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"Are you ready for a hard run?"
"Well, sir," replied Tim, "as you
see, Old Ready is no racehorse, but
if its a sure, steady, plugging gait he
can't be beat."
"Get up on your box and follow
orders, then," directed the stranger.
"You shall have good pay, only do
just as I direct you," and to Tim's
surprise the man got up beside him as
though resolved to act as pilot direct.
He pulled his coat collar well up
over his face and spoke crisply, nerv
ously when he spoke at all. After de
vious turns and windings he ordered
Tim to drive slowly down a dark lane.
Behind a three-story brick house he
whispered an order to halt.
Then he was lost in the -darkness
of the yard beyond for some minutes.
When he returned, to the amazement
of Tim he carried in his arms, a girl
ish form wrapped up in a great water
"See here, mister," exclaimed Tim,
aghast, "what's this kidnaping?"
"No," flared out the young man
. breathlessly, "villainy! Poor dear!"
and he held the form more shetler-
ingly. "Get us away quick, if you
want to help a good cause."
The man disposed of the senseless
form of the girl within the vehicle.
Then he spoke hurriedly and definite
ly to Tim. He wished to reach a cer
tain point, a little suburb eight miles
"No traversed roads," he explain
ed. "You must cut across the prairies
West of the city."
"It'll be slow work for this old rig,
that," -reported Tim dubiously.
"Do your best you shan't lose,"
assured his fare.
It was indeed slow work, and un
pleasant 'and venturesome at that.
The old vehicle wobbled and creaked
as they left the paved streets, c. Old
Ready stumbled, puffed and had to
halt frequently for a rest. Then
mile or less from their destination, a
wheel broke off in a rut. Ready gave
a final gasp and fell down smashing
the shafts and lay in the mud and
"This is pretty serious," grumbled
Tim. "I hope you'll see' to the dam
age." "Doubly over, my man," promised
the fare. "Ah!" he exclaimed joy
fully, looking within the vehicle
"Aida, it is I. We have escaped," and
he hastened over some explanations.
"I will be back as soqn as I get my
charge to the town just beyond here,"
he assured Tim and half supporting
his companion he disappeared amid
''H'm!" commented Tim lugu
briously, "the end has come for the
old layout, I guess."
t was about an hour when Tim,
anxiously stroking poor Ready, who
appeared to be at his last gasp, was
startled by the appearance of two
men. They were breathless from
running, and in a minute or two Tim
knew that they were on the trail of
his recent fare. They looked inside
the vehicle. Then they began to
question him' as to the direction his
passenger had gone.
Sturdy Tim gave them no satisfac
tion and they tried to force him to
spealc. He beat off one of his assail
ants. The other seizing a stone was
about to lay him out, when Ready
staggered (o his feet. With a quick
nip he seized the man's arm between
his powerful jaws. There was a
crunching sound, a curdling yell and
thenvthe two baffled fellows sneaked
Daylight was dawning as a wel
come figure appeared upon the bleak
spot on the prairie. There was a hap
py, relieved look in the face of the
young man. '
"Well, my man," he hailed cheerily,
"thought I was going to forget you.
I've had lots to do among other
things getting married to the young
lady you have helped out of the hands
a Lof scheming, cruel relations."
"Why, sir, a romance," intimated
JlWfiH nigh -a tragedy," said the