention to the hand. "I did want to see you--that's what I came up El Dorado for," said the stranger, a good deal embarrassed. "Then I'm blamed if I think you want to see him, Young Klondike!" broke in the Unknown. "A man who would do a thing like b.e did ought to be shoved off the earth." "Well, you can't do it, then!" flashed the stranger. "I'm not addressing my remarks to you, sir!" "But I'm addressing mine to you, then !" cried the Unknown. "If you say much more I'll arrest you! It would give me lots of pleasure to snap the hand cuffs on your wrists." "Arrest me! By wha t authority, I'd like to know." "I'm a detective, sir That's my authority, and I'll be blest if I don't use it, too." "Bah Detectives don't go here," retorted the man, turning his back on the Unknown. fellow-a man who would stick at nothing to gain his ends. There were many such people in the Klondike country at the time of which we write. "Millard! Well, well!" cried the Unknown. "Young Klondike, don't you have anything to say to him. Leave it all to me." "Indeed he won't," sneered the claim agent. "Mr. Young Klondike, you will have to deal with me. If you don't, I give you fair warning there is trouble ahead." I'll take my chances on that. I've nothing to say to you. You can talk with my partner here." Your partner Is this Dick Luckey?" "No; it ain't Dick Luckey," cried the Unknown. "Then who the dogs are you?" My name is Snodgrass and yours is Mud if you don't make tracks out of here. Oh, you needn't laugh, Young Klondike, that's my name to-day." "And to-morrow it will be something else," mused the lawyer. "I've heard about you, my friend, and I want nothing to do with you. Good-by, Mr. Golden, you'll have to listen to me. I'll meet you at the mill." Thus saying, Mr. Manton Millard stepped into his launch and starting the engine went spinning off up the creek. "Good Heaven! Can there be anything in his threats!" exclaimed Ned. "Nothing-take my word for it!" replied the Un known. "Zed, I wish you hadn't been so savage. It would have been better to speak him fair. Why don't you tell me your name? lt is too awkward for anything in a case like this." Now Ned had touched on one of the Unknown's strongest peculiarities, and he had many. Although they had now been associated for many months, Ned had not the remotest idea what his name really was-hence his title, the Unknown. The man was a detective-that much he had "Mr. Golden," he added, I am very sorry this thing has occurred. I was just about to come back proved. and help those people when you jumped in. Let me He had been in every part of the world ; be spoke suggest that you get into my launch and go up to all sorts of languages and was, taken altogether, a your place. You are wet to the skin and may take wonderfully well informed man. cold." His claim was that he was tracking some myster" Don't you worry about me. I'm quite used to ious criminal, and he was always pouncing upon stranbeing wet," answered Ned. "Are you going to my gers and threatening to arrest them, declaring that place?" at last he had found his man, only to acknowledge in "I am." the same breath that he was mistaken. "What is your business there?" Altogether the Unknown was a most peculiar char" My business is with you. I can't very well state acter, as any one who has taken the trouble to follow it here." this description will be forced to admit. "And your name?" But he had proved himself a good friend to the firm "Ha! Didn't I mention it? My name is Manton of Golden & Luckey, and both Ned and his partner Millard." held him in great respect. 1 Ned started. Assisted by the detective Young Klondike now The name was that of one of the principal lawyers gathered up the tools, and they made all possible and claim agents in Dawson City. haste back to the mill. It was generally understood that Mr. Manton MilThis was a substantial frame structure standing lard was a trickster and a thoroughly unprincipled j in a valley at some distance back from the creek.

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. 5 Nearer the shore was a well built hut with a num-1 "That's all right. You can put the man to ber of cabins surrounding it. work." The hut was the home of our Klondikers, the "I'll do it. Haven't seen anything of Millard, shanties were occupied by their men. though." It was a busy scene around the mill, for here min"I was just about to ask. Strange he hasn't come. ing was being carried on on a larger scale than at any I He must have passed the place or hung back." other point at El Dorado Creek. "Or gone in the cave," said Dick, anxiously. Ned lo oked down upon it with a troubled face, as he "Impossible. No one knows the entrance to the and the Unknown descended the hill. cave but ourselves." "Hello Here come Dick and Edith !" exclaimed "Don't you be too sure. If this fellow is what he the detective. "I'll leave you to talk to them, Ned, claims to be be may know." and take these things to the tool house. Don't you "He ain't He can't be He mustn't be Dick allow yourself to be one bit disturbed." Luckey, I won't be swindled by this shyster! I mean "Hello, Ned!" called the young man, who now to stand by my rights to the last!" came hurrying up the hill in compa .ny with a very "Hello, Ned What's wrong?" cried Edith. pretty girl, certainly no older than himself, and his "You've been keeping something back from me." age was nineteen, the same as N cd's. "Edith, we have. The fact is, we didn't want to "Hello, Dick! Edith, where have you been?" called worry you," said Dick. Ned. "It worries me more than anything else could, to "I've been duck shooting up the creek, Ned. I've think you'd do such a thing. What is it? Make a brought back twenty pair," replied the girl. clean breast of it, or I shan't forgive you "Your usual luck. There's no such shot in all the In answer Ned pulled a letter out of his pocket and Klondike as you are, I do believe." handed it to Edith. "Nonsense!" laughed Edith. "I'm only fair. It w_as postmarked Dawson City, and the date was any luck prospecting? Why, you are all wE:t six weeks before. . w .. hat'sthe matter? Did you tumble in the creek?" I Have you_ this_ from Of course this question called for its aY.1swer, and all this time cried Edith. Boys, this am t while Ned is explaining, we may as well state that ,, . Edith Welton had been associated with Ned Golden Read the letter, said Dick. Its a serious mat-and Dick Luckey ever since they first arrived in the ter. I'd like to hear it again myself, so read it out Klondike country. loud-'.' I f t th t th b f th t Edith opened the letter, and read as follows : n ac ey came oge er e ore a Edith was a California girl who started for Alaska "GOLDEN & LUCKEY in search of her father. The steamer in which she took passage was wrecked and deserted by captain and crew, Edith being left behind. "GENTLEMEN :-I have tlus day received instruc-tions from Mr. Barnard J. Rice, the rightful owner of the claim you have been so impudently working on El Dorado Creek, to enforce his rights and It was Ned Golden's good fortune to rescue Edith have you removed from the land in question. It has from the wreck, and when upon their arrival at Daw-long been a mystery to me how you dared proceed in son City it was discovered that Mr. Welton had gone so open and high handed a manner, knowing as you to South Africa, the girl decided to cast her fortunes must know that you have no right whatever to this with her friends, and in company with Mrs. Colvin, claim. who acted as both companion for the girl and house"This land was granted to my client a year ago, keeper for the whole party, Edith had been with Ned and the necessary assessment work was done by one and Dick ever since, being a silent partner in the Calvin Remington. I understand you claim to have firm. purchased from Remington. You must be well aware She was a particularly bright girl and of a very that a man cannot sell what he never owned. Poscheerful disposition. sibly you may be laboring under a misunderstanding, She laughed heartily when Ned described the scene but to my eyes it has every appearance of fraud. At on the shore. all events you must at once vacate the premises. You "Zed is at his old tricks!" she cried. "Shall we are hereby notified to leaYe the land and remove all ever find out his name? I doubt it. And you are at encumbrances from it within thirty days; also to your old tricks too, Ned, saving girls from drowning; render an accounting of the gold you have already but what makes you so solemn ? You look as if you dug. I am informed that you are quite responsible had lost your best friend." outside of this claim, otherwise I should immediately "I'm bothered, Edith. Just a moment and I'll ex-1 get out a warrant for your arrest. Let me advise plain. Dick, did that old man and his daughter come you to give this matter immediate attention, as a here?" failure on your part to do so will surely lead to future "Yes. I sent them to Rafferty's shanty. Mrs. trottbles. Your obedient servant, Rafferty will look after them-especially the girl." "MANTON MILLARD."

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6 Y O UN G KL ONDIKE AN D TH E CLAIM AGENTS. "Good gracious! That's cool!" cried Edith. l He was not on the creek; they walked back to the "Cool! I should say so!" echoed Dick. "Do you place where the accident 0ccurred know, Edith, it has been worrying Ned half to That he.could have passed thecampbyaccidentwas death." out of the question. "Well, you needn't let it, then," said Edith. "We To be sure the mill could not be seen from the creek, know that we've got the deeds from Cal Remington owing to its situation behind the hills, but the hut all right." and the shanties were all in plain sight, and everybody "Of course we've got the deeds," said Ned, "but knew Young Klondike's camp. suppose they are worthless, just as this man says?" Another mystery was on hand, too, It can't be so, can it Ned?" The Unknown had vanished. "Well, I don't know, Edith. Remington was a This, however, was not at all alarming. lunatic. I suppose it was running a big risk for us The Unknown was in the habit of vanishing. not to have investigated our purchase more closely Indeed1 they were never disturbed at anything that than we did." singular genius did. "But you had the claim recorded, Ned. You hold Toward night Ned went up a hill near the camp the recorder's certificate." and fired one shot, then waited a moment, then fired "Only a certificate of transfer. The original certi-two in quick succession. ficate should have been issued to Remington. PerThis was the regular signal for the detective. haps it was, but it was not among his papers. I feel If he was anywhere within hearing he was expected very much concerned about it all, for our claim has to answer it, but no answer came. already paid us over a million, and is paying still; "He's off on one of his mysterious absences," to be turned out of it now would be a bad piece of thought Ned. business, and that's a fact." He knew that it was no use to go any further and "We ain't going to be!" cried Edith. "It's the he returned to the house. work of the land sharks of Dawson City, and we'll It was now evening. fight them to the last." The end of the summer had come and the days were "That's what we will," echoed Dick. growing shorter. "Have you done anything about it?" asked.Edith. "Nothing at all. We didn't even answer the letter. "By the advice of the Unknown, I suppose?" Exactly." "What was his idea?" "He considered this letter only a bluff He thought we ought to wait and see what the next move of these land sharks would be "Is that all?" Lights shone from the windows of the shanties. The men were passing in and out. Some could be seen eating their supper inside the open doors ; others were sitting in front of the shanties smoking and talking. All bowed politely as Ned passed among them. Young Klondike was an easy and a liberal master, and very popular among his workmen. Entering the hut Ned found the table spread for "He claimed that they looked upon us as a couple supper. of boys, and thought that we'd scare .easy." Stout Mrs. Colvin had prepared the evening meal, "Probably he is right." and there was no better cook in all theKlondikecoun" Very likely." try Edith's friend. . "Yes; Manton Millard has come here himself." Edith was there, too, and Dick came ma moment "If that man really was Manton Millard," said later. Edith ; there is a regular gang of these fellows in I They drew up around the table, Edith's big
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f YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE OLA.IM A.GENTS. '1 out for Mr. Bowers, the foreman; he' s reliable; we'll that he must have been mistaken-that it was a ll a post him how to act in our absence." dream. Ned rang a bell and Moosha, an Indian boy, who Then all at once the rap came again. did chores round the hut, appeared. It was no mistake this time. "Moosha, tell Mr. Bowers I'd like to see him," said Ned flung up the window, drawing back in surprise Ned. as he saw a woman's form outside. In a few moments the foreman's knock was heard. "Mr. Golden! Mr. Golden! I must speak with "Mr. Bowers," said Ned, when he entered, "it may you?" came to his ears in a hurried whisper. be that I shall conclude to go down to Dawson sud"Who are you?" asked Ned, for it was too dark to denly. Mr. Luckey and Miss Welton, and even Zed see anything distinctly. may go with me. If you wake up some morning and "I am May Barker. I am the girl whose life y o u find us missing, you will understand what it means thought you saved." and take charge of everything till we return." It was a singular answer. "Very good, sir, I'll do the best I can," replied the All Ned's suspicions were aroused on the instant. foreman. "Do you expect to be long gone?" "I'll come right out," he said. "It is hard to say, out I don't think it will be very "No! Listen as you are," breathed the girl. "I long." may be watched-more than likely I am. Meet me on "When do you think you will go?" the shore in ten minutes. You know where the white "That I can' t either. It might be to-morrow rock is-meet me there, and come alone. Now give morning, or it might be next day or next week, or not me time to get away." at all. I only want you to be prepared. You will Ned saw her glide off into the darkness. bring all gold in here as usual, and keep an armed He instantly determined to go, but to take Dick guard around the hut, night and day, and on no ac-with him. count let any one land on our claim who may come Perhaps this was a trick of the enemy's. N ed f elt up the creek, without a written order from me." to go alone would be a risk that he had no r ight "That's all right, sir. Your orders shall be carried to run. out to the letter," said the foreman. He awoke Dick and explained. They talked over details a few moments, and then They hurriedly dressed themselves, and seizing their Mr. Bowers withdrew. rifles, started for the shore. Then Ned got out his banjo and began playing, and Neel went in advance, Dick stole after him. Edith sang and they had one of their usual jolly even"Keep out of sight and don't let her catch a glimpse ings just as though nothing had gone wrong. I of you," was Ned's caution when they started away Neel was not the sort to everyone a .round him from the hut. uncomfortable because he felt worried. It was but a short distance to the shore, and he Nevertheless he felt very much worried that night. knew the white rock perfectly well. Fortune had favored Young Klondike. When he reached it the girl May rose up from be-From poor clerks he and Dick Luckey had suddenly hind it. become millionaires. Their hope was to double their capital that year, and then sell out and return to the States to enjoy their wealth. Was their fortune in danger ? Ned thought so when he and Dick turned in that night. He felt that an unknown enemy was about to strike a blow meant to crush him. That enemy was the mysterious Mr. Manton Mil-lard. CHAPTER III. THE MIDNIGHT WARNING. IT was about ten o'clock when Young Klondike lay down beside Dick Luckey and tried to sleep. It was hard work at first, but at last sleep came. Ned was dreaming of New York and the old days when he was a clerk, when all at once he was brought up with a start by hearing a sudden sharp rap on the window alongside his bed. As he sat up in bed listening, he thought at first "So you have come," she whispered. "Mr. Golden you are on the v erge of a great trouble. If I ca,.n save you from it I mean to do it; you meant to do me the greatest kindness that it is possible for one human being to do for another-you meant to save my life!" "Well, that's true," said Ned, greatly puzzl e d. "I certainly went into the water after you." "And you were deceived. I can swim as w ell a s you and so can my father. What you thought was an accident was really nothing of the sort; it w a s onl y done to deceive you, and divert your attention. If you had looked down the creek at that moment in stead of looking at me you would have known why "What can you mean?" asked Ned. "That there were two boats coming up the creek at that very moment. The boss didn't want you to see them, so he ran into our boat knowing that we could get ashore easily enough. That gave them a chance to pull in under the point out of sight. It was all a part of the plot against you. Of course, we did not expect to see you there.'' Ned drew a long breath. "So there is a plot against me," he said. "There is. Mr. Golden, I appreciate wii.at you

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8 YOUNG KLONDIKE .A.ND 'l'HE CLAIM .A.GENTS. meant to do for me and I want to make some re-Ned called after her, but she did not even look turn." back. "You are making it now ?" At first Ned thought of hurrying after her; then "I can't stand by and see you robbed. You don't he changed his minu and went back to Dick, who was know who my father is." crouching behind a big bowlder watching with his "You are going to tell me-I feel sure of that." rifle all ready. "Yes. You bought this claim of one Cal Reming"Well, what was it?" Dick asked. ton, a lunatic." "Only that we are being robbed-that's all," said "I did." Ned coolly. "He had no title to it and you have none. The Thunder What do you mean?" Claim Agents of Dawson were willing to let you spend 1 "I mean the cave, Dick. Quick! We've got to your money developing it, but now that it has become see the e,1;d of this! Let's go for Edith-we want successful they intend to take it away from you." her help. "Let them try! They won't succeed!" Ned started for the hut on the run. "I can't tell about that, but you want to go to Dick followed close behind him, and as they ran Dawson at once and look after your interests." Ned explained. "I shall do it ; but about these boats?" "We'd better call up all ha,;ids," said Dick. "Wait a moment, I'm coming to that. They mean "We've got force enough to wipe 'em out ten times to rob you." over." "I don't fear them. The Branch Bank of British "No, sir I don't do it." North America is a safe institution." "You don't understand. The money you have put in the bank they don't expect to get; it is the gold you have hidden in the cave." Ned gave a violent start. Here was this stranger showing knowledge of a se cret which he supposed was known only to himself and his friends. The cave alluded to opened in under the hill a short distance along the shore. In it Young Klondike had concealed his gold. Each night the output of the mine was delivered at the hut, and that was the last the workmen saw of it. If any one had attacked the hut, expecting to find -treasures, and had captured it, they would have met with disappointment. The gold was not in the hut. Every ounce of it was concealed in the cave. To find now that this girl knew of the secret was startling enough, and Ned's answer showed just how he felt. "Now you begin to understand," said May Barker. "Mr. Golden, my father is not a good man. He for merly worked here with Cal Remington. He knows all about the case. In Dawson he fell in with a gang of thieves, and they engaged him to come here with them and help them steal your gold." "And that man Manton Millard is in it?" asked "But it would be safer." "Look here, Dick, remember our agreement. We don't know much about these men. If they learn where we hide our gold our lives may not be safe. That's Zed's opinion and it's mine. Let's manage this business ourselves if we can, and only call for help as a last resort." "I believe you are right, Ned. We've been able to fight our own battles up to date." "Yes, and we will be to the end, and don't you for get it. Mark my words, the Unknown is on the watch. There is no real danger yet, or we should have heard from him." "Of course that fellow Millard must have gone into the cave-that's why he didn't show up." "You are wrong. He went back to his boats-I'm sure of it. He ain't Millard, though. As I told you the girl says his name is Raymond Wild." They were at the hut by this time. Hurriedly entering they secured the door and Ned climbed the ladder and knocked on the trap door, which communicated with the loft where Edith and Mrs. Colvin slept. "Trouble, Edith!" called Ned. "We want you and your rifle right away." "Coming!" was the answer. "Ghe me three minutes, Ned." "Somebody at the door!" breathed Dick. "Nol" Ned. 1 "Yes. I heard someone. There What do you "Manton Millard I do not know. Tlie man you say now ?" talked with on the shore is named Raymond Wild; someome had gently tried the latch. he is a thief and a scoundrel, and would stop at noth"Perhaps it is the Unknown," said Ned. ing to attain his ends. They mean to rob you to"We'll get the knock if it is." night. I tell you all, but spare my father. As for Even as he spoke there was one low rap, then a the rest I don't care what becomes of them. You pause, then two others in quick succession, have had your warning, Mr. Golden. I h:;i,ve done my "Zed!" called Ned through the keyhole. part, and I am going now; all I ask is that you spare "You bet, Young Klondike," came the answer. my father if you can." "Open the door, dear boy." She glided away along the shore, and was lost in Ned lost no time in obeying. the shadows in a moment. The Unknown sprang into the room.

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. He was very pale, and there was blood all over his erable distance, and then descending, come into a. face. broad tunnel where they were able to stand up "Great Heavens! you are wounded!" gasped .l.'{ed. straight. "Nothing! Nothing! A mere scratch. There's This was the main cave and Ned peered a.head trouble, Ned." through the darkness, his eyes fixed upon a faint light "I know it." in the distance, which so far had guided them like a. "What do you know? There's a g:mgof robbers star. at the cave." CHAPTER IV. THE ROBBERS IN THE CA VE. "ROBBERS in the cave!" cried Edith, coming down the ladder as the Unknown gave utterance to the startling announcement with which the last hapter closed. "That's what!" gasped the Unknown. "I was laying for them I expected it They shot at me, but thank Heaven, they didn't shoot to kill." The gold Are they loading it on to their boats ?" gasped Ned. "You bet!" 1 "Hadn't we better call Mr. Bowers and the men?" cried Edith. "No, no, no!" said the Unknown. "Mind what I tell you, and .don't do it. Edith, my dear, you are good for them every time. There's only four. Ned, that ma.n Barker has betrayed RS Oh, the scoun drel! Millard is in it, too I knew there was some thing in the wind." Don't think that they stood idly talking thus. Not an instant had been wasted. Edith was buckling on her cartridge belt. "That's where they are working?" he whispered. "That's the place," said the Unknown. "Now listen for a moment while I tell my story, Ned. You may as well understand the situation as it is." "But ain't we losing time ?" "Time enough. I only want a moment. You see> I suspected that man Millard from the first." "He ain't Millard," said Ned. "I told you his name is Wild." "That's what the girl told you, and that's all you know. She may be deceived. She may be deceiving you and trying to lead us all into a trap." "I don't believe it." "Time!" breathed Dick. "Let the Unknown speak." "Call him by whatever name you please. I sus pected him," said the detective, "and I immediately thought of the cave, so I posted myself near the en trance, first ascertaining that there was no one inside, and there I stayed with my watch eye open, waiting and waiting, until-well, Young Klondike, I may as well acknowledge the corn-until my watch eye went, to sleep!" "Ah!" ejaculated Ned, "I was afraid! But it ain't. like you, Zed." Kick me, Young Klondike Kick me By the Jumping Jeremiah, I deserve it1! Yes, I slept on my post, and the next thing I knew I heard a noise in thc-cave." She now seized her rifle and they quietly left the hut, Ned explaining to the Unknown wha.t he had "But how in the world did they get by you, if you heard as they hurried toward the mill. were between the rocks?" Now it may seem rather odd that they should go "Don't ask me? There's the mystery, for theretoward the mill, when it has been expressly stated they were in the cave, all four of them, pulling overthat the cave opened on the shore of El Dorado creek. our boxes of gold. Stupid idiot that I was, I ran right. There were two entrances to the cave, both of which into them; you see, I was only half awake." had been kept a profound secret from the workmen, "Never knew you to do anything like that," said and yet these worked daily in one end of the cave, but Dick, "and I can hardly believe it now." without understanding that there was anything more "Thank you for your good opinion, but I did it, all to it than what they saw. right or all wrong," continued the Unknown, "and I Entering the mill they descended the ladder into the paid for it. First I knew a light flashed up, and I saw shaft. Millard, or Wild, and that scoundrel, Barker, and two This was about twenty feet deep and the greater 1 other men. They saw me and fired. Of course I re-part of it really formed part of the cave. treated, but I carried this man with me. They folN ed, who was first down, did not go to the lowed, but they didn't catch me. Now, boys, you of the ladder, but stepped off on a little ledge when know all I have to tell, except that they were loading he had descended about ten feet. the gold into a boat." At the back of this ledge was a large flat stone "Into a boat in the cave?" cried Edith. "How in wedged in betwe(ln two rocks. the world did they get the boat in there?" As Ned had himself placed this stone he knew just "Don't ask me, for I can't tell you. How did they how to remove it. get past me? There's only one expla .nation-there It closed the mouth of a narrow passage into which must be some other entrance to the cave." they crawled, Ned putting back the stone into place. "That's the way I figure it out. Probably Barker They were now obliged to crawl along fora considknows what we don't." /

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... -... --....... IO YOUNG KLONDIKE AND 'i'IIE CLAIM .A.GENTS. Come on." said Ned, setting his teeth. I don't like to shoot to kill, but--" His pause was expressive. It is hard to stand idly by and see one's self robbed in such wholesale fashion as this. "We are out for business," said the Unknown. "Edith, my dear, a lot depends upon you." Edith was by long odds the best shot in the party, and she understood perfectly well what was expected of her. As they drew nearer the light they were able to get .a glimpse of five figures moving about in the tunnel. One of them was a woman's figure. Ned saw that it was May Barker. Had the girl tried to betray him, after all ? Did she think he would hurry down to the cave alone? Certainly it looked very much that way. "There's your girl all right, Young Klondike," whispered the Unknown. "We are here for business," said Ned. "Edith, are we close enough?" "Yes.'' Shall we fire now :t" Edith sighted the figures with her rifle. "Yes." "Where's the boat?" asked Dick. "I can't see it at all." "Nor I," said Ned. Could you have been mistaken, Zed?" Not on your life One moment, Edith I want to make out what they are doing if I can.'' "They are gathering up the last of those small nuggets," said Ned. Don't you remember the lot we dumped night before last in that niche between the rocks?" "That's what they are doing That's where they are working," said the U Fl.known. "Heavens Where's the girl gone? She went against the wall and vanished like a ghost!" "N ow's our time to act," said Ned. "Ready, Edith?" "All ready !" "And you, Dick?" "I'm ready.'' Let her go Three rifles cracked then. It was perfectly evident that the Unknown was right. The smoke had now cleared and they were in total darkness, the light at the other end of the tunnel having suddenly disappeared. "Careful! Careful!" breathed Ned. "This may be a trap." "We must know," whispered the Unknown. "Move forward, quietly. Not a sound now! We can't go astray and I can find the lantern all right by keeping close to the wall." The lantern referred to hung in the niche near where the gold had been concealed. The Unknown was in advance and the first to reach it. So cautiously had they moved over the sandy floor of the cave that their footfalls gave back no sound. In order that they might not become separated each kept a hold on the other. At last Unknown stopped and struck a match. They had reached the niche and his hand was on the lantern. As the light flashed up they saw that they had the cave all to themselves. The robbers had vanished, but there was blood on the sand, the trail leading over against the solid wall and there vanishing. "Gone! All gone!" cried Edith, looking about. It was a fact. There had bern over a hundred thousand dollars in dust and nuggets in the cave. There was scarcely a trace of it. A little pile of nuggets lay in the niche alluded to. That the robbers had been engaged in gathering p this remnant when the attack was made, there could be no doubt. "There you are, Young Klondike cried the Un known, bitterly. "Kick me Kick me It is all my fault." "There's no time to waste kicking you, Zed. What we want to do is to follow up these thieves?" cried Ned. He seized the lantern and started for the mouth of the cave. But before he had taken a dozen steps all were startled by a loud crash. A big block of stone had fallen out of the wall at the very point where the bloody trail came to an end. There was a loud outcry at the other end of the tunnel. "Here's the way they went !" cried Edith. "This The smoke obscured their eyes so that it was imis new to us." possible to see a thing. "And the way they came in," said the Unknown. "Shall we move forward?" breathed Edith, "or ' Of course, this leads out to the shore." shall we fire again ?" They listened and could hear voices talking at the "Wait," said the Unknown. "I'm listening." other end of the passage. All listened. They are close to us," said Dick. "Put out that The most profound silence reigned in the cave. light, Zed." "By the Jumping Jeremiah they've gone! That's The unknown instantly extinguished the lantern. what!" cried the Unknown suddenly. "Ye gods and "Pick him up and put him in the boat!" they heard little fishes! While we are fooling away time here I a voice say. "The whole gang may be after us. those birds are flying away!" There ain't a mc:>ment to be lost.'' l

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. 11 "Shall we move?" breathed Dick. "The old way They are on the shore just below the entrance," announced Ned. "Follow me!" They ran for dear life toward the opening they kne w. Probably 1t was safer than to have ventured through the new passage in the dark, but the distance was greater, and when they came out on the shore, under the stars, Ned threw up his hand with a gesture of despair : "I'm late!" he cried. "They are off with our gold!" They could see the little naphtha laru.nch steaming down the creek. It had two boats in tow. Young Klondike knew only too well that these boats must be loaded with the missing gold. CHAPTER V. SW AMPED ON THE ROARING BULLS. "OuT of range, Edith!" "Out of range, Ned." "Then there's nothing left but to get our boat and follow them." "Of what use? That launch will leave us miles be"Precisely what I mean to do. I've arranged all that." Ned went on to explain the arrangement he had made with Bowers. "That's most fortunate," said the detective. "Just the very thing. We'll slip off and say nothing to no body." "That' s the idea," said Ned. "You be getting the boat ready and I'll run up to the hut a moment." He hurried away, leaving the others to go to the cove where the boat was kept. Ned had fully made up his mind that this trip was to end only at D a wson City. Once there h e was determined to call OI?the true Manton Millard and know the worst. "I may as well go prepared," he thought. "If I find they've got any g round to stand on I'll have an auction, sell out the whole business for what it will bring. Then others can fight this to a finish, and we ll strike in somewhere else." Arrived at the hut Ned hastily gathered together such articles as they were likely to need on their trip. Among other things he pocketed three small lots of golden nuggets, each lot being in a separate bag. These were from the different prospect holes that he and the Unknown had dug. Ned knew that they would be needed in case worse came to worse and they had to make their sale. He then returned to the shore, finding the boat hind." ready. "We've got to do it," said the U nlmown. "If you It was a substantial affair, and there was plenty of don't go with me, I shall go alone. I'll follow that room for all. scoundrel, Millard, if the chase takes me to the end It had been built at Dawson expressly for our Klonof the earth." dikers in the early spring. it will the. everlasting for your [ f We've lost a lot of time,'' groaned the detective. myster10us man, said Dick, dolefully; but all the Of course they are a mile down the creek now." same I agree with you. We've got to go." I "Of course we can't hope to come up with them," a moment," cried ; "v:e don't want to said Ned, so it don't make much difference how far bem too big a hurry. this chase actually they'are ahead. All we can do is to push on and going to end? Of course it will be Dawson. They take our chances." came from there and they are going back there. And with this philosophical reflection they started We've got to fight our battle out with the land sharks down the creek. on their own ground." Sunrise found them near to the mouth of El Dorado "Admitting you are right, what are you driving Creek where it entered the famous Bonanza Creek. at?" demanded the detective. "Just this ; we had better go prepared to put it through to Dawson." "Just so, but who's to look after our interests here?" "Bowers-I've arranged it all." "Thunder How much gold will there be left for us ? The mine will be sure to run dry every day we are away." "Bowen; is an honest man and won't steal himself, and I think he can be trusted to keep of a watch on the others." "But must we call Bowers up and tell him about this affail'? You know my views, Young Klondike. If we are going to continne to work this cbim, I say, at all hazards, let's keep the secret of the cave away from the men." Of course nothing had been seen of the launch, nor did they expect it. "What I'm hoping for is that they have gone into camp somewhere,'' said Edith. "If they'll only take their time about it, we may come up with them yet." "My very thought !" cried Ned. "The very thing I was thinking of at this moment." "And it's something worth considering," said the Unknown. "l think we had better hug the shore as close as possible. We stand just so much less chance of being seen." Tlrny pulled i:ri nearer the shore, and had hardly done so when they saw a boat with three men working up stream. Ned gave them the hail, and they pulled in toward them.

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12 YOU.l"IG KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGENTS. "Hello! Did you pass a naphtha launch towing two boats?" shouted Ned. "No, we didn't," replied one of the men. "Haven't seen anything of the sort." "Strange," muttered the Unknown. "Hello! Haven't I seen you before?" "Mebbe you have,'' said the man. "I've seen you.'' "By the Jumping Jeremiah, I knew it. I arrested you once." "You did. It was a mistake. You remember !" "Remember doing it, yes, but don't remember where. I took you for my man." Can't you recollect now?" laughed the miner, who seemed to think it a great joke. "Was it New York?" "No." "Boston ?" "Not much !''-t "I have it! It was Havana." "Nixy. You are off." Give me a moment. New Orleans ?" ( "Not on your life I was never in New Orleans in mine." Time Let me think. Buenos Ayres, South America." "Worse and worse." "Stop. Now I have it! It was Lima, Penn." "You'll have to give up. l'llgive you a pointer." "Reckon you'll have to." "You told me you were Detective Katterborn of Hamburg, Germany. The Unknown laughed-something he seldom did. Ned, Dick and Edith were laughing heartily already. "You'll have to give it up, Zed," said Young Klondike. "Ask him where it was." "Why, in Dawson, only a few months ago; one night at Terry Nolan's saloon." "Right you are !" cried the detective, who had no recollection of the affair at all. Glad to meet you again. What brings you up here ?" "We are makingfor Young Klondike's place to get a job." This is Young Klondike.'' "Hello! We're in luck. Is there any show up there, boss ?" "I have all the men I want at present," replied Ned. "You want me, boss, that's certain." "Why do you say that?" "Because I know something that ought to be worth money to you." "Tell it. If there is anything in it for me you shall be paid." "I'll tell you alone. I don't care to talk it out." "Speak right out. These are all my friends." "Well then, there's a plot against you." "I know that." "The land sharks of Dawson are laying for you." "l know that, too." "Seems to me you know it all." I Perhaps not. Go on." "Do you know who the leader is?" One Manton Millard." Thunder I ain't got much left to tell." "Tell all there is,'' said the detective. "W' ell, it's only this, gents. Them fellers have sworn to down Young Klondike. They meet every night at Nolan's. I thought I'd drop up and give you a pointer." "For which I'm much obliged_." said Ned. "You go on up to the mine. When I return I'll see that you are well paid for your good intentions." "Couldn't you fix it now ?" "No, I couldn't. Let me ask you one question though ; do you know one named Raymond Wild ?" The man broke out into a laugh. "Why, Wild and Millard are the same person," he replied. "He's Millard on change and among the big bugs, and Wild to us boys." "I thought so," chuckled the detective. "I knew it would prove to be that way." After a little further conversation the two boats separated, one going up the creek and the other down. "Spies?" said Dick. Of course,'' replied Ned. "And yet you sent them to the mine." "What can they find out? Nothing. They are safer there than anywhere else." "You're wrong,'' said the detective. "They are not spies; they are just informers, ready to sell out to the highest bidder, and I'm certain that they must have passed Millard going down the creek." "Oh, if we could only get ahead of them!" sighed Dick. It seemed as if it came in answer, when Edith pointed toward the headland, which, just beyond, jutted out into the creek. "What's that smoke?" she exclaimed. "Someone burning out a claim,'' answered Dick. "Not on your life!" cried the Unknown. "It's the enemy camped for breakfast. Keep close in under the shore-we may see our chance." They pulled on as rapidly as possible. It seemed rather hopeless, but Ned and Dick had been very lucky since they came to the Klondike. Somehow, neither of the boys could get it out of their heads that fortune meant to favor them now. As they drew near the point they suddenly heard a rifle crack and a flock of ducks rose. "They are looking for their breakfast," said the Unknown. "Ye gods and little fishes, this is our chance!" "vVhat do you mean?" cried Edith. "When you speak in that positive way, Zed, there is always something in it." "See that smoke?" "Yes; of course." "I mean the rifle smoke." "I see that, too: "It's inland a good quarter of a mile!" cried Ned. "Right you are, Young Klondike, and that's what

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGENTS. 13 I'm driving at. There's a pond there-hence the ducks. Those fellows have left their boats." "Not unguarded probably." "Who/knows? Put me ashore. Dick, you come v:ith me. Edith, you and Ned keep on your way. We'll make a land attack and a sea attack, and, by the Jumping Jeremiah, we'll gobble up the army at one gulp." "Don't risk it," said Edith. "Let's all keep together whatever else we do." But the Unknown was determined, and as he always had his way there was little further talk about it. Ned and Dick pulled in shore. Then Dick and the Unknown landed. Should ering their rifles they started over the hill in the direction of the smoke. "We're going to do a stroke of business, Ned," said Edith. "Do you feel that way, Edith?" "I do." "So do I." "We are going to capture our boats." "And their launch?" "Of course. Don't think that I mean to leave them the chance to follow us." "She sees us!" cried Edith, as the girl suddenly turned a way from her cooking and looked toward the boat. She gave a slight scream and started off up the gulch between the two hills on the run. Suddenly the rifle cracked again. Another flock of ducks rose up between the hills. The girl g a ve a shrill cry and rushed on out of sight, At the same instant Dick and the Unknown came bounding down the hill. "Heavens! We've got it all ourown way if we are only quick cried Ned. He and Edith pulled with all their strength. The distance was short, and they reached the deserted camp almost at the same time as Dick and the Unknown. "Hooray We've captured the whole business and never a shot fired !" cried Dick. "A few moments will tell the story." "As soon as we are around the point we ought to r "Take it easy!" said the Unknown. "That witch has gone to give the warning. Here's the gold all right, Young Klondike Who's going to run the loud roaring noise naphtha launch ?" know." They pulled as fast as possible. As they rounded the point a I don't know any more about it than a cat," said burst upon their It sounded like water tumbling over rocks. This, in fact, was just what it was. One of the most dangerous rapids in Bonanza C reek lay just ahead of them. It was known as the Roaring Bulls. Here the water went tumbling over a mass of broken rock, and to make matters worse the stream was filled with big bowlders. It took a cool head and a steady hand to guide a boat among the Roaring Bulls, but still there was water enough if one only knew where the channel lay. Ned lmew all about it, for he had passed the Roaring Bulls many times. "That smoke is in the False Cove, that's where it is," he declared. "Look out now, Edith, we shall soon see." They were almost around the point. In a moment they had passed it and could see the fire. It was built on the shore, and near it was the launch and the two boats . The only person in sight was the girl, May Barker. She seemed to be cooking something in an old iron pot, hung between three forked stakes driven into the ground. "That's the girl!" cried Edith. "You see her now. She me," replied N ed. "Edith, I can't but believe that she meant for me to go alone into the cave." "You'd have lost your lif e if you had. I wonder if she could have been so wicked?" She was put up to it by that man Millard." What's to be done ?" I Ned. "Same with me," said Dick, "but, by gracious, if there' s another such thing to be had for money in Dawson I'm going to own it b e fore we go back." "That's all I want to know," chuckled the Unkno\vn, jumping into the launch. "I can work a naphtha engine or any other kind of an engine. Away we go on the fly, l e t 'em catch us if they can." All w ent into the launch and the Unknown started the engine going. The two boats in tow were loaded down with the bags of gold concealed by old tarpaulins. As they swung around into the stream, a loud shout was heard among the hills. "The enem y!" cried the Unknown. "Give it to 'em, Edith! Let 'em have it, boys!" Manton Millard, Barker and the others came running out of the gulch. A yell of disgust was heard, and then up went the rifles and the shots began to fly. "Now, Edith!" cried Ned. He fired and missed. Dick ditto. Edith sent two shots. One went right through Manton Millard's hat, and knocked it off his head. The other took Barker iB the right hand... and ll.e dropped his rifle with a yell. "Hit 'em again, Edith!" cried the Unknown. "Oh, what fools we were to leave that boat behind!" Strange no one thought of it, but so it was. Still there was little danger of being overtaken. The naphtha launch was making splendid time down the creek.

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14 Y O U N G KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGENTS. Nothing daunted, Millard and the others got into The mounted Canadian police are always on the the abandoned boat and prepared to follow. watch. There was no more firing. Such landings are being made daily. The robbers had given it up, and it was not the Any one attempting robbery would have been im-style of Young Klondike's party to do much shooting mediately set upon by the crowd and promptly turned unless necessity required it. over to the police. "You'll stop that launch, Young Klondike, or I'll "It's Young Klondike! It is Young Klondike!" have your life!" roared Millard. they cried, as Ned helped Edith to step ashore. "We'll stop her at Dawson City, judge!" Ned "Here I am again, boys," answered Ned, good-shouted back, making a speaking trumpet with his l humoredly. hands. "What luck this time!" shouted a white-bearded Just then the Unknown threw the tiller of the miner. "Do you bring it down by the double boat launch hard aport, and struck in between the big bull load now?" and the calf, as two of the bowlders were called. "That's what!" replied Ned. "W c want a cart to A few moments later Millard did the same with his take it up to the bank." boat. There were three carts coming, but before either of But he was just as clumsy with the boat as he had them arrived a man pushed his way among the been with the launch. crowd. Seized by the rushing current it was thrown "Where did you get that launch?" he demanded. against the big bull, and all in an instant was bottom "That belongs to Mr. Millard." upward in the stream. "Borrowed it of Millard," replied Ned coolly. "Save me!" yelled Millard. "By Heaven, I'm a "I can't believe you! That launch was stolen !" lost man! I can't swim." A murmur went through the crowd, but before Take a taste of your own medicine, my boy Ned could reply the Unknown suddenly sprang for-ba w led back the Unknown. ward. The others were going to his rescue, last they saw "My man!" he shouted, seizing the fellow by the of him. collar. "At last I've got you! I arrest you in the There was no danger of the villain drowning. name of the law!" Then the launch and its tow swung successfully "What in thunder do you mean, you lunatic?" around the little bull, passing beyond the rapids and gasped the man. The Unknown struck him so out of sight of the wreck. violently that his hat flew off the back of his head. CHAPTER VI. EDITH DOES DETECTIVE WORK. IT was not yet noon when the little launch and its precious tow steamed up alongside the levee at Daw son City. We'll stand by the gold until it is safely landed," said Ned, "but you had better go up to the Victoria Hotel, Edith." Not until we all go together," said Edith. "I'm determined in that." "Do you need me, boys?" demanded the Unknown suddenly, as he ran his eye over the crowd of idlers, who had come down on the levee to see the landing of the gold. "Not particularly," replied Ned. "Why do you ask?" I may see my man and have to go for him." "Which means you have seen something already, and are going to do a littie detective work." The Unknown made no answer. He was scanning the crowd attentively. But Ned knew him well enough to feel sure that there had been some particular meaning to his rema.rk. Now it is perfectly safe to make a landing of gold on the levee at Dawson City at any time. "Hold on Give him a show!" "Don't choke him!" "What's he done?" "Who are you?" These and similar remarks went up from the crowd. Immediately the Unknown pulled off his plug hat, and made the astonished man a profound bow "Oh, I beg your pardon, sir, a thousand times," he said, mockingly. "I thought you were my man, but I was mistaken. Good -day, gentlemen I I see my man now." He made a bolt through the crowd and vanished. But the man had slunk away while the Unknown was speaking. By this time the crowd was in a roar. Many knew the "crazy detective," as they called him, who always came with Young Klondike. They thought it all a good joke. But many recogBized the launch and said as much to Ned. "Millard will when he comes,.,, Ned answered, quietly. "He was up to my place and we b orrowed the launch to tow down this gold. By this time the carts had come Ned hired one of them and walked with Edith on one side while Dick went on the other, the crowd fol lowing them to the very door of the bank. Here the gold was deposited to the account of Golden & Luckey, and Edith and the boys went to the Victoria Hotel where they were well known.

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Y O UNG KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGE.NTS. 15 "That was well done," exclaimed Ned, when they 11 One was a working suit and the other a gentle met in the parlor a little later. "See how nice it all man's suit. turned out. How much better than if we had kicked Ned s clothes lay thrown over his bed. up a big excitement among our men." Edith shut the door and lock ed it. "That's what's the matter," said Dick, "but whe.re When she came out she carefully locked it again. in the world is the Unknown?" "Were you looking for Mr. Golden?" asked the "You tell me and I'll tell you. Who can follow chambermaid, who met her at the end of the corrihim in his mad dashes. He'll turn up all right, fast dor. enough." "I was," replied Edith. "And you may be very sure he' s working for our "He's gone out with his partner." interests," said Edith. "He wouldn't be Zed if he "I found his door locked-I suppos ed so. Tell him wasn't doing that!" I'll call again." Just then a waiter entered the parlor bringing a I And the chambermaid passed on, while Edith ran letter. down-stairs and went out by the bar-room door. It was addressed to Mr. Ned Golden, Victoria Ho-The drinkers at the bar no more suspected the goo d tel. looking young fellow in the red shirt and loose coat At first Ned thought of the Unknown, but the than the chambermaid had done. handwriting was not his. Several miners had called on Young Klondik e since Ned hastened to open the letter and read as folhis arrival at the hotel, and it was the custom to go lows : directly to a guest's room in the Victoria Hotel. "MR. GOLDEN: Dear sir :-I understand you are in town, and would suggest that you call on me as soon as possible. Having had no answer to my letter I shall at once bring action against you, if you pay no attention to this note. My office is No. 266 Princess street. I shall be there until five o'clock. Yours, "MANTON MILLARD. Meanwhile, Ned and Dick had gone down to Princess street. It was now dark, but the streets were crowded with miners, prospectors and greenhorns, for there had been a steamer in from St. Michaels that afternoon, and all the new arrivals were anxious to see the town. "It can't be Millard, Dick," remarked Ned, as they walked along. "Don't you go, Ned," said Edith, emphatically. "I don't see how it can," replied Dick. "That is "At least don't go alone unless the man who came up to our place was Wild." Ned laughed. "Confound these land sharks! I believe they'd go "Pshaw! Who's afraid!" he said. "I may as to any length to down us." well know what this means. I don't believe it can be "Which we mustn't let them do, Ned. We've had Millard at all Their boat was all stove to pieces. wonderful luck so far, and if we can only run through How can they be here ?" this winter at the same rate we are going we can all "Perhaps our man was not Millard, after all," said go back to the States, and live in clover for the rest Dick. of our lives." "But that fellow we met said he and Wild were the "It will be immense, won't it, Dick ?" same person." "Don't talk. What's your plan when we get He said he had seen nothing of the launch, too, ready to pull out of here?" and he must have known it was in the cove." "Oh, I mean to travel. I want to see the world." "It don't follow that he did. It's all a mystery, "That will suit me right down to the ground. anyhow. I want to know what it means." What's the matter with building a steam yacht, the Edith still urged that no attention be paid to the I very best that money can buy?" note, but Ned would not listen. "That's what I mean to have, you bet." The only compromise that he was willing to make J "We'll have a glorious old time and don't you for-was that Dick should go with him. get it, but here we are at the number. Now then, be At a quarter before five they left the hotel. on your guard." "Do take care of yourselves, boys," said Edith. As they stopped and surveyed the building which "I shall be worried every moment you are gone. bore the required number, a rough two story affair "Don't you dare to follow us," laughed Ned, shak-Ned gave a start of surprise. mg his finger "Just as though we were not able to "What's the matter?" demanded Dick. take care of ourselves." "Why, this is Terry Nolan's den!" Now, perhaps it was this remark that put the idea "Hang me if it ain't! I never noticed!" into Edith's head. The very place that man in the boat said was the Whether or not this is so, certain it is that no 1 hold-out of tlie land sharks. sooner were they gone than Edith went straight to \ "That's what it is. Shall we give it up and go Ned's room. I back ?" Earlier in the afternoon the boys had visited one of "I hate to do that. Let's see if Manton Millard the principal outfitting shops in Dawson, and bought has his name up-yes, here it is!" two new suits each J There were several little tin signs nailed against the

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16 YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. side entrance which led to the upper floor of the dike, and I'm the sort of a man who always pays saloon. his debts." 'The floor seemed to be devoted to offices. "How do you owe it to me?" Manton Millard's name was painted on one of the "Who shot me in Cal Remington's cave?" signs, and the words "Claim Agent" were attached. "Ah! you got one of those balls, did you?" "A regular professional," said Dick. I did l" "Of the worst type," answered Ned. "We.ought "It may have been mine, and it may not; all I can not to pay any attention to him, perhaps, but still I say is I hope it was." fee l a curiosity to know what this all means." "Thank you l I suppose you think it is going to Now curiosity is sometimes a very troublesome pay you to defy me. Pe,rhaps you'll find out yourmis-t hing. take before you get through." It was destined t0 lead the firm of Golden & "I'm here to be instructed. This is my first and Luckey into a lot of trouble that night. last interview, Mr. Manton Millard, or Ra.ymond They ascended the stairs and knocked on the door Wild-whichever name yours may really be." which bore the duplicate of the sign below. "Ha! Someone has been talking. Who told you "Come in!" called a voice inside. my name was Raymond Wild?" Ned opened the door and they walked into a dimly-1 "It don't matter." lighted furnished with a cheap desk, a table and "Probably it don't. Probably you ain't wondering :a few chairs. I how I happen to be here when you left me and my A man sat writing at the desk. whole party drowning on the Roaring Bulls." As he laid down his pen and turned toward them, "I ain't asking any questions." the boys were amazed to see that it was the man "But I'll tell you just the same. The down steam-whom they had last seen struggling in the water at er happened to come along about an hour after you the Roaring Bulls. left. It found us sitting on the Bulls waiting for "Ha, Young Klondike, so you came !" he sneered. someone to take us off, and so they took us off and "I fancy you didn't expect to see me here." we came right through to Dawson-we were not more Ned caught his breath, but displayed his agitation than half an hour behind you, Young Klondike. I in no other way as he answered: trust your curiosity is gratified now." Well, no! Can't say I did." "I am-not aware that I expressed any .curiosity, "Cool!" but all this is of no interest to me. You sent for me, "Oh, no. I'm warm enough. Did you, want to see and I am here. Tell me what you want to see me for me?" and let me go." Yes; alone." "Let's go now," said Dick. "I see no use in talk" I never travel alone. This is my partner, Dick ing to this man. The best thing we can do is to re-Luckey. I have no secrets from him." port this business to the Northwestern police." "Then I shall talk business plump and plain. Sit Now this was certainly a very impudent speech on down." Dick's part, and might have got him into very seri" Thank you, I prefer to stand." ous trouble, but it seemed to have no other effect than "As you will. That was a blame smart trick you to make Mr. Manton Millard burst out in a loud laugh. played us this morning." Strange to say this threw Ned off his balance more "Nothing to the trick you played me last night." than all his cool sarcasm had done. "What have you done with my launch?" "Come, come, I don t propose to stay here and "It' s down off the levee. You can have it any waste my time in such nonsense as this !" he cried. time." "Say your say and let us get out. We've got plenty "Thank you for nothing. Do you propose making to do." a report of that little affair?'' "Go-go, now! Why don't you go?" chuckled "That depends." the land shark, lying back in his chair. "You'd better not." "Why don't you come to the point and say what "Why?" you've got to say? Are you the man who wrote me "'Twon't be healthy. You got the best of me in that letter about my claim the other day?" that deal, but I'm a bad man to rile. As it was, you "Oh, go Don't bother me; go l Hal Hal Ha !" came mighty near putting a finish to my career." replied Millard, continuing to laugh. "I guess I didn't upset you on the Roaring Bulls." Ned did not know what to make of him. "No; but you were the cause of it. would have Dick, disgusted, started for the door. been better if you had let us get off with the gold, but But when he tried to op e n it he found that it that ain't what I referred to, young man." wouldn't open. It was as though an iron hand held "What do you mean?" the door on the outside-the knob would not turn. "See that big bunch on my left shoulder?" "Prisoners !" gasped Dick. "Yes." "Of course. What did I bring you hrre for? Oli-" That' s a bandage. I owe that to you, Young Klon-ver, come here !"

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l YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. l7 A short man with a big bushy beard and glittering I Manton Millard, the claim shark, was a, very deseyes, stepped out from the adjoining room. perate man. "Take down all these gentlemen say, Oliver," said j He was a thief and a gambler as well as a claim Millard, with strained politeness. "Be very particu-shark. lar, Oliver. I've had my little play with them and I Actually he owned Terry Nolan's den, and so was I'm going to talk business now." complete master of the place and everybody connected The man pulled out a pad and a pencil and stood with it. ready. Too lazy to exert himself, Manton Ray-If Ned was afraid he did not show it; and Dick, mond Wild, he went under both names but probably now he once realized that they had been caught in a owned neither-preferred fleecing others out of their trap, was also perfectly cool. honest gains to engaging in honest work of his own. "I'm glad you have got down to business at last," "So this is your game?" said Ned, steadily. "You said Ned. "Perhaps you'll tell me now what you ex-mean simple blackmail and nothing else." pect to make out of me?" "You can call it that if you like," sneered the claim "Precisely what I'm going to do. I want your shark. "Hand over them revolvers, boys!" great claim on El Dorado Creek." There was nothing else to do. "And do you really expect me to turn m;r claim 1 Ned looked at the man, Oliver; there seemed no over to you?" I hope in that quarter. Oliver stood with pad and pen" Precisely. I wrote you that you had no right to cil ready, but he never looked at the boys. it." As soon as Millard got possession of their revol" Your letter ain't sufficient proof of that." vers, he pocketed his own. "It ain't, eh? It is good enough for me, and what's "Now we can talk!" he sneered. "Young Klon-good enough for me is good enough for you, Young dike, tell me all about your acquaintance with Cal Klondike. Here's the transfer. I'll trouble you to Remington. I want to know just how you got hold sign it. That will end all differences between us for I of that claim. Oliver, write down his words." the present. As for the gold you stole from me, I'll As Ned had nothing to conceal in the matter, he call on you for an accounting on that score later told his story, which was simple enough. on.'' He had befriended Cal Remington, who was a harm" I shall do nothing of the sort, of course. Open less lunatic, and had bought the claim from him. t h e door and let us out." Attacked by a gang of thieves, he had defended his N e d flung his hand behind him. purchase. Remington appeared on the scene and was But he was not quick enough. killed by an explosion of dynamite which he himself Mr. Manton Millard was an older hand at revolver placed in the end of the cave where lay the wonderful practice than Young Klondike, and he had Ned deposit which had made the fortune of Golden & covered before the boy could draw. Luckey. "You want t9 shoot first and explain afterward in Ned had fulfilled the terms of the agreement to the Dawson City, Young Klondike," he sneered; J letter. It required him to pay a certain sum of money I've got you where I want _you, and you two little to the hospital in Dawson City, and he did it. snoozers will have to talk turkey or die!" "If Cal Remington ever owned that claim then we At the very instant the claim shark pronounced own it now," he wound up by saying, "and we prothese words a young man, very strongly resembling pose to fight for our rights to the last." Ned Golden, entered Terry Nolan's saloon. "That's all I want to know," said Millard, pushing Of course it was Edith, doing her detective work. the paper on the table toward Ned. "Young Klon She wore Young Klondike's clothes, and she had fixed dike, you will sign here for the firm." herself up to look as much like Ned as possible, and "No. I won't." really, she had succeeded very well. "I say you will." All eyes were turned upon her as she walked into "Never!" the place. ,, "Then look out for squalls. Stand over there "That's Young Klondike," they whispered to each against the wall." other; ''that's the fellow who made a million on El Out came the revolver again. Dorado Creek." The boys were forced to obey. CHAPTER VII. ESCAPE CUT OFF. YouNG KLONDIKE and Dick Luckey were in danger of their lives. "Will you sign?" demanded Millard, pocketing the revolver. No," said Ned, stoutly. Once more 1 Will you sign?" "No!" Last call Will you sign ?" "No! No! No!" "Oliver, do your work," said Millard. The little man suddenly dropped his pad and pencil and pulled out two revolvers. l

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18 YOUNG KLONDIKE .AND THE CLAIM A.GENTS. "Stand over there you blasted land shark !" he I Taking all the chances of suddenly vanishing, the shouted. "By the Jumping Jeremiah, I've got the Unknown pressed this button. drop on you, now!" Instantly a panel in the wall moved aside, and there "The Unknown!" gasped Ned. was a narrow stairway in between the wall of the Like lightning he made a rush for Millard and got room and the outer wall of the house. him by the throat. "That's the talk !" cried Dick. "Bully for you, The Claim Agent struggled and tried to draw his Zed!" revolver. "Where does it lead to?" exclaimed Ned. But Dick was just as quick as Ned. "Blamed if I'll ever tell you," replied the detective, In a twinkling he was behind him and had it out of "but we'll soon find out. Ye gods and little fishes his hip pocket. if there's any way of flying this old coop we're going "Put him against the wall, boy! Put him against to find it! Come on!" the wall!" cried Oliver. The Unknown pulled out a new dark lantern, al-They hustled him against the wall into the position ready lighted and started down the stairs. they had occupied a moment before. "Thought I might need it, so I bought it before I Never lowering his weapon, Oliver pressed hard came in here," he explained. against a black spot near the mantel-piece. Down they went-down-down-down! It seemed Suddenly Mr. Manton Millard vanished. as if they would never come to the end of the stairs. A trap-door had fallen beneath his feet. When at last they did end, there they were up Instantly it shot back into place. against a door as firm as a rock. The enemy was gone. Young Klondike and his "Escape cut off!" breathed Ned. friends had the office all to themselves. "You bet,'' whispered the detective. "Listen, "Zed Is it really you ?" cried Ned. Young Klondike There's somebody coming down "Look!" answered Oliver. the stairs." Off came the beard. Here was a serious situation. Then throwing open a. little cupboard near the chim-They could neither advance nor retreat. ney, he pulled out a battered plug hat and clapped it In order that we may make what followed plain, on his head. we shall have to leave them there at the foot of the "Is it the Unknown, or isn't it the Unknown?" he stairs for a moment, and follow Mr. Manton MiUard cried. "Ye gods and little fishes, did you think I was when he took his tumble through the trap door in the going to let you boys drop down into that hole if I floor. could help it? Not much." Perhaps the land shark would have made some re" Just like you, Zed!" cried Ned, warmly. "You sistance if he had not known just where he was going. saw that scoundrel when you bolted on the levee." There was danger from the Unknown's revolver "No, sir I was off to find where his hang-out was, and his own, then in the hands of his enemies, so the and all about him. Didn't I do well? I made him land shark preferred to ta.ke a tumble and land on the hire me! Ye gods and little fishes! It was part of feather bed, which he knew lay below. the bargain that you should be killed, and I was to He sprang up, using language which would not raise a gang to go up and take possession of our claim. look well in print. But enough of this, boys. Here we are and we've got Groping his way through the darkness, he came to get out. First of all lets take hold of this." against a partition and fumbled about. He seized the paper on the table and hastily exam-All at once a bell was heard ringing in the disined it. tance. "A quit claim deed of all Golden & Luckey hold in Then the Claim Agent stood still and waited. El Dorado Creek," he cried. "Here goes! He'll He knew what that meant. have to make out a new one now." Help would be along in a moment. He tore it into a dozen pieces and flung them in the It came. grate. Suddenly a door in the partition opened, and red" Now, then, to open that door," he cried. We'll headed Terry Nolan appeared. break it down if we can't do anything else." He held a lantern which he fl.ashed into the hole. But the door resisted all their efforts. "Howly saints! Is it you, boss?" he gasped. The windows were also as firm as rocks, and even "That's what it is I've been tricked, sold, sucked if they had succeeded in opening them it would have in!" growled the land shark, stepping out iHto the cel done no good, for there were iron bars outside and lar underneath Terry's den. heavy shutters beyond the bars. "Sure an' I +,here was something wrong "This won't do," exclaimed the Unknown. "This when Young Klondike came into my place." is a den. First thing we know we'll be dropping into "Young Klondike in your place-nonsense He's another trap. Hello! What's this?" up-stairs in the office and I'm down here." On the other side of the chimney was another black "Faith, an' he is, then!" button set in the wall, just like the one which con-1 "You are deceived." trolled the spring of the trap. "Mebbe it's you." ,;

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE OLAIM AGENTS. 19 Show me the man." !'Troth, an' he's nothing but a ''Show me the boy They may have got out, but I don't believe it. They are safe there until I choose to let them go, which will be never! Burn that detective! I'll have my revenge on him if I swing for it-that's what I will !" "Will you come with me first, or will you go for revenge now ?" asked Terry. "Come with you," said Millard, quickly. "I can trust them where they are for a few moments. Anyhow, they can't get beyond the foot of the secret stairs.'' Terry hurried the land shark into the saloon, pointing out a young man seated at one of the tables who certainly did look like Young Klondike. It was Edith, of course. She was patiently waiting for developments. Edith had tried the door leading up to the offices, and finding it locked went into the saloon. Her hope was that sooner or later Ned and Dick would come in there. As Manton Millard came up, Edith instantly rec ognized him as the man she had seen on the Roaring Bulls. He was alone, and dropping into the chair opposite, looked across the table at her, saying in a whisper: "Young feller, what's your name?"' "Bob Thomas," replied Edith promptly. "Great guns How much you look like a feller I know!" "Who is that?" Ever hear of Young Klondike ?" "Oh, that's an old chestnut. I've been taken for him before." Millard laughed heartily. He seemed very friendly. Fact is, an idea had occurred to him. He thought he saw a way out of his difficulty which would make it plain sailing to get hold of Ned's claim, He chatted with Edith a little further. "You're a new-comer in Dawson, ain't you?" he asked. "I came in a few weeks a .go-yes," replied Edith, feeling that her chance to do detective work had come. Struck anything yet?" "No." "Going up to the diggings ?" "Yes, if I get the chance." "That means that you haven't much money?" "It means I have none at all and want to make son1e." "Just so. Say, how particular are you as to the way you make your money?" "Not very. I'm out for the stuff every time." "You're the sort I want, young feller." If the pay is good." "You'll get your pay' in a lump. It will be ten thousand dollars in dust if the job succeeds, and nothing at all if it don't." "That suits me right down to the ground, but I would like to know what I'm going to do." "I'll tell you in a few words. You are to personate this fellow, Young Klondike, and sign his name to a few little documents, and then swear to it before the claim recorder and before t .he bank teller, and a few little things like that." "Forgery-perjury That's good!" "Big pay, though." "I don't think so." "Name your price. > J ''Fifty thousand dollars-Young Klondike is said to be worth a million." "It's a big raise, but I'll go you. Fifty thousand it is." "I'm agreeable, but where will Young Klondike be all this time?" Millard laughed and twisted his mustache. Oh, Young Klondike will be dead," he answered. "That's where Young Klondike will be." Edith took it coolly. She did not even shudder. "Ned and Dick are in the power of this villain," she thought. "Their lives may depend upon me." "It's' a go," she said, lightly. "Tell me what to do and I'll do it." This remark was made at the very moment whe n Ned and Dick, with the Unknown, found their escape cut off at the foot of the secret stairs. "Meet me here to-morrow morning, Bob," said Millard. "Say about nine o'clock." "I'll be on hand," replied Edith, and she hurriedly left the saloon. This was a different turn from what she had ex pected. "The police must be notified at once," she thought. "He means to kill them. I'll do it now." But she didn't. Why, the next chapter will explain, but before we end this we may as well add that Manton Millard, calling Terry Nolan and two other tough characters, hurried down into the secret compartment in the cellar. Seizing a rope, Millard pulled down the trap. "We'll do them now, boys," he said. "I have no further use for Young Klondike. We'll do them up and chuck their bodies into the Yukon." They all stepped on to the trap, and in an instant shot up into the office. Each man held his revolver ready, and it would have been bad for Young Klondike and his friends if they had been in the office then. But they were not there. The office was deserted. "They are on the stairs!" cried the land shark. "Trapped! We can shoot 'em on the fly without Want to go to work for ever showing ourselves at all." j He pressed the button and the panel flew open. "I could tell better about that if I knew your name." "Which you shall later on. me?-''

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20 YOUNG KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM .AGENTS. Followed by his toughs, Manton Millard ran down the secret stairs. But the birds had flown. The stairs were deserted, and the door at the end still tight shut. CHAPTER VIII. EDITH PLAYS A BOLD GAME. PREP ARE to shoot, boys We're in a hole, and have got to get out of it!" breathed the Unknown. They drew their revolvers and stood ready. drawn revolver or knife. The Unknown felt perfectly safe now. "Who in thunde; are ,you, anyhow?" demanded Dick s man, surlily. "None of your business-open that aoor retorted the Unknown. "You'll not shoot if I put down my hands?" "Not unless you try to draw on me." "Make this feller let go of me, and I'll open the door." "Let go, Dick," said the detectiv e "Ned, you can let up on your man, too, but k e ep 'em covered, boys." Dick's man, as soon as he was free, touched a secret spring, and the door flew open. To Ned's intense reli ef, he saw that the alley running behind Terry Nolan s den lay on the other side of Let them pass us Let them pass us if they will the door. Of course, the detective had shut off his lantern. Heavy footsteps could be heard descending the stairs in the dark. whispered Ned. "Can we go now?" demand e d the man. knew now these were not their enemies, for "Skip! Mizzle Get out!" chuckl e d the Una voice had spoken m the darkness : known. "Keep tight hold of my coat-tail, Bill," it said. I "I'll lead you out of here all right! Gee h 1 If The two men darted down the alley and disappeared. . w iz Th t' th t 11 c t 11 1 T d tl Terry knew I wa,s usrng the secret stairs he'd kill me, a s e a { oas a c ear sa1 ie but it is better than staying behind to fight." Unknown._ . They were the gamblers from Terry Nolan's upout mto the alley, the door closmg stairs faro room. after them of its own accord. They had ust dl d t f th 1 t "Good-by to the land sharks of Dawson City," J swm e a poor mmer ou o e as Ounce Of hi s d st ct 1 tl chuckled the Unknown. Young Klondike, you and u an were now ma nng rnir escape. . . . ; The '11 th d d 'll 1 t ft Dick are a pair of fools if you ever get mto their y open e oor an we s ip ou a er 1 t h ,, th "th ht N d cu c es agarn . em, oug e Dick and the Unknown grasped the situation too, They hurried .on to Princess street., and thought the same. As they came m o.f Terry Nolan s door, a But all stood ready to defend themselves in case young man hastily mto the street. worse came to worse. He made a c1:ir10us gesture a.s he caught sight of Nearer and nearer they came. them, and ran off in the other direction as fast as he Young Klondike and his friends flattened them-could go. selves against the wall. "Your double, Ned !" cried Dick. "Great Scott! "Where in thunder do these stairs end?" they did you see how much that chap looked like you?" heard another voice ask. Ned hadn't noticed, but the Unknown had; they "Right here, Bill. I'll open the door. Ha! What I were too much interested in getting out of the way the blazes--" themselves to give chase and seek to solve the mys" Drop! Drop, or you're a dead man!" hissed the tery, so they hurried back to the Victoria and were Unknown. glad enough when they got inside the doors. The foremost man had run a .gainst him in the dark. "A narrow escape," said the Unknown when they Instantly the Unknown had him by the throat. found themselves in the parlor. "Boys, you'd have Ned threw himself on the other man, and pinned surely been murdered if I hadn't headed you off." him against the wall with an iron grip. "I'll report this to the police !" cried Ned. "It is "Open that door and let us out, and we'll cry scandalous that such things can occur. Don't think quits!" said the Unknown. "We only want to esI I'm not grateful to you, Zed. I realize well enough cape from this place-that's all." that we owe our lives to you." "I'll do it if you let up on me!" gasped the man. "Of course we do said Dick. "I shall never for" Throw up your hands! Dick, take him! Remem-get this night." ber, gentlemen, we've got you covered. You may "Oh, I ain't fishing for thanks," said the Unknown stick one of us, but by the Jumping Jeremiah, it will "It ain't that at all. I only want you to fully realize be your last sticking if you do." the great risks you have run." "I'll open the door! I'll open the door if you'll "Which we do," said Ned. "I'll get square with only give us a show," said the man. that fellow Millard. I'll fix him, so that he won't be Dick held on tight, and the Unknown flashed his able to play anybody else this trick." lautern on the two toughs. I "Now, now! You'll do nothing of the sort," broke They were ugly-looking customers, but neither had, in the Unknown. "Don't think of going to the police.

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YOUNG KLONDIKE .AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGENTS. 21 Go right about your business as though nothing had occurred, and leave the fellow to me." "Our first business now is to see Edith and let her know that we've got back all right," said Ned. He rang the bell and told the servant to send word to Miss Welton that she was wanted in the parlor. Edith came running down-stairs in a moment. "Back again, boys," she said, laughingly. "Well, what did you make of Mr. Millard? Zed, did you find your man?" "Yes, I did, but he got away from me-got the drop on me, so to speak," chuckled the detective be fore the boys could reply. "Millard's a scoundrel of the first water," flashed Ned. "That's no news," said Edith. You knew that before you went there. Tell us all about what happened. I'm just dying to know." Now, considering Edith's dying condition, she did not seem to get very much excited over the strange adventures the boys had to r elate. Still Edith was always cool and they thought nothing of it, but Ned was treated to a surprise when he and Dick went up totheir room. "Thunder Someone has been wearing my new clothes!" he exclaimed, the moment he entered the room. Here was a mystery which gave the boys something to talk about until they went to sleep. Next morning the Unknown was missing at breakfast, and when Ned and Dick came in at noon after having spent the morning attending to various matters of business, Edith was missing, too. She had left the hotel immediately after breakfast without saying she was going, the housekeeper explained. Ned didn't like it and felt decidedly uneasy. "Probably she has found some friend," said Dick. "She'll turn up all right this evening, no doubt." "I think 1'11 put on my new clothes and go down to the Mining Exchange and arrange for the sale of those other claims," said Ned, after dinner. "I suppose you agree with me that we can't do better than to sell them, Dick?" "That's my idea," said Dick, "that is, if we can get anybody to buy them as things stand." "We'll sell them on th,eir merits. You know what the cla.i:m recorder said?" That Millard was a shark and he didn't believe that any such person as Barnard J. Rice exists." Exactly." "Oh, that's all very well, Ned, but he admitted he didn't know anything about it. Don't forget that." "I don't forget it. We'll sell the claims on their merits. The more people we get interested in this matter the easier it will be to fight Millard." '"When do you propose having the sale?" "To-morro-w, if possible. The sooner the better. I I want to see the end of this business and get back to work." The boys went up to their room, Ned intending to change his clothes. Then came the second edition of the mystery of the night before. "Great Scott! Someone has stolen my clothes this time!" cried Ned, as he opened the closet where they were supposed to be hanging. And yet he had locked the door when they went out. Here was a second editlon of the clothes mystery, and one not to be solved by the boys that day. Ned had to go to the Mining Exchange in his old clothes. It was his first visit there, and his entrance crea .ted a great furor. "It's Young Klondike I It's Young Klondike !" the miners and claim agents said"to each other. They did not wait to be introduced to the King of El Dorado Creek, as Ned was sometimes called. They flocked around him and introduced themselves. Everybody wanted to know Young Klondike, it seemed. Now, the Mining Exchange in Dawson City is no elegant structure like those of San Francisco and New York. It is just a room behind one of the principal stores, rough boarded, with benches along the walls for seats and a bar at the back where the traders could liquor up whenever the y felt disposed. Still, many fairly large deals were consummated here. Stocks didn't go for much, for there were few com panies in the Klondike country then. Claims were bought and sold outright, and very large quantities of gold were exchanged for lumber, provisions, dry goods and other things. The Exchange floor was fre e to all, but no one but a member was permitted to buy or sell. This gave some little chance for brokers, but there were very few who made use of this privilege; principals generally made the deals, and cases of dispute w ere settled in short order. Sales were generally made with revolvers ready for instant use, and woe betide the man who went back on his bid. "What are you gomg to do with all that land of yours up the creek, Young Klondike?" asked Mr. Berry, one of the richest of the claim owners. "Sell a part of it _and work the rest," Ned promptly replied. "You'll find it hard to do that," said Berry, half sneeringly. "You know there's been a big lot of talk about your claim." "I didn't know," said Ned. "I haven't been in Dawson for some time." "Well, it's a fact." "What do they say ?" "That you are not the rightful owner." "I cla,im that I am." "You'd have to prove it."

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22 YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. "Manton Millard is the man who started that story." "I don't know who started it. But I do know that Millard is one of the worst land sharks in Dawson City. I wouldn't believe anything he said." Then there you are. You follow those stories back to their source and you'll find they all started with Millard." "If that is really the case they don't go for much." "I propose to find out just how much they do go for," said Ned, quietly. "How?" By selling .three claims on my land, if I can be al lowed the privilege of the Exchange." "We can fix that all right," replied Berry, "but I doubt if you have any bidders. That's the way I feel." "I'm going to sell them subject to the doubt. My claim on El Dorado has paid big money, Mr. Berry." So I've heard, but then we hear a lot." "You are at liberty to inquire about the standing of Golden & Luckey at the bank." "Is that so?" "Yes, sir. Every time." And will Golden & Luckey guarantee the title to these claims?" Golden & Luckey will guarantee the purchase money," said Ned, who had thought the matter all out, "but the guarantee will be with the proviso that they do not have to pay back the money until the matter is finally settled, and that the purchasers join in defending any suit which may be brought, bearing their share of the expense." "That's fair. Still a man don't like to invest in a doubtful claim." "Not when it's up against one that has paid a million? I don't agree with you." "Young man, you're getting rather sharp for a be ginner." "I cut my eye teeth before I came to the Klondike. I wasn't born yesterday, nor the day before." Now quite a crowd had gathered around Ned when he began talking. They all knew that Berry was trying to biuff the boy, for as a matter of fact these men in the Dawson City Exchange knew more about this El Dorado business than Ned did himself. But many were the friends and tools of Millard. "Give him a show!" they cried. "Let him put up his claims and see what will come of it." "I've no objection," said Berry. "By all means give the boys a show." Accordingly, after some discussion, the time of the sale was fixed for noon next day. This was all Ned wanted. He hurried out, and visiting the printing office had some handbills struck off to that effect. These he and Dick personally distributed all over town, leaving them in every saloon and hotel. This done they returned to the Victoria. The first person they met on their way to their room was Edith. She was just coming down the stairs. "Where in the world have you been?" cried Ned. "Fishing," replied Edith, with a smile. Fishing In the Yukon ?" Edith laughed. "Not exactly, Ned." "What did you catch?" "Nothing. I was fishing for sharks." "Edith, what do you mean?" "Just what I say. If you are too dull to understand, you ll have to go without knowing until later." And Edith, still laughing, ran on down-stairs. Ned was puzzled, but he was more puzzled still when he entered his room. There were his new clothes hanging where he had left them. Evidently they had been worn again. CHAPTER IX. THE AUCTION SALE. "ZED, you are a dete ctive. I want your help," said Ned, at the breakfast table next morning, for the Un known had turned up again. Where he had been he did not state, and the boys knew that it would be no use to ask. "What do you want of me, dear boy?" he asked, as he stirred his coffee. This is going to be an off day with me. I'm willing to work for you." Someone has been wearing my new clothes. Twice they've been taken out of my room and put back again. I don't like it for a cent." The Unknown threw back his head and gave one of his tremendous laughs. Edith looked interested and said it was a shame. "It makes me tired," said Ned. "I've spoken about it at the office, but don't get the least satisfac tion. They say I must look after my own things." "What do you want me to do?" "Watch the room while Dick and I go out to arrange about the auction." "Can't do it. I suggest that you give the key to Edith. She's reliable. Ha!. Ha I Ha!" "It's no joke," said Ned, rather vexed. "Why don't you put on the clothes and leave your old ones?" "I want to catch the fellow. I thought I'd give him another chance." "Give the key to Edith. She won't go to the auc tion, of course." "Can't, I suppose. They don't allow ladies in the Exchange." "But you want me there?" "Of course we do." "Depend upon it Millard will spring some trick on you."

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] YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGEN'rS. 23 "I'm sure he will," said Edith. "Ned, you will I Dawson City, and I'm going to down them!" breathed be careful, won't you?" Edith across the table. "Well, of course." "All a mistake, my dear Tlrn detective business "Don't you fret," said Dick. "My revolver will is like ,every other business; it has to be learned. never go out of my hand." Mark my words, Edith, you would have done better "Same here," said the Unknown. "Every move to have taken me into your confidence. You can't that crowd makes will be watched with my watch down Mr. Manton Millard as easy as you think." eye, which-" But Edith only laughed. "Don't say which never sleeps," laughed Dick. At half past eleven Ned,came back to the hotel. "Don't forget the cave." He ran up to his room-the door was locked. "Called down!" said the Unknown. "I'm dumb. "Hello!" called the Unknown, coming out of the But mark :this, my watch eye won't be asleep to-next room. "After your clothes, dear boy?" day." "That's what! Where's Edith?" It wound up in Ned's giving the key to Edith, "Off again, dear knows where. She left the key who promised to keep an eye on the room. with me. The clothes were all right half an hour As soon as Ned and Dick went out, leaving their ago. I saw them in the closet myself." companions still at the table, the Unknown burst into Perhaps he did, but they were not there now. a laugh which made th(;) very dishes rattle. Ned was wild. But Edith did not even smile. The Unknown expatiated on the deep mystery, his "You're making lots of noise, zed," she quietly reface as straight as a deacon's all the while. marked; "what's it all about?" What might have been done if there had been time "By the Jumping Jeremiah, Edith, you're a cool to do anything we cannot say, for there was no time. one!" The sale was to come off at twelve o'clock. "What do you mean?" "I'll find out what this means if I have to turn the "There now, there now You do it well When I hotel inside out to do it," declared Ned; "but we was in Melbourne, Australia, in '84, I knew a girl de-can't stop now. Zed, we must get right up to the Extective, no older than you, who was as sharp as--" change." "That will do. Never mind the sfory. Don't you 'When they arrived there they found a great crowd think I'm a good person to take charge of the key?" assembled, all anxiously awaiting the appearance of "Bully You may want to get into that closet. I'll the famous Young Klondike, the boy gold king of El bet a hat Ned's new clothes are gone when he comes Dorado Creek. back again." There were miners, old and young, rough men and I see you are on to my scheme, Zed." polished men, greenhorns and old timers ; even two "No, I ain't. I don't want your confidence, Edith, Indians had strolled in to see what was going on. but you are playing a bold game, my dear. Better But Ned did not fail to remark the absence of Mr. have left that business for the Unknown." Berry and all the more responsible of the Exchange "What do you know?" members. "Who met Millard at Terry Nolan's yesterday It annoyed him greatly. morning? Who spent an hour talking to that murder-He wondered what the reason could be. ing Claim Agent h1 his office, that's riddled with He had yet to learn that the land sharks of Dawson man traps from floor to ceiling ? Edith, I admire City had a bigger pull than was generally supposed. you !" While the Exchange members did not actually back Edith took it all with perfect coolness. them up in their swindles, they did not interfere with That was her way. them, for the reason that many bona fide claims were Whatever the brave little California lady set out to sold by these men. do she did, and nobody could turn her from her purI Everyone knew that the Claim Agents had sworn to pose, nor make hen talk if she wanted to hold her down Young Klondike, and the Exchange men, in a tongue. meeting held the previous afternoon, had decided that "Where were you all that time, Zed?" she calmly it would not pay them to interfere. asked. "Shall we go ahead with the sale or shall we wait?" "Watching outside part of the time.Standing whispered Dick when Ned came in. "None of the near your chair part of the time." big bugs are here." "Near my chair?" "Go ahead by all means," said Ned. "They know "Yes, ma'am!" the sale is down for twelve o'clock. If they ain't here "I don't believe it." it's because they don't want to come. We can't force "Remember the old man from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, them to bid." who came in to buy a claim?" \ "That's what's the matter," said the Unknown. "That never was you!" "Go right ahead." "Oh, yes it was, Edith I wanted to see what you Now it was the custom for every man to be his own were up to. I was old Oshkosh! Ha! Ha! Ha!" auctioneer in the Dawson City Exchange. "What I'm up to is :fighting the land sharks of Ned had the long table placed in front of the bar,

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YOUNG AND THE CL.A.IM .AGENTS. and on this he spread out the nuggets taken from the gone. Now, it's to the highest bidder! No rise l ess three cl a ims he meant to sell. than one hundred dollil,rs accepted. Five thousand The piles were designated by tickets 1, 2, 3, and dollars I'm offered! Who'll make it more?" Ned had quit claim deeds signed by himself for the "Five thousand one hundred dollars called t he fl.rm all ready. man in the fur cap. As the miners crowded round the table and began "Make it two hundred !" said a young man with a examining the specimens, Ned got out his deeds and heavy mustache and a slouch hat, who had been in-began to talk. tently examining the nuggets. The Unknown drew his revolver and seated himself "I'll go five thousand five hundred dollars. I want on the other side of the table grimly watchmg the that hole," said the old man with the beard. crowd, while Dick took his place at the end by Ned's "The claims are worth ten thousand dollars with a side with his revolver cocked and ready behind his clear title, gentlemen!" cried Ned. "And we are goback. ing to have a clear title and don t you forge t it l Five "Gentlemen!" cried Ned, "the specimens which thousand five hundred dollars I'm offered l Who'll you see before you are from the Young Klondike make it six thousand dollars ?-fl.fty-five-sixty-fiftyClaim on El Dorado Creek l You are all familiar with five-sixty Going at five thousand five hundred this claim and are probably aware that it has already: dollars-going! Going--" yielded over a million dollars in dust and nuggets, the1 Five thousand six hundred dollars, said the latter running larger than any other claim on the you:q.g man with a mustache. creek. I "Six thousand dollars!" called Graybeard, who Gentlemen, my name is Golden, and this young seemed disposed to go by big jumps. man beside me is my partner, Mr. Luckey. We claim "Six thousand one hundred dollars!" bid the more to be the owners of this land, but as our claim has cautious Mustache. been disputed I propose to tell you the history of our Then Mustache and Graybeard had it out between purchase so that you may all know just how the mat-them and Claim No. 1 was run up to nine thousand ter stands." one hundred dollars. Then, in his clear ringing voice Ned told the story Graybeard got it, Mustache dropping out. of Cal Remington and how Golden & Luckey came "What name?" asked Ned. into possession of the claim. "Jones," said the purchaser. He told of Manton Millard's attempt to oust them Ned handed down the deed, and the money was p a id from theirh()lding, but by the advice of the Unknown over to Dick. he made no allusion to the affair of Terry Nolan's. "I'll fill in your name as soon as the sale is over, Finally he wound up by stating that Golden & sir," he said. Luckey would personally gu:.irantee the purchase Then No. 2 was put up. money and would give every assistance to miners Mustache got this at six thousand one hundred dolwho cared to try their luck on the claims. lars, the man with the clay pipe bidding against him. "Now then, gentlemen!" cried Ned, "remember "Can I have twenty-four hours to raise the mon e y that these nuggets are from prospect h9les !" in?" asked a smooth-faced young man on the othe r "No one can tell what lies hidden underground, side of the room. but we do know this, pay dirt has been struck on our "Certainly you can, if there is any chance of your claim nearer the surface than anywhere else on El getting it," replied Ned. Dorado Creek, and any one buying one of our outlying "I belong to a party which got in last night," s aid claims can be reasonably sure of finding the same the young man. from the State of Maine ; thing. There you are, gentlemen! the sale will now there's six of us, but the crowd has scattered about town, and I shall have to wait till I can call a meet" Suppose we buy, how long does your guarantee ing." hold gGod ?" asked a man wearing a fur cap, who "Are you empowered to act for them?" asked Ned. stood with his hands in his pockets smoking a clay "Yes, I am," replied the young man. "We've all pipe. heard of you, Young Klondike, and we'd like to locate "Holds good till the title is settled!" said Dick. near you. There won't be any trouble about raising "He told you that." the money. We'd rather take the claims on the tit le only wanted to be sure," said the man. "A than to buy of the Claim Agents, where w e would g e t feller don't-like to buy a pig in a bag." a good title to a bad claim." "How much am I offered for claim No. 1 ?" cried "That's business," cried Ned. "You shall have Young Klondike, stepping on the table. the time." Dick and the Unknown held their revolvers ready; Then it was a fight between Clay Pipe and the a grizzl ed old miner held up his finger and bid five Maine boy. thousand dollars. Clay Pipe did not seem to be able to get above six "Good for a starter!" cried Ned. "Now, gentle-thousand one hundred dollars, and Smooth Face got men, I'll let you into a secret l I hold these claims at the claim for six thousand two hundred dollars. fivethousand dollars, and nothing less would have "That settles it, gentlemen!" cried Ned. "I'll

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YOUNG KLONDIKE AND 'l'HE CLAIM AGENTS. 23 t I now fill up the transfers.and write out the guarantees. You may rely upon it that our title to these claims is good." "Don't you believe him !" said a voice at the door. His title ain't worth a Continental. Whatever t.itle Young Klondike ever had to those claims has already been sold to me!" "That man is a fraud and a thief!" shouted Ned. Dick and the Unknown covered the speaker with their revolvers. "He's the man who tried to rob us l There he stands, gentlemen l His name is Manton Millard!" ... CHAPTER X. EDITH TURNS THE TABLES UPSIDE DOWN. MANTON MILLARD stood in the doorway with a sarcastic smile on his face. By his side were two other well known Claim Agents, members of the Exchange. Put up those shooting irons," called one-his na. me was Joe Butler. "There's no need of any muss here. We've just as good a right to sell these claims with our guara.ntee as Golden & Luckey have to sell them with theirs, and we can shoot as well as any men on the Klondike. Let all hands remember that." All three drew revolvers and stood eying Ned and his friends. "That's sensible talk!" called out the old miner who had bought No. 1. "Let every man have a show! We've bought these claims on a one-sided story, be lieving that story to be true. Now let's hear the other side of it, I say o "So do I," said the.man with the black mustache. "Don't let's have any muss." "I'll vouch for my friend, Mr. Millard," said Joe ,1 1 Dutton. "He has been here, and it is only because he is a quiet, sensible fellow, that he didn't blow that young man's head off. I say Young Klon dike is a scoundrel if he has sold claims on this floor at auction, which only yesterday morning he sold at private sale." "It's a lie !" cried Ned. Millard flung up his revolver. But Dick and the Unknown stood grimly covering him, and he dropped it again. "I say it's the truth!" he hissed. "I can prove it. I hold the transfers right here." It was really wonderful how cool Ned kept. "Gentlemen,,, he called out, "that man robbed me of nearly a hundred thousand dollars, which I was fortunate enough to ge.t back again. Let him deny it if he dares "I do deny it I took the gold in. the interest of my client," retorted Millard. "It was you who stole it from me, and the law will compel you to make good evevy dollar of it, and all you have dug out of your claim beside." "Who says so ?" demanded Ned. "I say so !" "And rn do I," echoed Joe Dutton. Same here," added the third Claim Agent. "We'll see about that," said Ned. "As to this latest yarn about my having sold out to you I utterly deny it. If you hold any proofs of such a transfer they are forged." "What, what Do you dare to deny that you came to me yesterday and sold out your entire inter (\St, lock, stock and barrel, for fifty thousand dollars?" demanded Millard, with well assumed surprise "Pshaw!" cried Ned, jumping down off the table; "what's the use talking to fellows like you As though you did not know that every word you utter is a lie." "That's fighting talk, sure," sneered Millard, "but I'm not here for fight. I'm out here for business, and we'll do our fighting some other time. Now then, hold your tongue a minute if you can, You:g Klondike, and let me say a word. My friend, Mr. Dutton, will now proceed to srJll these three claims over again, but before we do it I wish to exhibit the transfers ; here they are." I And Millard spread out three deeds upon the table, from which Ned had already stepped down. Everybody crowded around to have a look, Ned and Dick among the rest. The deeds bore the signature of Golden & Luckey, Ned purporting to have signed for the firm. "Forgery !" cried Young Klondike. "Not much, and you'll be arrested for swindling before you're an hour older!" cried Dutton, jumping up upon the table. "Gentlemen, how much am I of fered for Claim No. l. Clear title No hl.l]llbug Guaranteed by Manton Millard. Guarantee endorsed by your humble servant. Gentlemen, these claims are well worth twenty thousand dollars of any man's money. Don't be afraid of those young and their revolvers! What Mr. Millard told you is the truth. I myself saw Young Klondike sign those papers." There was a good deal of excitement then. Black looks were thrown at the boys from all sides. "Do you want the money down, or will you take it when you prove title?" called out the man with the gray beard. "We'll take it when the claim recorder gives you a certificate," answered Dutton. "We don't want a cent of money down." "Then I'll bid same price I paid before, and hold Golden & Luckey to their guarantee; they are per fectly good for it, I am told." "It's a fraud and a swindle !" cried Ned. "I'm going for the police. I never signed those papers." "He speaks the truth," said a girlish voice at the door. "I know it because I signed them myself!" If a bombshell had been thrown upon the floor of

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20 YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. the Exchange it could hardly have caused greater ex citement. There stood Edith just inside the door, dressed in N ed s best suit. The instant she appeared the Unknown sprang to her side, facing the crowd with his revolver. Neel and Dick recognized her at first glance and fol lowed his example. But the others were puzzl e d at the rese mblance between Edith as she was dressed and Ned, and it is s afe to say that no one ever dreamed of her b eing a girl, so perfect was her disguis e Manton Mill ard made a rush for the bar and dodged b e hind it. ri\he Claim Agent was a coward, and everyone saw it now. Not so Joe Dutton. Joe was a fighter. He drew his revolver and fired down from his ele-vated positipn on the table. The shot was a miss. It was also a signal for a free fight all around. The Unknown and Dick instantly jumped in and fired. Millard peering from behind the bar fired at Edith and missed-it was missing all around. "Capture the scoundrels! Don't let them escape!" shouted Ned, making a rush for the bar. "Help me, friends, and we'll soon clear the title to our claims!" Everybody jumped in then. Some took sides with the Claim Agents, some with Young Klondike. All in a minute a free fight was on, but it was brought to a close in a most une xpected manner by Edith. With the idea of giving Millard an alcohol bath Edith aimed at a small quarter cask of whisky, which stood on a shelf behind the bar. Of course she hit it. More than that. She put a hole in it. The w hisky spurting out struck the cigar lighter on the end of the bar and ignited. Then all at once there was a burst of flame and the cask explod ed the pieces flying in every direction, while Millard, Joe Dutton, the bartender and others were showered with the burning spirit. With yells of agony the Claim Agents sprang away from the bar. There was no time to waste. The floor, the shelves and even the table were burning. The fight came to a sudd e n finish. Edith had turne d the table s upside down with a v enge ance. All made a rush for the door. "Mizzle, boys!" whispered the Unknown. "Light right out and let them settle it among themselves. I've got reasons for what I s ay." No, no Let's stay and face the music," said Ned. "Neel, for my sake, go!" cried Edith. "I've been working for you-don't undo my work." There was no resisting this appeal. The y pushed their way through the crowd, which came rushing out of the stores and houses and turned into a side street. "The Exchange is a goner!" cried Dick. "The whole place is in a blaze." "Let it burn!" said Edith. "We've got work to do." "You bet!" said the Unknown. "If they start that steamer before we can get in ahead of them our fight with the land sharks has only begun." "What do you mean?" cried Ned. "You two have been working your own way and leaving Dick and mll in the dark. Well, well, Edith You are a remarkable girl. I know now who stole my clothes." "Yes, and don't they fit first rate? Don t I make a nice boy? I've a great mind to keep them altogether and dress the way all the ladies on the Klondike do." Now, in saying this Edith was not quite correct. All the ladies in the Klondike country do not wear men's clothes, but by far the greater part of them do when going from place to place, purely as a matter of convenience in traveling. It was entirely a common thing then to see women so dressed walking the streets of Dawson City. Even if Edith had not taken pains to make herself look like a boy, and it had been perfectly apparent that she was a girl, no one would have thought anything of it, and she would have attracted no attention on the street. Meanwhile, the fire bell was ringing, and they could hear the shouts of the people behind them. Looking back they could see the smoke and flames of the burning Exchange ascending 4eavenward. It was perfectly apparent that Edith had done her work only too well. "We'll all be nipped for this sure, if they can catch us," said the Unknown. Edith, my dea .r, are you sure we can lay our hands on the launch?" "Pe rfectly sure." "What launch! What does it all mean? I must know!" demanded Ned. "It means that Millard has engaged fifty toughs to go up Bonanza Creek in the Blackbird te clean out our mine." "What!" "Oh, it's a fact Of course they can get no further with the Blackbird than the mouth of El Dorado Cree k, but they calculate to do the rest of the distance on foot." Further conversation was prevented, but they heard men running behind them. They looked back, and saw quite a crowd coming their way. The Unknown dodged around the corner, and all hands followed him. Then by cutting through the lumber yard they were at the end of the levee in a moment.

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,.... -1" --, ,--. YOUNG KLONDIKE .AND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. There lay Manton Millard's naphtha launch with laughed Edith. "Did you r ea ll y c atch onto that, nobody near it. Ned?" Further down the levee was the little river steamer "No, I didn't. I'll own up tha t 1 never suspecte d Blackbird. such a thing, but t e ll me all about it. I want to know." The deck was crowded with men. They were singNow, it would be usel ess to detail all that Edith ing and shouting, and several playing on banjos; all said, and go over all her convers a tion with the Claim hands seemed to be half drunk. Agents, but there are certain important points that It was a hard gang-the boys saw that at a glance. we must speak of b e fore we tell what happened next. "There you are!" said Edith. "That's the crowd "You may just und erstand one thing, Ned," said. that's going to clean us out! Gracious, won't there Edith, in conclusion of h e r story. "Millard meant tG be a fight if they ever get there I Get aboard, boys! kill you and Dick. If possible he meant to entice you If Millard can steal our gold we ought to be able to into Terry Nolan',_ den and finish you there; if not steal his launch! We'll get the start of them, then you would 1 1 .ve been hit with a or stabbed let them catch us if they can." in the back, and your bodies thrown int" the Yukon. They all hurried aboard the launch a .nd the detect-Then I was to go '"o the bank and pretend to b e you, ive started the dainty little craft. and rJraw out all the money, and we we=-e to divid ." None too soon either. "Oh, the scoundrel!" cried Ned. "I would never The crowd were coming through the lumber yard. have believed that there was such a man in Dawson, Several of the mounted police were with them, and that's the truth." while in the distance the Exchange could be seen "But that ain t all," continu e d Edith. "Now burning fiercely. Ned, I've got somthing to tell that will please you "Hold on there, Young Klondike!" shouted one of very much." the officers. "You're wanted Hold on or we fire!" "Out with it Let's have the good as well as the "Not on your life!" roared the Unknown. "We bad." are bound up El Dorado Creek, and up the creek we "Rice is a myth. We are rightful owners of the _, go!" claim." I ( The mounted police flung up their rifles and a "Hooray !" shouted Dick, tossing up his hat at the shower of shot flew toward them. risk of losing it overboard. "Our side is in it every But the launch had already gained good head'>'ay time!" and was out of range. "Can you prove this, Edith!" asJrnd Ned. "It is They shot down the Yukon and soon turned into most important if you can." the Klondike. "Of course, I can't prove it. I only have Millard s For a long time they watched the burning building, word for it. He told me so in his office while we were until at last the hills hid the flames from their sight. laying out the plot against you." CHAPTER XI. CHASED BY THE BLACKBIRD. "EDITH, I want to know all about this business," said Young Klondike as soon as all danger had passNed shook bis head doubtfully. "Of course, we knew that before, or at least we suspected it. Don't think I'm throwing cold water on your discovery, Edith, for it really is important; but to be able to give a clear title it we've got to have actual proof." Now, Edith was very much disappointed, and she showed it in the conversation which followed. The Unknown suddenly burst out into a loud laugh ed. "Did you really sign those papers in my name?" "That's the way it goes," he chuckled; "every man to his business, and every woman, too. Edith, my dear, you have the making of a splendid dete ctive about you, but you are not one yet-not by a long chalk." "Yes, I did," replied Edith. "Forgery, forgery!" cried Dick. "I don't know-I suppose it is-I didn't mean it for that. I wanted to expose those rascally Claim Agents before the Exchange. I meant that all respectable dealers in mining property in Dawson City should see what a pack of land sharks they really were." "So that was the sort of shark you were fishing for?" laughed Ned. "Well, I thought as much." "Did you really guess it, Ned?" "I felt sure you were trying to find out some of lard's s ecrets, and that Zed was doing the same." "Oh, 1 ain't half. as good a detective as Edith," chuckled the Unknown. "I'm going to give up the business and let Edith hunt for my man." "Did you suspect it was I who stole your clothes?" "Don't claim to be," flashed Edith, and to be plain with you, Zed, I don't s ee any occasion for that r e m ark." "Hold on By the Jumping J e remiah, I've got som ething t o say." "Say it!" eried Ned, "and don't let us get into any argument." "What is it that we need to clear the title to our claim and beat the land sharks of D a wson City out of their boots?" "Written proof that Rice is a myth, and Manton Millard a fraud."

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28 YOUNG KLONDIKE .AND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. "Oh, everybody knows the last, and I can furnish the first." "I know a very good reason why not," chuckled the detective. "You can !" exclaimed Edith. "Then my work "What is it?" will be made complete." "Ten you later." "That's just it, Edith. That's just wpere the "Great Scott! And we worried half to death! \Vhy knowledge of an old hand at the bellows comes can't you tell us now?" "Out with it!" exclaimed Ned. "Let's have it and "Do you know Barney McGraw?" was the Unbring this business to an end." known's singular reply. "I'll give it to you," said the Unknown, gravely, "Why, of course we know Barney McGraw. What "when I get my man." do you mean by that?" retorted Ned. And with this they had to be content, for the UnThey all knew Barney well enough. known would not say another word on the subject, He was the owner of a small and moderately suc-but they all kn : w him well enough by this time to feel cessful claim on the Klondike near the mouth of Bo certain that there was method in his madness, and nanza Creek. that something would come of it in the end. "I'll.tell you what I mean later," chuckled the UnThe "nly hint they had of his meaning was when he I known, "when I catch my man." turned suddenly to Ned and said : It a po r time for joking, but .this. was the "By the way, that girl was straight. She didn't sway and there w_as no mean to betray you. her scheme was to give you a While he talked the detective was givmg his full at-chance to save the tention to the little naphtha engine, and we need "How do you know? Have you seen her?" asked scarcely say that he sent the launch ahead for all it Ned eagerly. was worth. . But the best speed it was capable of making was Then the Unknown gave one of his chuckling laughs t ffi t t k t t f h f th Bl k d d no su cien o eep i ou o reac o e ac -an answere : b' d "I'll tell you all about it when I've caught my ir man." By the time they drew near Barney McGraw's Meanwhile, the launch was making splendid time up claim the launch was only a short distance ahead of the Klondike, and they had seen nothing of the Blackthe steamer. bird. The men on board crowded to the bow, and all The condition of affairs was too good to last. "There comes the steamer!" cried Dick suddenly. The Blackbird had just appeared around the big bend, which the Klondike takes just after you leave the Yukon. Her decks were still crowded with men. Moreover, she had run up the police flag. The boys knew now that the Northwestern police had joined issue with Manton Millard and the other Claim Agents. hands could be seen watching them intently. Ned turned his glass upon them. "There's Millard I" he cried at last. "I see the scoundrel There's two of the Northwest police with him." "They'll be firing at us next!" said Dick. if you are ever going to catch your man and what to do this is about the time." "Zed, tell us "Just a few moments," replied the Unknown. "Patience, just a few moments more. I'd rather tell my name than give away my scheme too soon The burning of the Exchange had brought them They were almost at Barney McGraw's now. under the ban of the law. Quite a crowd of miners had collected on the little "ThaJ; flag means stop, and if we don't stop it means wharf in front of the mine, and were watching the fight, and if we .get licked in the fight it means the chase with great interest. stone jug for all hands." Among them was Barney himself. "They can't catch us and the flag shan't stop us?" What this man-friendly though he was-could declared Ned. "As for the Exchange, we'll build possibly do to help them neither Ned nor Dick could them a new one at our own expense, and make good guess, and Edith was just as much in the dark about every cent's worth of damage that Edith's shot did." it as the boys. For an hour and more the chase continued. A moment more and the steamer came within hail-The Blackbird gained on the launch slowly but ing distance. steadily A man leaned over the rail and making a speaking Dick grew very much concerned. trumpet of his hand, shouted : "They'll overhaul us sure," he said at last. "What "Hello there On board the launch !" is to be done?" "Hello!" roared the Unknown, whose voice was "If we can make the mouth of Bonanza Creek belike a fog horn and could be heard half a mile away. fore them, we are all right," said the Unknown. "!command you to stop in the name of the queen!" "What do you say that for?" demanded Ned. bawled the man. "Can't they catch us on Bonanza Creek as well as on "The queen be smothered I" replied the Unknown, the Klondike? If you know any reason why not, Zed, i but he didn't say it loud enough for the police on the I wish you'd spit it right out." steamer to hear, which was perhaps just as well, as

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' -----_,. ---YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. 29 the insult to the crown might have brought a shower of shot. "You'll stop or it will be the worse for you!" shouted the policeman. "We shall fire into your boat if you don't!" "Great ganders How nice you could pick that fellow off, Edith!" said the Unknown. "Certainly I won't do anything of the sort," re plied Edith. "It's one thing to fire at a land shark when your life is in danger, but that man is a government officer. It would be good-by to the Klondike for us if we were to kill him." It can't be done, of course," said Ned. "Zed, out with it I Are we going to land at Barney Mc Graw's?" "Yes," said the Unknown, "that's just what we rare going to do." The words had hardly left his lips when three shots were fired from the steamer. By gracious, they'll shoot us if we don't shoot them!" cried Dick. At the same instant the launch stopped suddenly and began to fill. "By the Jumping Jeremiah, they've put a bole through the side under water!" gasped the detective, "and hang me, if th'e engine hasn't broken down, too!" A shout from the steamer showed that the situa-tion was thoroughly understood. There was no more firing. It was not necessary. When Millard leaned over the rail, and roared out: "We've got you now! We've got you now!" it looked very much as if he spoke the truth. But it was no easy matter to down the Unknown. "Get out the oars!" he said, coolly; "we've got to row to Barney McGraw's!" There was only one pair of oars on the sinking launch, but then Barney's little wharf was close by. Loud shouts of triumph went up from the steamer, but the men on the wharf, awed by the police flag made no sign, although they were among Young Klondike's stanchest friends, and he now had many scattered among the different mines. "It's no use," shouted the policeman; "you can't get away from us! Hold up there, and come on board the Blackbird and we'll talk this business out." "We'll talk it out at Young Klondike's claim !" roared the Unknown. "That's what we won't!" bellowed Millard. "The claim is mine I You'll never set foot on it again!" "We'll see Clbout that!" called Ned. "I want to say to you gentlemen of the Northwest police that I'm responsible for every dollar's worth of damage done to the Exchange, and am prepared to make it good!" "That's what you'll have to!" retorted the policeman. "Go ahead, if you will! Barney's wharf is all right for us to land at! We'd just as soon take you there as anywhere else." The time had about come to prove these words true or false. A moment later and the launch shot in under Bar-ney's wharf. A few turns of the Blackbird's wheel would bring her alongside. "Hello, Barney !" cried Ned, as the good natured mine owner came running down the bank to meet them. "Hello, Young Klondike! Is it the bobbies that's chasing yez? Sure I didn't bargain for that." "The plan goes through !" excla,imed the Unknown, jumping out of the sinking launch. Barney, you got my word ?" "Sure and I did, boss." ,. Horses all ready ?" "All ready saddled behind the shaft house." "Blessings on you, Barney. Boys do you under-stand my scheme now ?" Two minutes later our little party, mounted on swift horses, were galloping away among the hills. "That comes from being a professional," chuckled the Unknown. "I took time by the forelock and or dered these horses here in case we needed them before ever you made a move, Edith, and that's the way we old detective's work." "There goes the Blackbird !" cried Dick. They had come out upon the top of a hill where they could look down on Barney's camp. The Blackbird was just pulling away from the wharf, heading toward the mouth of Bonanza Creek. CHAPTER XII. EDITH KILLS THE BLACKBIRD AND GOLDEN & LUCKEY GET THEIR CLAIM. "WHERE is she now?" "I don't see her." "Nor do I, and yet she can't be Yery far away." Ned took the glass from Dick and looked baek down the line of Bonanza Creek. It la y spread out before them like a silver ribbon, winding in and out among the hills, for Young Klon dike and his party had reached the top of the ridge. It had been hard work forcing their horses up the mountain side, but they accomplished it. Now they were about to descend into the great valley of El Dorado Creek, a valley which is destined to produce more gold than any other in the world in the near future. When they looked off to the right they could see a long way up El Dorado, which joined with Bonanza Creek at the foot of the mountain. The air was black with the smoke of many fires built on the frozen earth. I see the Young Klondike," cried Edith, pointing -"there it is." "You'rewrong,"declared the Unknown. "That's

PAGE 31

30 YOUNG KLONDIKE .AND THE CLAIM .AGENTS. Jim Naylor's place; the Young Klondike is around the bend behind the hill.'' "That's so," said Ned. "You can't get a sight of the mine from here, Edith, but it won't take us but a j mighty short time to get there. See, we can follow that gulch down, it's almost clear of timber, and thus strike up along the shore." "There's the Blackbird," said Dick. "She's just coming around the bend." "I wish she'd run on the rocks and go to pieces," snapped the Unknown. No such good news, though." "'They'll hardly try to move her up El Dorado," said Ned, leveling his glass at the little steamer which was crawling on toward the Roaring Bulls. "I don't know," replied the detective. "It has been done and they may try to do it again. The :Blackbird draws mighty little water. I heard Captain Jakes say he could sail her on the sweat of a water pitcher, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he meant to run her right up to the mine." "Then it will be a fight to a finish," declared Ned. "Ye gods and little fishes If it ain't I'll eat my head !" cried the detective. "That's what I'm out :for every time." They watched the progress of the steamer for a moment or two, and saw her pass safely through the Bulls. "'No time to lose now!" declared the Unknown. "Off we go for the Young Klondike. By the Jumping Jeremiah, I hope the rest of my scheme works out as well as the first part did. Then Golden & Luckey get their claim and no land shark will ever dare to try to swallow them again." "What is the rest of your scheme?" asked Ned, pocketing his glass. "Tell you when I get my man," chuckled the Unknown. After that it was no use to say anything, of course. They sprang upon their horses and went bound ing down the mountain side. Now, while it was necessary to be on the alert, there l\ 'as really no need of any great haste. The route across the mountains was much shorter than by the creeks, and the Blackbird still had a long stretch of Bonanza to travel before she could reach the mouth of El Dorado Creek. By the time this stage of her journey was accom ]>Iished, Young Klondike and his party came down on shore of El Dorado Creek, and a short run brought them opposite the mine. Everything was going on as usual. Smoke was pouring out of the big stack of the mill, t'bey could see the men moving around the ore house, and all seemed busily at work. It was necessary to go still further up the creek where there was a i:;b.allow place, which the horses wuld easily ford. Above this ford it would be impossible for the Black-bird to go, but with care the little steamer might be brought up abreast of the mine. When Young Klondike rode in among his men a shout of welcome went up. The miners dropped their tools and came crowding about the boss, for everyone loved him, as was proved by the fact that where other claim owners found it simply impossible to hold their men, Ned had no trouble at all. He treated them liberally. Not only was the pay on the Young Klondike fully up to the standard, ten dollars a day, but each man was allowed a percentage of the gold he actually dug. This arrangement worked splendidly. Ned's men were all laying up money, for, in addi tion to the percentage, Ned had another hold on them. He furnished all provisions at his own expense. It paid better to work for Golden & Luckey than to prospect poor claims on one's own account. "Everything is going all right, boss," said Mr. Bowers. "I'll guarantee that not an ounce of gold dug since you went away is unaccounted for." "Boys, I expected nothing less than this!" said Ned. "I know you have all done your best for the fl.rm, and I believe you always will." "That we will, boss!" cried a rough Cornishman. "We know when we're well off, we do! I blame near starved before I struck Golden & Luckey, but now I'm right in it with both feet." I want you to be in it with both hands, too. Boys, all of you listen to me Who'll fight for Golden & Luckey as well as work for them. Let the man who ain't willing to do it step back." "We'll all fight for the firm !" shouted one. "To the death!" cried another. "We'll stand by Young Klondike forever!" cried a third. Not one stood back. "Against the land sharks of Dawson City !" continued Ned, in his clear, ringing voice. "There's a big gang of them coming up the creek in the Blackbird now. They'll be here before many moments have passed ; they came to oust us from our claim." The excitement was tremendous. The miners to a man broke out with cheers for the boss, swearing eternal fidelity to Young Klondike. Picks and shovels were thrown down and all hands ran for their rifles. "Form in line, boys!" Ned. "We won't wait for them to come up to the Young Klondike. We'll head them off down the creek and give it to them from both sides. No shooting to kill. Let's drive them back by fair means if we can, by force if we must, but no one on the Blackbird to-day must plant his foot on our claim." It was not necessary to say another word. Ned had every miner on the work ready to do his bidding then. He divided his force and started down El Dorado Creek to meet the steamer.

PAGE 32

-----YOUNG KLONDIKE AND THE CLAIM AGENTS. 31 Dick took half the men and crossed to the opposite side of the creek. Ned and Edith led the others down on the side where they were, and it was not until they were just starting that he suddenly missed the Unknown. "Where in the world is Zed now ?" he asked Edith. "The last I saw of him he was going toward the house," replied Edi th. Ride over and see if he is there," said Ned; "you can catch up with us before we have gone far." But when Edith overtook them, she had nothing to report. Mrs. Colvin, who was left in charge the house, had not seen the Unknown. "Another of his queer moves," cried Ned. "Never mind He'll turn up at the right time, and don't you I,_ forget it. There comes the Blackbird Now, the fun is going to begin." The steamer had just come in right around a bend in the creek, leading for the narrow channel between the rocks where Barker's boat had been wrec'ked. "She's too big to go between the rocks," cried Mr. Bowers. But the rest of his sentence was drowned by the Unknown's fog horn voice, for now he shouted again' : "Edith Edith Throw them on the rocks You can do it, my dear!" Edith shot one quick glance at the Blackbird. saw instantly what the Unknown meant. The Blackbird was now entering the narrow chan nel between the rocks. The moment she had passed them she would be iu. comparatively deep water, and what was more, the cannon would be brought to action, for it was already within range. Millard stood ready to touch it off. Unless the progress of the steamer was arrested trouble was bound to come. All this Edith saw as she flung up her rifle. Three times she fired in quick succession, but once would have done. She did not aim at Captain Jakes, but she did aim at the pilot-house windows above his head. Each shot broke its pane and sent a shower of glass down upon the head of the master of the Blackbird. This did the business, just as the Unknowff fore"No, she a.in't She can make it!" shouted Dick saw. from the opposite shore. Captain Jakes dodged dow:r;i, lost his grip on the "Now is the time for us to show our strength!" wheel, and in less time than it takes to tell it the shouted Ned. "Give 'em a salute, boys! Let 'em Blackbird was on the rocks with a big hole stove in see what they have to expect if they come on." her bow. This was just what the Young Klondikers wanted. She heeled over so violently that Millard and his Up went every rifle, and the shots echoed back toughs were all thrown in a heap ,against the rail, from among the hills. and many went into the creek after the cannon, It created some excitement among t .he on the which tore away the guards and fell into the water steamer, but there was no turning back. with a resounding splash. On the contrary, Captain Jakes, who was in the A shout of triumph went up from the Klondikers. wheel-house, steered straight for the channel. They rushed down upon the steamer on botn sides Millard's gang could be seen pressing forward. of the creek. Their rifles were all ready ; as soon as they came in The Claim Agents' gang were at their merc y range it looked as though there might be some pretty now. hot work. "Land on the other shore and make yourselves All at once Ned saw Manton Millard bustling about I scarce!" shouted Ned. "We own this claim and at the bow. we'll defend it to the last. Those who keep on the He seemed to be giving orders to his men. move shall not be interfered with, but the first man They were pulling something heavy along the deck. who turns this way dies." "Hey, Ned! Look! Look, they've got a cannon!" This settled it. shouted Dick from the opposite shore. The toughs crawled out of the creek and hurried It was so. away, gfad of the chance to escape, Millard and the There was a small cannon on the Blackbird. policemen going with the rest. Millard had it placed so that by swinging it around Ned permitted Captain Jakes and his crew to r e -it could command either shore. main by the steamer. "We'll sweep you off the earth, Young Klondike!" "We'll help you get her off," he was saying when he roared. "You had better make up your mind to the Unknown and May Barker came up. surrender before there's damage done." That's the talk, Edith. By the Jumping Jeremiah, "Edith Edith suddenly shouted a voice from you brought down the Blackbird, and look here, Young the hill above the cave. Klondike, see the present. I've brought you. Found All turned in the direction of the sound. the girl in Dawson City, and sent her on ahead up There was the Unknown with his tall hat jammed here." on the back of his head coming down the hill with a May Barker held out her hand toward Ned. young girl. In it was a package of letters. "Why it's May Barker!" exclaimed Ned. "This I "Take them, Mr. Golden," she said. "You risked is Zed's secret How in the world--" your life to save mine, and I don't forget. These J

PAGE 33

3 2 Y OUNG KLO NDIKE AN D 'l'H E CLAI M .A.GENT S papers prove your ownership to the Y OUI]g Klondike. I got them from Manton Millard." * * * There is a good. deal more that we could say as to the successful ending of Young Klondike's fight with the land sharks of Dawson City, but it is useless to indulge in a long ending when our story is practically told. The letters given Young Klondike were from Manton Millard to Edith's father. 'l'hey disclosed the fulf details of the plot, and the rascally Claim Agent, over his own signature, admitted that G0 lden & Luckey were the rightful owners of the Young Klondike Claim. Nothing more was needed. Ned and Dic k went back to D awso n City two days later prepared to p r o secute M illard, but o n l y to find that he had left for parts u nknown. Ned called on Mr. Berry and gave the firm's check YOUNG ir for the entire cost of a new building to take the place of the burned There was no talk ef arrest. The richer members of the Exchange d e clared themsel ves fully satisfied, and upheld Ned in the part he had p layed. In a few weeks the purchasers of the adjoining claims were on the ground and hard at work, fully satisfied with their purchase s which turned out to be very rich mines in every instance. Young Klondike was now more popular than ever But Ned could not remain idle. The question of the claim settled, he at once started in a new enterprise which led himself and Dick, Edith and the Unknown, through a series of highly interesting adventures which will be described in t h e next issue of this series, entitled : YOUNG K LONDIKE'S NEW DIGGINGS; OR, THE GREAT GOL D FIND ON OWL CREEK. (THE END.] GLORY. P :A:TllIOTIC W Nil STORIES. LITHOGRAPHED COLORED COVERS. 32 Solid Reading Pages. EVERY STORY COMPLETE. Price 5 Cents! Price 5 Cents! ALREADY PUBLISHED: No.1. Young Glory, the Bero of the White Squadron, Bv Commodore Morgan No. 2. Young Glory on Shore; or, Fighting For the Stars and Stripes, By Author of Young Glory No. 3. YoungGlory and the Spanish Cruiser; or, A Brave Fight Against Odds, By Author of Young Glory No. 4. Young Glory in Cuba; or, Helping the Insurgents, By Author of Young Glory FOR SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS OR WILL BE SENT TO ANY ADDRESS ON RECEIPT OF PRICE, 6 CENTS PER COPY. ADDRESS FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 29 "West 26th St., New York.

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( YOUNG KLONDIKE. S"tories of a G-o1d. Seel:E.er. Handsomely Colored Covers. 32 PAGES. ISSUED. TWICE A MONTH. Price 5 Cents. Price 5 Cents. lfo. 1. Young Klondike; or, O:ff For the Land of Gold, By An Old Miner lfo 2. Young Klondike's Claim; or, Nine Golden Nuggets, By Author of Young Klondike No. 3. Young Klondike's First Million; or, Bis Great Strike on El Dora.do Creek, By Author of Young Klondike lfo. 4. Young Klondike and the Claim A.gents; or, Fighting the Land Sharks of Dawson City, By Author of Young Klondike .No. 5. Young Klondike's New Diggings; or, The Great Gold Find on Owl Creek, By Author of Young Klondike Issued Wednesday, May nth. Order No. 5 From Your Newsdealer NOW. For Sale by All Newsdealers, or will be Sent to Any Address on Receipt of Price, 5 Cents Per Copy, by FRANK TCUSEY, Publisher, 29 "V\!"est 26th St., Nevv York. AMEltlCAN fAllELCO. lffH.NLllfr fi111K \


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