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- Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective - 4/44 -

The woman came to her feet and confronted the new-comer with an interested look.

"It's all up with the kid."

"Come in, Nick Brower, and let me have a look at your face. I want no lies now," cried the woman sharply; and the man drew himself into a little room, and stood regarding the female with a grin.

"Now let me hear what you've got to tell," demanded Mrs. Scarlet.

"It's ther kid--"



"Well, what has happened to him, man? Can't you speak?"

"He's took."


"Nabbed. Got the darbies on and gone South a wisitin'."

"Do you mean to say that Watson has been arrested?"

"I do, mam," grunted Brower. "He's well out of town, goin' South, and I reckin he'll be in Jeffe'son City before we hear from him agin. I seed him a-goin' with my own eyes."

"How did it happen?"

The man explained how young Skidway had been seized and taken on board the train by Dyke Darrel.

"You are sure his captor was Dyke Darrel?"

"I ain't blind, I reckon," growled the man. "I heard sufficient to tell me that the detective was takin' the kid back to Missoury, and that was enough for me."

"Why did you permit it?"

A laugh answered the woman.

"You might have saved the boy," pursued Mrs. Scarlet, angrily. "Now he will spend another five years in the dungeon where my poor man died of a broken heart. Watson told me that the infamous Dyke Darrel was in Chicago; but I had no thought of his recognizing the boy. Can you lend me some money, Nick?"

"A purty question, Madge. Don't you know I'm always dead-broke?" growled Brower. "What in the nation do you want with money any how?"

"I'm going to St. Louis."


"I am. If Dyke Darrel puts my boy behind prison bars again, I will have no mercy. It's life for life. I am tired of living, and am willing to die to revenge myself on that miserable detective."

Mrs. Scarlet began pacing the room. She was deeply moved, and tears of anger and sorrow glittered in her eyes. She was about to utter a fierce tirade against the detective, when a step sounded without, followed immediately by three raps on the door.

"Whist!" exclaimed Brower. "It is the Professor."

Madge Scarlet crossed the floor and admitted a visitor, a tall man with fire-red hair and beard, who was well clad and wore blue glasses. A plug hat, rather the worse for wear, was lifted and caressed tenderly with one arm as the gentleman bowed before Mrs. Scarlet.

"I am pleased to find you at home, Mrs. Scarlet."

"I seldom go out, Mr. Ruggles, or Professor Darlington Ruggles, I suppose."

"Never mind the handle, madam. I see you have company." The Professor turned a keen glance on Nick Brower as he spoke.



The gentleman is a friend," said Mrs. Scarlet. "You need not fear to speak before him."

"I hain't no wish to hear any private talk," said Nick Brower, and with that he cast a keen, knowing look into the visitor's face, and passed from the room.

"We're alone, Professor."

"So it seems."

"What news do you bring?"

"Have you heard of the midnight express robbery?"

"I have."

"And that Dyke Darrel is on the trail?"

"I have heard all that, and more," said the woman. "My nephew has been arrested and taken to Missouri by this same infamous Dyke Darrel. It was an awful blow to me; it leaves me entirely alone in the world. I am ready to do anything to compass the ruin of the detective who brought me to this."

"I am glad to hear you say it, madam. I came here for advice and help. I assure you that it is highly necessary for all of us that Dyke Darrel be removed."


"He might be enticed here, and quietly disposed of."

"Will you entice him?"

"I might; but---"

"Well?" as the man hesitated.

"You see, I've got a place to fill in the world, and don't want to mix with anything that's unlawful," and the Professor stroked his red beard in a solemn manner.

"Yet you would be glad to see Dyke Darrel dead?"

"Hush, woman! Walls have ears. You are imprudent. I have nothing against Mr. Darrel in particular, only he has injured my friends, and may be up to more of his tricks. Now, as regards Watson Wilks, you say Dyke Darrel has gone to Missouri with the boy in charge?"

"Yes. The last friend I had in the world has been torn from me, to languish in prison. I will have the detective's heart's blood for this," cried the woman, with passionate vehemence.

"Of course," agreed the Professor. "But of what crime was the young man accused? Not the one on the midnight express, I hope?" The tall visitor bent eagerly forward then, and penetrated the woman with a keen gaze.

"No, no," was the quick reply. "I know that Martin had no hand in that."


"Watson, I mean," corrected Mrs. Scarlet. "I sometimes call the boy Martin, which is his middle name, so he has a right to it."

"Exactly. You KNOW that the boy had nothing to do with the robbery last night. I don't wish to argue or dispute with a lady, but I shall be compelled to question HOW you know so much. Will you answer?"

"Because--because Martin is incapable of such work. I have read all about it in the papers, and am confident that it was the work of an organized band." The Professor laughed until his white teeth gleamed in the lamplight.

"So sure!" he said. "You consider that nephew of yours a pattern of propriety. Is this the only reason you have for believing that Watson Wilks had no hand in the murder of Arnold Nicholson, and the rifling of the express company's safe?"

"I have another!"


"He was in Chicago at the time the deed was done."

"Can you prove this?"

Professor Ruggles seemed extremely eager, as he bent forward and touched the arm of Madge Scarlet with a white forefinger.

"I can prove it."

"Very good. It may never be necessary, but if the worst comes, you may be called on. I suppose you're not in the best of circumstances, Mrs. Scarlet?"

The Professor drew forth his wallet. "I shall suffer, now that my boy is gone."

"Don't fear that, madam," returned Darlington Ruggles, as he laid a bank note for a large amount in her hand. Providence and your friends will take care of you. You have rendered me more than one good service, and I may call on you for more, soon, much sooner than you imagine."

"Anything I can do, Professor, will be gladly performed;" was the

Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective - 4/44

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