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his mother the story of his adventure in the woods. Taking the little brown box from his pocket, he placed it on the floor, clapped his hands three times, and in a few seconds there stood a table and two chairs. He clapped his hands three times again, and the most delicious supper imaginable was spread before them. Mrs. Brown was so astonished she could scarcely believe it. Now it happened that there were two wicked eyes peeping in at the window and seeing what was going on, and a pair of wicked ears hearing what was being said. Neither Jack nor his mother knew that there was a strange man just outside their door. Fortunately, Jack did not tell his mother the condition about the box. They both sat down to the table, and

after Mrs. Brown had returned thanks to

God for his goodness to them, they began eating. Indeed, it was the best meal they had ever had in their little home. For once,

clapped his hands three times, and instantly all the food, dishes, and chairs disappeared. He clapped his hands three times again, and the table grew smaller and smaller and lower and lower, until there was nothing left but the little brown box. Jack picked it up and handed it to his mother saying, “Now, Mother, you find a nice safe place to keep it.” So Mrs. Brown looked all around the room, and finally decided that the best place to put it was under the big clock on the mantelshelf. There it was out of the way and could not be seen. But little did they dream that some one else had been watching all this time, and saw where the little box was hidden. Then Jack went out to feed the chickens and milk his little goat and bring in the wood. After all his chores were done, he and his mother were resting just before going to bed, when they heard a knock at the door.

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On opening it, they saw a man in ragged clothes standing there, who said: “Say, could you give a fellow lodging for the night? I’ve lost my way.” Mrs. Brown never refused any one, so she took the stranger in. Jack's bed was in the room with the big clock, and the stranger slept there, while Jack, rolled up in a quilt, slept on the floor in his mother's room. In the middle of the night, when the stranger knew that every one was asleep, he got up quietly, put his hand under the clock, took the little brown box, and stole softly out of the house. He walked and walked for a long distance in the woods, and then sat down to wait for morning to come. At last, it began to grow lighter and lighter, until he could see things quite plainly. Then he stood up, took the little box out of his pocket, and put it on the ground. He clapped his hands three times, and a table and two chairs appeared. He clapped his

started to eat. First, he cut off a piece of ham and put it in his mouth, but it was so salty he could n’t eat it. Then he took a bite of a nice hot biscuit, but that was so bitter he was not able to swallow it. Next he took a drink of coffee, which burned a huge blister on his tongue. By this time he was so angry that he kicked the table over, and all the food and dishes fell on the ground. In a few seconds, nothing was there but the little brown box. He picked it up and threw it away with all his might. Indeed, it went so far that he could not see it. At seven o’clock, Jack and his mother got up as usual and dressed themselves. Then they went into the other room, but found that their guest had gone. Next, Mrs. Brown looked under the clock for the little brown box, but, alas, it was not there! “Oh, Jack!” she cried, “what shall we do? The little box is gone.” Just as they were standing there, talking

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By KENNETH PAYSON KEMPTON
syNopsis of PREVIOUS INSTALMENTs

To escape the authorities, who have taken him for a dock thief, Rick Hartley has shipped aboard the schooner Laughing Lass, ostensibly a fishing-boat, but appearing suspiciously like a vessel bent on some unlawful mission. By a combination of circumstances, Rick gains possession of a small newspaper clipping which, he is convinced, holds the key to the mystery. This clipping announces the departure from Liverpool of the Glendale with $10,000,000 in gold bullion. In obtaining the clipping, Rick was forced to take also the skipper's wallet, which held it and also a considerable sum of money. He and his friend Ban Hoag plan how best they can return the wallet and escape from the schooner. At night, Rick goes down to the skipper's room, where he returns the wallet and hides himself. Through the partition, he then hears the plotting of M'Guire, the skipper, with Manuel, his mate. They plan to meet the Glendale on the high seas and rob her by trickery; then slip away to South America. 'Guire comes into his stateroom, picks up his wallet where Rick has left it, and returns. Rick then hears the skipper accuse Manuel of stealing the money that was in the wallet, and realizes that no one but Ban Hoag, whom he called friend, could have done this. Creeping to the after-cabin door, Rick sees M'Guire and Manuel locked in a death-struggle. He shoots out the light with the skipper's revolver, rushes up the companionway—and finds the deck deserted and the skiff, his only avenue of escape, gone.

CHAPTER XVII golden opportunity to hear somebody else BAN HOAG AND THE BOS'N a-talkin' to ye. * > How about it? Will ye listem to the jedge?

“Go get 'em-Rick!” Ban had said, as the “W'a d' ye mean?”

boy stood still in the lamplit forecastle, wait- “I means this, an' every word is solemn ing a moment to make sure that Hamlin truth. M'Guire 's either raving crazy or a slept. bloomin' pirate. The cabin-boy an' me, we

The soft padding of bare feet on boards got the dope on him this mornin'; an' if ye're and the ladder-rungs melted into silence. wise, ye ’ll shove off with us in the skiff toHoag lay still for a while, thinking out his night, 'fore we all gets strung up to some cutplan of action. It was now a quarter past ter's yard-arm or hits the brig fur life.” nine. Would it be better to wake the bos’n In the flickering light of the lamp, Ban at once, counting on the chance that Rick could see the bos'n's eyes fastened on him would get the story quickly, but risking intently, a doubting sneer twisting his gross thereby Hamlin's anger—or should he wait? red face. He had caught the man's attention

Ban decided to act at once. He had much —that was something. Could he persuade

to tell the man; he could not afford to take him?

chances. “Well, what is it? Out with yer story an' He got up and shook the big hulk gently let's get it over—now ye’ve got me waked!”

by one shoulder. In his sleep, Hamlin shook “D’ ye mind when we talked here a while

off the hold and turned away, muttering back—about the skipper and this fool cruise? vaguely. Hoag tried again. A growl re- Now listen. Hartley—that 's the cabin-boy

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windlass, ye sculpin, an’ leave me sleep.” —he aims to meet a ship on the high seas an’ He made as if to settle down. But Ban rob her.” spoke again: Ban stopped a moment, with his sure sense

“If ye don't listen to me now, Gabe Hamlin, of the dramatic, to let this sink in. The I 'm thinkin' ye 'll have what they calls a bos’n was staring at him unbelievingly.

“This here Rick Hartley, he finds a little piece cut from a newspaper—finds it in the skipper's wallet. Ye mind how 's he allus brought a paper aboard from shore? Well, here 's this piece cut from the paper he bought that last stop, just before we put t' sea. An’ it says they 's a big vessel bringin' ten millions o' dollars in gold over from Liverpool, an’ it states when she 's due to arrive, an’ all.”

“What!” broke in Hamlin.

“It's truth I’m tellin', bos'n. Now think

“Get away with it! He ain’t got the chance of a dinghy in a typhoon. I shipped once with a cargo of bullion. They was two men with loaded guns to every hold, one settin' atop the hatch an’ the other down below among the cases. Night an' day they watches it, in four-hour tricks, an' a man in the radioshack with his gear ready, an' a double watch on deck an' the bridge. The shippin' 'll be as thick as flies. An’ if he got away with the stuff, though he could n’t, they'd send the news broadcast an' get him in a

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day. An' we'd be with him. Don’t fergit that part.” “The man 's plumb daft!” said Hamlin. This was much too easy, thought Ban. He bitterly regretted the doubt that had sent Rick below; they could have been away, perhaps, by this time. But it was too late now. The game must be played Out. “Daft—that 's what we thinks. But we aims t’ make sartin. If he 's daft or if he 's sane, we intends to shove off in that skiff as soon as we gets sartin proof that he 's thinkin' serious of any such a wild skyhoot of a scheme as that.” “Ye 'll oughter hurry.” “We have. Hartley's gone aft—he 's there now, hidin'. We figgered M'Guire 'd have a talk with Manuel on the scheme. I sent the cabin-boy down t” listen, thinkin' ye 'd want to

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