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The Exposure

From: Dave Porter In The Gold Fields

When Tom Dillon heard about the light that had been seen and the
determination to walk to it, he wanted to know how far off it was.

"If it's that close we had better all go," he announced, after being
told. "If it's Abe Blower's camp it must be in a good spot, for Abe
knows this locality as good as I do and maybe better. A mile isn't so
far. We can walk an' lead the hosses, if we have to."

Less than quarter of an hour later found them on the way. The old miner
was in front, with Roger beside him, and Dave and Phil bringing up the
rear. All were on foot, for they had to pick their way in the darkness,
which seemed more intense than it had been on previous nights.

"The sky is overcast," observed Dave, as they trudged along the
uncertain, rocky trail. "Looks to me like rain."

"We'll catch it sooner or later," announced Tom Dillon. "And maybe we'll
have a big blow in the bargain."

"Then it blows up here?" queried Roger.

"Does it? I should say yes, lad! I've been in such a wind up here one
could hardly keep his feet. And the rain comes so thick an' fast it nigh
drowns you!"

As they advanced, they kept their eyes on the alert for the distant
campfire. Twice they found and lost it, but, as they came around another
spur of rocks they beheld it quite plainly and saw several figures
moving around it.

"Wait!" called Dave, to the others. "If that is Abe Blower's camp, and
Merwell and Haskers are with him, I've got an idea."

"What is that?" asked Roger.

"Why not let Mr. Dillon go ahead alone, and find out what Merwell and
Haskers have to say? We can sneak up in the darkness and show ourselves

This was considered a good plan, and, after a short discussion, it was
adopted. The old miner mounted his horse and rode onward, the three boys
coming after him on foot and keeping in the shadow of the rocks to one
side of the uneven trail.

The clatter of the horse's hoofs on the rocks soon attracted the
attention of those around the distant campfire. The three persons came
forward, to see who was coming.

"Why, if it ain't Tom Dillon, of all men!" cried one of the three, and
his face, that had shown anxiety, broke into a smile. "How are you, Tom,
and what brings you up here?"

"I came to find you, Abe," was the old miner's reply. "They told me down
in Butte you were off to have another search for the lost Landslide

"Saw Kate Carmody, I reckon," went on Abe Blower. "Yes, I'm goin' on
another hunt fer the mine--account o' these two gents," and Abe Blower
pointed to his companions.

"Who is this man?" asked one of the others, who had come from the

"This is Tom Dillon, one o' the best old-time miners and prospectors in
Montany," answered Abe Blower, with a broad smile. "He used to know yer
uncle well," he added.

"Is that so? Then--er--perhaps he can help us to locate the lost mine."

"Mebbe--if he wants to spare the time. Ye see, Tom ain't so poor as I
be," explained Abe Blower. "He made his pile an' saved it, he did," he
added, admiringly.

"Who are your companions, Abe?" asked Tom Dillon, rather abruptly.

"Oh, sure, excuse me fer not introducin' you," cried the other miner.
"This here is Mr. Morr, son o' Senator Morr an' nevvy of Maurice
Harrison, an' this is his friend, Prefesser Haskers, o' the colledge
Morr ust to go to. Gents, this is Mr. Thomas Dillon, a miner an'
prospector, an' one o' the richest an' best men in Butte."

"Ah, glad to know you, sir!" exclaimed Job Haskers, and held out his
thin hand. But, somehow, Tom Dillon did not seem to see it and he merely

"And you are Senator Morr's son, eh?" said the old miner, turning to
Link Merwell.

"I am," was the bold answer, but when the old miner looked him squarely
in the eyes, Merwell had to turn his gaze away.

"I understood that Maurice Harrison, when he died, willed the Landslide
Mine to your family," went on Tom Dillon.

"He did, and I and my friend are here to look for it," answered Link

"Think you'll find it?"

"Blower here says he will do what he can to discover it," broke in Job
Haskers. "He has a great reputation as a prospector."

"I will surely do my best for Maurice Harrison's nevvy," said Abe
Blower. "Maurice Harrison was mighty good to me, an' I ain't the one to
forgit that."

"Have you a brother?" asked Tom Dillon, turning again to Merwell.

"A brother? Why--er--no," answered the imposter, and then turned
suddenly pale. "Why--er--do you ask that question?" he faltered.

"I met another young fellow in Butte named Morr."

"I--I don't know him."

"He was with two other young fellows named Porter and Lawrence."

At this unexpected announcement Link Merwell's face grew paler than
ever. Job Haskers, too, showed that he was much disturbed.

"Did this--this Morr say where he was from, or where he was going?"
asked the former teacher of Oak Hall.

"Oh, the whole crowd was from the East. I reckon they are coming up
here," answered Tom Dillon, dryly. "They want to find you, Abe," he
added, with a wink at the other miner.

"Me? What fer?"

"They want you to locate this same Landslide Mine for them."

"The same mine? Say, Tom, what are you drivin' at?" demanded Abe Blower,
in astonishment.

"What I'm drivin' at is just this, Abe," answered Tom Dillon, and his
voice grew suddenly stern. "This ain't Roger Morr at all. The real
fellow you ain't met yet. This chap is a fraud!"

"Say--look here----" began Link Merwell.

"Is the--er--the other Morr--er--coming here?" faltered Job Haskers.

"I am not coming--I am here!" cried a voice, and Roger stepped from the
shadow of a near-by rock.

The senator's son faced Link Merwell and Job Haskers, and both stared at
him as if they were looking at a ghost, and backed away.

"Roger Morr!" faltered Merwell.

"Yes, Link. You didn't expect I'd follow you so soon, did you?" cried
Roger. "Now, I've got a nice account to settle with you. I want to know
what you did with my suit-case, and I want to know what you mean by
impersonating me."

"I--I----" began Merwell, and then stopped, not knowing how to proceed.

"This is--er--very unfortunate," murmured Job Haskers. He would have
retired had there been any place to retire to, which there was not.

"Say, are you Roger Morr?" gasped Abe Blower, gazing fixedly at the
senator's son.

"I am. And you are Abe Blower?"

"I sure am. But see here----"

"We'll explain everything in a few minutes, Mr. Blower. These fellows
are swindlers! They robbed me of my suit-case and then got ahead of me,
and that fellow impersonated me," and Roger pointed to Merwell. "We
hired Mr. Dillon to bring us to you--or at least he offered to come. He
knows that I am the real Roger Morr, and Maurice Harrison was my
mother's brother."

"Well, I never! But wot did they think to gain----"

"They wanted to locate the lost mine before I got here, that was their
game. What they intended to do later I don't know, but probably Job
Haskers was going to cook up some deal whereby our family could be kept
out of the property. He is a rascal----"

"See here, Morr, I won't--er--have you--ahem!--talk about me in
this----" commenced the former teacher.

"But I will talk about you!" interrupted Roger. "You are a rascal,
almost as bad as Merwell here, and you know it."

"Yes, and we know it, don't we, Phil?" cried another voice, and Dave and
Phil stepped into view.

"Porter--and Lawrence!" faltered the former teacher of Oak Hall, and he
looked almost ready to drop. "I--I----" He did not know how to finish.

"Say, I want to git the straight o' this!" burst out Abe Blower.

"This young man is givin' it to you straight, Abe," replied Tom Dillon,
pointing to Roger. "And these are his friends--all true blue to the
core. These other fellers are first-class swindlers. They took you in
good an' proper."

"If they did, they shall suffer fer it!" roared the other miner. "Do you
know, I kinder suspected somethin' was wrong. They didn't act as open as
honest folks should. An' they was in an all-fired hurry to git away from
Butte and from Black Cat Camp."

"Because they knew we were following them," explained Dave. "Link, I
guess you had better admit that the game is up," he went on, turning to
his former schoolmate.

"Is it up?" sneered Link Merwell. "Well, I don't know, Dave Porter. We
have as much right to hunt for that lost mine as you have."

"Oh, so that's the game, eh?" burst out Roger.

"You had no right to impersonate Roger," asserted our hero. "He can have
you arrested for that."

"Huh, that was--er--only done for--er--fun," faltered Link Merwell. "And
as for your old suit-case, it's on check at the Glenrose Hotel in Butte,
and there's the check for it," and he drew the brass disc from his
pocket and passed it over to the senator's son.

"Why did you take my suit-case?"

"Oh, for fun."

"He took it thinking he was going to get your map!" cried Dave. "Link,
what makes you act as you do?" went on our hero, earnestly. "When I
helped you on Cave Island you promised that you were going to reform."

"What's the use of reforming?" burst out the other. "Everybody in this
world is down on me! I don't dare to show my face wherever I am known!
There is a warrant out for my arrest!" And Link Merwell's face showed
his bitterness.

While the boys were talking Abe Blower and Tom Dillon had been
conversing together. Job Haskers was left in the cold, and he looked
much disturbed. Evidently he was thinking how foolish he had been to
come to Montana with Merwell.

"So this is the trick yer played on me, consarn ye!" cried Abe Blower,
coming from the other miner to Haskers. "I've a good mind to take it out
of yer hide!" And he shook his fist in the former teacher's face.

"Don't you touch me--don't you dare!" howled Job Haskers, in new alarm,
and he backed away so hastily that he tripped over some of the camp
outfit and went flat on his back.

The accident was such a comical one that Dave and his chums laughed
outright, and Tom Dillon and Abe Blower grinned broadly. Link Merwell
reached down and assisted the former teacher to his feet. Job Haskers's
face was sourness itself.

"Stop that! Don't you dare to laugh at me!" he roared. "Don't you dare!"

"We'll laugh as much as we please," answered Dave, boldly.

"I--I guess we had better get out of here," whispered Link Merwell,
nervously. "They--they might take it into their heads to harm us."

"Do you think so?" asked Job Haskers. "All right, I--I am ready to go.
But how are we to find our way back to the town?" he asked, helplessly.

"We'll have to follow the back trail," answered Link Merwell. Being used
to ranch life, this being in the open did not daunt him as it did the
former teacher. "Come on, let us get our horses and be off!" the youth
added. "It is getting too hot for us here!"

Next: On The Back Trail

Previous: The Newspaper Clew

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