“I sure will, mister!” cried Micky. “Are youse in de circus—I mean does youse ride a horse or jump over de elephants?”
“Well, something like that—yes,” answered Joe with a smile. “You’ll see to-night if you come.”
“Oh, I’ll be dere! Don’t forgit dat!”
Joe and his guide took a jitney to the nearest public hack stand, where a number of automobiles were waiting, and Joe entered one of these with Micky.
“Gee, if me girl could see me now!” murmured the red-haired lad, as he sank back in the deep seat.
Joe was too preoccupied to more than smile at the lad. There was much that remained to be done. The circus was to remain in this city two days more, over Saturday night, in fact, leaving on Sunday for a distant city.
“There’s time enough to trap them!” mused Joe. “Time enough to trap them!”
And, getting back to the show lot, he dismissed the automobile, and, taking Micky with him, sought out Jim Tracy, Mr. Moyne, and some of the other circus executives.
And then the trap was set.
A BLAZE OF GLORY
“Well,” remarked Joe, after having talked rapidly and said considerable to his friends, “what do you think of my news?”
“Great!” declared the ringmaster. “I didn’t think things would take just that turn, but after Loper’s confession and what Ham told you, I believe it all. That scoundrel ought to be sent away for life.”
“He’ll go for a long time if I have anything to say,” declared the treasurer. “Did you know we spotted more bogus tickets to-day?” he asked Joe.
“Well, we did. I found it out just after you left. There were only a few. The rush will come to-night.”
“Unless we stop it,” put in Jim Tracy.
“We’ll stop it!” decided Joe. “That’s why I wanted to get things started in a hurry. The trap is all ready to spring. The detectives will be here at eight o’clock, just when the rush is at its height at the ticket wagon.”
“Are you going to bring Ham back?” asked Jim, when the conference was over.
“I certainly am,” was the answer. “I think he’s been on his last spree. And he wouldn’t have gone on this one only that he was tempted by some person. Put this tempter out of the way, and it will mean Ham’s safety. Now we’ve got to work.”
There was an exceedingly busy time at the circus from then on, and very little of it concerned the show itself. The performance was delayed half an hour that night to enable the trap to be sprung.
Joe and Jim Tracy met a certain train that came in from a large city, and saw alight from it two quiet, unassuming men.
“There they are,” said Joe. “Now things will move!” And he and the ringmaster were soon in conversation with the two new arrivals.
A little later the four entered Joe’s dressing tent at the circus grounds. And some time after that four men, whose faces were black from the smudge of machine oil and grease and whose clothes carried like marks, left Joe’s quarters.