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if I could. .Poor little tot! No clue,
"No," replied Nellie, "the paper
says that Ida Strong has been kid
naped and probably carried to a dis
tance. Her parents are frantic.
They only hope that, once they safe
ly in hiding, those "who stole her will
offer her for ransom."
"They're rich enough to pay a big
one," remarked Jed. "How well I re
call the' little one. Only a week ago
I gave her a pretty red apple and rode
her on my shoulder down the
"When is your first band playing?"
asked Nellie, changing the subject.
"Saturday night. It isn't a very
select dance, or I'd ask you to go. It's
over at Jung's Corners. They're a
rough lot around there, you know.
Their shindigs generally break up in
"Take care of yourself, dear, won't
you?" said Nellie softly.
"And the four dollars yes, indeed!
The first nest egg for a home. Giye J
me a kiss on it, Nellie.
She gave him a .dozen, and was
proud of the artless but earnest
young fellow who fairly worshiped
the ground she trod on.
A great clumsy carry-all conveyed
the rural band over to Jung's Cor
ners on Saturday evening. Jed had
not exaggerated the conditions prev
alent with that community of lawless
roysterers and rude river men. There
were ten members of the band. They
placed their instruments in a small
room back of the dance hall and sat
around until the crowa" arrived.
Then when the last number was
played off the program, they again
stored their instruments and accept
ed the invitation to supper from the
proprietor of the place.
Jed noticed half a dozen fights in
progress as he was the first of the
party to go after his instrument.
When he got into the poorly lighted
store room he rolled hisbulky drum
near to the door." It was quite heavy
and he usually, asked some one to
help him when it had to be carried.
Just then he paused and bent his ear
sharply. A thin piping wail proceed
ed from beyond a door in one corner
of the room. It was bolted. Jed un
slipped the bolt.
"Gracious me!" he ejaculated, and
well he might. In a wretched ad
joining apartment a little child lay
sobbing on a pallet.
"Ida Strong!" gasped Jed and then
he advanced towards the child. The
light from the dancing hall per
meated the room. "Don't you know
"Oh, yes, sure T do!" palpitated the
little one, putting up her thin waver
ing hands. "Oh, Mr, Hawkins! Please
take me away from here. I've been
locked up for a week and I heard
them say they were going to take me
further from home tomorrow."
"Do just as I 'tell you," whispered
Jed, an exciting thought coming into
Then there were some strange and
rapid movements in the room and
then, as the cornet player appeared
and took up his instrument, Jed sang
"Help me get this clumsy ok bag
gage of mine 'to the wagon, will
"Say! it's pretty heavy, isn't it?"
propounded the man as he took hold
of one side, of 'the drum.
"Rather bulky, yes," nodded Jed.
"Go easy that's it," and he gave a
great breath of relief as the big drum
was hoisted aboard the carry-all.
He sat well back in the wagon near
to his precious drum, when they got
started on their homeward route.
Jed was nervous, for he bent his earn
many a time anxiously as if seeking
for signs of pursuit.
There were none and as the horses
reached the top of the last hill over
looking the home town, he pulled the
drum towards him. He unstrung its
great moon-faced top.
"All right, little one!" "he hailed,
and the child he had secreted in the
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