“I guess this is one of those Spanish moss beds you were telling about, Arnold,” Harry said, walking over and kicking the bed.
“Looks like it,” replied Arnold, “but just now the springs in the Fortuna berths would suit me a whole lot better. I’m homesick.”
“And I’m going home,” declared Harry with emphasis.
“How are you going?” queried Arnold. “We can’t get away from the negro outside. He’s guarding the very door.”
“I’ll show you how we’ll get out. I’m going to burn these cords off my arms, and then I’ll set fire to the cabin, and when Doright rushes in, we’ll rush out. Before he knows what’s up, we’ll be away in the woods. I’d like another piece of sheep, though!”
“Funny they brought it in here,” commented Arnold. “I’ll bet Lopez stole it. He was in a mighty hurry to get here and then brought it inside the cabin. He should have left it outside.”
“We won’t argue about that now,” replied Harry kicking the remains of the fire about. “I’m going to get loose first thing!”
Arnold protested vigorously, but to no avail. Harry maintained that Tom had been kicked and Jack had been shot and therefore a burn or two on his part should be borne unflinchingly. He found considerable difficulty in getting the fire applied to the cords without also burning his own flesh. At last he was triumphant.
Quickly he loosed Arnold. He then threw the remains of the fire into the middle of the mattress. A burst of flame followed. In an incredibly short time the whole end of the cabin was blazing.
Doright horrified fled to the edge of the clearing where he felt safe. Arnold dashed out of the cabin in terror. Turning to find Harry gone he rushed back, entering just as the gallery fell.
A SURPRISE AT THE FORTUNA
“What’s it to you where we are going?” demanded Jack, as he elbowed his way past the others and confronted the giant.
“Look here, white folks,” began the negro, “Ah don’t want no trouble, but youall mustn’t go rangin’ aroun’ thoo mah place like this here ’thout ‘splainin’ yourselfs. This is mah fahm.”
“Yes, it is your farm,” cried Frank. “You’ve got as many farms as a hen’s got teeth! All your farms are in your mind!”
“Nemmine about dat, boys,” grinned the black. “Jes’ youall tell me where youall’s gwine, else mebbe somepin’ gwine happen!”
“You’re right, something’s going to happen, and that mighty suddenly!” was Jack response. “This’ll happen to you!”
He swung his arm up. Tom expected momentarily to hear the report of an automatic. Instead he saw the negro’s face lighted brilliantly by the dart of flame from the imitation automatic which was fitted as a searchlight. The powerful electric light blinded and dazzled the man on whom it was thrown.
“Now, look here, fellow!” began Jack in a threatening tone. “If you don’t stand one side and tell me your name at once, I’ll put this light square on your foot and that foot’ll wither up and tomorrow this time, it’ll drop off. I could do that to your head, too, if I wanted to. But you will probably not make it necessary for me to do so. At least, I hope not.”