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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

Kiddie started in vexed surprise


"Eh--a

cut?" Kiddie started in vexed surprise. "Is it bad?"

"Oh, no," Rube assured him, "makes her limp some. But I've doctored th' wound, an' it's gettin' along all right. Come an' have a squint at it."

He brought the dog out, giving no expression to his own theory. Kiddie examined the wound.

"Cut of a knife," he decided immediately.

"Thar was blood on her mouth," said Rube. "I washed it. 'Twasn't her own blood."

"Then they sure got to close grips," concluded Kiddie, "and I guess he got as much as he gave. She'd make for his throat, but I'm figurin' that he'd put up an arm to protect himself. His left arm, most like, as he'd use his right for the knife. We gotter keep our eyes open for a man with a lame left arm, Rube."

"Didn't yer see him, Kiddie?" Rube questioned.

"No."

"Then how d'you know anythin' about it? How d'you know it was a man as done it? How d'you know she didn't kill him outright, same's she'd kill a stag? An' why did she go for him, anyway?"

"She went for him because I sent her into the forest after him," Kiddie explained. "The scoundrel shot a poisoned arrow at me. And, having myself no time to spare, I left the business to the dog, see?"

style="text-align: justify;">"An arrow!" exclaimed Rube, "a poisoned arrow! Well, 'twas sure a Injun done it. Any one else 'ud have used a gun."

"Might have been a white man, for all that," resumed Kiddie. "An arrow's a silent weapon, and if it's poisoned, as this one certainly was, then a mere scratch would be fatal; whereas the victim might recover from a bullet wound. Whoever it was, however, Sheila must sure have left the mark of her fangs on him."

"How d'you know she didn't kill him?" Rube persisted. "How d'you know he ain't lyin' there dead, right now?"

"Because," Kiddie rejoined, "on my return trip--knowing exactly where the thing happened--I went into the forest and searched. I found spots of blood. I found signs of the struggle; that was all. There wasn't any dead body lyin' around."

"P'raps th' other Redskins carried his body away," conjectured Rube.

"But he was alone," pursued Kiddie. "I'm plumb sure there was nobody with him."

"See the marks of his moccasins?"

"No. He wore nailed boots, which left scratches on the root of a cotton wood tree."

"Boots, eh? A Injun would have wore moccasins that wouldn't leave no scratch, even on the soft bark of a tree root. Y'see, a white man might wear moccasins, same's I do; but I never knew a Redskin shove his hoofs inter hob-nailed boots. Wait, Kiddie, wait! I've gotten a idea."

"Let's hear it, then, Rube. I'm glad to find that you're exercising your powers of reasoning. What's your idea?"

"This," declared Rube, with a knowing headshake. "I was figurin' that the low-down scoundrel as fired that poisoned arrow might be--well, _might_ be Nick Undrell. I never told you before, Kiddie, but that day when your outfit was attacked by the Injuns, I heard one of Nick's chums say ter him--time you was ridin' alone in advance of the wagons--that now was the chance if Nick had a mind ter put a bullet inter you an' vamoose wi' the boodle."

"Yes," smiled Kiddie, "and your idea is that because one of his chums said such a thing as that, Nick went miles and miles out of his way to hide himself in Medicine Creek Forest and try to do the trick by putting a poisoned arrow into me, eh? And what d'you reckon might have been his motive?"


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