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HOME > Classical Novels > Rick and Ruddy Out West > CHAPTER IX THE PURSUIT
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 Just as Mr. Campbell and the boys reached the front of the shack1 in which they had spent the night, they saw, stopping in the road a short distance away, an automobile3 of the flivver type—old, ramshackle, rusty4 and covered with mud.  
From this battered5 car leaped several men, each one bearing a gun, and it took no more than a second glance to reveal to Rick and the others that these were not Martin, Elkton and Shadd, the self-styled “lumbermen.”
Ruddy stopped, stiffened6 into attention and began to growl7 in a menacing manner.
“Quiet, Ruddy,” sharply ordered his master and the dog obeyed.
The men ran forward, with guns held in readiness, but before they could shoot, if, indeed, such was their intention, and before anything could be said, another car followed the first and stopped suddenly.
From this second car leaped three men who seemed anxious to overtake the first party, numbering five, who were advancing on Mr. Campbell and the boys.
“Now we’ve got you!” cried the leader of the first party, as he began lowering his gun in readiness for action. “Up with your hands!”
“Why, what in the world—” began Mr. Campbell. He said afterward8 he thought it was all a joke, and Rick was beginning to wonder if this had anything to do with the mystery of Uncle Tod, when the second party of three men overtook the first five, and the evident leader of this trio shouted:
“Wait a minute, Bert! You’re making a mistake!”
“A mistake?” inquired the man who had ordered “hands up.”
“Yes, this is the wrong crowd—can’t you see that. Two of ’em are boys and there’s a dog!”
“I see the boys and dog all right,” grumbled9 the one who had given the startling order, “but they may belong to the same bunch all right.”
“I’m afraid not,” said the other. “Looks like they got away—give us the slip. Your name Cassidy?” he asked sharply of Mr. Campbell.
“No, it isn’t,” was the quiet answer. “But what’s this all about, anyhow? And where can we get in touch with the police or some one in authority?”
“What for? Have you captured the robbers?” asked one of the raiding party eagerly.
“Robbers?” exclaimed Rick and Chot who were taking all this in with wondering eyes.
“As far as robberies go we have one to report ourselves,” said Mr. Campbell. “My auto2 was taken, during the night, by three men who were in this shack.”
“And those are the very men we’re after!” exclaimed the leader of the last-arriving trio. “Where are they? Which way did they go? If they have your car, and it can travel, we may have hard work catching10 up to them.”
“I’m afraid you will,” said Mr. Campbell, grimly. “But where can I report the theft of my car? Where will I find an officer?”
“Right here,” answered the leader of the five men with a chuckle11. “We’re all officers. That’s Nick Wilson, a deputy sheriff,” he added, indicating the big man who had arrived in the car with two others. “I’m a court-house constable12 and these others are special deputies we just swore in to help capture the bank robbers.”
“Bank robbers?” exclaimed Mr. Campbell. “Were Martin, Elkton and Shadd robbers?”
“They were, and desperate ones, too, only those aren’t their names,” said Deputy Sheriff Wilson. “I guess they go by any names that suit ’em, but one of ’em is Cassidy, and the other two are Burke and Armstrong. They robbed the Frenchtown bank of over fifty thousand dollars last week, and they have been traced to this locality.
“Early this morning we got word that three men, answering the description of the bank robbers, were out here in this shack. I rounded up all the men I could find. Dodge13, here, got a little ahead of me,” said the deputy sheriff with a grin, “but as soon as I saw the two boys I knew we were barking up the wrong tree. And so the robbers took your car and got away; did they?”
“It looks so,” admitted Mr. Campbell ruefully.
“Too bad,” said Nick Wilson. “If you could only have held those fellows you’d have been in the reward of ten thousand dollars.”
Rick and Chot gasped14 at this.
“No use thinking about that now,” said Mr. Campbell philosophically15. “I’ll be satisfied if I can get my car back, and the stuff in it—including the baggage of these boys. I’m on my way to Sa............
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