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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

I didn't remember that gunny sack


said Kiddie, "unless it was with the idea of leavin' a false clue--a blind. If he had taken the tobacco, I, who know his contempt for cigarettes, might the more readily have identified him."

"Thar's a lot in that notion," Rube acknowledged; "but it's just a bit too cute fer a man like Nick. The galoot that would scatter his footprints around an' leave his pipe in the canoe ain't clever enough ter lay a false trail. Seems to me it's more likely Nick didn't see the tobacco. He was hustlin' to get away with the loot."

"Everything else clear?" Kiddie asked.

"Yes," answered Rube. "I've got the whole thing straightened out."

"Good," nodded Kiddie; "then sit down an' give me your theory, from beginnin' to end."

Isa Blagg appeared to consider it preposterous to appeal for an explanation to a mere boy. Nevertheless, when Rube stated his case the sheriff was constrained to agree with it in every particular.



"To begin with, then," said Rube, "Nick Undrell knew about your valuables--knew that you kept 'em here in your cabin; and he coveted them. He'd made up his mind weeks ago to get hold of 'em. He admitted as much to you

yourself, an' he put you off suspectin' him by makin' out that he'd started on a new trail by givin' up drink an' gamblin' and thievin'. That's where he was artful. Then he knew that you'd gone away on a campin'-out trip. We've bin told as he's bin spyin' around here an' tryin' to make friends with the dog.

"Naturally, he didn't know just when we should be back. Anyhow, he reckoned that last night would be safe, there bein' no moonlight. In case he should be heard movin' through the bush, he took the loan of our spare canoe an' dropped along silent by water. I'm figurin' that he calculated on the dog knowin' him an' not barkin'. But he wanted ter make sure, an' he crept up towards the kennel.

"Sheila was free; she wasn't chained up or locked in; an' she met him. Whether she fawned on him or attacked him, an' so got that thread of yaller wool on her claw don't greatly signify, though I guess she attacked him, an' he shot her dead, going up to her afterwards t' make sure, an' leavin' his footprint."

Kiddie nodded in satisfaction at the boy's narrative.

"And then?" he said.

"Then Nick made a bee-line for the cabin, broke the pane of glass, opened the winder, an' crawled in. Here he collected all the valuables he c'd lay his hands on--money, trinkets, jewels--hundreds and hundreds of dollars' worth, an' packed the lot into the gunny sack that he found in that there corner."

"Ah, I didn't remember that gunny sack," said Kiddie. "I had wondered how the things were carried away. Well?"

"Well," continued Rube, "after that, he went through the sittin'-room t' escape by the front door. He looked around the room an' caught sight of the cigarettes and tobacco. Before decidin' which ter take, he thought he'd try one of the cigarettes, so he smoked one, leavin' the scent of it hangin' in the air. I reckon he enjoyed it, so he took the cigarettes an' left the pipe tobacco."

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