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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

And went back to where Kiddie and the sheriff waited


"He

was certainly careless," agreed Kiddie. "Looks as if he'd been in a precious hurry to get away with the boodle. You're sure, I suppose, that it was Nick Undrell who wore boots like those that made these marks?"

"What makes me certain," said Rube, "is the missin' nail. I noticed it that day when we were bringin' along your outfit from Laramie. You've got to remember, too, that Nick's bin seen prowlin' around on your property here."

"Go ahead, then, Rube," urged Kiddie. "Follow up your clues, and don't waste time."

Kiddie himself did not appear to take much active interest in tracking the criminal. He knew that a large quantity of his most valuable possessions had been stolen, but he still considered the killing of his dog the most serious injury that had been done to him, and while Isa and Rube made their way towards the cabin, he again went back to where Sheila lay dead.

When he rejoined his two companions they were still searching for tracks outside the cabin.

"Thar wasn't more'n one of 'em at it," Rube told him. "If there'd bin a second, he'd sure have left some sort of clue; but we've found only the one set of bootprints."

"Have you looked near the window?" Kiddie asked.

"Not yet; I'm goin' there right now," replied Rube. "Keep

Isa Blagg back, or he'll only get trampin' out the signs with them heavy boots of his. Just let me go alone--see?"

"Right," said Kiddie; "go ahead."

Rube found an empty packing-case against the boards under the window. He mounted on top of it, and examined the window sash and the broken pane of glass, by means of which the catch of the window had been opened. There were finger-marks on the glass, but these did not help him, since he did not yet know what kind of marks Nick Undrell's fingers might have left. What engaged his especial attention was one of the sharp points of splintered glass. He jumped down, and went back to where Kiddie and the sheriff waited.

"Either of you happen ter recollect what kind of a vest or shirt Nick Undrell wears?" he inquired. "Red, ain't it?"

Kiddie shook his head.

"Never saw Nick with red shirt-sleeves," he responded.

"Nor I," added the sheriff. "If you'd said yaller now----"

"Yes," resumed Kiddie; "yellow with black stripes, like a wasp, or an English football player."

"Come along o' me," said Rube.

And he led them both to the window, and pointed up at the broken glass.

"Yes," began Kiddie, "he broke that pane, shoved in his hand, and moved the hasp, then opened the lower sash, and went bodily in."

"All that's as plain as sunlight," said Rube. "But look at that sharp point of glass. Thar's a thread of wool caught on it--yellow wool."

"Ah!" exclaimed Isa Blagg. "Nick Undrell for a certainty!"

"That's how I figure it out," Rube agreed.

"Queer!" mused Kiddie, thrusting a finger and thumb into one of his smaller pockets. "I found a thread of the same yellow wool caught in one of poor Sheila's claws--the middle claw of the left fore foot."


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