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"drew 12 and cursed viciously. Five
others followed. It came the turn of
Ramon. With his usual deference and
timidity he approached the bag put
in his hand and drew out blank!
There was a dead silence except
for a low murderous hiss from the lips
of Bad Gib. Then the bluff, hearty
Dan grasped one hand of the aston
ished but delighted Ramon, in honest
congratulation and placed the won
derful gem in the palm of the other.
It was only for a very few hours
that Ramon enjoyecl his opulent pos
session. The glittering eyes ef Bad
Gib followed him every move he
made. He shuddered when he met
that metallic gleam probing, men
acing. Still more distraught the poor
native became when it was announc
ed that they would trek in a body to
the nearest river settlement, then
they would break up, each man go
ing his own way.
Ramon realized that it was not
within the range of possibility that he
would reach Cape Wold, the first met
ropolitan safety point m the district
Sure" was he that it had become the
one motive of life with the sanguinary
scoundrel, Bad Gib, to trail him step
by step, to catch the critical moment
and despoil him of his lawful posses
sion", the Rajah.
There were others in the group who
coveted the precious gem, but; border
honor was sacred with them. While
they were heedless as to the security
of Ramon, they would not deliberate
ly set a plot to rob him. He must,
however, protect himself. They ig
nored and forgot him and his prince
Ramon sought Big Ben at dusk, He
led him aside, Bad Gib watching his
every movement, was glowering at
him darkly from a near distance.
"You are my friend," spoke the na
tive to Ben. "Listen it is" fate. The
man who drove my mother to starva
tion, death, and my only friend, Bur
ridge, after her, will "never allow me
to get to Cape Wold with my treas
"Give him the slip, Ramon," advis
ed Ben bluffly. 1
""1 cannot hope it," asserted Ramon,?
dolefully. "My friend, see I must
carry ft about with me. I dare not
hide it, for he is watching me."
Ramon drew out a chamois bag and
shook it As he restored it to "his
bosom the eyes of the observing Gib
shone like two living coals of fire.
"If you would do something for
me," suggested Ramon plaintively.
"See, friend," and he held up a
knobbed club. It was of some hard
forest wood, hacked by usage and
blackened by time. All of the camp
knew of this souvenir pf the father of
Ramon, who had been a 'native ,chlef.
It was a war club, sacredly .treasured
by the son.
"You will reach Cape Wold in safe
ty," Ramon resumed. ''If perchance
Burridge has reached theret or my
mother, or you find only those of my
kin, give them this family memento."
"Sure, I will," acquiesced Ren, will
ingly, but casually. "Don't giveup,
Ramon. Light out You know all the
trails. You ought to be able to slip
That night Ramon stole away from
the camp. Within an hour Bad, Gib
was also missing. Big Ben shook his
A month later to a day Ben arrived
at Cape Wold. A surprise greeted him,
for he found Burridge there, and in
the same little .hotel, beingViursed
under his direction, the mother of
Burridge told a vivid story of how
he had come across the outcast wo
man in the wilderness, nearly starved"
and in delirium. He took the war
club. The next morning he gave-it to
the sick woman. i
A week later, worn to a skeleton"
with wild eyes and mixed emotions ofi
excitement and delight, Ramon ar
rived on the scene.
When he learned of all that Bur
ridge had done for his mother he f air-I
ly 'groveled at his feet in a paroxysm?
of extravagant gratitude.