Almost a man, or, Winning his way to the top

Almost a man, or, Winning his way to the top

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Almost a man, or, Winning his way to the top
Series Title:
Fame and fortune weekly : stories of boys who make money
A self-made man (J. Perkins Tracy)
Place of Publication:
New York
Frank Tousey
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1 online resource (28 pages)


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Wealth ( lcsh )
Entrepreneurship -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Boys ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
F18-00053 ( USFLDC DOI )
f18.53 ( USFLDC Handle )
031068080 ( ALEPH )
36376180 ( OCLC )

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But the man grabbed her by the arm and, raising his umbrella in a threatening manner, cried: "I've you, you sly minx! Now hand over your wages or-" "Stop!" shouted Bob, dashing forward and seizing his uplifted arm. I


Fame and Fortune Weekly STORIES OF BOYS WHO MAKE MONEY 118uect Weekl11-Bt1 Subsc1iption $2.60 per 11ear. E11terect according to A.ct of Congress, in the 11ear 1908, in the office of the Librarian of Oon17ress, Wa.hinaton, D. C., b11 Frank 7'ousey, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. -No. 40. NEW YORK, JULY 6, 1906. Price 5 Cents. A LMOST A MAN OR, Winning His Way to the Top By A SELF -rtADE rtAN CHAPTER I. HOW BOB BAXTER SAVES ELOISE BATES. There was excitement to burn in Bedford village. Squire Conrad Drew's pet wildcat, which had the repu tation of being a vicious beast, had escaped from its cage and was supposed to be prowling around the neighborhood, to the great dismay of the inhabitants for ten or more miles around Several parties had been organized for the purpose of hunting the animal down, but they were handicapped by i:he squire's express orders that the wildcat must not be shot, but snared and returned to him unharmed, in which case the autocrat 0 the village announced that he would pay a reward of $25. As Squire Drew was a man 0 considerable property and influence, lived in the most pretentious' residence in the village, and was accustomed to make his presence felt iu more ways than one, his neighbors and fellow-citizens felt diffident about displeasing him, even in so serious a case as this. Everybody knew that he prized this particular wildcat higl1ly, even though the animal seemed to be untamable and gave its keeper, the gardener, a deal of trouble. On account 0f the feroci011s nature of the beast it did Reem as if the mogul of Bedford was a bit unreasonable to insist that the wildcat be handled with gloves, af: it were, when its contin uance at large meant serious injury, if not a terrible death, to any man, woman or child unfortunate enough to meet it during its wanderings The animal had been reported as having been seen at different place s on the outskirts, while two farmer s wrote the s quire that they had found the mangled and half eaten remains of one of their sheep on the outside of the fold, whereupon the great man had promptly drawn his check in each ins tance for the value of the los s and mailed it to the agriculturalist. The hunting parties had taken guns with them to pro tect themselves against an attack from the animal, l.Jut nut one of these men would have dared to shoot the cat deliberately except as a very last resort Dexter Drew, the autocrat's son, though plentifully s up plied with spending money by hi s father, had an eye on that $25 reward himself. So he conferred with several of his cronies, boys who were glad to bask in the sunshine of his favor, and they formed themselves into a party to run the animal down. Dexter assured them there was no particular danger, but an immense amount of fun in the expedition; but just the same he took his fancy rifle along, while the others had to content themselves with pitchforks and clubs as weapons. Dexter had procured a big net with which he meant to entangle the wildcat if he got a fair chance; otherwise he intended to shoot the animal in defiance of his father's wi,;hes, and then excuse the deed on the score of self defence. While the village was all of a tingle over the wildca t


ALMOST A UA affair, Bob Baxter, a goodlooking, compactly b uilt boy oi "He's ore on y u worse than ever of late." seventeen years, was out in the n eigh boring w.oods with ""Why?" hi s particular friend, To m Leonard, g unnin g for rabbit s "On account o.f Flossie Bates." Bob was a bright, energetic lad, and the most popular "What about Flossie Bates?" } 1o ung fellow in Bedford village. "Daxicr i s

ALMOST A MAN. 3 I whipped dog. Every person in this world has his rights, Daisy," he added to Flossie's little siste r, who was scream-and I believe in standing up for mine." ing with fright "The danger is all over." They were approaching the edge of the woods, and had Tom, however, was afraid to approach the wounded and forgotten ali about the wildcat, when they heard a ripple sightless animal close enough to render his aim any way oi girlish laughter proceeding from the path which skirted 1 effective, and contented himself with c ircling a round the the edge of the trees str uggling cat with his gun at full cock watching for a The sound had hardly died away when a shrill, unearthchance to fire. ly screech took its place. "Oh, Bob, Bob, save me! Save me!" cried Flossie, 'l'he effect on Bob and Tom was startling throwing her arms about his neck in a paroxism of terror. "It's the wildcat!" exclaimed Bob. "It's dollars to "Brace up, F l ossie,'' he replied, soot hingly "You're douglmuts that girl, whoever she is, is in danger," and he I quite safe now. dashed forward with an impulsiveness that was natural "Is it dead?" she asked, looking up with a shudder. with him. "Not quite; but I guess I put it out of bu s iness all As if in confirmation of his words, the girl in-'the path right." gave a startled cry. "Where is it?" Bob cockeu his gun and dashed out into the open just "Look yonder," he answered, pointing at the sq uirming as tl1e blood-curdling screech was repeated. beast, which lay on its back. Ile saw Flossie Bates cowering clown, shie lding with "Oh, what a fearful thing!" she cried, clinging closer her bocly her little sister, Daisy, and gazi n g with fright than ever to her young protector. enecl and clistcndecl eyes at a certain part of the thicket. "Why don't you kill it, Tom?" asked Bob, impatiently. She seemed to be paralyzed with fear. Tom, thus urged, sneaked up closer to the cat, and tak-Bob looked, but he coulcln't sec the position of the wilding aim at its head, discharged both barrels in quick suc cat. cession. This state of affairs didn't last but a moment, for a . ti d t f tl tl 1 t th 1 1 ft h The amma l sprang up convu l sively, whereat Tom start1ir scream rang ou rom rn nc ce ; en, ice a as . 1 1 b 1 1 th h th I ed hastily back to get out of the way, and m his haste got a can, gray1s 1-rown amrna came eaprng roug e . t th 1 th t f d th d his feet all tangled up and went down backward, his gun au, s n ong e g1r w1 i s orepaws an e g roun I fl d ymoa yar away with its hind ones. 0 . urtl h t d Fl f 11 b k t f He looked so ludicrous as he scrambled up and flew for vv i i a ear ren mg scream < ossie e ac on op o ] t h"l tl t t d t 1 d t h the shelter of the wood that Bob couldn t h e lp bur st mg 1er sis er, w i e ie ca pu own i s iea o seize er t f 1 h h 11 "th t t th m o a roar o aug ter. s ou t er w1 i s ee . . 'rhe wildcat, however, was practically h a rmles s now, Bob, fully alive to li'lossic's peril, dashed forward and fired one barrel of his gun into the animal's side, slightly wounding it and distracting its attention from its vic tim. It turned on Bob with a snar l and a look that would have turned mo;:t people's blood cold, and crouched to make a spring on the brave boy. But Bob was too quick for it. With a Tcckles ness that Tom thought foolhardy, the boy ru }1ed up and discharged the remaining barrel full in the wild cat's fa.ce, destroying the sight of both of it's eyes. CHAPTER IL IN WHICH D EXTER DREW HAS SOMETHING TO SAY. The moment after he pulled the trigger Bob sprang to one side, and it was well for him he had the presence of mind to do so, for the cat, with a terrible screech of pain and rage, leaped for the spot where the boy had just stood, only to strike the ground and tear up the grass by the roots in its agony. "Finish it, rrom !" cried Bob, as he grasped the haH fainting girl and raised her in his arms "Don't cry, though by no means dead. It still kicked and strugg l ed in a helpless, blind sort of way, the blood dripping from its face, which was torn in a bad way. Then it was that Bob noticed a bright red sta in, show ing against the white of the girl's gown, where the wild cat had dug its nails into her near the sho ulder. "Good gracious, Flossie!" he exclaimed, in a voice of anxious concern, "are you much hurt?" "I don't know," she replied, all of a tremble. "Brace up, Flossie. Let me see where you are hurt." The girl blushed a little as she s ubmitted to an examination of the wound "My goodness!" he said "You had a narrow escape. 1 Tom and I hadn't been on hand I don't know what would have happened to you." "It was you that saved Daisy and I, wasn't it?" she said, with a grateful look in his face while h e bent over her arm and bound up the bleeding scratches with his hand kerchief. "Well, I can't deny but I did," he replied, with a thrill of satisfaction in his heart that fortune had enabled him to be of s u ch sig nal service to the girl he thought so much of. "How brave you acted! I don't see how you did it."


ALMOST A MAN. "I would do a great deal more than that for your sake, Flossie," he replied, earnestly. The girl's white face flushed with a vivid blush, and she looked down at the ground. Was she pleased or not at Bob's remark? There was a moment of si lenc e while the boy :finished tying the bandage and then pulled the sleeve of Flossie's dre s down over it. "I shall never forget what you have done for us as long as I live," she said fervently, looking up again. "Don't worry yourself about that," replied Bob, cheer fully. "But I want you to believe I am very, very grateful in deed to you." "Oh, I believe it." "You are so good to bind up the scratches, too," she went on. "A doctor couldn't have done it better," with a shy little smile. "Oh, come now, Flossie, you know that isn't so," he objected. "Yes, but is it," she persisted. "Nonsense! You must go to the druggist when you get to the village and let him :fix you up shipshape "No," she replied, shaking her pretty head in a posi tive kind of way; "it's all right as it is." "I hope it is," he answered, doubtfully. "But how is it you are away out here?" "Daisy and I went to call on grandma at the farm." "Oh, I see. It's a wonder you would do that when you knew that wildcat was prowling around the neighbor l10od." "I didn't think there was any danger in the daytime." "Well, you see there was. The cat looks as if it was giving its last kick. I guess Tom and I will get a hauling over the coals for doing it up, but I don't care. If I hadn't shot it it would probably lrnve killed you. That ought to be s ufficient excuse." "Why should you get into any trouble for killing it?" "Because Squire Drew didn't want it injured." "Why, the idea!" ejaculated the girl, indignantly; "just as if the thing ought to run wild till a few people were killed or seriously injured. Wait till I tell my story, and theri I am sure he will have no fault to find with you." "I 110pe he won't, for I don't want to have a run in with him." The wildcat was evidently its last. Tom had recovered his nerve and had come forward and was watching its nal spasms At that moment Dexter Drew and six companions came upon the scene through the woods where they had been looking for the wildcat. "I did, to begin with," replied Bob, quietly. "You did, eh? Don't you know that my father gave orders that it wasn't to be shot?" he snarled, eying Bob in no friendly way. "Yes, I know he did. But the animal attacked Flossie Bates and her sister, and I had to shoot it to s ave them." "Tell that to the marines," sneered Dexter. "It is the truth, Dexter Drew," spoke up the girl. "If it hadn't been for Bob I should have been dead now." "0 course I must believe you, Miss Flossie, if you s ay so," replied Dexter, wiih a gracious smirk, removing his hat and bowing to her. "But I dare say you were s ome what frightened at the time, and so that boy has per suaded you that he really did save your life. Why, I assure you, Uiss Flossie, that wildcat wasn't at all dan gerous We've had him for two years on our grounds and hi:: never did the slightest damage." "That's because you bad it confined in a cage," replied Bob, dryly. "I am not addre sing my remarks to you," ans wered Dexter, haughtily. "Time enough for you to speak when you're spoken to." "You've no right to talk to Bob in that way," fl.ashed Flossie, in great indignation. "Excuse me, Miss Flossie, i:f I differ with you," replied Dexter, with a disagreeable look. "I am very much surprised to think that such a nice girl as you would stand up for a common working boy like him." "Indeed!" she retorted. "l wish you to understand that Bob Baxter is my friend. Even if he hadn't been such before, he would be now after the service he has just rendered me.n "I can't say that I admire your taste in this case, Mis s Flossie,'' Dexter said with a sneer. "I don't care whether you do or not," she replied flatly. That was plain English right from the shoulder, and Dexter was much chagrined, especially as he heard his cronies snicker behind him. "I shall inform my father that you killed his wildcat, and I guess you'll hear something from him that you won't like," said Dexter, regarding Bob with a wicked kind of satisfaction "I am prepared to take the consequences," answered Bob, coolly. "When he hears my story and that of Flo s sie's he'll be satisfied that the act was justified." "We'll see. My father would rather lose a thousand dollars than that wildcat. I'll bet he'll make it warm for you." "He'd better not. He might regret it." "What do you mean by that?" demanded Dexter, an grily. "Do you dare to threaten my father?" They topped when they saw not only Bob, Tom, Flos sie and her sister, but the expiring animal. "What's the matter with you? I did not threaten him." "Yes, you did. I can prove it by every one here. Didn' t he say my father would regret it i he got called down for someshooting that cat?" asked Dexter, turning to his friend , Roscoe Sims. Dexter took one look at the cat and then flew into a rage. "Who shot that animal?" he demanded, with thing of his father's overbearing manner.


ALMOST A MAN. "That's what he did," replied Sims, who E:ager to back -ap the squire 's son. was a lways I crouched for a s pring when I discharged my other barrel in its face. Tom Leonard afterward nished it." "All right. Have it your own way," lessly. "Come, 'l'om, let's be traveling. i th u s Flossie ? said Bob, care"Cou ldn t you have s tunned the animal by hitting it on Are you going the head with the butt of your gun, instead of going to the extreme of killing it, when you know that I expressly "Of course," s he answered. The two boys and the girls then walk ed off down the path toward the village, leaving Dexter Drew and hi s a s sociates to follow at their pleasure CHAPTER III. IN WHICH SQUIRE DREW HIS SENTIMENTS. requested that the cat be taken alive ?" "No, sir The case was altog e ther too s erious for. ie to take any chan ces." "Indeed!" snee red the s quire. "I sho-q.ld probably have lost my life if I had tried to act as you say." "I think you exaggerate the matter in order to save yourself from cen s ure." "I refer you to Flossie Bate s s ir. She will corroborate my statement." "I dare say. I have no doubt you and she have arranged The news soon flew all over the village that Squire a story to suit yourselves. Drew's wildcat had been shot by Bob Baxter and Tom "No sir" replied Bob with an indicrnant flush "we 4 ' b Leonard, after the animal had attacked Flossie Bates, and I have ananged nothing. I have told you the hone st truth." the intelligence was received with a great deal of satis"And you expect me to believe this cock-and-bull story faction. of yours about savi ng that girl 's life?" There was an un s ual number of customers at Si.las Old"Yes, sir ham's store that evening. "Then let me say, young man, that I put very little For all that, there wasn't such a big lot of cash taken faith in it. I had rath er have lost a thousand dollars than in or goods chalked up on the slate that eat. A thousand dollars, do you hear me?" The people went to the s.tor e purposely to hear about "I am sorry, sir It was too bad that it escaped from Bob's adventure with the wildcat from his own lip s its cage." Without exception his listeners agreed that the boy had I "Had you capture d the animal, as I fancy you might exhibited unc()mmon pluck under trying circumstances, I have done, and returned it to me uninjured I should have and that he had done the correct thing in putting the paid you $25. As you chose to kill it, in deance of my vicious animal out of the way. wishes, I sha ll have a few words to say about you to your Still they wondered what the squire would say about uncle. And another thing, it appears that my son and the death of his pet Sl1me or his friends came upon the scene soon after you The store was more than half full of interested vilhad accompli shed your object. He had some conversation lagers when the portly form of Squire Drew darkened the with which h e very properly referred to my proba entrance. \ ble displeasure as soon as I learned of the death of the Everybody made way for him in the most respectful animal, and it appears you made use of some words which rrianner when he entered and advanced to the spot where my son construed as a threat against me in case I took Bob was holding forth. you to task for killing my cat. What have you to say 'rhe squire was not alone, or his son Dexter and Roscoe about that?" Sims was with him. "Dexter said you would certainly make it warm for "I wish a word with you, young man," said the autocrat of the village pompously to Bob when he r eached the coun ter. "Yes, sir," said Bob politely. "I understand that you came across my cat this after noon, you and young Leonard, and that you deliberate l y shot it." "I will tell you about it, sir," began the boy, when the great man interrupted him. "I asked you if it isn't a fact that you shot my cat?" he demanded severely. "Yes, sir, I shot the wildcat; but I had to do it to save Flossie Bates' life. The animal sprang out of North Woods at her, and had his claws on her arm when I fired a charge of shot into its side It then turn ed on me and me, and I admit that I said you would regret it if you did." "Then you admit that you used a threat against me?" "I did not intend that as a threat, sir. I meant that you would feel sorry afterward when you had heard all the facts." "That won't do, young man," said the squire angrily, shaking his gold-headed cane at the boy. "You threat ened me, Squire Conrad Drew and I am going to see that you are punished for it." "I don't think you are treating me fair expostulated the boy. "What's that?" "You're aeting unfairly toward me." "How dare you say that to my face, you young whipper-


ALMOST A MAN. snapper?" sputtered the nabob, growing very red in the moment later a sullen explosion reached his astonished iace. "Are you aware who you are speaking to?" ears. "Yes, sir," answered Bob, respectfully. "What the dickens can that be?" he asked himself as he "I consider you a very impertinent boy. You show strained his eyes in the direction whence the light and 1ery little respect to a man of my standing in the village. s ound had come. If I had my way I'd have you horsewhipped." Neither, however, was repeated. It was very embauassing for Bob to receive this layout "Something has blown up. I wonder if it could have before a store full of people. been Squire's Drew's patent gas tank?" Not only that, but the injustice of it all made him That suggestion seeme d quite reasonable, as the squi re's intensely indignant. house lay in that direction, and he had an apparatus on He was not in the least afraid of the village mogul. his grounds for manufacturing and storing illuminating The lawyer's pompous demeanor and blustering manner gas. did not overawe him, as it did so many of the villagers. "Well, I don't care," mused Bob. "It i sn' t my fuIn his opinion Squire Conrad Drew wasn't any better neral." than any one else in the village, only richer and puffed up With that he shut down his window and went to bed. with a feeling of consequence. He little dreamed at the moment that the flash and report was his funeral, so to speak, or rather that it was the result of a little conspiracy between Dexter Drew and his friend Roscoe Sims to put Bob into a hole that nearly resulted disastrously for the bright boy who had done such a heroic action that afternoon, and at the same time rid the village of a standing menace The squire, having said his say, sought out Silas Old ham, who was at the back of the store, and he said a few strenuous things to the old man about his nephew that didn't improve the s torekeeper's disposition. While he was thus engaged his son Dexter and his friend Roscoe Sims were nosing about the place to fill in time until the lawyer was ready to take his departure. When they :finally followed the squire out on to Main street there was something puffing out Dexter's jacket pocket which wasn't there when he entered the store, while he and Sims were chuckling at a great rate over something which appeared to amuse them greatly. When the time came to close up Bob lugged in all the boxes and barrels that ornamented the :front of the store during business hours, put up the shutters and locked the front door. All this time Silas Oldham was sitting by the fire at the back of the store looking as black as a thundergust. Bob noticed his threatening aspect, and decided it was all on account of what Squire Drew had been saying to his uncle. He expected to have a racket with Mr. Oldham before he went to bed, and he was not disappointed. However, Bob was pretty independent. Re had stood all the calling down that he was going to that evening, so when Mr. Oldham upened up on him, he put on his hat and marched out of the store by the back door, leaving his uncle to talk to his own stock-in-trade an c1 the fixtures. Bob walked up a back street, and then wandered aim lessly around for more than an hour, by which time he judged Mr. Oldham had gone to bed and was probably asleep. Then he turned his steps back to the store, and finding that his uncle had fastened the back door he clambered np on the roof of the outhouse which served for the kit chen of the establishment, reached the window of his room, pushed up the sash and entered. As he turned to clpse it again, a ruddy flash of light suddenly appeared at the other end of the village and a JHAPrrER IV. IN WHICH BOB IS ARRESTED Bob had been in the land of dreams about an hour when he was suddenly awakened by a sharp rat-tat on the back door almost under his window. He listened intently, not quite sure what it was that had awakened him. The iast two whacks on the door were 1oud enough to awaken the Seven Sleepers. Bob was oui o.f bed in a moment. "There's some one pounding on the door," he muttered as"he started for the window to look out. Only a man who was stone deaf could have doubted that fact. "I wonder what can be the matter? I s the house afire, or the house next door?" "Gee whiz! Whoever it is seems to be mighty impatient." He heard his uncle come out on the landing and stump down the stairs. Then he threw up his window and looked out. There were half a dozen people in the yard, while An drew Bates, Flossie's father, who was bead Constable of Bedford village, was standing close to the back door. Clearly it was he who had done the rapping. It was a clear, cold night and the moonlight shone full on the rear of the building and into Bob's face.


ALMOST A MAN. '1 ---------===========--==----.. ---_-__ ___ -. --=--==--"There he i s now," exclaimed a voice below, and in s tantl y eve ry eye was turned upward toward the boy. At that moment Silas Oldham demanded through the door who was there. "I am Andrew Bate s the Constable, and I want to get in." Mr. Oldham unbolted and unlocked the door and the Constable entered, the others remaining outside Hello !" Bob called down to the men in the yard "What's the trouble?" "Hasn't h e got a nerve?" the boy heard one or the per sons say, while the rest looked at him and never said a word. squire's gas plant," protested the boy. "I haven t been near Squire Drew's place for a week "I hope you will be able to cstab lisl1 that fact to the satisfaction of the justice, Bob; but I am bound t o say that the facts look black against you." "There is certainly some mistake "I hope there is. You might just as well be dressing as to stand talking tl1ere. You are only k ee ping me waiting." "What are you going to do with me?" "I have got to take you to the lock-up." "It's an outrage to pl1t me in prison on s u ch an lm founded charge, 1\Ir. Bates." "There i sn't a :fire in the neighborhood, is there?" "I am sorry the neces s ity of doing so is forced upon asked Bob again. me; but I have no choice in the matter. I have an orde r "Well, I ll be jiggered!" was wafted up to him, but he or your arrest in my pocket signed by Justice Smith." r eceived no reply "Well, a shame, that's all I've got 'to say," replied The boy thought this was mighty strange. Bob, beginning to dress him sell. "I hope you don't be" A s they don't seem inclined to answer civil questions lieve me guilty 0 such a crime, Mr. Bates?" I shan't bother talking to them," muttered Bob. "I don t know what i.o think, Bob,'' r eturned the Con J ust then there was a rap on his chamber door, and stable "As I said before, you arc the last boy in the vilthen it was opened without waiting for him to answer it. lage I should connect with a dishonorable act, but the His uncle entered the room, followed by the Constable facts seem to point very strongly at you I hope you will Mr. Oldham looked even more grouchy ancl unforbid-be able to justify y ourself. It is very painfol to me to cling than he did at the time the boy closed the s tore for be obliged to treat you in this way, especially alter what the pight. you did for Flossie and Dai s y this afternoon. I haven't H e seemed about to say something, but he didn't, and yet thanked you for that seryice, but I do so now," and permitted Mr. Bates to come forward and address his I M:r. Bate s with considerable emotion, held out his hand nephew. to his prisoner. "Bob B axter,'' said the Constable in a seve r e tone, "I am sorry t o be obliged to come here at this time of night on an unpleasant errand." Bob looked at him in great wonder and awaited forther explanation. "I have always had the very highest opinion of you, young man, ancl s o has my family. You are the last boy I should have thought capable of engaging in an underhand and criminal act." "Why, what clo you mean, Mr. Bates?" asked Bob, 111 surprise "I mean that I have come l1ere to arrest you--" "Arrest me !" gasped "Exactly." "Why, what have I done?" "You are accused of blowing up and completely wreck ing Squire Dre w 's gas plant this night." "\Yho accused me of s uch a thing?" demanded Bob, indignantly. "The squire does." aHe must be crazy "I regret to say that he has evidence in his possession which connec t s you with the crime." "What evidence?" "You w ill know in good ti:ie. You will have to put on your clothes and come with me." "But I had nothing to do with the blowing up of the "You're quite w e lcome, Ur. Bates,'' replied Bob, as he accepted the proffered hand. "But you needn't let that worry you in the execution 0 your duty I am not guilty of this charge, and I guess nobody can make an innoc ent person out to be guilty. Just before I came to becl I saw a fla s h and h e ard an exp l osion in the direction 0 Squire Dre w' s home I was looking out of that window at th<:! time, which was about eleven o clock. I couldn't very well have been in two places at one time." "I hope you can prove that, Bob; but your uncle said you lelt the store in an angry mood about ten o'clock, one hour before the explosion, and he has no knowledge when you returned. He believes you were not in the house at eleven o'clock." "I dare say he was asleep before that hour At any rate I had to cllinb on the kitc hen roof in order to reach my room, for he locked and bolted the back door so I couldn't get in." "You are ready to swear that you were in your room at eleven o'clock, and also that you saw a flash 0 light ;:rn.d heard an exp l osion at that time?" sai d Mr. Bates. "I am." "I am very glad to hear you say so, and I hope you will be able to account the piece of evidence the s quire holds against you," replied the Constable with a look of reli ef, for he really lik ed Bob, and he could not cleny but there was a ring 0 truth and s incerity in his tone s ; be-


8 ALMOST A MAN. sides the boy's reputation was the very best in Bedford She was still more surprised and very indignant when village, and that was much in his favor. Mr. Bates explained that Bob was under arrest on the "I am ready now to go with you, Mr. Bates,'' said Bob, charge of destroying Squire Drew's gas plant the night putting on his hat. "Unjust as this charge is, I'm ready before. to face it." "The idea!" she exclaimed. "Just as if Bob would do The Constable walked out of the room, went down the such a thing!" stairs anc1 stepped out into the yard, followed by Bob "rl'bank you, Flos1;ic," said Bob, gratefully. where they were awaited by the six curiously disposed "You needn't thank me, Bob,'' she replied with some villagers who had accompanied Mr. Bate s on hi s official spirit. "I wouldn't believe you guilty if the whole vilerrand ,lage insisted that you was." \Jl hands took up their line of march for the jail, a "You are very kind to defend me so strongly," replied small building provided with barred window s and a strong the boy, with a beaming look. door, adjoining the Bate::; home. ''I don't think you need any defem;e." Instead of opening the door of the lock-up, Mr. Bate s "I am afraid Squire Drew entertains a different opin conclucled Bob into his own house and shut the door in ion." the face::; of the inquisitive six, who, after lingering about The Constable nouded, a8 if there was no doubt of that for a ll'liile talking over the wreck of the squire's gas plant, fact. finally broke up and c1cpartec1 for their "Who has accused Bob i"' a keel Flossie. "Now, Bob,'' said Mr. Bates as soon as they were alone "The squire himself," repli ed her father. together, "I haven't the heart to lock you up in that place "On what grounds?" 11cxl door like a common criminal I am under the great'Tel rather not ay. lt wi 11 all come out at the examiobligation::; to you for saving the live s of my dear c hilnation thi::; morning." dren this afternoon, and I shouldn't ::;leep all njght if I "Did Squire Drew order you to arrest Bob?" put you in there, as my duty calls for. Therefore I ask "He woke me up last nighL about midnight and handed you to give me your word of 11onor that you will not lrave me a warrant s i gned by Smith which called for rny house to-night, and then you shall go upstairs and I Bob's arrest. lJ e said bis ga;; plunt had beer, blown up fini1;h your sieep in our sparq room." I and completrly clci;troyed, und that he was certain Bob "You are Yery. kind, Mr. Bates. Of course, I promise was the per>on who did it bccal'f'C he had threatened to you that I won't run away. It is the very last thing I j get even with him on account of the wi !cleat affair, also ::;houlcl think of doing. Indeed, it would be a ridiculous because he had found a certain tcll-lalc bit of the boy's proceeding on my part, and woulc1 certainly make people property at the scene of the explos ion." think me guilty of the deed." "li'olmcl a bit of my property on hi s grounds!'' exclaim" I agree with you there. You would probably i;oon be eel Bob, in a H urpri;;ccl tone. "What did he caught and brought back and you would find it much "l'd rather not mention what it was," replied l\Ir. harder then to clear yourself. \'cry well, 1 accept your Bale:;. "It will be brought to light at the examination, parole. I will show you to your room." and then you will haYe the opportunity lo di8 prove it if lt \ras a Jong time befoTc Bob could get to deep again you can." ihat night. "l have no idea what il can be,'' sa id Bob. "I haven't Hi s mind was in a whirl over the seriou s charge which missed anything." had been brought against him, and he taxed hi:; brain in '' H it belongs to Bob, then, mu:,

ALMOST A MAN. 9 much disappointed wlicn they found he had not been congla::::;es as i.f he was examining s ome new specie s 0 the fined in the lock np at all. genus homo. Did I understand you to say that you do "What's the meaning o.f this, Mr. Bate,?" askeJ. Dex-go to church and Sunday school regularly?" ter, rather insole ntly. "Don't you keep your prisoners in "Yes, sir." the lock -u p any more?" Justice Smith removed his s pectacle:;, wiped them care"I don't propose to discu::;s that matter with you, Masfully, readjusted them on his big nose anJ. then gazcJ ter Drew," repli ed the Oonslable shortly "You h aven't around the room as if Bob 's admission was a mos t astonany right to question my methods ishing one. "I'll bet my father will have something to say about "Sunday schoo l always inculcates good, hone s t and nothis," retorted Dexter, darkly. "TJrn jail i:; the proper ble precepts in a boy's mind, and I regret to think ihat place for common criminals." "OU should have so far disregarded jts tea chin!!"s," sai0011 found that he was g reatly handicapped in his defence. As soon as Bob was arraigned before the Justice that portly gentleman favored him with a scowl, jus t a s if sorething he had eaten that morning disagreed with him, and inquired what was the c h arge against the pris oner, although h e knew already what it was well eno u gh. The c harge was read by the you n g man who acted as hi s clerk. "I believe this i s the first time you have eve r appeared before me, young man," said Jus tic e Smith, severely. "Yes, sir," replied Bob. "I never thought that a boy of this village would be haled before me on so ser iou s a charge as this. If you had attended church and Sunday school regularly, young man--" I do attend r egu larl y, sir," replied Bob, respectfully. "Hey!" exclaimed the Jus tice, l eani n g forward and looking at the boy through hi s doubled-barreled eye" How dare you mak e s u c h an impudent remark! I have a great mind to commit you for contempt 0 court," he said, mopping his face vigorou sly. "Now, look me i n the eye, Bob Baxt e r, for that's your name, isn't it?" "Yes, sir." "Are you guilty or not guilty?" "Not guilty," r e plied the boy, promptly. "The prisoner pleads not gu"ilty. Enter that in your book, Jackson," to the clerk. "Sit clown, pri s oner," and Bob took a chai r alo ngside of 1\f;r. Bates. "Let the caee proceed. Squire Drew, I believ e you are the complainant. 'l'ake the witness cha ir. Swear the squire, Jacks on." Squi r e Drew was duly s worn and then proceeded to sub stantiate tl1e charge h e had brought again s t Bob. He sa id h e and hi s family had been s uddenly awakeJilcd from their sleep the preceding night by a loud explosion on the g round s On inve s ti ga tion it was discoYercd that hi s gas plant, which he had erected at consid e rable cost, aml which w,r the only one in the village, had been c omplet e l y wrecked. Hunting about for some evidence that would lead to the detection of the rascal or rascal s who had been guilty of the deed, he had found an empty can containing a few grains of gunpowder. On looking closely at the can he had found Bob Bax ter's n a me scratched upon it. H e showed it to hi s son and Dexter s aid it certainly was the property of Bob Baxter for he had see n it in bis possess ion that afternoon at the tim e he came upon B ob, Tom L e onard, Flossie and Daisy Bates on the edge of North Woods, where Bob lrnd killed hi s pet wildcat. H e then recalled the threat Bob had made again s t him, in case he reprimand ed him for s hooting the aforesaid c at. H e had r e primanded the boy that evening at his uncle's s tore in the pre s ence of man y of the vill agers, and he ::i c,w


10 ALMOST A MAN. believed Bob had taken thi.s means of getting square witl1 and many who had wavered before in their opinion as to him. his guilt had no longer any doubt on the subject. He would offer the powder can in evidence, and was "That can must have been sto len from the store la s t prepared to call several witnesses to prove the truth of his evening and placed where it was found by Squire Drew story. by some one who intended to get me into trouble. The Squire Drew placed the powder can on the Justice's person who did such a mean thing as that is probably the table and retired from the chair folly sa tisfied that Bob one who used the powder that was in the can to blow up would be remanded fot trial. the ga' s plant. I haven't the least doubt but that the The next witness was Dexter Drew, who swore that whole thing is a conspiracy to ruin my reputation and Bob had uttered the threat in question. have me put in prison." He also swore he had see n hi s father pick the powder Bob spoke hi s mind fearlessly, and there was a ring of can up close to the wreck of tlrn gas plant; that he had truth and honest indignation in his tones. seen it slung around Bob 's shoulder attached to a cord He did not look like a guilty boy, and many of the on the previous afternoon, and that he was certain it was people who had just decided against him flopped over in the same can. his favor. At any rate Bob 's name was on it, and be thought that Squire Drew, his son and Roscoe Sims sneered openly settled the matter anyway. at his statement, and Justice Smith was not much imRoscoe Sims was then called to the chair and corrobopresEed by it. rated Dexter's testi mony so far as it applied to the threat "Is that all you have to say?" he asked in the usually he had heard Bob utter, and the fact that he had seen the way he addressed the prisoner. powder can in que s tion in his possession. 'Ihat is !l.ll, except that I deny the remark I made Tom Leonard was next called, and reluctantly admitted edge. of N Woods was mtended as a threat that his friend Bob had made a remark which might be agamst Sqmre Drew. construed as a threat, but which he didn t believe was Bob then .sat down . intended as one. The Ju bee mopped his face, cleaned his spectacle-, He also admitted that the powder can was Bob;s propand then proceeded to give J1is ruling. ert I "I find that the evidence i s very much against the F ) 1 11 cl b 1 cl 11 f tl J t" prisoner. It is therefore with regret that I feel obliged wl as ca de d' tu.t 1e. patrriBe ba 0 le us ice 8 to commit Bob Ba:tter for trial at the sessions to be held questions t 1at ten e o cnmrna e o next month at Beavertown, and order that the Constable She attempted to tell 11ow the boy had bravely ris ked convey him without delay to the county seat and turn him his life to save her from the ferocious wildcat, but Justice over to the warden of the county jail. The court stands Smith shut her up with the remark that that had nothing adjourned." to do with the present case. The last witness who appeared against Bob was his uncle. He testified that Bob had left the store in very bad humor at about ten o'clock, which was something contrary to his usual custom; that he went up the back street to ward the end of the village where Squire Drew 's home was situated, and that he bad no idea when he returned 11ome. That ended the cas e against the boy, and everybody in the room was of the opinion that Bob was either guilty or would have a hard time to prove his innocence. "Have you anything to say in your own belrnlf ?" asked Justice Smith, glaring down at Bob. "I wish to repeat that I am not guilty blowing up Squire Drew's gas plant. I have not been within a mile of his home for more than a week." Squire Drew smiled sarcastically at this statement, while Dexter and Sims laughed derisively. "Do you deny that this powder can is your property?" thundered the Justice in an intimidating way. "I do not deny it," replied Bob, in a firm and clear CHAPTER VI. HOW TOM GETS INTO 'rROUBLE AND BOB MAKES HIS ESCAPE. Not until Justice Smith had given his deci s ion that he was to be taken forthwith to Beavertown, the county seat, to be imprisoned as a common malefactor until the day \rhen he should be brought before the presiding judge to stand trial for a very grave crime, did Boq fully realize how serious was the situation in which l1e stood. For a moment or two he sat like one stunned, gazing straight ahead, but nothing, while Flossie, seated at his side, sobbed as if her heart would break. The majority of the spectators, whatever were their private conclusions as to his guilt, felt sor ry for the boy who until this moment had been regarded as one of the best lads in Bedford. There were a few who made no bones about exhibiting their satisfaction at Bob's downfall. The chief of these were Dexter Drew and Roscoe Sims. voice. 'rheir sneers and inuendoes so thoroughly enraged Tom His acknowledgment created something of a sensation, Leonard that the moment be got outside of the office


ALMOST A 11 where tbe examination had been held he smashed them l But Flossie was determined Bob sho uld ge t away, and both in the face, one after the other, bowling them over 1 she so handicapped her father that the boy was a bl e to like a pair of tenpins. throw up the window, leap out and sfart at a run for t h e Dexter caught the worst blow, and the blood was stream cross street down which he flew like a hare, while the vil -ing from his nose when he got up from the ground lagers looked on in surprise, but made no effort to h ead Squire Drew, who had seen the assault on his son, was him off. furious. Dexter forgot his bloody nose and Roscoe Sims his sore "How dare you strike my son!" he cried to Tom. "I eye in the excitement of the chase which the will have you arrested." presently started; but Bob 'had a good start, and was soon He rushed back to Justice Smith to get a warrant out of sight. against Tom for assault, and while he was getting it Toro He, too, made for the river and when he reached it he knocked D exte r down a sec ond time. was surprised to see his friend, Tom, hauling at the rope This was enough for the young aristocrat, who ran howl which held an old flat boat to the shore. ing into the office after his father, closely followed by "Why, Tom, is that you?" he asked, with a feeling of Sims, with one hand over hi.s damaged eye. rndden gladness. Somebody told rrom what was in store for him, and Tom jumped nea r ly a foot off the ground as he recog advised 11im to make himself scarce. nized Bob. He thought well of the advice and skipped out for the "How the deuce did you manage to get away?" he said river, his idea being to get out of the village for a few to Bob. days until the matter could be s quared. "I jumped out of the window and ran for my life. But In the meantime, as the last of the people were filing what are you going to do with that flat-boat?" out of the room, Mr. Bates, with a sad expression on his "Going down the river to the next town in ller." features, tapped his prisoner on the shoulder, as a signal "What for?" asked Bob, in wonder. that it was time for them to be moving. "To avoid being arrested and put in the lock-up." The touch of his hand brought Bob back to himself. "Why should you be arrested? What have you done ?" "You are going to take me to Beav:ertown jail," h e "I smashed Dexter Drew twice in the foce and bloodied said in a broken voice. his no se, and his old man has got a warrant out for me b.z "I am compelled to do so, no matter what my private this time." feelings are in tbe matter." "Great Scott! Did you really swat Dexter?" "Once there, though I s wear I am innocent, it will be "I did, bet your life, and I handed a good one to all over with me. Squire Drew is determined to send me Roscoe Sims, too." to prison, and I won't be able to save myself. It is a put"You're a brick, Tom I'd have given most anything up j ob, and I am thoroughly assured that Dexter Drew for a chance to tackle those two chaps myself. is at the bottom of it. He hate s me, and he told it round the two meanest boys on earth." among the boys that he was just aching for a chance to "That's what they are. I couldn't 8tand by and see do me up. He and Roscoe Sims have made the chance them gloat over your misfortune, so I jus t up and let em between them, and backed by the squire's influence they have it good I wish I'd been able to give them more of mean to ruin me. But I won't go to jail if I can help the same thing. It would be a heap of satisfaction to myself," cried Bob, defiantly. "It's an outrage to send me." me there." "I'm sorry you got into trouble on my account, Tom." "I am afraid you can't help yomself," replied the Con-"Don' t s ay a word, Bob. What's the use of being a stable, !Sympathetica lly. fellow's friend if you don't stick up for him when he's in "Yes, you can, Bob. It will break my heart if father trouble?" has to take you to Beavertown. Jump out of that window "I shan't forget it, Tom, you may depend." and run away from the village." "Hello I" cried Tom, hauling Bob on to the boat "I will," cried Bob, making a step toward the window "Here come Baxter and Sim s now. I don't believe they've "I can't permit this Bob," exclaimed Mr. Bates. "I seen us yet They're looking for s ome trace of you, I'll am responsible--" bet. Dive clown into that hatch. Quick! I'll follow. "Don't mind him, Bob," cried Flossie, eagerly. "Jump Then when they come close to the water, or if they should out, quick." happen to get aboard this boat, we'll jump out and lick The Constab l e in duty bound tried to prevent the boy thunder out of them." from making his escape by way of the window, but Flossie This mane uver was quickly carried out and when Dex clung on to her father and thus gave Bob the opportunity t e r and Sim s came fylly into view there was no sign of to carry out his sudden resolve Bob and Tom. "Hey, hey! What's this?" cried Justice Smith, looking I But quick as the two fugitive s lrnd been, Dexter had up Crom the warrant he was s i gning for Tom Leonard's seen them, and where they went, and he communicat ed arrest. "Stop that ioy, Constable!" l the fact to Sims.


12 ALMOST A MAN. "The/re in the hold of that old Let's run aboard, pull down the cover and fasten it, then we'll have them trapped," tiugget-ited Dexter, with a chuckle. "All right," agreed Sims in high glee at the thought of capturing both of the fugitives at one stroke They rushed down to the river bank, ;;teppec1 lightly on board of the, and neaked quickly over to the hutch beneath the combing of which Bob and Tom were waiting expectantly in readiness to leap out, catch thei:r enemies and administer to them a sound drubbing before they shook the dust of B edford from their feet. But at-i it happened Dexter and Sims were a deal cuter and s licker than either Bob or Tom took them to be. They reached the open hatch before their presence was su8pected on board the old boat. With a quick glance below they clapped over the hatch upon Bob and Tom, and pushed the staple into place, thus making prisoners of the fugitives. "Ho, ho, ho!" shouted Dexter, gleefully, dancing a jig on the top of the scuttle. "We've got them like a pair o.f rats in a trap." "You bet we have/' yelled Sims, hilariously. "You stay here and watch that they don't get out while I nm back and find the Constable and fetch him here." :;aid Dexter. ''1'11 do it, only hurry." So off went Dexter at a run on the errand so pleasing t o his mean little nature. "Gee whiz!" cried Tom in dismay when the scuttle was clo:,;cd above their heads and secured. "We're caught!" "I'm afraid we are, and what is wor e than all we've been captured by Dexter Drew and Roscoe Sims. They have seen us after all, and played a trick on u 1 m so disgusted I could kick myself if I had the room to do it." "What are we going to do now?" asked Tom, help lessly. "\\'hat can we do?" replied his companion in misfor tune. A chink of sunlight struggling through the side of the boat attracted Bob's attention at that moment, and reach ing toward it he pushed aside a rough inside board shut ter. There was a small window, not more than six inches square, which admitted light and ventilation to the hold. Bob st uck his against it, and could see the river bank close at hand and the houses of the village beyond. He heard Dexter tell his crony to stay on the deck of the boat while he hunted up the Constable, and a moment after he saw the squire's ::on jump a1:>hore and run up the road ll"hich would bring him into Main street. T.urning his eyes downward, he saw within easy arm's reach the end of the rope which held the swing ing idly in the swift current. The sight of that rope put an idea into Bob's head, and a great idea, too. They were prisoners in the bold, it was true, but what prevented him from ming the t-iharp jack-knife in his I ocket to cut the boat lool'e from ih; moorings? Then it would go speeding down with the tide toward Grassvillc, ten miles below, and before that place was reached they might manage somehow to make their escape from the hold. While the idea was at white heat in his brain, Bob whipped out his knife, st uck his arm out of the window, and with the glittering edge of the jack-knife severed the strands or the thin cable. The la st strand parted with a s udden snap and the flat boat swung out from the bank with a ru h as the tide seized it and started it on its trip down the river. CHAPTER VII. ROSCOE SIMS OWNS UP. Roscoe Sims started to bis feet with a cry of dismay, and made a rush to jump ashore, but when he reached a position to attempt the feat the bank was too far off for him to make it, were he twice as agile as be was. "Jumping jibbooms !" exclaimed Tom. "What's happened?" "Nothing much," grinned Bob. "Only we're afloat." "Afloat!" "Sure thing. I reached out through that little window and cut the rope with my jack-knife. What's the use re1naining alongside the bank for lVIr. Bates to walk on board and lead us away like a pair of lambs to slaughter?" "And where are we bound?" "Down river." "And those chaps on deck are with us." "Only Roscoe Sims. Dexter went off a moment ago to find the Constable and bring him down to the boat." "That's where he'll be fooled," chuckled Tom, in high glee "Well, rather. Jus t listen to Sims, will you. He's hopping about like a monkey on a hot stove. I wonder if we couldn't get im to let us out?" They pounded lustily on the cover of the scuttle, but tbe boy on deck paid no attention to the racket, and they had to give it up. "It won't take the boat long to rea c h Grassville at this rale," sa id Tom, "but, the dickens take it, we won't be able to ;;top." "Sims will probably hail some one along the Grassville waterfr ont and have the boat ca u ght and hauled in to the s hore." "Where will we come in, then?" "In the soup, for he'll get the town authorit!es to take u s in charge arnl notify Bedford by telephone that we have heen recaptured." "Say, I don't like that for a cent."


ALMOST A MAN. 113 "Neither do I, but I don't see how we can help our "Keep off," cried Sims. "I don't want anything to do $elves as the case stands." with you fellows." Bob looked from the little window and saw that the:1 "I dare say you don't," replied Bob; "but we've got a were gliding along through a farming distr'ict. I bone to pick with you just the same." There were only two or three houses in view in the disSims started up in alarm and backed away as far as he tance, a mile or so apart, while the only sig n s of the life could go without falling into the water. was the smoke which issued from their chimneys "It will be worse for you if you don't let me alone "We are certainly in a bad fix," grumbled Tom, kicking "We'll take the chance of that," answered Bob, coolly. his heel against the bulkhead which separated this sec-Roscoe kickeCl out at them as soon as they got close to tion of the hold from the main and more open hold of them. the "Sims seems to have subsided I wonder what he is doing?" said Bob. He put his hand against the scuttle hatch to see if he could lift it enoug,h above the combing to enable him to take a squint on deck. He found that he could do so, and easily made out Roscoe Sims seated in a dejected pose at the other end of the craft, gazing at fue shore "I wonder if I couldn't get at the taple somehow and push it out?" s aid Bob. Tom got interested at once. "Try your knife blade," he suggested. "That won't work." "Why not?" "It's too short and too stiff. I want something long and thin, that'll and yet will be stiff enough to push out the s taple." "Where are you going to get it?" "I giYe it up." "Got a match?" "Ye'." "Strike it and look around this place. Maybe you can find omething that'll answer." Bob lit a match and illuminated their narrow prison. He earc hed every corner and spot with his eyes, but the place was quite bare of anything but of straw. "X othing doing,'' he said, disappointedly. "I'll have to ee if I can reach the taple with my fingers." He tried and found he could just touch the point. By steady and persistent effort he managed to work it loose and push it out of the hasp, then he lifted the cover, and the way to freedom lay before them. They were not long in taking advantage of their oppor tunity. Roscoe Sims looked around with a startled air as he heard the bang of the SC;Uttle cover when it struck the deck, then before hii:i astoni s hing eyei:i Bob and Tom rose out of the hold and s tooa upon the deck. "I'll tell you., \\hat w e'll do," l:laid Tom. "Sims will try to get us into trouble jus t a s 800n al:l w e :;trik e Grassville, which can t be a g reat way off now. Let\; put him down in the hold and secur e him. Then we won't stop at Gras villC', but go on to l\Iiddledit ch. which i s a railroad town." Thi s plan snitecl Bob anc.l s o the two boys advanced upon their young enemy Tom watched his chance and seizing Simi:i by the leg brought him down to the deck. His head struck on the raised edge of the boat and he saw numberless stars. "You nearly knocked my brains out," he whimpered. ""fhat's your fault Why didn't you submit at once?" asked Bob. "Because I didn't chose to "Don't be sassy, or we'll chuck you overboard," said Tom, with assumed fierceness. "You wouldn't dare," returned Sims "Don't be too sure of that," replied Tom. "Grab him, Bob, and we'll give him a little of the same medicine he and Dexter handed out to us." Sims struggled and kicked, but it didn't avai l him any They caught him by his arms and legs and half dragged, half carried him forward to the hatch, into wbich they lowered him. "Kow we're going to shut you up, and see how you'll like it for a change." "Just wait till I get back to Bedford and tell my fathe r. He'll make it hot for you two." "He'll have to catch us first," answered Tom "Look here, Bob, I think after that threat we'd better take him out and give him a first-class licking. What do you say? We've got a fine chance. There's nobody to interfere "All right," agreed Bob, "unles he admits that the blowing up of the gas plant was a conspiracy on the par t of Dexter and himself to ruin me." "I'll admit nothi,ng," replied Sims, doggedly. "All right," said Torn, grabbing him by. the collar ; "then up you come for a good big licking." "I'll kill you fellows if you don' t let me alone." "Start right in if you think you can do us up, and see who gets the worst of it." They yanked him unceremoniously on deck and throwing him on his back, Tom squatted on his chest. "Come, now, who stole my powder can from the stor e night before last?" demanded Bob. "You and Dexter were there nosing around. Which of you did it?" "Find out." "Catch him by the heels and we' ll s ouse his head in the river till he owns up," s ugge sted Tom. They grabbed him by the leg s anrl began to him over the side of the craft. "Help! Help! I'm being murJeiecl, roared Sims


1 4 ALMOST A MAN. "Shout away," laughed Tom. "There's nobody around hear you." "Let me go, will you?" "Not till you confess the whole details of the conspiracy to ruin me," replied Bob, firmly. "I didn't steal your powder can," answered Roscoe, in a tone. "Then Dexter did it, eh?" Sims made no reply. "Answer me, or over you go," cried Bob, he and Tom giving him another shove that made him shriek with fear "Yes, yes; he took it." "Then you two went over to Dexter s place, laid a mine with the powder under the gas plant and blew it up. Is that a fact?" "Yes," admitted Sims, sullenly. "And Dexter left the can where it would be found, eh?" "Yes." "I thought so. A nice contemptible trick to play on a boy that never did any 11ann to either of you. What did you do it for?" "It wasn't my scheme," replied Sims, sulkily. "Well, I don't believe it was; but all the same you join ed in to do me, and so you're just as guilty as Dexter." "Dexter hates you because you've got the inside track with Fl'ossie Bates," said Sims. "You'd better stay away from Bedford if you know when you're well off." "That's. what I mean to do; but not because I'm afraid o f Dexter Drew Several boys playing upon one of the wharves looked at them with some a s tonishment, but that was all the attention they attracted. In fifteen minutes the town was out of sight behind, and u broad level stretch of country, with a fringe of hills away in the distance, s ucceeded. "I' m beginning to get hungry," said Tom. "I'd given a good deal to have b e en able to haul in at Grassvill e and hunted up a square meal." "I'm rather s harp s et mys elf," admitted Bob. "We mu s t manag e to run the boat ashore this s ide of Middleclitc h, let Sims out and walk on to town." "What's the matter with going all the way to that pla c e in the boat?" "Well, I'm afraid Sims might give us trouble if we all landed there together. He's dead sore on u s and would do all lrn could to get square." "I gue s s he would. What are you going to do after you get to Middleditch ? I didn't intend to go any further than Grassville, where I expected to hang around for a week; but now you're with me I don't care if I go on down to New York." "I am not going to New York at present," replied Bob. "I'm going to try to get something to do at Middle ditch." "What at? Tending store?" "No. I haven t any reference s to giv .e, and it's s carcely likely I'd get a store job without some kind of recommen dation." "Let me up now. I've told you all I know." "Then, what do you expect to do?" "Just wait a minute," said Bob, taking out his note"Anything that' s honest." book and a pencil. "Shoveling dirt, for instance?" grinned Tom. He wrote down a complete confession of the gas .plant "I shouldn't refuse that as I'm now fixed." conspiracy and told Sims to sign it. "How much money have you?" "Put your name to that, and we'll let you off the whip< com prising the small town of Grassville now came into view around the turn in the river, and they were presently slip ping past the place. Jus tice Smith can't do much to you for m e r e l y kno c kin g Dexter down. Your father could get you off with a five dollar :fine." "I'll go back if you do. You've got Roscoe Sim s' c on fession. That ought to :fix you up all right." "That won't count for much, unless I could get him to i:;wear to it before a notary. If I presented that to the


ALMOST A MAN justice he'd question Sims and :find out we got it rom him through force He'd say we threatened to drown him if he wouldn't sign it and he only clid it to save his life. The n Jrn' d swear there wasn't a word of 1.ruth in it. Dexter would naturally do the same His fathel' would scout at the iclea, and where would I be against them all?" "That's right. You wouldn't be one, two, three. Why did you make him sign it?" "For my own satisfaction. 'rhat confession is the truth, and I only wish I could establish it as a fact." "Then you'd go back to Bedford?" "Yes; but I'd only stay long enough to show that I was innocent 0 that outrage. I'm done with Silas Oldlrnm. He might have clone something to help me out of this affair, instead of which he tried to make things look all the blacker again,t me." "He 's a funny kind of relative." "I've ceased to look upon him as such. Hello! the stream is swinging us in toward yonucr point. Here's a rhance, I guess, to leave the boat i we want to "We'll have to jump for it." 'What's the oclds ?" "Gee! That would be great," chuckled Tom. "It would take of the starch out of him." "Well, T clon't wish J1im any hard luck," said Bob, as they climbed up the bank and stood there a few moments watching Hoscoe Sims ancl the flat boat fade out of sight around a. bend in the stream. "There's n house yonder," said Tom, a :few minutes later, as they were tramping across a stubble field "Let's go there and strike 'cm for something to cat. I'm most 1;tarred." "I'm with you I colild tackle most anything in the eating line ju t now; but whether we'll get anything is another question." "I could chew on a sandwich if it ., as hard as a tenpenny nail," grinned Tom. It proved 'to be a farmhouse, and whe n they made known their wants the woman very kindly set about t h e lalf-starved boys what they considered a sumptuous me al When they ate as much as they could, which was con siderable, by the way, they offered to pay for the meal, but the woman wouldn't hear of it anu told them they were quite welcome to the food. Bob went over to the hatch and threw back the scuttle Thanking her, they set off again, after getting the direccoYer. tion of the highway to Middleditch. "Come out, Sims, if you want to get ashore," he snicl "I' f 1 lik b d m ee ing 'e a ir ," said Tom. "I never tasted Roscoe hastily scrambled out of his prison pen. anything quite so good in my life before." "Are you going to land up here on the edge of those "S h ,, d B b "A 1 h 1'oods ?" he asked. ai:ie ere, o square mea w e n a . fellow is dead hungry, is all to the good." '\\ e are. You can do as you please. M1ddled1tch 1s a I "B t 1 1 t ,, bl d T . e your w 1i_ wrs i is, war e om. few miles further on. You can float on down there if you It d 1 d th b l the t t ,d d tl b t d 't h fl t I was commg on us< now, an e oys m1ssec '\\an o, pron e ie oa oesn go as ore on a a 01 d d t k t 1 1 d t k tl b k b f t tl .r ,, roa some way an s rue 1e ra1 roa rac upon 1e an e ore you ge mt ar. "Tl l d ,1 ddl d' l l L l l cnu1 t d t t 1 d h f ?" h .d ns ea s to 11 i e itch a 1 ng1t. ct s wa k be ll la 0 you wan 0 an ere or. e sai t' t d rr "J t f h t t l 1 l' d B b ies, sugges e om. us or a c ance o s retc 1 our egs, rep ie o "If b th 1 t t k f 1 f . any octy saw us ey m1g1 a e us or a coupe o There wasn t time for any more conversation, for the t ,, h ll d B b / . acorn, c uc,e 0. boat was now as close m to the shore as she was likely to "Ho! I gue s s we don't look much like actors. We re get, and if the boys expected to land they had to be spry about it. too young, to begin with." So Bob took a flying leap and landed safe and dry on the earth close to the water's Tom followed him almost instantly, but Roscoe Sims hesitated, and, while he wavered the opportunily pas:;ed, and the breach between the boat and 8liore 1ridenec1 so quickly that he di

16 ALMOST A MAN. must hustle ahead and see if we can't find a track.walker or somebody that will warn the railroad people." "That's what we'll have to do. I hope no train is due round this time." As if in very mockery of that well-intentioned wish, the shrill scream of a locomotive whistle was borne to their cars at that moment from the direction of Middleditch. A train was coming toward them on the very track obstructed by the boulder. It was a thrilling moment for the two boys. train was an express and breatlrnd a sigh of thankfulness that he had been able to stop it in time. "What's the trouble, b0y ?" asked the conductor gruffly of Bob. "There'i; a big boulder on the trac k right ahead of you in the cut." 'rhc cond u ctor went forward with hi s lantern, followed by Bob. When he saw the rock he was nearly paralyzed. His experience told him what a narrow escape the train had had. "My boy," he said, turning to Bob and grasping him warmly by the hand, "you have averted a terrible catasOHAPTER IX. trophe by your presence of mind. The vice-president of the road must know under what obligations everybody on BOB SAVES THE EXPRESS. board the train is to you. Come with me. His private car is attached on at the rear." ")Iy goodness! There is a train coming thi way on Two minutes later Bob was introduc ed to the vice-ihis track!" gasped Torn. "What are we going to

ALMOST A MAN. 17' the train proceeded on its way, leaving the two to continue their journey to Middleditch. "Say, you're in great luck!" exclaimed Tom, who had seen the conductor hand his companion the roll of bills. "How much did you get for saving the train?" "The conductor said there was about $500 in the wad," grinned Bob. "What are you going to do with all that money?" asked Tom, rather enviously. "Well, to begin with, I'm going to give you some of it," replied Bob, generously. "Oh, I guess I ain't entitled to any of it," answered Tom, wistfully eying the indistinct bunch of bills Bob held in his fist as they sto od near the entrance to the cut. "Yes, you are.:' "How am I? I didn't do anything. Just stood by and looked on." "Well, we're side partners any way. I 've got about $600 altogether I'm going to give you $200 of it." "Oh, I say, that's too much," cried Tom, touched by his companion's generosity "One hundred is lots." "I said two hundred," insisted Bob; "and two hundred goes. You'll be able. to pay your own fine now wl1en you get back to Bedford and give your father some of it. That'll save you from a whipping for getting into trouble and then running away." "That's right," cried Tom, gleefully. "I can make my elf solid with the old man with a fifty dollar bill. Bob, you're a brick!" and he shook his companion warmly by the hand. "How iar have we got to walk to reach :J.ficlc1leditch ?" "Fifteen miles," replied Bob. "The cleuce you say!" gasped 'I'om. "Why that'll take all night." 'Tm not going to do it to-night." "What then r Sleep out in the woods?" "No. The conductor told me there's a village called Coldstream about two miles back from the railroad. We'll go there and stop at the small hotel. Now that we've money in our clothes, we can afford to put on a lfttle style," with a chli.ckle. "That Ruits me all right," grinned Tom, and the boys off in the direction or the village in question. The path led them through a sma ll wood, and half way through they came to a babbling rivulet, where they stop ped to s lake their thirst. While they were drinking Bob hea.rd voices close at hand. They were rough voices; and the boy judged they be longed to a coup le 0 tramps. He parted the bushes and looked down into a little gully, w11ere he saw the s peakers seated before a fire they had kindled to cook a mess of fish they had probably caught in Eome nearby stream. Bob didn't like the looks of the two men very much and he motioned to Tom to keep quiet. One of the men had a bag by his side, but what it con tained Bob c ouldn't guess. "It's set tled, then, that we do the job to-night," one of the men was saying. "Of course. The old man who watches the mill is half deaf. 'rhe safe is full of money to pay off the hands to morrow. If we're goin' to do it at all it must be done tonight." "Well, I've got the tools that'll make short work of the s afe, for I don't suppose it's more'n an ordinary one. Once we get the money we can cross over into the next Stl).te and make off. You managed to get the lay of the buildin' in a mighty cute way," said the man, with a short laugh. "It was great luck our meetin' with the very chap that put up the buildin', and a few glasses of licker set his tongue waggin' in the right direction. Why, you even got him to draw a plan of the office floor on the second story." "That's what we wanted, wasn't it?" grinned his com panion. "Sure it was. Let's take a look a.t it." The other drew a piece of paper from his pocket, spread it out on his knee and they examined it together. "That's the entrance," said the man who had the plan, "and here's the hall. Beyond is the main workroom." "And what's this?" asked his pal. "That is a little corridor between the workrooms. There are two doors. One l e ads into the main shop--" "And the other?" asked hi s companion, eagerly. "Opens into the office. Here are the windows; there's the desk--" "Who's desk?" 1Why, the manager's, of course." "Ain't there no other windows but them there?' "No." "Where's the safe?" "That cross there represents the safe." "Good eno11gh. It's on the blind s ide of the buildin', and nobody'll be able to see u s in the office. What a soft old chap that architect was." "He was just honest enough not to suspect us, and not sober enough to keep hi s mouth shut. I flattered him to the queen's ta ste, and h e was willin' to do anything for "You worked him all right, Jim. You're the boy that's got the gift of gab when it counts Th e factory is off by itself, isn't it?" "Yes. It's all 0 a block from the neare s t house." "And there's nobody 'round but the watchman eh?" "So the architect said, and I judged he told the truth." "It'll be a regular open and shut game, won't it?" said the other, taking the cooked fish off the fire and spreadin g them out on the top of a log "That's what it will," replied Jim, taking out one o f the fis h and beginning to tear it to pieces with his teeth. "We ought to be able to do up the watchman in no time at all," said the other, helping himself to a fish . "We'll put him to sleep for an hour or two, and he'll


H! ALMOST A MAN. n ever know what's goin' on. I ain't seen suc h a snap as this in many a year." "How much money do you think there is in the safe?" ":Must be a couple of thousand at least. It'll be a :fine haul for u s." The men c ontinued to cat and talk until they had fin ished th eir' meal; then they got up, s tamp e d out the fire and prepared to take their departure from the spot CHAPTER X. 11'11E UOBBER Y OF TIIE :hIILL. The short, chunky fellow, whose name was Bill carried the bag containing their kit of fools. In twenty minutes they came 1.o the first straggling houses of the village. As soon as they struck the heacl o[ Main street the men paused and held a consultation, al'.lcr which they struck off to the right. The boys followed. "If we only ]mew where the Constable lived, or was certain there was only one mill in this place, one of us could start ahead and give the alarm while the other fol lowed these chaps to their destination," saicl Bob. "We'll have to wait till we .find out just where they are bound. Then while they're at work we ought to have time enough to hunt up e nou gh of the villagers to capture them Bob drc\V bac k out of the bu shes and looked at Tom. in the very act." "Did yot1 hear what they said?" h e asked in sutpresse d This seemed to be the better way to carry Ol1t their' excitement. plans, so Bob adopted it. "Every word," whispered Tom. Coldstream was only a small place in ppint of popula "They' re going to rob some mill t9-night." tion, but it covered a lot of ground "That's plain enough. where do yon suppose it is?" It had only one street, borclered on both sides with big oak trees. "I haven't any idea, unless it'::; in the village beyond h ,, Apparently there was but a single church, a red brick ere. "I'll b th h t W t f ll tl h building with a short spire which stood in front of the et at s w ere i i s e mus o ow 1ose c aps d th b b graveyar on e su ur s and put a s poke in then wheel." rrh (J' 1 h . .. "I "ll t b t f ll tl tl 1 k tl t e burc,lars e d t em past it as they s lmted the v1l-t wi no e easy o o ow 1 e m in ie c ar so 1a I l age. they won't get on to us." The boys thought the walk a never-endmg one, but at "We must d? the bes t we can." last they made out a big brick building at the opposite end l11S the busl:es agam. ,i of the place where they had entered, and before which 'Ihey ve ht then pipes and are havrng a smoke the rascals came to a pause and began to reconnoiter the "I thought they were about to make a move "So did I. We mu s t wait here till tliey go o n and then try and trail them to the buildin g they're going to break into "Then what ll we do?" "As soon as they get to work one of u s must watch them w hile the other goes and gives the alarm." "We must be cautious, for they're pretty tough-looking TOosters I wouldn t care to have a run-in with them. I l bet they've got revolver s stowed away somewhere about them." lik e ly they have. Hush! They're comi n g this way.." The boys drew back into the bushes, and presently the would-b e burglars passed within a yard of their place of concealment. A soon as they were a little distance ahead Bob and his companion followed th em. The rascals took the path that soon brought them to t he county road l eading to the village of Coldstream. Bob and Tom then s lunk along in the shadow of the h edge and just far enou gh in their rear to keep them con stantly in sight The men walked lei sure ly along smoking their pipes, apparently in their dest i n ation. the lonesome road no hurry to reach premises. "That's the mill," cried Bob, excitedly "That's the Luilding they're going to rob." "I guess it is," replied Tom. "Then there's no time to be l ost. You run down to that house yonder, or to a store il'. yon see one open not too far away, and t ell the :first you meet what's up. Tell him to rouse up the Constable and several men. They must arm themselves and ha ten to the mill here as fast as they can. I'll stay and watch till you come back." "Keep in the shade, Bob. Don't get into trouble while I'm away." "Don't worry about me 'rho rascals have disappeared around the corner of the mill. 'l'hey"re looking for the watchman. Now be oir," ancl Bob gave his companion a pu sh. As soon as h e was alone Bob crept around to the back of the mill, but the burglars were not in !'ight. "I wonclel' if they've got inside already?" he breathed. He didn't clare to go any closer to investigate, but con tented himself' with kcrping a bright watch on the reat door oJ' the mill. Ten minutes passed and no clevelopments. "Bvidently they've got in all right," he muttered. Just then he saw the flash of a light through one of the second s tory windows.


ALMOST A MAN. 19 i'I'll bet that's them. I wonder if that's the office where hardened malefactors, and that was the State pril:iGD, the afe is with the money?" where it would be out of their power to do any harm. H e couldn't tell, o.f course, but he grow more and more At la st, to Bob's gTeat reli ef, he saw a crowd of peopl e nervous and impatient as time passed and there was no approaching i.he mill. sign of Tom or a party 0 the village rs. "Now we'll have the rascals all right," h e cxclaimd Silence and gloom reigned all around, io r the moon, i gleefully. there was any that night, had not yet ri se n. The burglars, however, had about comp l eted their w.:i::k. It is true the silenc e was not absolute, for the frogs and One of them, happening to l ook out of the window, s1: 1f the night insects were in full tune, but that was the sum the crowd of villagers coming toward the mill. total 0 the sounds which came to the boy's ears He immediately gaYe the alarm. H e saw the flash of li gh t at occasional intervals through "We're discovered, Jim," he cried. "Jump out of the the same window, so he judgecl that the burg l ars were at window and 1 '11 hand down the st uff. their nefarious work. Bob saw the back window rai sed at this exciting mo Bob had never been brought to regard crime so closely ment, and one 0 the burglars l et him elf down with a run. before, and the se n satio n was not a pleasant one for tl1e On the spur of the moment the boy to cut boy off hi s escape "Seems to me it is taking Tom all night to attend to Either the shock of contact with the ground, or the sight his part of the business," thought Bob, impatiently. of Bob rushing at him unnerved t110 rascal for without H e forgot that time seemed longer to him than it really waiting to receive the booty he fled a s fast a s his heels was. would permit him. Every minute seemed eq u al to five to him as he fretted "Catch the bag, Jim," cried the 'voice of Bill above, jus t and fumed at the apparent delay o[ his comrade in execut -as Bob started to follow the crook, and lik e a fl.ash the ing his mission. situation dawned upon 11im. As a matter of fact, Tom was not letting the grass grow In the darkness the other rascal had mistaken him for under his feet at all his pal. He didn't sto p at the firt house, it is true, ior it was So Bob lifted up his h ands and caught the descending dark and silent, and he was afraid he would l ose too much object in his hands. time waking the people up, for he guessed they had gon e Then as Bill came scrambling c1own imme diately afte rto bed ward, Bob gave him a rap on the h ead that stretched him He kept on down the shady street till he came to the upon the gro.und. only hotel the village boasted. In a moment they were e n gaged in a furious struggle He rushed into the place, where a number of men were for the mastery playing at pool. Asking for the proprietor, his excited manner naturally attracted notice, especially as he was recognized as a stranger. When the owner of the hotel appeared Tom told him about the visit of the burglars and their designs on the mill. As soon as the hotel man was satisfied of the truth of Tom's tory, he put on his hat, and accompanied by the boy, started for the Constable's house, a few blocks away. That individual was soon made acquainted with the state of affairs, and he started to gather a posse of his fellow citizens to capture the He made his first call at the home of lhc manager of the mill, which was not a great distance away, and soon things were in shape to start for the mill. In the meantime Bob hung around the building bub bling over with anxiety ancl impatience. The full degradation and r eckle;;s ness of c rime was re vealed to him. In the office o.f the mill at that moment were two cal l ous -hearted human beings bent on robbing their fe llowcreatures, and even desperate cno ugl1, he folt s ur e, to kill whoever opposed their evil designs. There was only one place in his e timation for suc h CHAPTER XL MORE MONEY COMES BOB'S AND TOM'S WAY. "Let go, you little fool!" gritted the rascal as he en deavored to drag him self free from the plucky boy's grip Bob, however, clung to him tenaciously, deter mined to hold on at any cost until the help that was coming arr i rnd o n the scene "Confound you, it will be worse for you if you

20 .ALMOST A MAN. ing on the earth, conscious it was all over but the march to the village lock -u p, and the subsequent proceeding$, whi c h would land him in the State prison. H e swore roundl y, and to l d Bob h e would get even with hi m come clay; but that threat didn't worry the boy for a <.;C'llt. Burglar Bill would be provided with free board and lldging for many moons to come, and when he did get out i t was dollarn to doughnuts h e neYer would come acro:::s lJob again in hi s life 'l'lie Uomtable and hi s c rowd now came up, and to him Bob turned <:JVer his prison er, and was duly complimented for hie plucky conduct. :\[r. George, t11e compa n y's manager, rushed into the rnill, follow ed by severa l of the cro wd. "Where's the other c hap ?" asked th e Constal.J l e of Bob. "Tl1ere were two of 'em weren t there?" 'L e5. He got away a few minutes ago." '' \Yhich way did he go?" "That way," replied the boy, pointing out the direc tion. The Constable spoke to severa l of his people and they started off to try and find the ra scal, which, however, they did not s ucceed in doing. In a fe11 minutes Mr. Geo r ge came out of the mill with a troubled countenance. He approached the Constab l e "I understand that one of the rascals has escaped." he said. "We may catch 11im yet." "It is to be hop ed will. .You didn' t find anythin g on this man, did you?" "Not a thing." "Too bad Too bad. They got the safe ope n and com pl etely rifted it. The other m a n must hav e carried off the booty." I guess not, sir," now spoke up Bob. "This c hap threw a I.Jag out of the window just before he came down him and I caught it. Then I tried to capture him, and I had th e fight 0 my lire to 110ld him till help came " Wher e is this bag he threw at you?" asked the man ager, eage rly. 'Here it i s where I dropped it, right under the win do w." Bob ran forward, grabbed the bag and dragged it before 1Ir. George The manager quickly turned its contents out, and pack ageo of paper money came to light. "Thank h eaven!" lie ejaculated, with a sig h of r elief. "The money is here. My lad, l am und er the g reatest obligation to you. W e had $2,500 in the s afe to-night, to pay the men off to morrow, as well as sundr y other ex p enses. It \roulu have sadly crippled the company if we hac1 lost it, as we have an unusual amount of money out 'at this time. I will see that you are s uitabl y reward ed for s aving our property." "I don't want any rnward, sir," saic1 Bob, wbo thought he had made enough in that line for one night. "Bu t you deserv e it, young man, and I shall not permit you to go without having rece ived some compensation for your plucky conduct. What is your name, and where do you live? I r::ee you are a stranger in "Bob Baxter is my name. I hav e been living in Bed ford, but I am now on my way to Middleditch. My com panion and I merely came to Coldstream to pass the night, as we didn't feel li ke walking :fifteen miles in the dark." "Come up stairs with me, both of you I want to talk with you," said the manager. The boys, when they entered the office, saw that the burglars 11ad blown off the door 0 the safe, which lay on its back on the carpet. The contents of the various 0 the desks had been turned out in search for articles of value Everything was in the greatest disorder, for the work had been hurried. The manager bade the boys sit down and tell him how they had di scovered that the mill was going to be robbed. Bob told the whole story, from the moment they had encountered the two rasca l s eating their supper in the wood. Well y ou are bright boys, both of you; but chiefly to you, Master Baxter, is due the recovery 0 our money. I shall therefore insist that you will accept $200 for your services this night, while your friend shall have $100." He counted out the money and presented the bills to the boys, who received them with some reluctance and many thanks. "'Lou will be the company' s guests at the hotel tonight and as long as you choose to stay in the village," continued Mr. George. "You are very kind, s ir," replied Bob. "But we shall start for Midtlleditch after breakfast to-morro\\' morning." "I am sorry that you can't stay a day or two with us. Onr president and directors, who all liv e i.n the village, would he g lad to see and hav e a tal k with you." ''Well, J'll po:;tpone our departure until after dinner i you really wis h u to meet them." I should con s ider it a favor if you will." "All right,'' replied Bob. "I guess it's time we went on to the hotel." "I'll go along with you and introduce you to the pro prietor." Half an hour later Bob and Tom wer e in the best room in the hotel. "Gee whiz!" exclaimed 'l'om. "We've fallen on our feet in great s h ape. Getting out of Bedford has been the making of u s How l ong would it have taken you to get l1old of $600 or I $200 if we had stayed in our village? Say, I don't want to go back, if thi s is a sample of what I'm going to be up again st." Bob laughed heartily at his friend. "Wl1y, you don't expect to help save railroad trains and capture village burgl ars a regular thing, do you?"


ALMOST A MAN. "No. But something else is sure to turn up to bring money into our pockets." "What makes you think so?" grinned Bob. "Oh, I feel it in my bones." "Tom, you're getting a big head, that's all." "Oh, you get out. My head isn't any bigger than to the proprietors of the mill, and both he and Tom re ceived an official vote of thanks for what they had done for the company's interests. After dinner a team came up to the hotel a nd the boys were told that Mr. George had sent it to take them to Middleditch. yours." "Say, this is all right, isn't it, Bob?" exclaimed Tom, "Isn't it?" chuckled Bob. "Then my eyes must de-as they stepped into the vehicle. ceive me." "Come, now, what are you giving me?" objected Tom, good-naturedly. "Nothing at all. You've got enough for one night. Get into bed now and s leep off the effects of a too sudden accumulation of wealth." Bob doused tlie lifht, and in a little while both of the "Oung adventurers were in the land of dreams CHAP'rER XII. BOB TAKES THE PART OF A VERY PRETTY YOUNG MISS. "I should think it was. We've been having a much better time than Roscoe Sims, don't you think?" "Well, I should remark. I wonder if he rea.ched Mid dleditch all right last night? I'd laugh if he got stuck on one of the flats in the river you were telling about." "Perhaps we'il find out when we get to town. How ever, I hope we don't meet him, for like as not it would lead to trouble." They reached Middleditch about four o'clock, and went to a cheap hotel until they had settled upon their plans for the future. Next morning the boys noticea several advertisements in the newspapers, any one of which they thought they could fill the requirements of, so alter an early breakfast they started off in different directions to try their luck. The news of the attempted burglary at the mill spread It was Saturday and Bob hoped he would catch on to all over the village in no time next morning, and it seemsomething for the coming week. ed as if half of the male population of the place founcr He didn't succeed, however, and by noon had exhausted occasion to call at the hotel to stare at Bob and Tom after I the different places that wanted a boy. they had finished a tip-top breakfast and wcrn sitting like He went into a restaurant for his lunch, and then lords on the piazza enjoying the fragrant breeze. started off to see if he could drum up a job. "Say," grinned Tom, noticing a bunch of open-mouthNothing came of his efforts, and he was descending the ed rustics taking them in from the other side of the street, third flight of stairs in a very ordinary kind of office build we're getting to be some pumpkins, aren't we, Bob?" ing when something happened that called his chivalrous "Sure," laughed Bob. "How do vou enjoy the sensanature into action. tion ?" Bob turned into the corridor in time to see a shabby, "Tip-top." sour-faced old man rush up to a pretty miss of :fifteen Just then the proprietor of the hotel came out with a who had just come out of one of the offices. red-headed man in tow. The startled girl uttered a smothered shriek and tried "This is Mr. Heyman, the editor of our local paper. to run. H e wishes to talk with you about last night 's affair." But the man grabbed her by the arm, and raising his Mr. Heyman yanked out a note-book and said he would umbrella in a threatening manner, cried: be g lad to hav e their account of the robbery for the story "I've caught you, you sly minx! Now band over your be was writing up for n ext Jay's issue. wages, or--" Bob graciously obliged him. "Stop!" shouted Bob, dashing forward and seizing hi::; "Do you boys drink or smoke?" asked the Coldstream uplifted arm . editor, closing his note-book. The old man turned angrily on Bob. "No, sir," replied Bob, promptly. "How dare you interfere!" be cried, with an ugly flash "You'll take a glass of soda or sarsaparilla, won't you? in his eyes. It's my treat." "I won't stand to see you strike that girl," replied Bob, "We only jus t finished breakfast, and must therefore resolutely. "Let her go." decline your invitation," answered Bob. "This i s my niece and I'll do as I chose with her." Mr. Heyman, who regarded him self as one of the great "Oh, I guess not," answered Bob, coolly. "Not while men of the village, then took hi s departure, after invit-I'm around you won't." ing the boys to visit the office of the Weekly Blade. "I'll have you arre sted!" s hrieked the infuriated old An hour later a messenger arrived from the manager fellow, making an effort to hit Bob with his umbrella. of the mill asking the boys to go there, as the president "All right. Why don't you?" retorted Bob. and other directors were on hand waiting to see them He grabbed the man' s wrist and compelled him to let Bob told the story of the night's adventures once more the girl go.


22 ALMOST A MA r. "Now if you want to have it out with me pitch in," They were now walking along the street, but there was went on the boy, defiantly, while the girl sh r a nk away and no sign of the young lady's uncle, much to her relief. re garded her defender with grateful eyes. "It wi'n depend on whether I can get anything to do The man sputtered a .nd jabbered incoherently, and here or not." seemed as if he was going to have a fit. "You ought to be able to get a situation, for this is a "Give me that money!" he shouted at the girl. real live town. You might board at our house if you cared "I will not give you a cent. You only want to spend it to. Mother has just lo s t her regular boarder." in liquor," she replied stoutly. "H your mother could take my friend, Tom, also, we "Then I'll fix you when you come home," he eried, might consider it." malignantly. "I will ask her. Does your friend come from Bedford, He turned on his heel and made off downstairs. al so?" "I'm very much obliged to you," said the pretty miss, "Yes. He is also well acquainted with your cousin." turning to Bob, "and I am very sorry you got into trouble "Mother will be very glad to see you both. It's some on my account." time since we've seen anyone from Bedford. Neither my "Don't mention it," he replied, politely. "If you wish uncle Andrew nor Flossie has visited u s in over a year. me to see you home I will be glad to accompany you; but I think that's real mean, considering the distance between if I were you I'd go to some friend's house until your here and Bedford i s not so far uncle has cooled down. I s110uldn't like to think that I "Perhaps you owe them a visit," smiled Bob. had left you at the mercy of such an unreasonable old "Oh, I'm working all the time. I can't get away." man." "Not even on Sunday?" laughed Bob. "You are very kind; but my mother will protect me. "I have to help mothm on Sunday He won't dare to carry out his threat." "Well, if I come to board with you, I'll try and per"I am glad to hear that," replied Bob, with an air of suade your mother to let you go to Bedford .some Sun reliei. "Perhaps, then, it isn't necessary for me to see day." you home." Ada laughed, and soon after they reached her home. "I don't know," she answered. "He might be waiting Bob was very graciously received by Mrs. Bates as soon for me on the street, and he's ugly enough just now to as Ada explained that he came from Bedford, was well make a scene, and that would be just dreadful." acquainted with Cousin Flossie, and, further, that he had "Very well, then, I am entirely at your service ." saved her from a very embarrassing situation in the build"! don't like to trouble you," she said, hesitatingly ing where she was employed. "It's no trouble at all, mis s Do you telling me Mrs Bates was very indignant when she heard how her your name?" brother had acted toward her daughter, and remarked "Ada Bates." that she would have it out with him when he came home. "Mine is Bob Baxter." Bob was invited to remain to s upper and accepted, but She smiled. he wouldn't remain any longer, as he said his friend Tom "I will remember it," she answered. was waiting for him at the hotel where they were stop "I have a very good friend named Flossie Bates," be-ping. gan Bob. "Flossie Bates!" she exclaimed "Why, I have a cousin named Flossie Bates. She lives in the village of Bedford, CHAPTER XIII. up the river." "Why, that's the girl I mean," said Bob, delightedly. BOB GOES NEW YORK CJTY AND RECEIVES $5,000. "Her father is the head Constable of the village." "Yes, that's right," said the girl, with a pleased exWhen Bob got back to the hotel he found Tom waiting pression, regarding her new acquaintance in quite a di-impatiently for his return. fcrent light. "So you really know my cousin Flossie. Do "Well, did you catch on to something?" was Tom 's first you live at Bedford?" querry "I have lived there for a good many years; but I've left Bob shook his head. ther e to strike out for myself where there's more chanc1;: "Nothing doing," he said "How about yourself?" to get up in the world." "I land e d the first place on my li st," grinned Tom. "Well, I'm awful glad to know you, Mr. Baxter. 1 "It's in a feed s tore." shall certainly write at once to Flossie and let her know "You're lucky." how bravely you defended me again s t my crabbed old "If you didn't hit anything what kept you away so uncle, who is the black sheep of the family. Do you exlong?" pect to r e main in Middieditch ?" Bob told him of hi s adventure in the office building, "I can't say whether I will or not." which led to his becoming acquainted. with Flossie Bate s's "I do hope you will," she said, eagerly. lcou sin Ada.


.ALMOST .A M.AN. 23 "Is she pretty?" inquired Tom, growing interested at I untarily return to Bedford with some proo:l' of his inno once. cence, he had better leave 1\fiddleilitch at once. ".As a peach," replied his friend. Bob rccei vocl the note Wednesday morning after Tom "Going to introduce me, aren't you?" had left .for the store where he was employed, and, believ "Sure. l 'm thinking o.f'. boarding with her mother ing Flossie's advice good, he notified Mrs. Bates that he The room will accommoclate two. I suppose you're with had clecided to leave town, without stating where he ex-me ?" pectecl to go. "Bet your life I am." Ile left a note for Tom, telling him the circumstances, ".All right. We'll go up there to-morrow night to tea. ancl stating that he had taken a train for New York and I promised to come, and said I'd bring you. The only would write him in a day or two. trouble is that Flossie's father, when he hear that I am Bob arrivecl in the metropolis in the afternoon and in M:iddleditch, may feel compelled by his duty as Con went to a small hotel on the European plan stable to commun icate with the police here and have me Kext moming he caught a job through an evening arrested and held till he can come clown and take me to paper, and that night wrote a letter to Torn, telling him th e jail at Beavertown in accordance with Justice Smith's that he had taken a room in a lodging house on Twenty orders." sixth street "That would be tough." The position that Bob obtained was office boy in a "Well, 1 should say so. Flossie will put up a stiff Twenty-third street printing office, and his chief duty fight against anything like that, and her father won't be was to carry envelopes containing proofs, as well as pack over anxious to find me. I believe he'll keep his hands off ages of printed matter, to customers of the establishmen t. unless quire Drew forces things to an issue." He took advantage of his :first chance to deposit his rrhe boys took the room at 1\Irs. Bates';; hou e, and Tom $600 in a savings bank, and with this snug sum to h i s was greatly struck with Ada Bates credit he naturally felt a bit inclepemlent. She was lively and win ome in her ways, and that just He also kept the request o.f'. the vice-president of t h e suited Tom, who had no J'.ear of rivalry en Bob's part, for railroad company in mind, and, after thirty clays, be noti he knew there was only one girl in the world or whom iied that gentleman where he could be addressed in New Bob cared, and that was :Flossie. York. They heard nothing more from Roscoe Sims. 11he result was he received a letter from the big offici a l That lad, howeYer, had been taken oil the flat boat, 1 requesting him to call at the executive offices of the Ne w after she had stuck all night on a fiat in the river, and be I York, Buffalo & Chicago Railroad Company as soon as returned to Bedford Saturday morning, where he reported l he could make it convenient to do so. to Dexter that he believed Bob Baxter and Tom Leonard He got off one afternoon for that purpose and p r esen te d were in 1\Iiddleditch. himseH at the offices in question, asking for the v iceDexter tolcl his father. president. The squire then visited Constable Bates and gave him His name was carried inside by an attendant; w h o c ame the information, telling him he expected that he would back and told him to follow him. telephone the police of Middleditch to be on the lookout He presently found himself in the presence of t he genfor the two fugitives. tleman who had given him the $100 on the private car the .Andrew Bate s reluctantly did so. night be saved the express. Later the n ews spread over the v.illage that Bob and "I aru very glad to see you again, young man," said the Tom hacl saved the Chicago Limited the night be vice-presid e nt, whose name was Austin, shaking h a n d s fore a terrible disa ter at the railroad cut. with hi s visitor. "Do you expect to remain in t h e city?" The receipt of that intelligence caused a complete re"I think I shall stay here for some time, s i r." vulsion of public sentiment in Bob's J'.avor, and the ma"You have a situation, then, I presume?" jority of the villagers, who had always liked the boy, be"Yes, sir gan to regard him now as the victim of an unfortunate ".Are you satisfied with it?" train of circumstances. "I should prefer a position wher e I c ould hope for adFlossie received a letter from Ada containing an acvancement if I deserved it." count of her meeting with Bob Baxter in the building "I can place you on our road. You will then be in th e where she was employed, detailing how he had come to line of promotion according as your ability warrants i t. her rescue when attacked by her uncle William, and wound I can send you to our superintendent of construction, who up by s tating that Bob and his friend Tom Leonard were has an opening for a clerk. Or I can give you a posit ion now stopping at her house. in our yard bere, and if you are smart there is nothin g On receipt of this Flossie lost no time in sending Bob to prevent you rising through the different grades to a a note under cover to .Ada, advising him that lrnr father superintendency eventually." had notified the Middleditch police to look out for him "I think I shou l d prefer a situa t ion in the yard,'' re. and Tom, and suggested that, until he felt he could vol[plied Bob.


24 ALMOST A MAN. "Ve ry w e ll. I will attend to the matter and write you in a day or two. Y o u had bett e r give y our present em ployer notice of your intention to leav e hjm in a week." "I will do so." The vic e-pre s ident t hen dr e w an e nvelop e from his 'desk. "At a meeting of the dir e ctor s of the company the other day I presented the facts about the narrow e scape of the Chicago Limited at the cut north of Middleditch. The thanks of the company and the s um of $5,000 w e re voted you. This envelope contain s a check for the amount and the official recognition of your services sign e d by the president of the road. It gives me great plea s ure to hand them to you." Bob was taken by surprise, and hardly knew what to say. Finally he managed to stammer out hi s thanks. "The obligation is all on the company 's s id e young man. You not only saved many lives, but th e c ompany a great many damage suits." With these words the vice-presid ent turned to hi s d e sk, and this was a s ignal that th e interview was over. CHAPTER XIV. BOB PROVES HIM:SELF A HERO O NCE MORE. A week later Bob went to w o rk in th e yard s of th e N e w York, Buffalo & Chicago Railroad Compan y He commenced at the lowest round of the ladder and his uture pro s p e ct s w e r e in hi s own hand s He got right down to bu s in ess and appli e d him s elf to his dutie s with such zeal that h e s oon attrac t e d the fa v or able notice of his superior s His good nature and willingness to obli ge e re long made him very popular amon g hi s f ello w-work e r s and when, after a ew month s h e received pro motion which canied him over the heads of many of th e old hand s there wasn t a kick heard in the yard. He corresponded regularly with Tom, who remained at Middleditch in s pite of the fact that the action for a s sault on Dexter Drew had been fixed up and hi s father wanted him to come home, and through Tom he wrot e to and received letters from Flossie. He sent her the s igned c onfession of Roscoe Sim s to 1:iee what it would amount to but it met the fate that Bob supposed it would. Both Dexter and Roscoe d e nied the truth, and Jus tice Smith said it amounted to nothing a s it had b e en ob tained by threats of per s onal violence The contents of the letter l e aked out among the vil lagers and they were sati s fied that Bob was inno cent of the charge whica had been brought again s t him The s trong personal animo sity exhibited toward the fugitive by Squire Drew hi s s on Dext e r and Roscoe Sim s had a s ignificant look to the peopl e of Bedford afte r t hey became familiar with the contents of S i ms's enfo r ced confession. Of c ourse no one dar e d ex pr ess h is priv a te con victions in publi c lest the y r e a c h the ears of Sq ui re D rew, but it i s s afe to s a y that the lar ger porti o n of the inhabitants of Bedford beli eved th at B o b B ax t e r had been unfairly dealt with. A year elap s ed sinc e the tim e wl1en B o b an d Tom m ade their ha s t y d eparture from B e dford v ill age, a n d Bob was progressing famou s ly in his work a s a r a ilr oad e m ployee. He had s aved a good deal o f his w ages a n d h ad now ne a rly $6,000 on depo sit in two city savi ngs b a nk s For some time h e had b een lookin g out for a good rea l estate in vestme nt, a s h e b e li e v e d his m o ney coul d be p.ut to b ette r u s e than keeping it in the b ank s at four p e r cent. inte re st. At l e ngth the o pportunit y h e wis h e d for p resented its elf. A builder had e rect e d three twof amil y houses i n a good location in the Bronx and had sol d one of t h em when he died s udd e nly l e avin g hi s affair s i n s uch a complicated state that the othe r two had to b e sold at a s ac r ifice i n order to s ettle up his bus iness Bob decided if he could g e t them for $5,900, the amou n t he had on deposit, he would mak e a g o o d thing out of the deal. ( But in order to do thi s it w as n e c ess ar y t h a t he should have a l e gal guardian to a c t foz him. So he w ent to s ee Mr Au sti11, the vice-presid e n t of the railroad c ompany, and a s ke d hi s a d v ice i n t h e matte r. That gentleman, who ha d a very favo r ab l e opinion of the boy, and hacl k e pt hi mself post ed o n B ob' s r ecord in the yard, promised to attend to the m atte r for him. He ascertained after some corresp o nd e nce that the two hou s e s c ould be g ot for the price Bob' was abl e t o p a y and took an opti o n on th e m for t h e boy The n h e went befor e one o f the courts a n d had a certain trus t c ompan y a ppointed g uardi a n t o t h e you ng rail road employee All detail s having bee n arran g ed Bob dr e w h is mon ey and turned it over to th e trus t company, whi c h the n put the deal through, and, a s th e l a d' s r e presenta ti ve, became th e owner of the two hou ses in question. Within three month s an offer of $7,500 w a s m ade for the two hou s e s whi c h were occupied by four fami l ie s a t a good rental but Bob r e fu s ed to sell It was abou t thi s tim e that Bob was temp orari l y tran s f erre d to the con s truction d e partment, a nd was or d ered t o take charge of the relaying of the c ompan y's t racks be tween Middledit c h and Beavertown. Bob would have s teered clear of th is assign ment if he could have managed it in an y rea s onable w ay, as he feared it ght lead to trouble for himself, f o r h e knew the o ld charge of blo win g up Sq ui r e ga R p 1 a n t stil1 hun g o v e r his head and there were chance s that somebod y


ALMOST A MAN. from Bedford might r ec o g nize him alon g the road and carry the informatio n of h is wh e r e about s to the squire. Not being ab l e t o fra m e any valid ex c use that would hold water w i t h the chi e f of c on struction, he departed from t h e yards .for hi s n e w scen e of a c tion. If he had to face t h e mus i c h e would do s o lik e a little man. He knew he could d e p end on the vic e-pres id ent of the company to sta n d at hi s back i n c a se of trouble. He had been bossing the trac klaying job for about ten days, and was congratulating hims elf on the fact that none of the Bedford p e opl e h a d c ome anywh e r e near the stretch of track where h e was e mploy e d, when all his brig h t hopes w e r e s uddenly s h atte r e d by the appearance one afternoo n a t the railroad cros sing where his gang were worki n g o! a carriage drive n by Dexter Drew, and in which were a lso seate d Ro sc o e Sim s and Dexter' s mother a n d sister.1 Thtt carriage dre w up beside the cro s sing, while the party looked at the r elaying of the railroad trac k with consid(:lrab 1 e in t e r es t Bob recognized t h e party at on ce and started to get out of their li n e of v i si on but h e wasn't quick enough. Roscoe Sims reco g nized him and called Dexter's attention to him. Dexter ga v e a snort of d e li ght, for it had alway s been a bource o! dissatisfac ti o n t o hi s m ean little nature that the boy he hat ed had m a na ge d to esc ap e the fate he had mapped o u t for him. At that moment ca m e the :;hrill whi s tle of a down pas engcr train on the ot her track and th e locomotiv e ap peared in :;ighi a r o un d a <:urv c a :diorl di s t a nce away The cxhiu il c d i n s o f re:;tiv e n ess at once, pawing t h e gro u n d and toH:-;in g th eir h e ad .". Dexter p ull e d on t h e r e in s t o quie t th em, but his effort s had the conlrary effec t. The animah< took I he bilf' in the ir t e eth and l"larted to the t r ack in front o f th e approac hin g train. )IrF. Drew uller P d a c r y o f a l a rm w hil e h e r daughte r gave a terrified :;brick., Bob at onee :-;aw t h e dange r whic h m e na ce d th e party and Eprang for w a r d to try a nd a v ert the imp ending L:atas trophe. lently that Bob wa s thrown from s ide to side, his heels twice striking one of the pa ss in g car s All the passenger s eithe r had their h e ads out of the windows, or were trying to look over tho s e who had, and the greates t consternation and ex citement ens u e d on the train. Not one but h eld his or h e r Lreath in appre hension, ex p ecting to see the whe els drawn ag a in s t th e c ars and the c arriage s ma s hed to kindling wood. Nothing of the kind occurre d, fortunate ly, and in a moment the danger from that soun;e lrnd pa5scd ; but the way b eing now clear the horse:; fairl y rod e Bob down a they turned towiud the trac k again and, s w e rving around, da s hed up along the s leeper s at a terrible rate. CHAPTER XV. WITHIN AN INCif OF THEIR LIVES. When the t erri fied horse::; started forward once more, in spite of his utmost e ndeavor s to hold them, Bob saw that his only s afety lay in s winging his feet up on the pole and clinging to it for dear life. 'l'hi s h e did while the animal s wer e gaining headway in the frantic race up the track. Mrs Dre w and h e r daughter w e r e c rying loudly for h e lp, but non e c ould r e ach them unless it came from the s win g in g B ou. B o u kne w the r e was an op e n trestle a short distance ah ead, aml i.f the carriage continue d on the whole outfit w o uld b e ,ent whirling into the ravine at that point with a rc:;ult that coulc1 onl y b e extre mel y di s a s trou s The urgency of immediate a c tion put the boy on his m ettle H e squirme d a round the pol e between the s waymg h o r ses, and finall y s u ccee d e d in getting himself upon it, whic:h h e o nl y m aintaine d with the greates t de x t e rity, \\'hil e h e g rabb e d the animal s b y their c heck reins and haul e d bac k on the m. At fir s t no apparent eff ect was produced on the ir speed, but little h y little he be gan to get control of them But he had no time to lo s e, for the trestle was now .right ahead. \ s he d i d so R oscoe Sim s jumpe d out of his seat and :;oug h t rn f e t y b y th e side o f the. road and almo s t at the i::ame m oment D ex t e r who was standing up, lo t hi s bal, l r He redoubl e d hi s e xertion s with a feveri s h intens ity, anc:e ano p unge d 1orw a rd ove r th e rlmihboard. "Save u Save u s!" shrie k e d l\fr:;. Dre w, in a paroxfor his own life a s well a s the liv es of the mother and 9f fear. daughte r behind were in j e opardy. Bob seized the horses by their bridl es and s ucceeded in For s everal moment s their fate hung quivering in the pushing them c lear of the train just as it whi z z e d by. balance. The cars pas eel so cloFc t o Miss Drew, who was cowerThe n the horses g ave in and at las t halted, shaking in ing down o n tha t s id e o f the carriage, that she c ould have e v ery limb, at tlrn v ery ed ge of the abyss that yawned betouche d the m with h e r b and. fore them. As ca r a f ter ca r w ent b y the animal,; g r e w frantic with 1 Bob sprang. from 1_1is perch, and, taking the anit e rror. mals b y thell' bridles a gam, led them carefully around They b ac k e d a b out and plunge d in the ir harness so viountil the t e am wa s made to face away from the peril.


26 ALMOST A MAN. Then he held the horses still, speaking soothingly to compulsion I'll not deny, that Dexter took my powder can, them, and calming down excited fancy. wl1ich was the incriminating evidence produced against While he was doing this / Mrs Drew and her daughter me, from a shelf in my uncle's store where I had left it, jumped from the carriage, the. latter fainting dead away I and used the contents to accomplish his object. Then he as soon as her feet touched the ballast of the road I placed the empty can, whic11 bore my name, where his Bob went to their assistance as soon as he felt he could \ father easily found it, and upon that he procured my leave the horses to themselves. I arrest "My daughter has fainted," said Mrs Drew, with white "I sha ll be very sorry to find out that what you say is face and quivering lip s the truth. It will grieve me exceeding ly. But still jus -Bob sprang down the embankment to a little rivulet tice m11st be clone you, Robert Baxter, at any cost to our which ran under the trestle and gathering up his two feelings, for I should novor rest easy alter this if you bands full of water returned to the spot where the uncon-wore permitted to suffer from an act of injustice on the scions gir l reclined on her mother's knee and clashed the part of a member of my family." water into her face "H Dexter could be brought to acknowledge the part Thi s operation he repeated severa l times until the girl he took in t11e affair it is all I ask you to do in return for came to herself. my exertions in your behalf this afternoon I could then Mr s Drew uttered a sigh of thanksgiving. return without fear of disgrace to Bedford "You are a brave boy, and have saved us from a terrible "I will talk to my husband about this matter. My son death at the risk of your own life. We can never thank will have to tell the truth. I will see that you are relieved you enough. Be s ure we shall not forget the debt of of all blame gratitude we owe you. My husband will not be satisfied "Thank you, Mrs. Drew," replied Bob. "Shall I help until he has expressed his feelings in a suitable and sub -you and :Miss Drew into the carriage?" stantial way." The lady looked a bit doubtfully at the team. "You need feel under no obligations to me, Mrs. Drew. "Are the horses over their fright?" You are welcome to the service I have rendered you," "Yes, ma'am. I will cl.rive you as far as the crossing, replied Bob, with dignity. where doubtless we shall find Dexter and his friend Sims." "You seem to know me, young man. .And now that I Mrs. Drew and her daughter permitted Bob to hand look at you again your features appear to be familiar to them into the carriage me. Will you tell me your name?" He got on the front scat himself and drove slowly and "Mother," cried Clara Drew, with a quick look at their carefully bac k to the crossing, where the trouble had rescuer, "I know him. It is Bob Baxter, the boy who ran started away from Bedford more than a year ago." Dexter was lying down in the grass, not having yet re"Is it possible? .Are you Robert Baxter? You seem covered from the severe shaking up he had received when greatly changed." he fell out 0 the vehicle, and Sims was talking to him "Yes, Mrs Drew, I am Bob Baxter, who was :falsely Bob turned the horses clown into the road which led to accused by the squire, your husband, of blowing up his Bedford, dismounted anc1 tied them to a tree. gas plant I ran away from the village because I saw no "Yol.n mother anc1 sister arc waiting for you," he said, chance of proving my innocence, and I did not want to go I a bit coldly, to Dexter. to prison for a term of years-a :fate that would have Young Drew looked at him a moment without speaking. blasted my reputation for life "Did you stop the carriage?" he asked at last. "Well, you need have no fear that Squire Drew will "I did," replied Bob. prosecute you for the act, even if you were guilty, after "How far did it go?" what you have done for us this day. "To the edge of the trestle across the ravine." "That would not satisfy me, Mrs. Drew. I am resting "You must have saved my mother's li.fe, then, and also under a cloud in the village where I lived so many years, my sister?" and until that cloud is lifted I shall not be happy." "I did." "Then let me assure you that I will see that my bus".And you pulled the team out of the way of the train band makes every effort to right you." here, didn't you, after I fell out?" "I am afraid he never will do that, ma'am, because I Bob nodded. have reason to believe that your son, who has long dis-\ "That settles it. I've hated you like fun, Bob Baxter, liked me, aided by Roscoe Sims, hi s friend, are responsible and tried my best to do you up When I saw you bossing for the crime I have been accused of." this gang of men here I meant to have you arre s ted as "You astonish me. It does not seem possible that Dex-soon as I could send the Constable from the village. But ter would stoop to injure any one, especially when it was a it's all over now. You've got the best of me, and I might question of destroying hi s :father's property." as well make a clean breast of everything to the governor "I agree with you that it does not seem as if a boy J blew up the gas plant myself, and I tried to fix the blame would do such a thing, but Roscoe admitted to me, under on you."


ALMOST A MAN. "I don't see what I ever did against you that you should 1 Drew, earnestly. "I expect my lrnsband home a n y mohave it in for me so hard." ment, and I wish you to see him'. He will want to thank "It don't matter now why I was down on you, but I you for the priceless service you rendered my daughte r was. But that's all now. I'll tell my father the and mysel.f this afternoon, and will be much disappointed whole story and that will let you out of your fix. if this privilege is denied him "If you do that I'm satisfied." "I would prefer not to meet Squire Drew until he is "I'll do it all right. I wish you'd help Roscoe get me ready to clear me of the charge which hangs over my into the carriage. I've hurt one of my legs badly, and head. Your son has already admitted to me that he was I've got a pain in the side. The governor will pay you responsible for the destruction of your gas plant, and has well for what you've done for my mother and sister." promised to have the matter set right." "Will he?" replied Bob, with a half indignant flush. "I am deeply mortified to know that Dexter has been "I guess not. I'm not taking any pay for doing what was the cause of you being compelled to l eave the village I n nothing more than my duty." saving my daughter and myself from certain deat h you "You're different from most fellows, I guess." bave heaped coals of fire on our heads. You have returned "Maybe I am, if it's a question of taking money for good for evil. I blush to think what you have suffered on doing the right thing." our account. I hope you will permit us not only to undo By this time Bob and Sims had got the injured Dexter the misfortune we have brought upon you, but to make a over to the carriage fitting reparation It is but right that we should make "Are you hurt, my son?" asked Mrs. Drew, anxio u sly. some public acknowledgment of the obligation you have "Yes, ma, I am placed us under by your brave and manl y conduct to us in "Then you're in no condition to drive us home ?" our hour of need." "No, ma." While she was speaking Squire Drew came in at the "Can you drive, Roscoe?" asked Mrs. Drew j gate "I'd rather not," replied Sims, who hadn't got all over A dark frown settled upon his face as his eyes rested his fright yet. on Bob. "Then I suppose I will have to volunteer my services," "So, young man, you have come back, have you ?" he put in Bob. I began, in a disagreeable tone, when his wife ste p pe d "I should be glad if you will do so," answered the quickly up to him and laid her hand on his mouth squire's wife, with a look of relief. "Conrad, you must not speak that way to Rober t B ax So Bob, after giving certain directions to his gang of ter. He has just rendered us a service that you w ill never track layers, m6unted to the front seat and started the be able to sufficiently thank him for." carriage toward Bedford village. "What do you mean, Laura?" asked the nabob o f B edCHAPTER XVI. WINNING HIS WAY TO THE TOP. ford village, astonished beyond measure "I mean this boy, whom I find we have deeply injured I for he is entirely innocent of the charge of destroyin g our gas plant, has saved my life, as well as o u r Clara's life, this afternoon." "Drive at once to Doctor Warren's house," Drew, as they entered Main street. said Mrs. "Saved your life and C lara's-this afternoon Bax t e r As the carriage drove down the chief street in the vil lage, nearly every one of the inhabitants who looked at the vehicle recognized Bob as the driver, and were greatly astonished to see him in that position. Simply to see him once more in the village was quite a surprise of itself; but to discover him seated in the squire's carriage was something beyond their comprehen sion. Dr. Warren was at home and Dexter was assisted out of the carriage and into his office. "A fractured rib and a badly wrenched knee," was the doctor's verdict after he had examined the boy. He did what 11e could for Dexter and then ordered that he be taken home and put to bed. Bob accordingly drove the carriage to the Drew home, and turning the vehicle over to the coachman-gardener, said that he would have to return to the crossing at once. "But surely you can wait a few minutes," said Mrs. has?" "Yes, Conrad," she answered, and i:rnmediate l y p u t h im in possession of the details of the desperate predicamen t from which she and her daughter had been resc u ea by Bob's presence of mind and bravery. The squire listened like a man in a dream. He could not doubt the truth when his own wife p u t it before him in so earnest and graphic a way. Whatever he was to the rest of the world, he was a good husband and father, and Bob could not have made a greater on him by the a"t which conferred so great a service on those near and dear to him. He felt humbled and humiliated before the boy he had injured, and for a moment he hardly knew what to say o r how to act His wife seemed to understand his feelings and came to his rescue. She took Bob by the hand and led him forward. "My husband is unab l e to find wor ds to express t he


28 ALMOST A MAN. gratitud. s he feels toward you for what you have done today for u s," she began when the squire found his tongue. "Robert Baxter," he said, "my wife truly says that I ca:nnot find words to :fittingly acknowledge the great obligation under which you have placed us. Neither can I offer you a pecuniary reward, for the service you have rendered is beyond all monetary consideration, and the suggestion of such a thing could not but offend you. I trust, however, there is one thing I can offer you, and which I hope you will not refuse, and that is our friend ship." "I will accept it, Squire Drew, for I believe you will now do me the justice to publicly acknowledge that I am innocent of the crime of blowing up your gas plant. Your son Dexter is prepared to confess to you hi s agency in the affair, as well as the reasons which influenced him to do the deed." "But the can with your name on it which I found in my grounds and which you acknowledged to be yours?" ccwas placed by Dexter so that you should find it." "I can hardly believe that a son of mine would be guilty of s uch an act." "lt is for you to question him and find out for yoursel. I am simply telling you what he acknowledged to me as soon as he realized I had saved the live s of his mother and sister. But for that service, which he cannot help but appreciate, it is probable he would not have spoken." The squire insisted that Bob s hould stay to supper, and afterward remain at his house all night. On the following morning the gardener-coachman drove him over to the scene of his duties on the railroad, while the squire himself wrote out and took to the editor of the village paper a full acknowledgment of the boy's inno cence of the crime which had banished him from Bedford. 'l'o this he added his grateful appreciation of the boy's bravery and presence of mind in the face of grave peril which had resulted in preserving the lives of his wife and daughter, thus publicly testifying to the value he now set upon Bob's character. Now that he was fully vindicated, Bob took the first chance, which was the following Sunday, to visit Flossie Bates. He was received with open arms. Many of the good people of Bedford village met him uuring his brief visit and congratulated him on the change of front shown by Squire Drew. The relaying of the double track between Middleditch and Beavertown was completed about the end of the next week, and then Bob and his gang of laborers returned to the yards at New York. Bob regretted that circumstances prevented him from meeting Tom Leonard, whom he hadn't seen in over a year, but he made up for it in a measure by writing his old friend a good long letter. As the months went by Bob Baxter continued to ad nmce in the favorable notice of his superiors and to bet ter positions on the road as an opening presented itself. He was finally appointed foreman of the roundhou se, the youngest person who had ever held that position. Here he gave great satisfaction, not only to the master mechanic but to the men under him as well, for he was strictly impartial in his dealing with such of the em ployees as came under his eye, and treated every one of them "white." Soon after he reached his twenty-first birthday he was promoted to the responsible post of yardmaster, and soon after he was married to Flossie Bates at her parents home in Bedford. At twenty-five he was appointed master mecbanie of the road, and to this piece of good fortune was added another. The two houses which he had bought eight years before at a trifle less than $6,000, and which had been gradually increasing in value, suddenly took a jump in the real estate market. The extension of the underground railway system was completed to within a block of the street where the house s were situated, and as a consequence all the property in the neighborhood had a boom. Bob decided to sell out when he found that the woods were full of buyers anxious to locate in that vicinity. He asked a stiff price, $25,000, for the two houses, and he got it. About this time his uncle, Silas Oldham, died in Bed ford village, and as he left no will and Bob was his only heir, the young master mechanic came in for a matter of $20,000 in good money which the old man had been saving up from year to year out of the profits of his busines11. Bob sold the store and its contents to Tom Leonard, who had been several years married to Ada Bates, of Middleditch, and Tom moved all his worldly possessions to Bedford and settled down there for an indefinite stay. At thirty Bob became superintendent of the Hudson division of the New York, Buffalo & Chicago Railroad, and it is not at all improbable that some day he may reach the position of general manager of the road, for he stands well with the company from the president and directors down. At any rate, he has his eye on that important and lucra tive post, and in his own mind he feels certain of eventu ally "Winning His Way to the Top." ';['HE END. Read "BOSS OF THE MARKET; OR, THE GREATEST BOY IN WALL STREET," which will be the next number (41) of "Fame and Fortune Weekly." SPECIAL NOTICE: All back numbers of this weekly are always in print. If you cannot obtain them from any newsdealer, send the price in money or postage stamps by mail to FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISHER, 24 UNION SQUARE, NEW YORK, and you will receive the copies you order by return mail.


WIDE AWAKE WEEKLY A COMPLETE STORY EVERY \VEEK Price 5 Cents BY THE BEST AUTHORS ,_.HANDSOME ILLUSTRATED COVERS 32-PAGES OF READING MATTER Price 5 Cents ISSUED EVERY FRIDAY -. Interesting Stories o.f Adventure in All Parts of the World .... TAKE NOTICE! --I This handsome weekly contains intensely intere s ting sto ries of adventure on a great variety of subjects. Each number is replete with rousing situations and lively incidents. The heroe s are bright, manly fellows, who overcome all obstacles by sheer force of brains and grit and win wellmerited success We have secured a s taff of new authors, who write these stories in a manner which will be a source of pleasure and profit to the r eader. Each number has a handsome col ored illustration made by the most expert artists. Large s ums of money are being spent to mab this one of the best weeklies ever published . Here is a List of Some of the Titles .. 1 Smashing the Auto Record; or, Bart Wilson at the Speed Lever. By Edward N. Fox 2 Off the Ticker; or, Fate at a Moment's Notice. By Tom Dawson. 3 From Cadet to Captain; or, Dick Danforcl 's West Point Nerve. By Lieut. J. J. Barry. 4 The Get-There Boys; or, Making Things Hum in Hon duras. By Fred Warburton. 5 Written in Cipher; or, The Skein Jack Barry Unrav elled. By Prof. Oliver Owens. 6 The No-Good Boys; or, Downing a Tough Name. By A. Howard De Witt. 7 Kicked off the Earth; or, Tea Trim's Hard Luck Cure. By Rob Roy. 8 Doing It Quick; or, Ike Brown's Hustle at Panama. By Captain Hawthorn, U. S N. 9 In the 'Frisco Earthquake; or, Bob Brag's Day of Ter ror. By Prof. Oliver Owens. 10 We, Us and Co.; or, Seeing Life With a VaudevillP. Show By Edward N. Fox. 11 Cut Out for an Officer; or, Corporal Ted in the Philip pines. By Lieut. J. J. Barry. 12 A Fool for Luck; or, The Boy Who Turned Bose. By Fred Warburton. 13 The Great Gaul "Beat"; or, Phil Winston's Start in Reporting. By A. Howard De Witt. 14 Out for Gold; or, The Boy Who Knew the Difference. By Tom Dawson. For sale by all newsdealers, or will be sent to any address on receipt of price, 5 cents per copy, in mone y or postage stamps, by FRANK 'l'OUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS of our libraries, and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and fill in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the books you want and we will send them to you by return mail. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. ... ......... 190 DEAR SrnEnclosed find ...... cents for whieh please send me: .... copies of FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY, Nos .............................................. '' '' WIDE AWAKE WEEKLY, Nos .................................................. " WORK AND WIN, Nos .............................................. ......... " WILD WEST WEEKLY, Nos ............................................ ......... " PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos .................................................. SECRET SERVICE, NOS ........ : .............. ; ................................ : "fJ THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '761 Nos .......................................... .... .. .. : Ten-Cent Hand Books, Nos ....................................................... Name .. ,,,, .Street and No ... ............. Town .......... State ...........


Everything! .! COMPLETE SET IS A REGULAR ENCYCLOPEDIA! These You Books Tell Each book consists of sixty-four pages, printed on good paper.,in <;:]ear type and neatly bound in an attractive, illustrated covet. M?lJt of the books are also profusely illustrated, and all of the subJe<'ts treate'l upon are e xplained in such a simple manner that any child. can thoroughly understand them Look over the list as classified and see if you want to know anything abou t the subjq mention e d THESE BOOKS ARE FOR SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALEHS OR WILL BE SENT BY MAIL TO ANY ADDRESS FROM THIS OFFICE ON RECEIPT OF PRICE, TEN CEN' l'S EACH, OR ANY 'l'lIREE BOOKS FOR TWENTY-FIVE CENTS. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN TIIE SAME AS l\IONEY. Address FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, N.Y. MESMERISM. No. 8 1. HOW TO l\1ESMERIZE.-Containing the most ap proved methods of mesmerism ; also how to cure all kinds of d iseases by auimal magnetism, or, magnetic healing. By Prof. Leo Hugo Koch, A C. S., author of "Ilow to Hypnotize," etc. PALMISTRY. No. 82. HOW T O DO P.A.Ll\lIS'rRY.-Containing the most ap prov ed methods of reading the lines on the hand, together with a full explpular manner of sailing them Fully illustrated. By C Stansfie l d Hicks. F'ORTUNE TELLING. No. 1. NAPOLEON'S OR.A.CULUl\l AND DREAM BOOK. Con taining the great oracle of human destiny; also the true mean in g of almost any kind of dreams, together with charms, ceremonies, and curious games of cards A complete book. No. 23 HOW TO EXPLAIN DREA:\IS.-Everybody dreams, from the little child to the aged man and woman. This little book the explanation to all kinds of drea ms, togethe r with lucky and unlucky Jays, and "Napoleon's Orarulum." the book of fate. No. 28. HOW TO TELL FORTUNES.-Everyone is desirous of kn owing what his future life will b1:ing forth, whether happiness or mi.cry, wealth or poverty. ).'ou can tell by a glance at this little book. Duy one and be convinced Tell your own fortune. Tell the fortune of your friends. No. 7G. HOW TO 'rELL FORTUNES BY THE HAND.Containing rules for telling fortunes by the aid of lines of the hand, or the secret of palmistry. Also the secret of telling future events by aid of moles, marks scars, etc. Illustrated. By A. Anderson. ATHLETIC. No. 6. HOW TO BECO!\fE AN ATHLETE.-Giving full instruction fo1 the use of dumb bells, Indian clubs, parallel bars, horizontal bars and various other methods of developing a good, h ealthy muscle; containiug over sixty illustrations. Every boy can be<.'ome strong and healthy by following the instructions contained ip this little book. No. 1 0 HOW TO BOX.-The art of self-defense made easy. Co::itain ing over thirty illustrations of guards, blows, and the di!fer ent positions of a good boxer. Every boy should obtain one of these useful and instructive books, as it will teach you how to box wi Lhout an instructor. No. 25 HOW TO BECOl\JE A GYMN.A.ST.-Containing full instructions for all kinds of gymnastic sports and athletic exercises. Embracin g thirty-five illustrations. By Professor W. Macdonald. A handy and u sefu l book. No. 34. IIOW .ro FENCFJ.-Containing full instruction for ::ind the use of the broadswol'd; also instruction in archery. Dc;<.'rib e d with twenty-one practical illustrations, giving the best posilions iv. fop ting. A complete book. TRICKS WITH CARDS. No. 51. HOW TO DO TRICKS WITH CARDS.-Containing explana tions of t11e general principies of sleight-of-hand applicable to ca rd tri cks; of card tricks with ordinary cards, and not requiring sleight-of-band; o f tricks involving sleight-of-hand, or the use of !!)pecially prepared cards. By Professor Haffner. Illustrated N? 72. IIOW TO DO SIXTY TRICKS WITH CARDS.-Embracmg all of the latest and most deceptive card tricks with il lustrations. By A. An

THE STAGE. No. %1. THE .BOYS 01!' N-".JW YORK END MEN'S .TOK}ll BOOK.-Copt:umng a great variety of the latest jokea useq by the m ost famous end men. No amateur minstrels is complete without thi s wonderful little book. No. 42. THE BOYS OF NlllW YORK STUMP SPEAKER C ontai!ling a varied asso,rtn:i ent of stump speeches, Negro, Dutch a nd Insh. Also end qien s Jokes. Just the thing for home amuse ment and amateur shows. No. 45. THE BOYS OF NEJW YORK MINSTREL GUIDE AND JOI\JIJ new a?d very instructive. Every oy should obtam this book, as it contams full instructions for or anizing an amateur minstrel troupe. No. 65. MULDOON'S JOKES.-This i s one of the most original Joke ever published, and it is brimful of wit and humor. It contarns a large collectioQ of songs, jokes conundrums, etc., of T errence Muldoon, the great wit, humorist, and practic::il joker of the Every boy who can .enjoy a good substantial joke should obtam a copy 1mmed1ately. No .. 79. Hc;>W TO BECOME AN ACTOR.-Oontaining com plete rnstruct10ns how to make up for various characters on the s,tage_; with the duties of the Stage Manager, Prompter, S cenic Artist and Property l\fan. By a prominent Stage Manager. N?. 80. GUS WILLIAMS' JOKE BOOK.-Containing the lat est Jokes, anecdot e ; and funny stories of this world-renowned and ever popular German comedian. Sixty-four pages handsome c olored cover containing a half-tone photo of tne author. HOUSEKEEPING. 16. HpW TO KEEP WHITDOW GARDEN.-Containing full mstruct1ons fo1 constructing a window garden either in town or country, and the most approved methods for raising beautiful flowers at home. The most complete book of the kind ever publish ed. No. 30. HOW '.1'0 COOK.-One of the most instructive books on cooking !!Ver p11blished, It contains recipes for cooking meats fish, game, and oysters; also pies, puddings, cakes and all kinds of pastry, and a grand collection of recipes by one of our most popular cooks. No. 37. HOW TO KEEP HOUSEJ.-It contains informatio n for everybody, boys, girls, men and women; it will teach ypu how to make almost anything around the house, such as parlor ornaments bra ckets, cements, Aeolian harps, and bird lime for catching birds.' ELECTRICAL. No. 46. HOW TO MAKE AXD USE EJLE)CTRICITY._:A: de s cription of the wonderfu l uses of electricity and e l ectro magnetism; together with full instructions for making Ell ectric Toys, Batteries, etc. By George Trebel, A. l\I., M. D. Oontaining over fifty il lustrations. No. 6-1. HOW TO MAKE ELECTRICAL MACHINES.-Con t aining full directions for making electrica l machines, induction coils, dynamos. and many novel toys to be worked by electricity. By R. A. R. Bennett. Fully illustrated. No. 67. HOW TO DO ELEC'RICAL TRICKS.-ME YOUR OWN DOCTOR._:A won m oney than any book published. derful book, containing usefal and practical information in the No. 35. HOW TO PLAY GA.l\.A:ES.-A complete and useful little treatment of ordinary diseases an

WIN. The Best "W"eekly Published. AI.I. 'l'BE N'O'M:S:S::B.S AB.E AI.WA 'Y'S IN l?:S.IN'l'. READ ONE AND YOU WILL READ THEM ALL. LATEST ISSUES: 361 Fred l<'earnot'a Search for T erry, and 'l'erry's Faith I n Him. 826 Fred Fearnot and the Bank Messeng e r ; or, The a Fortune Boy Who Made 362 the Temperance Man; or, P utting Down the 327 Fred Fearnot and the Kentucky Moonshiners; or, The "Bad" 363 Fred Fearnot' a Fight !or his L i te; or, The Cunning t hat Pulled Men o! the Blue Grass Region Him Through. 328 Fred Fearnot and the Boy Acrobat; or, Out With His Own 36 Fred F earnot and the Wild B east Tame r ; o r, A We e k With a Circus. Circus. 329 Fred Fearnot's Great Crash ; or, Losing His Fortune l a Wall 365 Convention ; or, T h e Mualc that Street. 366 Fred Fearnot's Wall Street Game; or, B e atin g the Brokers. 330 Fred Fearnot' s Return to Athletics; or, His Start to Regain a 367 Fred Fearnot and the Wild Muatang; o r A C hase of T hirty r 'ortunc Daya. 331 Fencing Team; or, Defeating the "Pride of Old 368 Fred Fearnot and the Boasting C owb o y ; or, Teaching a Bra g 3 3 2 Fre d Fearnot's "Free For All"; or, His Great Indoor Meet gart a Lesson 3 3 3 Fre d Fearnot and the Cabin Boy ; or, Beating the steamboat 369 Fred Fearnot and the S c hool Boy; or, T h e Brightes t Lal:J I n Ne w Sharpe rs. York. 334 Fred Fearnot and the Prize-Fighter; or, A Pugilist's Awful Mia 370 Fred Fearnot's Gam e Teamfte r ; or, A H o t Tim e on the Plains. take. 371 Fred Fearnot and the R e negad e ; or, The Man W h o Defied Bullets. !t 335 Fred Fearnot's Office Boy; or, Making Money in Wall Street. 372 Fred Fearnot and the Poor Boy ; or, T h e D i me that Made a For-336 Fre d Fearnot as a Fireman ; or, '.rhe Boy Hero ot the Flames. tune. 337 Fred Fearnot and the Factory Boy; or, The Champion o! the 373 Fred Fearnot' 1 Treasure Hunt! or, Alter t h e Aztec's Gold Town. 374 i'red Fearnot and the Cowboy King; o r Evelyn and the Bad" 338 Fred Fearnot and the "Bad Man ; or, The Biua: from Bitter Men Creek. 375 Fred Fearnot and Ro ring Biil"; or, T h e Wicke dest Boy I n the 339 Fred Fearnot and the Shop Girl ; or, The Plot Against An Or-West. phan. 376 Fred Fearnot and the Boy Prospector; or, The Secret B a n d of 340 Fred Fearnot Among the Mexicans ; or, Evelyn and the Brigands. Indian Gulch 341 Fred Fearnot and the Boy Engineer ; or, Beating the Train 377 Fred Fearnot and the Banker' Boy ; or, The Lad Who Cornered Wreckers. the Market. 342 Fred Fearnot and the "Hornets" ; or, The League that Sought 378 Fred Fee.rnot and the Boy of Grit; o r, For cin g Hl1 W a y to the to Down Him. Top. 343 Fred Fearnot and the Cheeky Dude; or, A Shallow Youth from 379 Fred Fearnot and the Diamond Queen ; or, H el p ing the Treasury Brooklyn. D epartment. 344 Fred Fearnot In a Death Trap; or, Lost In The Mammoth Caves. 380 Fred Fearnot and the White Maaka ; or, C hasing the Chlca10 345 Fred Fearnot and t h e Boy Rancher; or, The Gamest Lad In Stranglers. Texas. 381 Fred Fearnot at &andy Llcks ; or, Taming a "Baa" M a n 346 Fred Fearnot and the Stage Driver; or, The Man Who Understood 38:1 Fred Fearnot and the Drunkard' &on; or, A Hot Fight Agaln a t Horses. Rum. 347 Fred Fearnot' s Change of Front; or, Staggering the Wall Street 383 Fred Fearnot and the Snake-Charmer; o r, O u t With the C:lrcu 1 Broken. ,.. Fakirs. 348 Fred Fearnot' s New Ranch, AQd How He and Terry Managed It 384 Fred Fearnot' s Pony Express; or, A R o u g h Ri d e In Tex11 349 Fred Fee.rnot and the Lariat Thrower; or, Beating the Champion 3 85 Fred Fearnot Held Back; o r The T im e Terry F'alle d Him. of the West. 386 Fre d and the Tough Trio; or, K ee ping the Peac e at Gol d 350 Fred Fearnot and the Sw lndllng Trustee; or, Saving a Widow s Bar. Little Fortune. 3 87 Fred Fearnot and Nobody s Bo](" ; o r, H e lp ing Along an Orphan. 351 Fred Fearnot and the "Wild" Cowboys And the Fun He Had With 388 Fred Fearnot' s Promlae; or, H elping a Drunkard' s Boy Them. 3 89 Fred Fearno t and the Hunted Man ; or, S o lving a Queer My1tery 352 Fred Fearnot and the "Money Queen ; or, Exposing a Female 390 Fred Fearnot and the Girl o! Gold ; or, T h e Female "Wizard" of Sharper. Wall Street. 353 Fred Fearnot's Boy Pard; or, Striking It Rich In the Hllls. 391 Fred Fearno t and Un c le Joah ; or, Saving t h e Old Homestead. 354 Fred Fearnot and the Railroad Gang ; or, A Desperate Fight for 392 Fred lili!arnot and L o ng Luke" ; or, The Toughest Man In T exas. Life 393 Fred Fearnot on the Diamond ; or, Playing Pennant Ball. 355 Fred Fearnot and the Mad Miner; or, The Gold Thieves of the 39 4 Fred Fearnot and the Silver lilynd lc ate; or, Beating the Wall Rockies. Street Sharks. 356 Fred Fearnot In Trouble; or, Terry Olcott' s Vow of Vengean ce. 395 Fred Fearnot's Conquering itroke; or, Win n i ng t h e Silver Sculls. 357 Fred Fearnot and the Girl In White; or, The Mystery of the 396 Fred Fearnot' s Summer Camp; or, Huntin g i n the North Woods Steamboat. 397 Fred ,fearnot'1 Baeeball l,loy1 ; or, Playing In the Leuue. 358 Fred Fearnot and the Boy Herder ; or, The Masked Band of the Plaine. 359 Fred Fearnot In Hard Luc k ; or, Roughing It In the Silver Dig gings. 3M Fred Fearnot and the Indian Gulde ; or, The Abduction of a Beau tiful Girl. For sale by all newsdeal ers, or will be sent to any address on receipt o! 'price, 5 cent par copy, in money or postage s tamps, by FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS of our Libraries and cannot procure them from newsdealers they can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and 1Ul in the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price o f the books you want and we will send them to you b y return mail. POS'I'AGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. ............ 190 DEAR SIR-Enclosed :find ...... cents for which please send me: .... copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ............................................................. ...... ..... " " WIDE AWAKE WEEKLY, Nos ............................. ....... : ......... WILD WEST WEEKLY, Nos ................................ ................. THE LIBERTY BOYS OF '76 ..................................... . PLUCK AND LUCK, Nos ........................................ " SECRET SERVICE, Nos .................................. ., ..... " FAME AND FORTUNE WEEKLY, Nos . . . -.-"'"' .-:. . 1 . ...... '" r.. . '' '' Ten-Cent Hand Books, Nos ......................... . Ji ame ...... ................... Street and No .............. Town ......... State . . . . . . .


Fame and Fortune weekly STORIES OF BOYS WHO MAKE MONEY By A SELF_MADE MAN 32 Pages of Reading Matter Handsome Colored Covers A NEW ONE ISSUED EVERY FRIDAY PRICE 5 CENTS A COPY This Weekly contains interesting stories of smart boys, who win fame and fo rtune by their ability to take advantage or passing opportunities. Some of these stories are founded on true incidents in the lives of our most successful self-made men, and show how a boy of pluck, perseverance and brains can become famous and wealthy. Every one of this series contains a good moral tone which makes F a m e and Fortune Weekly" a magazine fo r the home, although each numb


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