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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesFrank Merriwell's Bravery - Chapter 3. A Thrilling Accusation
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Frank Merriwell's Bravery - Chapter 3. A Thrilling Accusation Post by :Dirk_Wagner Category :Long Stories Author :Burt L. Standish Date :May 2012 Read :641

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Frank Merriwell's Bravery - Chapter 3. A Thrilling Accusation

CHAPTER III. A THRILLING ACCUSATION

The words rang through the car, startling the passengers, and causing them to stare in astonishment at the man and the boy.

The man with the revolver was quivering with excitement, while Frank, at whose head the weapon was held, seemed strangely calm.

Exclamations were heard on all sides.

"Black Harry!"

"Is it possible?"

"Not that beardless boy!"

"It's a mistake!"

"If that's Black Harry, his Braves are near, and there is liable to be some shooting before long."

"Sufferin' Moses!" came from the Jew, who owned the revolver. "Ish dat der ropper vat ve read apout der baper in? Stop der cars! I vant to ged off!"

"What do you mean by this crazy act?" calmly demanded Frank, looking straight into Mr. Walker's eyes.

"I mean business, and I am not going to fool with a fellow of your reputation a minute! If you don't put up your hands, I'll send a bullet through your head immediately!"

"Then I shall put up my hands, for I have no fancy for having the top of my head blown off."

Up went the boy's empty hands.

"That's where you are sensible," declared the man with the foxy face. "I have dealt with your kind before, and I know better than to let 'em monkey with me. I am a man with a reputation for catching criminals. At the sound of my name, the professional crooks in the East tremble."

"Walker does not seem to be such a very terrible name."

"Walker--bah! That's not my name!"

"No?"

"Not much!"

"Pray, what is your name, then?"

"I am Burchel Jones, the famous detective," declared the owner of the gimlet eyes, swelling with importance. "Out in this country the fools call me a tenderfoot, but I will show them the kind of stuff I am made of. When they want to catch their desperadoes and robbers, they should send for a tenderfoot detective."

The boy laughed outright.

"You are more sport than a barrel of monkeys," he said, merrily. "What do you think you have done, anyway?"

"I have captured Black Harry, the terrible desperado, who has been giving them so much trouble out here of late."

"You think I am Black Harry?"

"I do not think anything about it--I know it."

"How do you know it?"

"By your face."

"Have you ever seen Black Harry?"

"Yes."

"When?"

"Last night."

"Where?"

"On the northbound Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific express."

"You were on that train?"

"I was, and I saw Black Harry's face when he was unmasked by Robert Dawson--saw it distinctly. You are Black Harry!"

"You were never more deceived in all your life. My name is Frank Merriwell, as I can easily prove."

"Your real name may be Frank Merriwell, but you are the boy desperado who is known as Black Harry, and you are the chap who shot Mr. Robert Dawson."

The detective spoke with conviction, and it was plain that he really believed what he said. The boy began to look grave, as the situation was not exactly pleasant.

"You came from Elreno to Oklahoma City on the first train this morning, did you?" asked the youth.

"I did."

"How did it happen that you took this train back?"

"I spotted you. The moment I saw your face I knew you, and I shadowed you till the train started. I boarded the train with the determination to capture you. I seldom fail when I have resolved on a thing, and I did not fail this time."

"Then this is no joke?"

"You will find it is no joke."

"Well, I can't ride from this place to Elreno with my hands held above my head, as you must very well know."

"Of course you can't. I'll have to put the irons on you. Here, young man, hold this revolver to his head while I handcuff and search him."

He spoke to Cholly De Smythe, who had been watching, with staring eyes, his jaw dropped, and a look of amazement on his face.

"Haw?" squawked the dude, aghast. "What ith that you want, thir?"

"Take this revolver, and hold it to this boy's head. If he moves, shoot him as if he were a dangerous dog."

"Good gwacious!" gurgled Cholly. "I nevah touched a wevolver in awl my life! You will hawve to excuse me, thir."

"If you are determined to treat me as if I were a mad beast, I beg you to let some one who knows something about firearms handle that revolver," said the captive. "I will give you my word not to make any trouble if you lower the weapon."

"Your word does not count with me," declared the crafty detective. "I wouldn't trust you a second--not a second."

"I can show you my card, letters, and other papers to prove my claim that I am Frank Merriwell, a traveler."

"Black Harry would be likely to have such letters and papers ready for just such an emergency. That trick will not count."

"Oh, well, don't fool around with that loaded gun held up against my head! Put on the irons, and give me a chance to rest my arms. Hurry up!"

"Shust led me dake dat revolfer, mine friendt," said the voice of the Jew. "Uf dot poy tries any funny pusiness, he vill be deat, vid der accent on der deat."

"Can I trust you?" cautiously asked Burchel Jones.

"Vell, I dunno. You can uf you vant to. I alvays make a bracdice uf doin' a cash pusiness."

After some hesitation, the tenderfoot detective decided that he could not do better than trust Solomon, and the revolver was surrendered to the Jew.

"Don'd you vink!" commanded Solomon, as he screwed the muzzle of the weapon up against the lad's head. "Uf you do, you vas a deat poy!"

The detective searched the youth, removing a handsome revolver from one of his pockets. That was the only weapon found anywhere on his person.

Burchel Jones was disappointed, for he had expected to find "guns" and knives concealed all over the lad.

"Oh, you're slick--you're slick!" he said. "But you can't fool me. I know how to deal with rascals like you. I have handled hundreds of 'em--hundreds upon hundreds."

"You must be a very old hand in the business," said the captive, with a laugh. "Still, you seem to need assistance to capture a boy, who has made no offer to resist you, although he knows very well that you have no legal right to arrest him."

"Oh, you are ready with your tongue--altogether too ready."

Having searched the lad, Jones produced some manacles, and snapped them on the wrists of his prisoner.

"There," he said to Solomon, "you needn't hold the revolver to his head any longer. I have him foul now."

"Dank you," nodded the Jew. "You vas much opliged vor der use of my revolfer."

"Of course, of course."

"V'y you don'd puy dot revolfer, den, und gif a poor man a drade?"

"Oh, get out. I don't want it any longer."

"Vell, I am glad uf dat, vor it vas long enough alretty. Uf you like id so vel, v'y you don'd bought id?"

"I have one of my own."

"Vell, haf dwo. I gif you a drade on dat revolfer. I sell you dat revolfer vor elefen tollar."

"Don't want it."

"Ten tollar."

"Don't want it."

"Nine."

"No."

"Eight."

"Say, shut up! I wouldn't take it for five!"

"Vell, you may haf him vor your tollar, und dot vas less dan haluf vat id vas vort'. Shall I put a biece uf baper roundt id?"

"I won't buy it at any price."

"Moses in der pulrushes! Do you vant me to gif him to you? I vill dake tree tollar, und dat vas der rock-pottom brice. Here you haf him."

But the detective still declined to take the weapon, which made Solomon exceedingly disgusted and angry.

"You vas der meanest man vat I nefer met!" he cried. "Uf I hat known how mean you vas, I vouldn't helluped you capture dot ropper! I hat better do pusiness vid der ropper anyhow."

Burchel Jones was well satisfied with himself. At Yukon he sent a dispatch to Hank Kildare, the sheriff at Elreno, saying:

"Have captured Black Harry. Bringing him in irons. Have Miss Dawson at station to identify him when train arrives.


BURCHEL JONES,
"Private Detective."


Jones was surprised at the quiet manner in which Frank had submitted to arrest, but he felt that the lad had been cleverly taken by surprise, and had seen by the eye of the man with the revolver that the best thing he could do was to give in without a struggle.

The boy saw it was quite useless to attempt to convince the man that any mistake had been made, and so, after the first effort, ceased to waste his time in the vain struggle. He remained calm and collected, much to the dismay of the some nervous passengers, who were certain the train would be held up by Black Harry's Braves, who would be on hand to rescue their chief.

Jones heard one man declaring over and over that he knew the train would not reach Elreno without a hold-up, and the detective immediately declared:

"If an attempt is made to rescue Black Harry, it will be very unfortunate for Harry, as I shall immediately shoot him. I do not propose to let him escape, to continue his career of crime and devastation."

The boy smiled, in a scornful and pitying way.

When the train drew into Elreno, a great crowd was seen on the platform of the station, and, for the first time, a troubled look came to the face of the youthful prisoner.

"The whole town has turned out to see Black Harry and the man who captured him," said Jones, swelling with importance.

Frank said nothing; he knew well enough that such a crowd was dangerous in many cases. What if it were generally believed that he was, in truth, Black Harry, and the mob should take a fancy to lynch him? His chance of escaping a speedy death would be slim, indeed!

The train stopped, and, with his hand clutching the boy's shoulder, Jones descended to the platform.

"Thar he is!"

The cry went up, and the crowd surged toward the two.

"Stan' back hyar!"

A man that was six feet and four inches in height, and weighed at least two hundred and fifty pounds, forced his way through the throng, casting men to the right and left with his muscular arms. He had a hard, weather-tanned face, and looked as if he did not fear the Evil One himself.

"Are you Burchel Jones, ther detective?" asked this man, as he loomed before Jones and his captive.

"I am, sir," was the dignified reply; "and this is Black Harry. I surrender him to you, and claim the reward offered for his capture."

"Thet ther skunk known as Black Harry?" said the giant sheriff, in evident surprise. "He don't look like a desperado. Wal, we'll soon settle all doubts on thet yar point, fer Miss Dawson is hyar, an' she will recognize him ef he is Black Harry. Come on, boy."

Kildare, the sheriff, for such the giant was, again forced a path through the crowd.

In the station door, a woman and a girl were standing. The girl was not more than seventeen, and was very pretty, despite the traces of grief upon her face.

Kildare led the boy up before the woman and girl, and he spoke to the latter:

"Take a good, squar' look at this yar kid, Miss Dawson, an' see ef yer ever saw thet face afore."

The girl looked at Frank, and then fell back, horror and loathing depicted on her face. She stretched out one hand, with a repellent gesture, as if warning them to keep him away, and with the other hand she clutched at her throat, from which came a choking sound. The woman offered to support her, but she sprang up in a moment, pointed straight at the youthful captive, and literally shrieked:

"He is the wretch who shot my poor father!"

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