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HOME > Classical Novels > Rick and Ruddy Out West > CHAPTER X A STRANGE DISCOVERY
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 Great excitement was caused in the Fayetville court-house when the boys arrived with the scribbled1 note from Deputy Sheriff Wilson, and the news that the posse was, even then, on the trail of the bank robbers. The sheriff himself came out of his office to talk to the boys, asking them for all the details they could give him.  
“Guess I’d better send some more deputies to help Nick and Bert,” said the county official. “Those robbers are desperate fellows, and now they have a car it’s going to be harder to catch them.”
“They not only have a car, but they’ve got the things we were going to camp with,” lamented2 Chot.
“Well, as long as they didn’t take us—and Ruddy, we ought to be glad,” laughed Rick.
“That’s right,” said the sheriff. “They are desperate characters. No wonder they were suspicions of you when you came on them in the storm. But they were quick to see that their best plan was to let you in, allow you to sleep and then sneak3 off in your car. However, we’ll get ’em all right. I’ll telephone to all the places around here to be on the watch. Just give me a description of Mr. Campbell’s machine so I can let other sheriffs and police officers know what to look for.”
Between them Rick and Chot supplied a good description, even to the numbers on the license4 plates, and this information was soon being sent broadcast by telephone and telegraph.
“Well, do you boys want to sit around here and wait for Mr. Campbell to come back?” asked Sheriff Hart, “or what do you want to do?”
“Mr. Wilson said something about going to his house,” began Rick, “and if we could—”
Just then the telephone in the sheriff’s office, where this talk was taking place, began ringing violently.
“Hello—hello!” cried the sheriff as he snatched off the receiver. He listened intently, saying, meanwhile—“yes—yes! Good! I hope you do! Yes, they’re here! I’ll send them up!”
He turned to the boys.
“That was Nick Wilson,” he said as he hung up the receiver. “He says they haven’t got any trace of the robbers yet, but they hope to, soon, and he says to tell you to go on up to his house and eat. I’ll telephone Mrs. Wilson you’re coming.”
“How do you get there?” asked Rick, for they were in a strange town.
“I’ll take you up in my car,” the sheriff offered. “Nick wants me to tell his wife he won’t be home to dinner. And that will be a good opening for me to suggest that you boys can take his place at the table,” he added with a chuckle5.
“I guess we’re willing,” said Rick, smiling, and Chot did his share.
On the way to the home of the deputy sheriff, Chot suggested that something had better be done about putting a permanent warning at the broken bridge, and the sheriff promised to attend to that.
Mrs. Wilson proved to be a motherly woman, after the boys’ own hearts. She made them warmly welcome, and soon became as friendly with Ruddy, as the red setter was with her.
“And oh, boy! What a dinner we had!” said Rick afterward6 with a grateful sigh to his chum. “Didn’t we?”
“I’ll tell the knives and forks!” echoed Chot with a grin.
The boys began to fear that time would hang rather heavily on their hands that afternoon, as the dinner hour came and went and there was no word from Mr. Campbell. They accepted the invitation of the sheriff to come to the court-house for a while, there to await possible word of the capture of the robbers.
But as the afternoon wore on, and there was no news of any account, save that those in pursuit were still on the trail, following different clews, the boys decided7 that it would be more fun to wander off by themselves.
“Take a trolley8 ride,” advised the sheriff. “The trolley goes several miles out into the country. You can scout9 around there and come back when you get ready. I reckon you’ll have to stay here all night, anyhow, for, even if we do get Mr. Campbell’s car back he won’t hardly want to start off without having it looked over. Those robbers’ll drive it hard.”
This seemed good advice and the boys took it. Very likely Mr. Campbell would not want to start right out again, even if those in pursuit were lucky enough to overtake, or find the robbers where they might be hiding.
Promising10 to come back to Mrs. Wilson’s house, where they were invited to remain for the night, Rick and Chot started off on the suburban11 trolley line. To his howling regret Ruddy could not accompany the boys, but was tied up in a shed at the Wilson home. However the red setter was somewhat reconciled to his lot when Mrs. Wilson provided him with plenty of bones to gnaw12. Dogs, especially of Ruddy’s size, were not allowed on trolley cars.
“Well, we certainly are running into a bunch of things,” remarked Chot to his chum as they went riding out through the pleasant country—for it was very pleasant, fresh and delightful13 after the rain.
“We sure are!” agreed Rick. “Are you glad you came?” He leaned over and punched Chot playfully in the ribs14.
“Am I? Say, you couldn’t beat it! And think of what’s ahead of us, Rick!”
“What do you mean?” Rick turned and looked at his chum.
“I mean out at Uncle Tod’s camp.”
“That’s right. There’ll be lots to do there. I wish I knew just what he wants of us.”
“Maybe he just did it so we could have a good vacation.”
“No, it’s more than that,” Rick declared. “He wouldn’t start off the way he did unless there was something up—and something queer, too. I’d like to know what it is.”
“So would I,” ............
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