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knew what they were up to. Broad
cast all through the district the word
had gonexmt that a small fortune was
being conveyed away from the town.
At Ixtacl no attack or outbreak was
attempted. A pretense was made by
the legal authorities to protect the re
moval of the safe. They laughed in
their sleeves, however.
"That loot will never leave Mexican
territory," -they predicted.
Ten miles, fifteen miles, twenty
miles, the train progressed. Then the
signal, the armed Mexican and engi
neer and fireman challenged and
helpless, as seen.
The Mexican did not speak further.
He kept his weapons leveled as if pos
ing for a picture. Suddenly, however,
he opened his lips. It was to give ut
terance to a shrill, piercing whistle.
Its echoes had scarce died away
when in the near distance the lynx
eyed engineer observed half a dozen
armed men descending the cut side
from a covert.
Then his glance studied the waiting
sentinel with increasing sharpness.
He took in his position, his face, he
reckoned as to the time it would take
for his accomplices to reach the rail
The fireman, closely scrutinizing
his comrade, fancied he tracked a
quick glitter in his clear, scrutinizing
eyes. The engineer seemed calculat
ing. Their challenger was just in
range of the exhaust cock. In fact,
not five feet away from it his face
was directly upon a level with"U.
The little valve that operated this
was just at the side of the engineer.
Pressure would set it going. The halt
was causing furnace and boiler to
make surplus steam at a keen rate.
Suddenly, but quite naturally, it
looked, the engineer gave a lurch. His
elbow met the extending valve.
Hiss ss splutter a blood-curdling
scream. Straight into the face
of the unsuspecting Mexican went a
scalding deluge. Blinded, blistered, in
agony, he dropped both revolvers. His
hands went up to his tortured eyes.
"Now, then!" shouted Marvin, and
he sprang to the lever.
A dozen shots from -the bandits de
scending the side of the cut rattled
against the cab. A curve was turned.
"Saved!" uttered the fireman, with
grin and chuckle.
"Hardly," qualified Marvin. "They
will try one more ambush, but if
we can make Sonoma "
"Why, that is still fifty miles from
"If we can only make Sonoma!" re
peated Marvin in a businesslike tone
that sounded hopeful to his puzzled
assistant. "I thought so!" he added
half an hour later, and slowed up
just in time to avoid dashing into a
barricade of railroad ties piled across
the rails. This time six rough char
acters surrounded the engine.
"Cut off that car," ordered their
leader, and Marvin obeyed.
"Now, then, go on about your busi
ness," was the added command, and
at a wave of the speaker's hand his
subordinates removed the obstacle on
Open-mouthed, dejected, the fire
man stared at Marvin as he resumed
"See here," hJe- finally observed,
"they've got what they were after."
"Yes, the express car," nodded
Marvin gaily. "It will take them an
hour to burst in that Bteedoor to get
into the big safe.
"Well, then "
"By that time we -shall be at So
noma'." "You keep saying 'Sonoma,' " rath
er irritably observed the fireman.
"What's Sonoma got to do with it,
This much: To the advancing mys
tification of the fireman, as they
neared Sonoma instead of running on
the main track, Marvin slowed up, set
a switch to a long siding running to a
mahogany forest a mile or two-dis-tant,
halted amid a lonely solitude and
drew'forth and blew a signal whistle.
Within a few moments a respond
ing "honk! honk!" came from a near
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