FICTION

The Spanish-American Prisoner

The Story of a Remarkable Investment and Its Outcome

Adam Harold Brown August 1 1918
FICTION

The Spanish-American Prisoner

The Story of a Remarkable Investment and Its Outcome

Adam Harold Brown August 1 1918

The Spanish-American Prisoner

The Story of a Remarkable Investment and Its Outcome

Adam Harold Brown

Who wrote “Hannibal Helps” and other stories.

ON the worn tar pavement in front of Valeboro’s firehall, assistant fire chief J. K. Duckworth sat in a round-armed, spindle-backed chair, holding earnest converse with his elderly crony, Mr. Fullerton Moon.

“I can’t see, Jed,” Mr. Moon was remarking in a slightly peevish tone, “why you’re so close with that there letter. . . . Won’t you just le’me have a look?”

“It’s another party’s secret,” was the solemn reply. “He trusts me; and as you know.^Full, I consider a trust a sacred

“Yes; but I aint going to tell nobody,” his friend protested.

“That’s all right, Full. But the secret is worth a lot of money; besides—”

“You might just gi’me a look, Jed. It couldn’t hurt no one.”

“I’d like to, Full, but the fellow that writes this letter is in a delicate position. He’s what they call a high-financier!”

“Is he trying to sell you mining stocks?” “No, he aint. You don’t catch me throwing away my money.”

“You needn’t sneer, Jed. Mining stock’s a mighty good investment. It’s gilt-edge ! Why,” declared Mr. Moon, warming to a favorite theme, “It stands to reason : Here’s the gold mine, or diamonds maybe, heres the money to go in; and when the stuff comes out, who gets the profits?” “Well, Full, you never got none.”

“I’ve been kinder unfortunate,” the other admitted. “But only( eight hundred dollars m the past twenty years. I may strike it rich yet. It wasn’t my fault those companies being crooked. Well, Jed, you can’t wonder at people talking. Only this afternoon Sam Williams was saying as he noticed how touchy and sad-looking you were. He said you must be in love.” ‘‘Hum!” was the contemptuous snortWhat’s Sam know about it? He’s as henpecked as a frazzled fire-hose.”

“I know that. But he says when a man s in love he acts like he had indigestion, or something,” the speaker added darkly.

“Folks in this town,” retorted the fireman hotly, “are too curious by a long shot! I suppose they’re saying all sorts of things about me.”

“Well, you needn’t glare at me, Jed, I m only telling what I heard. Yesterday, he continued with relish, “at the post-office Andy McAhinney was saying you must ’ve got an awful interesting letter cause he saw you reading it three times; he knew it was the same ’count of a crease in one corner, but he couldn’t tell what was in it.”

“No, 1 guess not” was the «joinder. When I see Andy coming I go inside and lock the door. But,” he added with bitter sarcasm, “didn’t Hank Smith, the postmaster, know everything that was in it?”

“No, Hank didn’t. He said ’twas in a thick envelope with a red seal on the back; he said you got another letter about a month ago, in the same kind o’ envelope and the same red seal, but it had a funny furrin postmark—Asia or Germany or some of those wild lands. Hank says a person has no right to be getting mail they’re ashamed to have the public see.” “Oh he did, did he?” declared the assistant fire chief. “Well, he’s too all-fired fresh for a civic employee; he better look out. . . . Why, only six months ago—you remember, Full—when that fellow in Detroit wrote me a postcard about the sheep farm he was starting, Hank had it all over town before I could so much as buy a money-order.”

“I aint excusing Hank; but that probably saved you several dollars. The only safe investment, as I’ve often told you, Jed, is mining stocks!”

“You’ve said that before. And it makes me tired. But if the postmaster had read all your mail—like he tries to mine—I guess it would ’ve saved you throwing away a good many dollars.”

jV/TR. MOON retained his dignity by a mighty effort. “You needn’t get personal,” was his retort. “I’m an old man, Jed, and don’t ask out of curiosity. I want to give you a friendly warning, knowing you’ve got all that money, that thousand that was left you to invest. . . . You’ll may be want some advice on that letter, eh?”

“Great Jehosaphat, Full Moon,” quirled the badgered fireman; “didn’t I tell you I don’t. It makes me sick to think of this matter getting talked about all over town. All I can tell you is this, Full, I can have fifty thousand dollars by just reaching out my hands.”

“Jee-rusalem !” ejaculated the aghast listener. “Fifty thousand!”

“That’s it,” was the complaisant reply; “and what’s more, I can have a beautiful wife if I’m willing.”

“Who is she?” shot from the curious Mr. Moon. “D’you mean Mary Dawson? I never knew it was all fixed up.”

Jed flushed a dull copper. “Mary’s all right,” he admitted, “but this one’s a rich heiress—and speaks the Spanish language!”

“Holy cats! Is she a Spanisher?”

“No, she aint. She’s a President’s daughter.”

“Lord! what’s her-What’s she look

like?”

“Well, Full, I’ll show you her photy if you’ll promise not to tell.”

On his friend’s emphatic assent Jed drew from an inner pocket a mounted photograph, and keeping a tight grip on one corner, displayed it to the elderly

critic. “That’s her,” was his blasé announcement.

“By crikey,” gulped the gazer. “She’s one of them peaches all right!”

It was the likeness of a girl, undeniably handsome, whose wavy hair and brunette tints suggested a Latin origin. Her soft, liquid eyes seemed to plumb the very soul. She seemed to smile with winning appeal at the overwhelmed Mr. Moon. That worthy turned the picture upside

“No name on the back,” was his disappointed comment. “Well, you’re a close one, Jed. You certainly are one of these gay dogs.”

The gay dog retrieved the treasured likeness and returned it to his pocket-

“Going inside now,” he remarked, rising with frank finality. “My fireman’s laid up to-day; leaves me all the work. And the Inspector may be along any time this month.”

Sadly shaking his head, like a discouraged yet not despondent angler, Mr. Moon rose to his feet, and ambled off in the direction of the post-office.

II.

AFTER locking the door on the inside, the assistant fire chief paused a moment in deep meditation. His gaze seemed to burn beyond the inanimate engine. His mind soared on a higher plane.

Again drawing the picture from his pocket, he studied it thoughtfully.

“She’s a peach, all right,” he breathed.

“And just to think I can-”

He reached out his arm tentatively. Then he eagerly opened the letter. It was the same missive that, a few days earlier, had annoyed Mr. Hank Smith.

“I’d better go over the other first,” he reflected. “Got to get it straightened out in my mind. So many interruptions. . ” He drew from his pocket another envelope with a similar red seal, post marked Port Limon, Costa Rica. It tersely informed the assistant fire chief that the legally-elected President of Honduragua had been ousted from his high office by a revolution! Perceiving discretion the better part of glory, the head office-holder, accompanied by his lovely daughter and a small but gallant bodyguard, had retreated to the Torres Dolores. Subsequently he had made his way to the friendly Republic of Costa Rica. Before leaving the presidential palace, however, the thoughtful chief executive had extracted five million dollars from the treasury vaults. This money, the letter went on, had been placed in the care of a trusted friend, Gomez de Diaz, ex-attache of the legation in Washington, who had sailed that very night for the land of freedom

and ex-presidents. On. reaching New York he had safely banked the golden treasure.

Then came the important point. The president’s emissary had taken the bank’s receipt—a veritable letter-of-credit, made out in the ex-president’s name which appeared to be Don Jose Alcashes—and placing it in a secret drawer of his portmanteau had left it in his boarding-house room. But—alas for the dreams of man—that night the brave De Diaz had been instantly killed by a taxicab in New York City. To cap th'e climax, the wily boardinghouse keeper, discovering several goldmounted toilet articles in the portmanteau (besides the jeweled Order of San Salvo’, which the president still had the legal right to confer) and deeming the bag of large value, had demanded a vast sum of money—$1,000, no less—for its return to the anxious inquirer at Port Limon. But the ex-president had no money, it seemed, barely enough to pay his hotel bill and to drive with his daughter under the royal palms. Even if he could scrape together enough to come north it would be useless. To regain the letter-of-credit, to prove his ownership of the five million, a small sum—merely a loan—was absolutely necessary. Of course the lender would be amply remunerated ! Personally Señor Alcashes was unknown in New York, though everyone knew of the generous and benevolent Ruler of Honduragua . . . Therefore would the kind Mr. Duckworth help a poor old man—and his daughter? “A certain gentleman,” so ran the explanation, “who once resided in your city, but whose identity I cannot reveal, as his honor is now under a cloud, had often mentioned the sterling qualities of Señor Duckworth.”

“I bet that was the bank-teller,” the reader reasoned for the hundreth time, “the one who skipped out a couple of years ago. Perhaps he went to South America. I never thought he was half so bad as folks made out. He knew me too. Or the President might have seen that piece about me in the papers when I was left that thousand dollars by old Uncle John.”

In case of willingness to succor, said a postscript, a telegram should be sent to a given New York address. Here lived an old and faithful Honduraguan vice-consul who would forward the wire.

TpHIS letter had been received a month 1 before. After a week of painful indecision, Jed had finally made up his mind to gamble the price of a telegram on the chance of getting further information. Accordingly he had wired to the New York address given in the letter. He had left the telegraph office with head held high and a spring to his step.

On the evening of that momentous day, he had paid his usual call at the old Dawson house. Every second night for the past year he had solemnly called there; and, until this fateful letter came to confuse his philosophy, the gentle, smiling Mary Dawson had completely filled the hopeful dreams of the assistant fire chief. Sometimes gazing at her laughing lips, listening to her merry sallies or regarding her nimble fingers, he had vaguely thought how fine it would be to have her always in a home of his own. She was pjnk-cheeked and. blue-eyed, slender, graceful, altogether pleasing. At the bottom of his heart Jed knew he loved her— and he thought at times that she might be induced to confess to a reciprocal preference. He had, of course, never pressed

her for an opinion on the subject. Such affairs move slowly in Valeboro.

On the night in question, Jed was unduly solemn. At last Mary noticed his far away air.

“What’s up, Jed,” she asked solicitously, “you’re quite well, aren’t you?”

“Oh, sure—yes—” he returned. “I was just thinking, Mary—wondering about

things. Life, for instance. Though you won’t find any of it in this hay seed town.” “I don’t know,” she replied. “It’s lively enough for most people.”

“May be, to some; but look at romance now. It’s outside all right—in the big cities. . . . Say, Mary, you’re a woman, but haven’t you ever longed for a bit of romance?”

“Romance?” she repeated, “what a funny question. Of course every girl loves romance.”

“Yes, but you can’t find it round here; not in this dry-as-dust place.”

“Oh, I think you are mistaken,” said Mary. “There’s romance here—as much as anywhere. I think romance depends on ourselves. We make it—or miss it.” But Jed knew there wasn’t any romance in Valeboro. Not a bit. When Mr. Dawson returned, the young people, though still harmonious, had failed to reach a mutual concord.

JED’S mind came back to the present and the two letters spread out on his knee. He picked up the second, which had arrived a few days before, and proceeded to read it again although he already knew it almost off by heart.

It seemed that on receiving his telegraphic promise of help—forwarded from N.Y.—the unfortunate prisoner at Port Limon had been simply overjoyed. “Inspired with hope and courage” were his exact words, but Mr. Duckworth hurried to the vital part. So overjoyed the exPresident had been, that, pawning some of

his daughter’s jewels, he had booked his passage on an Atlas liner, and was now in New York City, of course still accompanied by his beautiful daughter, whose photograph he herewith enclosed.

The fireman’s eyes again sought the likeness of the lovely Latin. How different to the fair-haired, blue-eyed girl he knew.

But on reaching New York, went on the letter, only enough money remained to pay his modest hotel bill. The portmanteau of the late De Diaz—containing the famous letter-of-credit—was still held by the fiendish boarding-housekeeper. And he could not appeal to the policeNo! Were not secret agents of the usurping dictator of Honduragua seeking for the former President? Even so. Give them but a clew and his life would be forfeit. Mr. Duckworth was the only man in the world the ex-President would trust! A thousand dollars was the amount required. Merely a short loan— and $50,000 would be the rake-off.

An underlined N B. was added, to wit, that the thousand must be forthcoming in gold or bills; legal paper would be utterly worthless. And then came final instructions for the helper’s procedure......

“It sure does sound genuine, and I feel so sorry for that poor girl.” He took another look at the photograph. “I guess she’s not smiling much now,” was his thought; “and I can bring the laughter back to that sweet face.”

FOR some time Jed sat stiffly, a far-away look in his eyes. Then, rising briskly, he walked over to the broken mirror upon the wall; looking in it, he seemed satisfied with what he saw. He stuck out his chest rather proudly, squared his shoulders, and tramped out of the firehall. . • In three minutes he was in the barber’s chair having his hair cut, and twenty minutes later was selecting a new shirt and necktie at the Gent’s Furnishing Empor-

1U He did not sleep well that night. Memories of what Mr. Moon had said, suppositions of what he would be sure to say, a hankering doubt of the plausible ex-president, and a haunting fear of the public opinion of Valeboro induced a restless slumber.

However, when he found Jim Duggan, his deputy, waiting at the station entrance the next morning, the assistant chief reached a decision. The hall could be left in safety. He gave Jim special data in case of a fire; two extra firemen could be summoned by messenger; a volunteer band would assemble. After this, with a satisfied conscience and an attempted nonchalance, he sallied down the street, and drew the required sum from the Grand Provincial.

III.

THAT afternoon Mr. Duckworth entrained for a nearby city, there purchasing a ticket for New York.

He arrived warily the next morning. His worldly wealth was not conspicuous, however, $100 in bills being safely pinned

Continued on page 80

Continued from page 80

in an inside pocket, while the rèsidue reposed in his tightly-gripped wicker suitcase.

After stepping into the roar of Fortysecond Street, which impelled several impressionistic thrills, he found himself beside a uniformed policeman, who directed him to his goal. This proved to be a small hotel near Times Square. Its appearance, the investigator observed with favor, was eminently respectable.

On inquiring if Mr. Alcashes was domiciled therein, the desk-clerk affirmed the

fact. “Well, I-I’m Mr. Duckworth,”

announced the new arrival; “he’s expecting me, aint he?”

“I believe he is,” was the reply. “He left word would you kindly wait for him in the upstairs sitting-room; he has a room on the second floor, but he hasn’t been very well the last few days. I’ll inform him you’re waiting.”

“Say,” ventured Jed, feeling affairs were shaping his way, “is anybody—is his daughter with him?”

The clerk raised his eyebrows. “You mean the young lady who comes to see him? • . . The front sitting-room upstairs is at the front as you turn from the elevator.”

A bellboy made a tentative grab at the wicker suitcase, but the cautious man of affairs jerked it out of reach. At last, seated in the sitting-room with the case between his legs, he found time to mop his heated brow.

“Well, I’m here,” he murmured; “and he’s here; an’ she’s here too. Anvway no crooks got this away from me.” He blandly patted the wicker suitcase. It was trying to break open again, he noticed. The strap that covered one broken catch was always coming loose. He must see about fixing it when he got back.

The door opened gently and a woman

entered the room Duckworth sat rigid, | •self-conscious, tensç. But it was only ¡ a white-aproned maid, who, crossing j ithe room, emptied a vase of wilted violets.

As she dusted the table-top, she glanced •at the assistant fire chief out of the corner •of her eye. And to his judgment the neat ¡ [black figure appeared appealing.

Assuming a jaunty air therefore, he ¡ remarked, “Fine weather we’re having, aint it?”

The maid held the drooping flowers in I one hand.

; “Yes, sir.” she replied. “Shall I put } the bag in your room?”

“No,” he replied sharply, “I’ll attend to it myself.” But he breathed in relief as | the door closed on the maid’s heels. I “That’s the way with ’em,” he told him| self: “alius trying to get something away \ from you—but they can’t fool me!”

His eyes roved over the walls’ array of | colorful chromos. The hum and whir of j the city’s traffic filtered through the | closed windows.

ONCE more the door opened and again Jed stiffened rigidly. Then he grew ¡ red, half rose from his chair, and hastily • fingered his light mauve necktie. Con| fusion seemed to dominate him. To his j own jumbled mind, the new comer was the most fascinating young creature he had ever seen.

“You are the Señor Duckworth?” she said in a soft girlish voice, with just a slight foreign accent. “Yes! You come to save my dear father. He is expecting [you."

The assistant fire chief made a sound in his throat which implied affirmation.

“Yes; he is expecting you,” continued J the soft-voiced girl. “Poor father! He is much worried about his fortune that he I cannot get. You see he has told me some of his affairs. When he hears you are j here how happy he will be, how inspired !” She smiled. Duckworth managed to stammer: “Sure! yes. Oh! sure.”

“He is confined to his room now,” she | went on. “He is not well. My poor father!” Her voice became tremulous. “I will go now and acquaint him that you j are here, ready to help him !... Is it I that you have the money there?”

She pointed at the suitcase at the traveler’s feet. Jed gulped a throaty assent.

“How pleased my father will be,” proceeded the vision, “to learn the hoped for assistance has arrived! He can at once draw his money from the bank. Señor, a room is engaged for you here but you must speak to my father first. I shall ¡just take your suit case there.”

! Over the fireman’s face raced the suggestion of a twinge of suspicion. “Oh, ¡I’d rather look after it myself,” he (stuttered.

¡ “Oh, Señor, you do not doubt me?” the ¡girl’s voice was tremulously tearful. “I [thought only of my father ! How it would ¡lighten his load to see you at once. Then ¡we could have a pleasant talk together.” ¡She smiled again.

• After this there was no more demur ¡on Mr. Duckworth’s part; he would have •handed over the bills in his pocket had ¡he thought of them. He noticed her firm ¡little wrist and neat little foot as she picked up the suitcase.

WHEN the vision had vanished he stared vaguely at the hive in the street. A thin drizzle had begun to fall, and already the throngs lacked their usual density. But they were dense in comparison to Valeboro at the same hour. About

now the boys at home would be gathering to watch the sorting of that noon’s mail. He could see the twinkling glasses of the officious Mr. Hank Smith. ... He could see the grass-bordered reaches of Maple Avenue; the wide friendly porches; and a girl—Oh, pshaw! He must put it out of his mind. She was only a country girl, after all.

At length drawing out his watch he saw he had waited nearly ten minutes. After pacing the floor for ten more, he decided to look into the hall. But the door was locked. . . . That final click; he had thought it only the natural way of citymade catches. Though why had she-?

Suddenly the realization of impending disaster swept over him like a wave of liquid ozone. Icy fingers of dread clutched at his heart. What was on the other side -? He must find out-.

With the agility of his trade he boosted himself through the open fanlight, and shot his body into the empty hall. At the right he glimpsed a short passage, seemingly running to an open window; on his left the hall jogged towards the elevator. Its door shut harshly. He could hear it descending. What did it carry?

As he dropped to the floor a short stocky man turned the corner from the elevatorThe newcomer, however, did not seem greatly surprised at this trap-door appearance. Instead, with an air of wearied patience, he drew an automatic.

“Here you, Ducky!” he remarked, pointing the short blue barrel in the visitor’s direction. “This is no place for an assistant fire chief. Get back in that room while the getting’s good. D’y’hear!”

“I—I came out to find-’’ began the

Valeborian. “Did you see a young lady?

... Be careful with that pistol ! I can’t go back. The door’s locked.”

“Well, unlock it then,” was the calm command. “The key’s in the door. Come out in half an hour and make any kind of a fuss you like.”

But the victim was now fully aroused. “I’m going to get my suitcase,” he declared. “Who are you anyway? Out of my road!”

“No use starting anything now,” cautioned the other. “I don’t know you, and you’ve got nothing on me; I passed out my papers a minute ago. I never saw you before, and I’d hate to commit murder. So. . . . I’ll tell you when it’s train-time.”

Much as he disliked the threatening automatic, Mr. Duckworth had no intention of retreating. He must get downstairs. His senses recognized the opening to his right. Here might be a way down! Accordingly he wheeled along the short passageway, only to bring up ata partlyopened window.

The hall was a cul de sac. There was no staircase—nothing. The window

overlooked a side-street, by the curb of which a taxi-cab waited. Down there was the place for him. But how to get there? Just above his head a coil of firehose caught his shifting eye.

Here was a chance, an opportunity that he understood. With one hand he jerked the window fully open; with the other unrolled the coiled hose, and paid its snake-like length over the sill. Its nozzle struck the pavement with a timid clack. Then, having seen that the rubber life-line was firmly attached to the wall, he backed gingerly out. As the man with the automatic made a wild reach for his scalplocks, Jed slid swiftly yet cautiously to the ground.

The taxi driver, seemingly slightly surprised at the fireman’s sudden advent, glanced anxiously to the hotel side en-

trance. Duckworth followed his eyes. Then he gasped. Through the opened door the Señora Alcashes stepped with debonair ease. In her neat gloved hand she carried his own wicker suitcase. . . . For ten seconds Jed stared, then advancing heavily, laid rude possessive hands on the treasure trove.

“This here,” he stammered. “This aint your bag.”

The girl turned on him fiercely. “I don’t know what you mean,” she declared. “You’re drunk, Mr. Man.” She jerked the handle angrily. “Le’go my bag!”

“It’s mine,” gulped the rightful owner. “You’ve made a mistake. I’ll take it.”

“You’re crazy,” was her shrill retort. “And a sight too fresh ! Trying to mash me, were you? Just wait till I call a cop.”

With a significant gleam her eyes swept up the street. But at sight of an approaching figure, a heavy man in rough tweed, the girl’s jaw literally dropped; she grew white. Her grip on the handle relaxed. She hesitated a moment; then stepped quickly into the taxi, which almost immediately disappeared.

“Who’s your lady friend?” inquired the new comer in a mild voice. “Did the young lady leave this tasty handbag with you,” he went on; “or did you take it by force?”

But Jed could only continue to stare. He glanced down at what he held. It was bulging open again.

“As it’s raining,”—the amused stranger seemed to gasp the situation—“how about coming inside the hotel for repairs?”

A FEW minutes later the man from Valeboro found himself seated in a small room, behind the hotel office. He dimly heard the stranger say something to the desk-clerk; he heard that worthy custodian reply in an unusually meek tone. Then-

“You probably wonder who I am?” said the stranger, after carefully closing the door. “Well, I’ll tell you: I’m a detective from police headquarters. See? . . . About twenty minutes ago we had a phone from here that a smooth dame—name o’ Glad-Eyed Connie—was plucking a grainger sport; a fresh gink he was, according to our stool-pigeon.”

“Stool-pigeon?” queried the bewildered Jed.

“Sure,” the detective replied: “a

Headquarter’s guy; only this one happens to be a dame. She’s billed here as a housemaid; keeping an eye on Connie and her like. Get me? Likely she saw you come; probably felt sorry for you. Anyway . . . they sent me; I know Connie. And when she saw me coming round the corner, she made a quick getaway, and left her little bag of loot.”

“But it’s mine,” the assistant fire chief

articulated. “I can prove-.”

“You’ll have to prove it at Headquarters. That’s where I’m going to take this ‘keister.’ " The alert-faced man calmly hoisted the wicker suitcase to a convenient chair. “It’s too full,” he asserted. “And, see, the lock’s been forced. Have to fix it-”

He undid the strap, intending no doubt to readjust it, but suddenly the side slipped open, like an unexpected toy, and a number of papers slid to the floor. Jed saw with vague relief that the original contents were still intact. One end of a purple shirt was crumpled back, revealing compact wads of ten dollar bills. His nine hundred !

The detective, swearing gently, picked up the scattered papers. There were several thick letters, two or three mining pamphlets and many postal notes.

“I’ll put these in a bundle by themselves,” the collector murmured. “They’ve been shoved in at the last minute, Connie made her getaway in a hurry all right. . . . They’ll have a merry time at Headquarters, sorting out these notes. . . Here’s a money order,” he remarked; “all the way from Canada! For fifty dollars too, and it’s from—here’s a hot monaker —it’s from Full-er-ton Moon!”

Mr. Duckworth gave an excellent imitation of a drowning man.

“Full!” he gasped. “Great—That fellow upstairs must have fooled him too.” “Who d’y’mean, upstairs?” was the sharp question.

“Why, the ex-President—least he let on

he was. But he’s a bunco-man-”

“Was he a squatty guy, clean-shaven face, nose a little on one side?”

“Yes; he looked like that.”

“Heine the Grabber,” said the detective. “He works with Connie; though I didn’t know he hung around here. . . I’ll just step up then, and nab him before he makes a getaway. You stay here!”

Without heeding the other’s warning, in reference to the automatic, he left the room. Jed could hear him say a few words to the desk-clerk ; then the elevator door clicked to.

THE eyes of the man from Valeboro swept over the papers on the table. They rested on the open-jawed suitcase. Abruptly he sprang to his feet. His resolve was taken. With accustomed fingers he refastened the strap around the wicker case; then again glanced at the documentary evidence. . . The yellowish money order lay on top. A moment of throbbing suspense, then, grabbing it up, he thrust it deep in his coat pocket.

“By golly,” he thought, “wont Full look small when I hand him this? He won’t lose a red cent, and he won’t dare say a word to me ’bout anything!”

Then, firmly gripping the now-secure case, he circumspectly peered into the hall. The coast was clear. He reached the pavement in safety.

At the corner stood a majestic policeman. Mr. Duckworth expected every minute to feel the crushing weight of the arm of the law, but the officer appeared

fully absorbed in picking his teeth.....

Jed left the wicked city totally unobserved, unchallenged.

THE fireman’s return was in the nature of a triumph after all. Full Moon had been indiscreet enough to tell a few friends of his latest investment in a surething gold mine and so it got about that Duckworth, going down to investigate on his own account, had not only stripped the tawdry scheme bare of all pretence but had actually rescued his friend’s money order as well. Duckworth became the hero of a nine day’s wonder.

And then the fireman made a discovery that ultimately served to protect him for all time from the wiles of Glad-Eyed Connies and plausible mining sharks. He found that Mary Dawson had been right after all about the possibilities of romance in Valeboro. They sought, and found romance together. And now Mary acts as guardian of the family purse.

Voluntary Ration Plan

A3 recently announced, each of the provincial committee of the Canada Food Board ha» been anked to prepare a voluntary rationing plan for private homes. These will be completed very soon and it is planned to give them the widest possible publicity. In the meantime, the need for conservation is great and the utmost economy should be exercised in the use of wheat products, meats and fats.