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The couple passed out together and the trapper found himself for the first time entirely alone. He cared nothing for that, however, but continued slowly puffing his 佛山桑拿莞式服务 pipe, and wondering what the action of the others could mean.

Several times he heard them moving about the court, and when he was on the point of going to them, with a demand 佛山桑拿论坛蒲友 for an explanation, Rickard returned, hastily stepped within the apartment, and without sitting down looked earnestly at his visitor.

“Eph,” said he, “don’t you believe I’m playing square with you?”

“What put that ar silly question in your head? Of course I do.”

[310]

“We agreed on the terms, didn’t we?”

“That’s just what we done.”

“Well, the deal is off.”

“What do you mean by such stuff?” demanded the trapper, unable to repress his astonishment. “Aint you satisfied with the tarms?”

“Of course, but I can’t carry out my part; I can’t deliver the goods.”

“WHAT!”

“Nick Ribsam isn’t in the building; he has escaped!”
CHAPTER XXXV. THROUGH THE LINES AGAIN.
THERE could be no doubt of the truth of the startling declaration of Bell Rickard. He had no object in deceiving the trapper, for his failure to produce Nick Ribsam 佛山夜生活最热闹的地方 deprived him of the liberal ransom agreed upon by the representative of Herbert Watrous.

He stated that he had told his prisoner of the plan he had in view, so that the youth might be relieved of all dread of violence or harm, and could be content to abandon whatever plans he had in mind of escape. He assured him that, even if he succeeded in getting away, he would be in greater danger than ever, since the chances were against his finding his friends, while the Apaches were quite sure to find him.

Nick seemed to be impressed with this view, and Rickard and Slidham concluded that he meant to wait patiently for his release by the[312] method explained to him. It now looked as if Nick had succeeded in outwitting his captors, after all, and that his apparent resignation was meant to deceive them into relaxing their watchfulness.

Although 佛山桑拿会所 the two men and boy were observed by Kimmaho and his warriors as they rode up to the adobe structure, they were able to enter and secure the massive door before the Apaches could interfere. Rickard assured Nick that it was a fortunate thing for them, since they would have been badly caught but for the refuge, where they could laugh at the enmity of ten times that number of warriors.

If the criminal had felt any misgivings as to the intentions of Nick, they were removed by this time; for, after having refused all the chances offered him, who would suppose that he would place himself in the most imminent peril possible from the Apaches, when he had no knowledge that his friends were within a hundred miles?

Nevertheless he was gone. When Rickard found the trapper at the door, he asked Nick[313] to remain in another part of the building until the interview was over. 广州佛山桑拿按摩全套 It struck him that it was better that he should not listen to the negotiations, though he was willing to bring him forward when asked to do so.

The criminal indicated no particular one of the dozen apartments opening on the courtyard, several of which were intended for the use of horses. The front of the

building consisted of two stories, with four large rooms, but the other portion was only a single story in height.

When Eph asked for a few words with the boy, Rickard sent Slidham out to bring him in. The man expected to find him at once, but as he moved from one apartment to another, calling to him in a suppressed voice and hearing nothing in reply, he began to fear something was amiss. However, he completed the circuit, including the four large apartments in front and the room where they had placed their ponies.

Since he carried no light, it was easy for the youth 佛山南海桑拿体验 to keep out of sight; but Slidham could think of no reason for his doing this,[314] and he returned to his chief with the word that he believed the prisoner had “vamosed the ranch.” Deeming it incredible, Rickard set out to make the search thorough. He carried no light, but was fully supplied with matches, and he burned several in each apartment, until he had scrutinized the entire interior, and made sure the youth had not fallen asleep or was hiding.

It so happened that the stables were the last place visited. Rickard was holding the tiny match above his head, anxiously awaiting the moment when its light should reveal the whole interior, when Slidham touched his arm, and, pointing at the ponies, whispered:

“There’s only two of them!”

“You’re right,” replied the leader; “it’s his horse too that is gone.”

It was true: the faithful Jack that had stood by his master so long was not in sight. All doubt was removed, and 佛山桑拿论坛 Rickard hastened to where he had left Eph Bozeman and told the astounding news.

The criminal proved his earnestness by asking the trapper to help him in repeating[315] the search, and he did so, visiting every room in the building, but without gaining sight of the missing youth.

“Great guns!” exclaimed Eph, “how did we come to forgit it?”

He started on a run for the main door. The others were at his heels, for they knew what the action meant. If Nick had stolen out and galloped off, he must have left the entrance open for anyone to enter. The instant the Apaches discovered it they would swarm through, for, as has been shown, the presence of the few white men within rendered them furiously eager to enter when otherwise they would have cared not at all.

Even such a veteran as Eph Bozeman shuddered on reaching the heavy doors to find them unfastened, so that a small child could have passed through from the outside with no trouble.

“If the varmints had only knowed that!” he said, after helping to secure it again.

This of course changed all the conditions and brought the men in front of a new and alarming problem. Since they were assured[316] that Nick Ribsam, in spite of the danger from the Apaches, had ridden out of the front of the building, and his present whereabouts were unknown, beyond the simple fact that he was not present, Eph Bozeman felt that he could not get back to his friends too soon with the news, and decide upon an immediate line of action to help the rash youth.

Rickard renewed his proposal that the others should dash into the building and stay there until all danger passed. The Apaches would be certain to discover them in the morning if not before, and the three hunters and single youth could not maintain themselves against Kimmaho and his 佛山桑拿部长电话 band.

This offer would have been accepted without hesitation, but for the desertion it forced of Nick Ribsam. The entire course of his friends for days past was with the single view of helping him, and it would not do to leave him now when his peril had been increased a hundredfold.

But admitting all this, the question rose, as to what possible way there was of aiding the[317] young man, who had done that which Eph Bozeman could not understand, after hearing so much of his brightness.

Indeed, he more than half suspected that he had already fallen into the hands of the Apaches. His own passing of their lines was of the most difficult nature, as the reader has learned, and it looked impossible for it to be done a second time, and by one who knew so little of those subtle red men.

The fact that Nick was mounted ought to have been 佛山桑拿按摩论坛 of great help in the event of discovery, for his pony was as fleet as the fleetest of the Apache steeds, but those ferocious raiders would find little trouble in entrapping the boldest white man who ventured within sight of them on so dark a night.

Be the conclusion what it may, the necessity of the trapper returning to the Texans was obvious. He told Rickard that he would try it at once, and no decision could be reached until after a talk with them.

“If we agree to make a break for these quarters, it’ll be just as it is growin’ light,” said he.

[318]

“I’ll be on the lookout,” replied Rickard, “and you can feel certain there won’t be any trouble in gettin’ in.”