The Boy Land Boomer/Chapter 25
GOOD NEWS FROM WASHINGTON.
"Fainted, by Jove!"
So spoke Pawnee Brown as he sprang forward to Mortimer Arbuckle's aid.
The man was as pale as the driven snow, and for the instant the great scout thought his very heart had stopped beating.
He raised Mortimer Arbuckle up and opened his collar and took off his tie, that he might get some air.
"Wot's the row here?"
It was the voice of Peter Day, the backwoodsman who had agreed to take care of Arbuckle during his illness. He had followed the man out of the house to see that no harm might befall him.
"He has fainted," answered Pawnee Brown. "Fetch some water, and hold that—hang it, he's gone!"
Pawnee Brown rushed to the barn door. Far away he saw Powell Dike running as though the old Nick was after him. A second later the rascal disappeared from view. The boomer never saw or heard of him again.
Between the great scout and Pawnee Brown, Mortimer Arbuckle was once again taken to Day's home and made comfortable.
"He insisted on taking a walk to-day," explained the backwoodsman. "I told him he couldn't stand it. I reckon he's as bad now as he ever was."
"Take good care of him, Day, and beware of any men who may be prowling about," answered Pawnee Brown. "There is something wrong in the air, but I'm satisfied that if we help this poor fellow we'll be on the right side of the brush."
Mortimer Arbuckle was now coming around, but when he spoke he was quite out of his mind. The doctor was hastily sent for, and he administered a potion which speedily put the sufferer to sleep.
"It's an odd case," said the medical man. "The fellow is suffering more mentally than physically. He must have something awful on his mind."
"He is the victim of some plot—I am certain of it," was the scout's firm answer.
Not long after this, Pawnee Brown was returning to Arkansas City, certain that Mortimer Arbuckle would now be well cared for and closely watched until he and Dick could return to the sufferer.
"As soon as this booming business is over I must try to clear things for that old gent." murmured the boomer to himself as he rode up to the telegraph office. "I'd do a good deal for him and that noble son of his."
Another telegram had just come in, by way of Wichita, which ran as follows:
"The Lower House of Congress has passed the Oklahoma bill. Pawnee Brown has woke the politicians up at last. Stand ready to enter Oklahoma if an attempt is made to throw the bill aside in the Senate, but don't be rash, as it may not be long before everything comes our way in fact, it looks as if everything would come very soon."
At this telegram the great scout was inclined to throw up his hat and give a cheer. His work in Kansas was having an effect. No longer could the cattle kings stand up against the rights of the people. He handed the message to a number of his friends standing near.
"Hurrah fer Pawnee Brown!" shouted one man, and standing on a soap box read the telegram aloud.
"Score one fer the boomers!"
"An' a big one fer Pawnee."
"Don't hurry now, Pawnee, you've got 'em whar the hair ez good an' long!"
"It would seem so, men," answered the great scout. "No, I'll be careful now—since the tide has turned. In less than sixty days I'll wager all I am worth we'll march into Oklahoma without the first sign of trouble."
It did not take the news long to travel to the boomers camp, and great was the rejoicing upon every side.
"Dot's der pest ding I vos hear for a month," said Humpendinck. "Pawnee ought to haf a medal alreatty."
"It's a stattoo we will put up fer him in Oklahomy," said Delaney. "A stattoo wid Pawnee a-ridin' loike mad to the new lands, wid the Homestead act in wan hand an' a bundle o' sthakes in th' other, an' under the stattoo we'll put the wurruds, 'Pawnee Brown, the St. Patrick av Oklahomy!'"
"Ach! go on mit yer St. Patrick!" howled Humpendinck. "He vos noddings but a snake killer."
"Oh, mon!" burst in Rosy Delaney. "A snake killer, Moike, do ye moind thot? Swat the Dootchman wan, quick!"
And Mike "swatted" with an end of a fence rail he was chopping up for firewood. But Humpendinck dodged, and Rosy caught the blow, and there followed a lively row between her and Mike, in the midst of which the German boomer sneaked away.
"Dot Irishmans vos so fiery as der hair mit his head," he muttered to himself. "I dink I vos keep out of sight bis he vos cool off, and den— Mine gracious, Bumpkin, var did you come from? I dinks you vos left behind py Arkansas City."
For there had suddenly appeared before Humpendinck the form of the dunce, hatless and with his black hair tumbled over his face in all directions.
"Ha, ha! where have I been?" cried Pumpkin. "Where haven't I been you had better ask. I've been everywhere—among the soldiers and the boomers and the Indians." He stopped short. "Where is Pawnee Brown?"
"Ofer py Clemmer's vagon. But he ton't vot ter pother mit you now."
"He will bother with me," and so speaking Pumpkin ran off, to reach the great scout's side and pluck him by the coat sleeve.
"At your service, sir," he said, bowing low, for with all of his peculiarities Pumpkin had a great respect for Pawnee Brown.
"What is it, lad?"
"I have to report, sir, that your pard is captured—Jack Rasco; he had a fearful fight and the soldiers have him. Ha! ha! they will shoot Jack—if you let em, but I know you won't—will you now?"
"You are certain Jack is captured?"
"Dead sure—saw him with my own eyes. Ha! ha! they tried to catch Pumpkin, but they might as well try to catch a ghost. Ha! ha! but I give em a fine run."
It took a good deal of talking to get a straight story from the half-witted youth, but at last Pawnee Brown was in full possession of the facts. Pumpkin had seen Rasco on the march just before Dick was taken.
Immediately after this the boomer held a short consultation with Clemmer.
"I feel it my duty to help Rasco to escape, if it can be done," he said. "Besides, it is high time for me to return to Dick Arbuckle and to find out, if possible, what has become of Jack's niece."
"Shall I go along?" questioned Clemmer, "I wouldn't like anything better."
"All right, come on," answered the great scout.
He had scarcely spoken when a loud cry rang out, coming from the lower end of the camp.
"Buckley's bull has broken loose! Look out for yourself, the beast has gone mad!"
"Buckley's bull!" muttered Pawnee Brown. "I ordered him to slaughter that vicious beast. Why, he's as fierce as those the Mexicans use in their bull fights!"
"He's a terror," answered Clemmer. "If he— By gum, here he comes, Pawnee!"
As he spoke Clemmer turned to one side and started to run. Looking forward the great scout saw the bull bearing down upon him. The eyes of the creature were bloodshot and the foam was dripping from the corners of his mouth, showing that he was clearly beyond control.
The bull, which was of extra large size, had Clemmer in view, and made after the cowboy, who happened to be unarmed. Away went man and beast in some thing of a circle, to fetch up near Pawnee Brown less than a minute later. As they came close, Clemmer fell and went sprawling almost at the scout's feet.
"Save me!" he panted. "Save me, Pawnee!"
Pawnee Brown did not answer. Leaping over the cowboy's prostrate form, he pulled out his pistol and his hunting knife and stood ready to receive the bull, who came tearing along, with lowered horns, ready to charge the scout to the death.