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Newspaper Page Text
"Senorita, a brief domiciliary visit
of necessity, order by superiors,"
lie observed in a suave, still half
mocking tone. "No harm will be done
to you, but there must be no outcry
or attempt at escape. You are
"Yes," she retorted, and her flash
ing eyes dashed the audacious fel
low with their sheer contempt and
"We counted on that," remarked
the lead. "Petro-Sanchez the box.
We know it is here."
Madge, chilled. She comprehend
ed to what they referred the little
safe in her father's bedroom. It had
often held heavy collections and im
portant documents. These ruffians
had learned of it Their presence
might mean beggary to her father,
it might destroy all their fond plans
for the future!
Steadily she faced the leader. She,
saw that resistance or pleading were
alike futile. Madge paletf slightly as
the two men who had entered the
house returned. It required all their
strength to carry the little safe to the
"It is locked," spoke one of them.
"The chief will know how to open
it!" chuckled the leader. "All ahead.
I will drive. At your pleasure, senor
ita." Madge was compelled to mount the
wagon seat. The cavalcade in the
lead, the leader took up the lines.
"You toust not be left behind to
start an alarm," he remarked
smoothly. "It -remains with the chief
as to your permanent detention."
Madge turned her face away from
the speaker. She refused to exchange
words with him. He allowed the lines
to trail and the horse went slowly,
although the horsemen had spurred
up and were quite a distance ahead.
There was a- spell of silence. Madge
crowded to the extreme end of the
seat as her polite but insistent cap
tor resumed his observations.
"The exigencies of warfare are
cruel, Benorita," he. continued with 1
specious blandness. "For instance,
Chief Avarro has little conscience.
Listen, you are beautiful so much
that I, loyal as I have been, will for-
get my commander and my country
if you will become my bride. You will ,
not speak? I appear contemptible to
you? Not so. I am only in earnest. -,
I can saYi; you; I can save the pre-j
cious safe: One word from you I can n
turn from the road. I know an oblig- ;
ing priest I will be true and loving: t
Think it over."
Madge's heart sank. She knew that i
his reference to his bandit chief bore
a tinge of truth. She shuddered, j
Then suddenly she shrank back. It 1
was growing dusk, but the moon was -
just rising. It cast a sudden shadow 4
across the front of the vehicle. Then
a hand shot from a horseman who
had suddenly appeared. It seized the 1
leader. He whirled from the seat',
through the air, and r
He had landed ten feet down into i
the waters of the broad, rolling river.
The horseman leaped from his steed f,
ancK ran to the head of the horse,
backed the wagon, reversed it and (
sprang to its seat.
"Walter oh, it cannot be!" cried B
Madge and clung to his arm as heT
spurted up the horse, his own, well
trained, acting as pilot
A shot rang out. It proceeded from r
the revolver of the baffled leader and b
he was shouting vigorously, as if ,1
hoping to attract the attention of the j
cavalcade, now out of sight.
"Don't faint!" spoke Walter. "Take.
the whip. Lash up the horse. There ?
may be pursuit The mischief!" A
Half a mile covered at a furious j
rate of speed, a wheel struck a boul- j
der, cluttered to fragments and the
vehicle sagged to Qje side. Walter -
sprang to the groiSd and caught.
Madge in his arms. He was-outlining 1
a run to the cover of the near woods
when a group of half a dozen men
came dashing on horseback from the
direction of the cabin. Walter ran -up
to their leader. The new party