“He’s got yuh there, Si,” said one of the men.
“Look here,” said Ted, showing his star. “I’m an officer of the law. The fellows who captured and brought me here were robbers, and I was on their trail. That’s all there is to it. Now, let me pass. I want to see what is in the next room.”
Stella adopts A brother.
Taking up a lantern, Ted entered the room. Beside the overturned table lay the body of a man. It was not Checkers. There was nothing in the room except the table, two chairs, a broken lamp, which lay in a pool of kerosene on the floor, and the body of the murdered man.
Wait, what was this?
Beneath the table was a scrap of green.
It was a bank bill, and, drawing it forth, Ted found it to be a fifty-dollar note issue’d by the First National Bank of Green River, Nebraska. A valuable clew, this.
When he had searched the body of the dead man, and found several letters and a small memorandum book, he left the room and locked it.
“Notify the coroner,” said he to the constable, “and give him this key. If he wants me as a witness in his inquest, he will find me at the Stratford Hotel, in St. Louis.”
The constable promised to carry out Ted’s instructions.
“Where is that boy Scrub?” asked Ted.
“Here I am,” said the boy, emerging from the crowd.
“Who knows anything about this boy?” Ted asked.
“He’s just a loose kid,” said the constable. “His father died when he was young, and his mother left him a few years ago. Since then no one has claimed him.”
“Then I will. Do you want to come with me?” Ted asked the boy. “I will give you a good home and clothes, teach you something, and make a useful man of you. Is he a good boy?”
Ted turned to the men about him.
“Yes, Scrub is a good boy, only he never ain’t had no chance,” seemed to be the universal verdict.
“Say the word, Scrub. Do you want to come with me?”
“You bet,” said Scrub fervently.
“Good! Come along! We’ll be getting back to St. Louis.”
“But yuh can’t get back to-night. The last train has gone.”
“Never mind. I’ll get there somehow. Some one lend me a lantern for a few minutes.”
Ted was given one, and he went out into the yard and outhouses to search for the red motor car. He could not find it anywhere.
“Did any of you folks see a red automobile going down the road any time to-day?” he asked.
“Yes, there’s a red machine down in the lane running over to the Rock Road,” said one of the men. “But I reckon it’s bust.”
“Come on, Scrub, we’ll take a look at it,” said Ted, Leading off with the man who had seen the car, and followed by the whole crowd, Ted made his way to the lane.
Standing in the middle of it was the red car with its No. 118 swaying from the rear axle in the wind.