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•STRÄNGE CAJE MLLPÄßMSH AUTHOR, OF "THE DBV1L'J OWN " "HYLAPY OF THE NORTH * ETC. c?af*¥7Z7<swr jsir J&USJS/cSÏÏ JIM GETS A CLEW. Synopsis. — Frederick Cavendish, New York man of wealth, receives a letter from an old friend, Jim Westcott, urging him to come at once to Colorado. Deciding to go, he employs a lawyer, Patrick En right, to draw up a will leaving most of his estate to charity, with a mere pittance to John Cavendish, hts cousin and only relative, a dis solute youth. That night Frederick Cavendish Is murdered in his apart ments. No will being found, 'John Cavendish inherits the estate.. Two months later Enright Informs John Cavendish of the existence of the will and offers, for $100,000, to say nothing of It. John agrees. Stella Donovan, newspaper writer, learns from Frederick Cavendish's valet that he is not satisfied the body found was that of his employer. She Is directed by Farriss, city edi tor of the Star, to follow up the case. Stella learns of the will En right had drawn up, also of John Cavendish's Infatuation for Celeste La Rue, chorus girl. A conversa tion Stella overhears between Ce leste and John Cavendish convinces her Frederick Cavendish Is alive, the victim of a conspiracy engi neered by Enright to secure his fortune, and that Celeste knows where he is hidden, Ned Beaton, notorious gunman, is also men tioned. Celeste Is about to leave for Haskell, Colorado, and Stella is ordered by Farriss to proceed there at oncè. At Haskell Stella, repre senting herself as a magazine writer, makes the acquaintance of Jim Westcott, Frederick Caven dish's partner. Westcott resents the Interest taken In Stella by Beaton, whom he knows only as a visiting New Yorker, and worsts him in a fistic encounter. Stella confides In Jim, who believes Cavendish Is alive. Celeste and Enright join Beaton at Haskell. While visiting his mine an attempt is made to shoot Westcott. Tracking the as sassin. Westcott listens to a con ference between Beaton, Enright and BUI Lacy, local desperado. He learns that Frederick Cavendish Is alive and a prisoner of Lacy. Caught listening, Westcott escapes, but leave« evidence of his presence and becomes a marked man. Ce leste visits Stella and discovers her mission. Stella Is lured from the hotel, kidnaped and taken to the mountains. CHAPTER VIII.—Continued. "From New York?" The quick eyes of the Mexican again sought her face. "She Is to be held prisoner?" "Yes, senor." "Then I will ride with you to Men dez; 'tis well to have the matter promptly over with." iPhe wagon rumbled on, Moore urg ing the wearied team with whip and voice to little result. Sibes remained on foot, glad of the change, striding along In front, while the Mexican rode beside the wheel, his equipment jin gling, the sunlight flashing over his bright attire. He made a rather gal lant figure, of which he was fully con scious, glancing frequently aside into the shadow beneath the canvas top to gain glimpse of its occupant. At last their eyes met, and he could no long er forbear speech, his English expres sion a bit precise. "Pardon, senorita, I would be held your friend," he murmured, leaning closer. "You know Senor Mendez?" She shook her head negatively. "'Tis strange! Yet I forget you come from New York. They know him here on this border. If you ask these men they will tell you. Even Senor Lacy takes his orders from Pascual Mendez. He care not who he kill, who he fight—some day it come Ills turn, and then he liberate Mexico —see? The day is not yet, but it will come." "But you, senor?" "I am his lieutenant—Juan Cateras," and he bowed low, "and I ride now to tell him bf his guest." She watched him as he spurred for ward, proud of his horsemanship, and making every effo.-t to attract her at tention. Mooré turned in his seat, and grinned. "Some tin soldier," he said sneer ingly, "that's a feller I always wanted ter kick, an' some day I'm a goin' ter do it." The wagon lurched down a steep bank, splashed its way across the nar row s^eam and up the other side, the horses, straining in their harness to the sharp snap of the driver's whip. A towering precipice of rock confronted them, and at Its very foot stood two cabins of log construction, so closely resembling thpir stone background as to be almost imperceptible at the dis tance of a few yards. Sike3 leaned on his rifle waiting, and as Moore halted the panting team and leaped over the wheel to the ground Cateras came forth from one of the open doors and crossed the intervening space on foot. He was smoking a cigarette, the blue wreath of smoke circling above his head In the still air. "The lady Is to be placed In my care," he said almost insolently. "Your hand, senorita." Miss Donovan hesitated. Moore broke the silence with a protest. "In your care, senor? The girl Is here as prisoner to Bill Lacy." "So I told Mendez," he said Indiffer ently. "But he Is In 111 humor this morning and took small Interest In the affair. It was only When I promised to take full charge that he consented to your remaining at all." "If there is evil done, the debt will be paid." Cateras laughed, one hand at his In cipient mustache. "Billy Lacy, you mean, no doubt. That is a matter for him to settle with Mendez. It Is not my affair, for I only obey my chief. However, senors, 'tis no evil that is contemplated, only we prefer guarding the secrets of this val ley ourselves. That Is what angers Mendez, the fact that Lacy uses this rendezvous as a prison durlpg our ab sence. We found one here when we returned—guarded by an American. Now you come with another. How do we know what may result from such acts? What sheriff's posse may be on your trail? BJ11 Lacy! Dlosl if Bill Lacy would make prisoners, let him keep them somewhere else than here. Mendez takes no prisoners—he knows a better way than doing things like that." "But, senor, tills is a woman." "Of which I am well aware," bow ing gallantly. "Otherwise I should, not have Interfered and offered my serv ices. You know what to do with your team ; then the both of you report to Casas at the upper camp—you know him?" "Yes, senor." "Tell him I sent you. He will have his orders ; they are that you be shot if you attempt to leave before Mendez gives the word. 'Tis not long now till we learn who Is chief here—Bill Lacy or Pascual Mendez. Come, senorita, you are safe with me." Concealing a dread that was almost overpowering, yet realizing the impos sibility of resistance, Stella permitted him to touch her hand and assist her to clamber over the wheel. Under some conditions the change in captors might have been welcomed—certainly she felt no desire to remain In the hands of the two who had brought her there, for Slkes, plainly enough, was a mere drunken brute, and Moore, while of somewhat finer fiber, lacked the courage and manhood to ever develop into a true friend. Yet she would have Infinitely pre ferred such as these—men, at least, of her own race—to this smirking Mexi can, hiding his devilish Instincts be V-/ "N "Come, Take This Spitfire. Carambal We'll Teach Her!" hind a pretense at gallantry. He had hastened ahead to Mendez ; told a tale in his own way, rendering the chief's suspicions of Lacy more acute and thus gaining permission to assume full charge. Her only hope was to go her self into the presence of the leader and make a plea to him face to face. Cateras, smiling, pressed her arm with his fingers. "Tills way, senorita." "Wait," and her eyes met his, show ing no sign of fear. "You take me, presume, to Senor Mendez? I am an American woman, and you will yet pay dearly for this outrage. I demand an interview with the chief and refuse to go with you until it is granted." "You refuse ! Ha !" and he burst Intq laughter. "Why, what power have you got, you little fool? Do you know where you are? What fear do we have of yourd Americanos. None!" and he snapped his fingers derisively. "We spit on the dogs. I will show yon —come 1" He gripped her shoulder In his lean hand, his eyes glaring into her face savagely. 'JÎhe grasp hurt, and a sud den anger spurred her to action. With a quick twist she freed herself and, scarcely knowing how it was done, snat«hed the heavy driver's whip from Moore's hand. The next instant, be fore the astounded Mexican could even throw up his arm in defense, the infuriated girl struck, the «tinging lash raising a red welt across the swarthy cheek. Cateras staggered tack, his Hps giving utterance to a curse. Again she struck, but this time his fingers gripped the leather and tore It from her hands with sufficient force to send her to her knees. With a spring forward the man held her In his grasp, all tiger now, the pretense at gentle ness forgotten. He jerked her to her feet with fingers clutching her neck mercilessly. Here Silva, Merodez," he cried, "come take this spitfire. Caramba! We'll teach her.' Two men ran from between the huts and Cateras flung her, helpless from her choking, into their grasp. 'Take her within—no, there; the second door, you fools." Breathless from effort, a mere child In their grip, Miss Donovan struggled vainly. They forced her through the door and Cateras, still cursing furl oùsly, followed, the whip In his hands. CHAPTER IX. Westcott Finds Himself Alone. It never occurred to Westcott on his escape through the darkness that his night's adventure would In any way endanger Miss Donovan. He was on the property of La Roslta Mining com pany upon his own account, and not In reference to the Cavendish case at all —or, at least, this last was merely In cidental. From where he lay he could see across the bare, rock-strewn hillside to the distant hut, outlined by the gleam of light within, and perceive the black silhouette of the shafthouse. He could dimly distinguish figures as they passed in and out of the glare of light, and was aware that Moore had been found and carried within the hut, but remained Ignorant of the fact that the leaving of a knife in the window had revealed his identity. There was no attempt at pursuit, which gave him confidence that Lacy failed to compre hend the importance of what had been overheard, yet he clung to his hiding place until all the men had re-entered the office. * It was late the next morning before Westcott rode Into Haskell and, stabling his horse, which bore all the marks of hard riding, proceeded to ward the Tlmmons house. He had utilized, as best he could, the hours since that cavalcade had departed from La Roslta to put his own affairs in order so that he might feel free to camp on the conspirators' trail and risk all in an effort to rescue Caven dish. The night had been a hard one, but Westcott was still totally uncon scious of fatigue—his whole thought centered on his purpose. A8 he rode slowly up the street in the bright sun light his mind reverted to Stella Dono van. Eager for the greeting which he felt assured awaited him, he strode through the open door Into the office. The room was vacant, but as he crossed the floor toward the desk the proprietor entered the opening leading Into the barroom beyond. "Hello, Jim!" he cried at sight of the other. "Thought you'd be back, but d it, yer too late—she's—she's gone ; almighty pretty girl, too. I told the .boys It was a blame shame fer her tar run off thataway." "Who has run off?" And Westcott's hand crushed down on the man's shoul der. "What are yon talking about?" "Me!' Let up, will yer? Yer was here hopin' ter see that New York girl, wasn't yer?" "Miss Donovan? Yes." "I'd forgot her name. Well, she ain't yere—she's left." "Left—gone from town?" "Sure; skipped out sudden in the uight ; took the late train East, I reck on. Never sed no word to nobody just naturally packed up her duds an' hiked." Westcott drew a deep breath. "Surely you do not mean she left without any explanation? She must have paid her bill." "Oh, she was square enough—sure. She left money an' a note pinned to her pillow ; sed she'd just got a mes sage caliin' her home—want ter see whut she wrote?" "You bet I do, Tlmmons!" Tlmmons waddled around behind the desk and ran his hand into a drawer. Evidently he considered the matter a huge joke, but Westcott snatched the paper from his fingers impatiently and eagerly read the few hastily penciled lines : "Have received a message calling me East at once. Shall take the night train, and inclose sufficient money to pay for my entertainment. "S. D." He stared at the wosds, a deep crease between his eyes. It was a woman's handwriting, and at first glance there was nothing impossible in such an action on her part. Yet it was strange, if she had departed so sud denly without leaving any message for him. His eyes narrowed with aroused suspicion as he looked up from the slip of paper an«t confronted the amused Tlmmons across the desk. "And that was all, was it—Just this note and the cash? There *—« nothing addressed to me?" The hotelkeeper shook his hèad, "When did you see her last." '"Bout nine o'clock, I reckon; she came down Inter the dlnln' room fer a drink o' water." "How much longer were you up?" "Oh, maybe an hour." "No message for Miss Donovan up to that time?" "No." "You left the door unlocked?" "Sure; them New York fellers was both out. I oughter waited till they come In, maybe, but I was plum' tired out.". "When did they come back?" "Oh , 'bout midnight, I reckon. Bill L»cy an' Matt Moore was along with 'em." "I see! And these New York people —they are still here?" "They wus all three down ter break fast ; ain't seen nuthln' of 'em since." "What became of Lacy?" "He's down in his saloon; he sed If you showed up, an' asked fer him, ter tell yer that's whar he'd be." "He told you that? He expected me to show up, then?" "I reckon as how he did," and Tlm mons grinned in drunken good humor. "He's pretty blame smart, Bill Lacy is; he most allars knows whut's goin' ter happen." He leaned over the desk and lowered his voice. "If yer do hunt him up, Jim," he said confiden tially, "you better go heeled." Westcott laughed. The first shock of the discovery of Miss Donovan's disappearance had passed, and he was himself again. He must .have time to think and arrange some plan and, above all, must retain a clear mind and proceed coolly. "All right, old man," he said easily. "I'll try and look out for myself. I haven't eaten yet today. What can you find me in the larder?" Although feeling the need of food, Westcott entered the dining-room of the Tlmmons' house more desirous of being alone than for any other pur pose. He realized that he was sud denly brought face to face with a most serious condition, and one which must be solved unaided. So Bill Lacy ex pected him? Had left word where he was to be found? What was the prob able meaning of this? Westcott did not connect this message directly with the strange disappearance of Miss Donovan. Moore must have recog nized him during their fight, and re ported to his master who it was that had been discovered listening at the window. Realizing the nature of that conversation. Lacy naturally antici pated being sought the very moment Westcott came to town. That • was what this meant. All right, he would hunt Lacy as soon as he was ready to do so; and, as Timmons suggested, would go "heeled." But the girl? What had really be come of the girl? Westcott drew the brief note from his pocket, smoothed out its creases and read the few words over again. The writing was unquestionably feminine, and he could recall seeing nothing Miss Donovan had ever indited, with which It could be compared. But would she have de parted, however hurriedly, without leaving him some message? Uncon sciously he still held the letter in his hand when the waitress came In with bis breakfast. She glanced about to make certain they were alone and leaned over, her lips close to his ear. "Is that the note they say that New York young lady left?" "Yes, Sadie," in surprise. "Why?" "Weil, she never wrote It, Mr. West cott," hurriedly placing the dishes be fore him, "that's all. Now don't yer say a word to anybody that I told yer ; but she didn't go East at all ; she wus took in a wagon down the desert road. I saw 'em take her." "You saw them? Who?" "Well, I don't just know that, 'cept It was Matt Moore's team, an' he wuz drlvln' It. I didn't see the others so es to be sure. Yer see us help sleep over the kitchen, an' 'bout one o'clock I woke up. I thought I heard a noise outside, an' got up an' went to the winder. I couldn't see much, not 'nough so I could swear to nuthin' ; but there was three or four men out there just across that little gully, you know, an' they had a woman with 'em. She didn't scream none, but she was tryin' ter git away; wunst she run, but they caught her. I didn't see no wagon then; it was behind the ridge, I reckon. After a while it drove off down the south trail, an' a little later three men come up them outside stairs back Into the hotel. They was mighty still 'bout it, too." "You couldn't tell who they were?" "They wa'n't like nuthin' but shad ders ; It was a purty dark night. Say, did you ever hear tell of a Mexican named Mendez?" "Weil, rather; he's a cattle thief, or worse. Arizona has a big reward out for him, dead or alive." 'That's the gink, I bet yer; has he got a hangout anywhar ,'round this country?" "Not so far as I know. What makes you suspect this?" Sadie leaned even closer, her voice trembling with excitement, evidently convinced that her information was of utmost importance. "You know the feller they call En right, I reckon he's a lawyer?" Westcott nodded. "Well, he was doin' most of the talk in', an' I was foolin' round the side board yonder, pretendin' ter clean it up. Nobody thought I was in ear dis tance, but I got hold ov a word now an' then. He kept tellln' 'em 'bout this Mexican, who's a friend of Bill Lacy, an' I judge has a place whar he hangs out with his gang somewhar in the big desert." "Was anything said about Miss Don ovan?" "Not by name; they was too smart for that ; but that was the direction Matt Moore drove off last night— there 's Enright comln' downstairs now ; won't yer har* some more cakes, sir?" Westcott pushed back bis chair and rose to his feet. He had extracted all the information the girl possessed, and hgd no wish to expose her to sus picion. There was no longer a doubt in his mind as to the fate of Miss Don ovan. She had been forcibly abducted by this gang of thieves, and put where her knowledge could do them no harm. But where? The clue had been given him, but before It could be of any value he must learn more of this Mexican, Mendez. The feUow had always appeared a rather mythical character, but now became suddenly real. The marshal might know; If not, then iie must choke the truth out' of Lacy. Determined to make the effort, he muttered a swift word of thanks to Sadie and left the room. From the open doorway Westcott took careful survey of the street, ad justing his belt so that the butt of his revolver was more convenient to the hand. He had no conception that his coming interview with Lacy was to be altogether a pleasant one, and realized fully the danger confronting him. At that moment the little marshal, his broad-brimmed hat cocked over one eye, emerged from the narrow alley 0 6 "What the H Does This Mean?" He Demanded Hotly. way between the Red Dog and the ad jacent dance hall, and stood there doubtfully, his gaze wandering up and down the deserted street. As West cott descended the hotel steps the mar shal saw him, and came forward. His manner was prompt and businesslike. "Hello, Jim," he said rather briskly. •"Had a little trouble up your way last night, I hear." "Nothing to bother you, Dan; my Mexican watchman was shot up through a window of the shack." "Kill him?" "Instantly. I told the coroner all about It. Whoever the fellow was I reckon he meant the shot for me, but poor Jose got It. Seen Bill Lacy this morning?" The marshal's thin lips smiled grim ly as his eyes lifted to Westcott's face. "He's back'there in his office. That's what I stopped yer for. He said he rather expected ye'd be along after a while. What's up between yer, Jim? There ain't goin' ter be no fight er nuthin'?" anxiously. Westcott laughed. "I don't see any use for any," he an swered. "But Bill might be a bit touchy. Maybe, Dan, It might be worth while for you to hang around. Do a> you please about that." He turned away and went up the wooden steps to the door of the Red Dog. The marshal's eyes followed him solicitously until he disappeared within ; then he slipped back into the alleyway skirting the side of the build ing until he reached a window near the rear. Westcott closed the door behind him and took a swift view of the barroom. There were not many present at that hour—only a few habitual loafers play ing cards. Westcott recognized most of the faces with a slight feeling of relief. Neither Enright nor Beaton were present, and it was his desire to meet Lacy alone, away from the in fluence of these others. He crossed to the bar. "Where's Bill?" he asked. "Back there," and the dispenser of drinks Inclined his head toward a door at the rear. "Go on in." The fellow's manner was civil enough, yet Westcott's teeth Set with a feeling that he was about to face an emergency. Yet there was no other way ; he must make Lacy talk. He walked straight to the door, opened it, stepped into the room beyond, and turned the key in the lock, dropping it into his pocket. Then he faced about. He was not alone with Lacy ; Enright sat beside the desk of the other and was staring at him in startled surprise. Westcott also had a hazy Impression that there was or had been another person. The saloon keeper rose to his feet, angry, and thrown completely off his guard by Westcott's unexpected action. "What the h does this mean?" he demanded hotly. "Why did you lock the door?" Westcott puts up a good fight against odds. (TO BE CONTINUED.) HIS NO Whut Lydia E. Vegetable Co for Mr*. ' Onalaska, Wis.—"1 such pains in my back though and 1 die, regular Tered for a yea? and was unfit to do my housework, could only wash dtabes once in a while. 2 read an i advertisement of what Lydia E. Pink ham's Vegetable Con for other women and It surely did wonders no pains now and I can do my house work without any trouble at alL 1 wiB always praise your medicine as I do not believe there is a doctor that can do as much good in female weakness, and you may use these facts as a testi monial."— Mrs. Lester E. Waener, R. 1, Box 69, Onalaska, Wis. The reason women write such letters to the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Co. and tell their friends how they are l'a at health I happiness'into their lives. Freed from their illness they want to pass the good news along to other suffering women that they also may be relieved. 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