“Is this true?” asked the girl whitely.
“So help me God, every word of it.”
“He let my brother go to prison without trying to help him?”
“Worse than that. He sent him to prison. Jim was all right when he first met up with Dunke. It was Dunke that got him into his wild ways and led him into trouble. It was Dunke took him into the hold-up business. Hadn’t been for him Jim never would have gone wrong.”
She made no answer. Her mind was busy piecing out the facts of her brother’s misspent life. As a little girl she remembered her big brother before he went away, good-natured, friendly, always ready to play with her. She was sure he had not been bad, only fatally weak. Even this man who had slain him was ready to testify to that.
She came back from her absorption to find Struve outlining what he meant to do.
“We’ll go back this passage along the way you came. I want to find Mr. Dunke. I allow I’ve got something to tell him he will be right interested in hearing.”
He picked up the candle and led the way along the tunnel. Margaret followed him in silence.
The southerner takes A risk
The convict shambled forward through the tunnel till he came to a drift which ran into it at a right angle.
“Which way now?” he demanded.
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t know,” he screamed. “Didn’t you just come along here? Do you want me to get lost again in this hell-hole?”
The stricken fear leaped into his face. He had forgotten her danger, forgotten everything but the craven terror that engulfed him. Looking at him, she was struck for the first time with the thought that he might be on the verge of madness.
His cry still rang through the tunnel when Margaret saw a gleam of distant light. She pointed it out to Struve, who wheeled and fastened his eyes upon it. Slowly the faint yellow candle-rays wavered toward them. A man was approaching through the gloom, a large man whom she presently recognized as Dunke. A quick gasp from the one beside her showed that he too knew the man. He took a dozen running steps forward, so that in his haste the candle flickered out.