Lenox Time Table from Lenox, Iowa on March 12, 1936 · Page 3
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Lenox Time Table from Lenox, Iowa · Page 3

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Lenox, Iowa
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Thursday, March 12, 1936
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Page 3
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FLAME IN THE ORES HAROLD TITUS l\\UJrt vat tons ** |R WIN MYCRf w.N.u. seavicep. LENOX TIME TABLE, LENOX, IOWA ^ know that. You've got to know it. That Is, (t you're going to consider my proposal. "You see, Downer was a queer old duffer. Salt of the earth, but queer; eccentric. It was one of his eccentricities that led to his murder. He never would deal with a man except for cash. Kept a bank account and all, but when he did business cheeks didn't go. "He had this payment due to West last November. The fifteenth, -~_ It was. The day before he drove into town and drew the money from the bank, started home about dusk and was killed not three miles from here by a bullet In the brain. The money, in one of these tin boxes, was taken out of his car. It amounted to over twelve thousand dollars, "You see, I'm coroner here. I SYNOPSIS terry Young, a lad of seven, IB fcparctl to flee the burning: lumber np of his benefactor, Jack Snow, 0 took the youngster to live with nt the death of Kerry's mother. West has Instructed Kerry to ie with a file containing; the camp's ids should It be endangered. mos attack the office, and Kerry, rging the precious file, and 'Pod ke to town. Tod acts queerly. At bairk the file is found empty and Is blamed with taking the ing one. Snow, his headquarters 1 money gone, Is ruined, and soon jreafter dies, leaving Kerry to the )r Commissioner. Kerry suspects l and swears to even the score. a St. Paul office Kerry, now In nhood, and an expert woodsman, rns of the whereabouts of West. rry rescues a lovely girl from a undrel, who proves to be West. threatens to pauperize the girl, Downer. She thanks Kerry and s Mm of the robbery, and murder her father and of Tod's advances. } Is operating a lumber tract which * father had purchased from West, fry makes camp. At the general re In West's Landing, he finds i engaged In a poker game. Jim ide, timber employee, loses heav- Kerry exposes Tod's cheating- disarms him. The crowd Is un- vlnced of Tod's duplicity. Kerry ntifles himself to West, who des knowing him. CHAPTER IV— Continued ^~ 5 — e hitched at his belt with a nkly swaggering gesture. 'After all these years, the Job done quickly; in mere hours. d now I ... I car. be on my e turned on his heel and made ly for the door. buzzing murmur filled the m. Byes were on Kerry, on West, standing there with ch seething In him. He had a to play, this West. He had a utatlon at stake, loyalties to sider . perhaps things to His place in the country was the balance, he knew. But the rge of cheating at cards was too •edible in the minds' of these er men to be of more than pass- consequence If he played his properly, as a respected lead- shoukl, e found his voice at last. Hold up there, you !" Kerry was the threshold. c turned, smiling that bitter lie. l'ou're a rat!" West said again wily. "You're a ... damned ! What's the idea, tryln' to ke me out a crook? Black- ll? l never seen or heard of you ! I've only this to say, after in' you a rat. Just this: you'd t be on your way come sun-up! ir kind's not wanted here!" erry lifted a hand to scratch emple slowly. hat's tough on me, Tod West,' said. "I'm through, here. 1 nibletl on the thing I wanted to >w for years. And I'd like to gone, being the roaming kind. t If there's one' thing I'm more laid of than taking root, it's . . . Ing driven. Tod West!" He :«n to laugh. "So I've got to >"•' I've got to light a while!" went out into the darkness I his deep laughter floated back them. A fierce exultation racked and he did not look about; did see Nan Downer standing there the edge of the light shaft from window, one hand across her ast. In a chair, his one leg strapped between wooden splints, a five-year-old boy played with a battered toy. At sight of the physician he begnn to yelp excitedly and threw the toy violently away. "One 1 Ezra! Unc' Ezra!" he cried, his face shining. "Hullo, Jimmy! Evening, Elsie. All ready to be measured up for the brace, eh? Well, well, we've come along so far and have got kind of a leg left. Now we'll start on the job of making a silk purse out of ... something." He began pulling off his coat. "Where's Jim?" he asked. The woman's face darkened. "At the store, I guess. Gambling again, I suppose." "Well, we'll go ahead, anyhow. 1 ' And he went ahead, holding the misshapen leg on his knees, eyeing the long, blue creases of sdme terrible hurt and Nan looked on, watching the play of his deft fingers. The painstaking chore, finally finished, and no Jim In sight, the two walked toward the store, Ezra saying: "Of course, If Jim hasn't the cash, I'll have to buy the brace my. self. I told him that last time'I was out and he promised. But,"— with a sigh—"times being what they are, I'm scraping the bottom of the till myself!" So they approached the store and saw what they saw. As they left, Tod West was say- Ing to Jim: "Hell, No! I won't take back that money! He's a rat and a liar, Jim, but . . ." He shrugged and met Jim's eyes squarely, neatly covering the effort required. "Lord, boy, I've always tried to lean backward In my dealin's with others! No, sir. If any man aays I took money unfairly, I don't even want to argue. Not on your life, I don't. Money ain't worth that, Jim!" Kerry sat In the darkness on the river bank, listening to the booing of an owl and the song of crickets and the plopping of a night feeding trout. He smoked leisurely and Tip, his head in his lap, breathed evenly. . . . So his childish suspicion had been right; so the last sane thought —also a suspicion—which Jack Snow had had, had been justified. The dog now lifted his head sharply and Kerry could feel him stiffen. After a moment, a low vibration ran his back, which was the beginnings of a growl. "Steady !" the man whispered and reached for his bed, jerked his rifle from the blanket folds. Then, aloud, he hailed: "Who's there?" A voice from above answered: "Caller, Young! Still up?" Slow footsteps came through the poplars. Young, on his feet, waited with the dog stiff and suspicious beside him. . started an Investigation and the sheriff, he fussed some. "Two men, only, that we knew of, had the slightest motive. One was Jim HInkle, whose money you got back for him tonight. He'd been working for Cash, had been fired the day before and fired with gusto, which was Downer's way. But he was playing cribbage with Tod West all that evening and stayed In West's house all night, his family being away. So with West being what he's thought to be," — drily — "HInkle was counted out. "West was quite active In this fore Jim HInklO, who was seated and whose eyes remained averted. "And now it's up to you," West said heavily. "I guess it's my rlglr* to expect that much from yon," "It'll look like hell, for me to do that," Jim protested. "After what he thought he done for me. . . . How'll I go at it? Besides, he's nobody to fool with!" "Never mind that. I'll take ca're of that," — nodding meaningful. "And about how It'll look: you mean because he made a play at getting your money back?" "Well ... You see . . ." "Don't hedge! You can't pull wool over my eyes. Listen here, spite of all your talk In the store about not wantln' to take your money back, you still think he did you a favor, don't you? If you had the guts to say what you believe you'd say that I did deal thing. He wanted his money and Nan, Downer's only heir, didn't have more to pay him. He dug up the Information that Holt Stuart had had a run-In with Cash early In the week. Holt was working for Cash. Well, It seems that Holt's pretty well struck with Nan. He's a good boy, but Cash was a cantankerous old cuss and he rode the boy pretty hard because of where he'd let his Interests stray. As a sort of punishment, he'd sent Holt out to a cabin on Townllne lake to do some mapping and made film stay there all alone. "The sheriff, after West got through with him, was convinced Holt was his man and started right In to work up a case against him. But I stopped that. A coroner, you know, 's got it all over a sheriff for authority. I drove out and found the boy with an ankle so badly sprained that he couldn't pos- sibly've been out. "Well, we Impaneled a coroner's jury and I got the bullet out of Cash but we had so little to go on crooked I" "Hell, no! "Shut up!" I tell you, I only—" West gestured sav- CHAPTER V IT ABOUT the time Kerry Young was finishing his eve- meal, Dan Downer and Ezra NS, short, squat, gray-haired png-country doctor who had ' e n out from Shoestring, the nty seat, walked slowly across trestle from Nan's headquar- to West's Landing. 16 old man listened attentively ^unconsciously slowed his pace F h « girl's story progressed to- 1 "S climax. Her voice, though waa quick and tense, and once lu Kht in a sob. that's that, Ezra!" she said nulousiy. "it's me or ... or property. "Oh,"—with sudden Jewess—"I've had a feeling all that he wasn't the man the fy^ thinks him to be!" Hiat's your womanly intuition. °>y opinion was a ... docs > 1 guess." |hey talked for a time, stand" the dusk and then the girl t - for Jlm an <i Elsie Hinkle's poles!" and led him resolutely f- entered a tar paper bouse a woman washed dishes by "gut of a kerosene lamp, her P"> set in an expression of for- "Funny business, bustln' in on a man this way, this hour," the voice went on, nearer now. "But I got things to talk over." He could see the other, now. He was short, squat, and breathed rapidly. "I'm named Adams, Young; Ezra Adams. I'm the local pill peddler." "Oh, hullo, doctor!" The old man's voice was pleasant. "Glad you dropped in. Here, sit on the bed. Light your pipe?" "No, guess not, thanks. I . . . This la kind of confidential." "So?" He felt the doctor's attempt to scrutinize his own shadowed face, "Sit down. Nobody can get within ear shot with Tip here." Adams began In a moment. "I was in the store when Tod made his play, Young. I saw and heard {and , . . things have happened since that make me feel maybe I'm going to have to ask your help, strangers though we are. Also, I heard about what happened this afternoon. I added that to what I know about you." Pause. "If you could be Interested in a job here, you'd be free to take It?" "Job? What kind of Job?" The old man eyed him In the darkness. "Coroner's clerk," he said in a whisper. "You kidding me?" "Not in the least. I'm ... I'm more serious and in greater need than I've been since I can recollect." "Well, that's a new one on me!" He -laughed. "Coroner's clerk! Why—" "Let me explain this a little. I have to pop it right at you without . any preliminaries because it's . . . It's an emergency, I guess. Nan didn't go into detail about the kill ing of her father. I want you to "I've Come to Tell You," He Said, "That This Ain't a Very Healthy Place to Hang Around!" that the verdict hail to be an open one. Then we started trying to trace the money, It was mostly In new Federal Reserve notes and the bunk had the serial numbers. That's where It sits now." "Downer's dead and the money's gone," said Kerry. "Lord, If Miss Downer could get hold of that stolen money It'd save her life, wouldn't It?" "It would"—again drily. "That's what I'm here for. To see If you'll help me locate It." "Locate It? What d'you mean?" "Tliis!" The old man leaned forward and tapped Young's knee. "The money," he whispered, "Is still In the country!" "The devil!" " 'S truth! In my pocket I have a twenty dollar bill that was part of it. It was paid me on account tonight." "You got any idea where it came from?" Ezra looked around and listened. "Out of your poker game," he said grimly. After a moment Kerry gave a low whistle. "Say!" That makes the situation look up, doesn't it?" "That's why I came to you, a stranger. I need help and need it right now. That money Is cached somewhere In the country. Whoever Is hiding it, needs money badly. Young, will you take a commission as my deputy?" Kerry's heart was beating rapidly. Here, Indeed, was a chance I to do something for Nan Downer. He waited a moment, considering all things. Then he said: "I'll go you, doctor!" "Good! But we'll have to keep It between you and me. Not even Nan must know." Across the river In the big house of peeled logs which was Tod West's abode that citizen stood be- agely. "Because a rnt conies along and frames me so I'll look like n crook, you'll forget all I've done for you!" "Well,"—with a show of sullen defiance—"what If I do think It wasn't a frame-up against you? What then?" West leaned forward, face darkening, mouth setting In a cruel line. "So that's It, eh? So that's how you feeli Well, when you've forgotten everything else about me, remember this: I lied for you once, didn't I? I told 'em all I played cribbage with you the night Downer was killed, didn't I? And nobody knows I found you wandering around so blind drunk you couldn't tell where you'd been? Arid with a rifle, too? What, I ask you"— bending forward and rubbing his palms on his hips slowly—"what'd happen If I cnme clean with the sheriff and told him that, eh?" HInkle raised an unsteady hand to his chin. "You wouldn't do that, Tod?" "Try me and see!" Their gazes locked and after a time Jim's fell. "All right," he said. "I'll get some of the boys. Tomorrow, we'll see what we can do about gettln' him down river." CHAPTER VI '"pHE sun had climbed from the *• bank of orange clouds which screened its rising; the mill whistle had blown summoning m<vi to work and the saw had at last taken up its daily song. Kerry Young had, been up before the break of day, built his fire, bathed in the stinging waters of the river and dressed leisurely. Then he set his shaving kit on a stump beside the stream and proceeded to clean, cheeks and chin of yesterday's beard stubble. Today he was going to present himself to Nan Downer and ask for work, a move which Ezra Adams had urged. It was while peering Into the mirror as he began manipulating the razor that his eyes lost their glint of laughter and became most Intent. Across the way spruces grew thick along the river bank, and as he turned his back to the stream, he caught In the mirror n reflection of branches being parted, of a face peering at him. He pretended to give this watcher no heed, but he took long at his shaving, and half a dozen times had a fair glimpse of the man's face. It was no one he had seen before. He was not all surprised when Tip, recumbent beside the fire, raised his head sharply and gave a low growl. "Easy, chum!" Kerry muttered. "Coming Into the open, eh?" But it was nothing across the stream which had attracted the dog; nor was the man approaching the one who had spied on him from the timber. Jim Hinkle was coming along the trail which followed the bank. "Well. Jim?" Young asked. Hinkle plunged ut once Into his errand. "I've come to tell you," he said, "that this ain't n very healthy place for you to hang around!" "So? Kind of you to take this trouble. Is this ... a friendly act or a warning, Jim?" "Call it what you want to. I come here because It looked last night as If you was doin' me a favor. Instead, you put me in a hell of a hole. You, nor nobody else, can make me think that Tod West would cheat at cards!" A whiff of surprise Kerry. escaped "Well, I'll be damned!" he breathed. "Sou really aren't convinced?" "I don't know what your game was, but when a stranger in this country makes a play like that with a man like Tod — well, he don't get far." "Maybe. Not at first." "Or anywhere along the Mne!" The man appeared to be making an effort to lash himself Into a mood of truculence. 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