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usual sunny, friendly smile. They
sat down on-the long bench just out
side the door of the rude log struc
ture. " I am through," said Maurice,
blankly. "It is a question of several
thousand dollars, and of course
neither of us can arrange for that."
"I am sorry," replied Vinnie, sadly,
"more on your account than my own,
because it was your father's money
that is lpst in the mine. To the last
my father believed that the sinking of
fifty feet more of tunnel would un
cover a rich vein."
"And from what I learn that is
true," said Maurice. "Well, we must
bear our disappointment. I am going
to return to my old work. I would
feel much happier, Miss Dale, if cir
cumstances were so that you could
leave an environment so unsuited to
your tastes and desserts."
"Oh, I am quite contented here,"
declared Vinnie brightly. "Besides, I
shall soon have paid up the few debs
of my poor father. You ryou will
not remain here much longer; then?"
She flushed slightly as she observ
ed that the eyes of Maurice were
fixed upon her as she asked the ques
tion. "It is useless for me to remain,"
he replied soberly. "My work calls
"There are good people here," said
Vinnie. "They have been very kind
to me. It is not like the old times
when my father came here. The chil
dren are anxious to lea'rn, their par
ents have ambitions to create a bet
ter social condition. There is quite
an entertainment at the hall this
evening. I am sure they would be
glad to have you come."
And Maurice went. He could not
resist the privilege and pleasure of
being in the company of Vinnie. That
evening amazed'and enlightened him.
The homely folk fairly idolized the
young school teacher. Vinnie 'sang
and recited for them. Then there was
a dance. It was as Maurice led Vin
nie to a seat after a waltz that she
indicated 3 dark-festmvd young urn
who had sat grim and silent all thf
evening watching those present, es
pecially Vinnie and Maurice. '
"I wonder who that young man
is?" she spoke. "He passed me on
the street with an embarrassing stare
yesterday, and this morning I noticed
him walking by the schoolhouse sev
"I will try and find out for you,"
volunteered Maurice, and made some
inquiries. The young man had dis
appeared by the time he had return
ed to Vinnie. It was with some
what startling information.
The young man, Maurice ascer
tained, was the son of Black Burt, a
notorious outlaw who had been
driven out of Sierra with a price on
his head. He was reported dead.
This was the first appearance of the
young man in Sierra for over a year.
.The next day Vinnie Dale was
missing. She had gone out in the
morning for a walk. She did not re
turn. Evening came and still no
trace of her. Maurice became anx
ious. He started a search. Finally
from what some children told him
he was satisfied that Vinnie had been
kidnaped by three men. One of them
from the description he was satis
fied was young Burt.
For nearly a week Maurice wan
dered over hill and dale in search for
the haunt of Burts. Wan, disheart
ened, one afternoon he was resting
in the midst of a dreary waste when
a horseman came galloping toward
him. He dismounted. It was young
Instantly Maurice's hand shot to
wards the revolver in his belt. The
abductor of Vinnie, his rival, he fan
cied, stood before him. Maurice was
half mad with anxiety.
"Hands up!" he ordered furiously.
"That's all right," observed Burt,
obeying, but smiling the while.
"Won't you first let me deliver a let
ter I have for you?"
"For me from whom?" j
ji'Miss Dale," was the reply. "
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