sobbed wildly. "If it hadn't been for
your father and brother having worn
them, folks wouldn't accuse me of
having killed them."
Leonard ran to her and put his
arms about her. "Why, mom, folks
are liars, that's all," he said. He
clenched his fists. "Just let me see
the man who says you are a murder
ess !" he cried. "And, mom," he add
ed, "I'll take them off right away."
He sat down in the sun and pulled
off the boots. Then, carrying them
in his hands he ran in his stockinged
feet back into the house.
I saw the tension on Mrs. Carey's
face. Presently Leonard came back,
wearing a pair of ordinary boots. He
looked very sober and paler than be
fore. He came rather unsteadily up
to his mother.
"I don't feel well, mom," he gasped,
and fell at her feet. Mrs. Carey
screamed wildly and I carried the boy
into the house and called the doctor.
The, doctor arrived in half an hour
and diagnosed the case as hopeless.
By that time Leonard's legs were
swollen to three times their size and
he was black below the waist But I
refused to accept the verdict.
Mrs. Carey and I worked over him
all that day. It was a desperate ef
fort to keep him away, and we could
not walk him on his swollen feet. But
we punched and struck him and
pulled up his drooping eyelids. We
struck him and pushed him from side
to" side, trundling him about the
room. Somehow we managed to pre
vent the coma of death from devel
oping that night, and by morning the
boy was better. The doctor, who
called expecting him to "be dead, was
The next day was a critical one,
but by nightfall Leoanrd .was able to
go to sleep, and by the next morn
ing the swelling had gone down a lit
tle and he was on the way to recov
ery. Then, only, did I think of the
The story had spread through the
village and warrant for Mrs. Carey's
arrest had already been issued. It
was I who confronted the constable
at the door with my evidence. For I
had slashed the boots to pieces and
discovered the mystery.
In the left boot was nothing. But
in the right boot, set near the ankle,
was a tiny snake-fang, with a portion
of the venom sack attached to it. It
had been thrust out with such vio-r
lence that it had penetreated the
leather and carried this minute por
tion of the poison sack with it.
It was set downward at such an
angle that it would not abraze the
skin, when the boot was put on, but
must inevitably do so when it was
The explanation was an obvious
one and it cleared Mrs. Carey, who
now resides, with Frank and Leonard,
on the old place, esteem'ed by every
one. The deadly poison was identi
fied with that of the Indian hooded
cobra. The snake had escaped from
the charmer and had struck at the
farmer's leg, without his knowledge.
The fang, remaining in the tough
leather, had done no injury until
John Carey pulled off his boots. Then
it had killed him.
Answer: We mGugiu u a good
idea! We never did like that pesky
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