The Northing Tramp - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Northing Tramp ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

Rather different from the usual Wallace plot, here we have a tramp heading for the Canadian border who marries a girl while in a drunken stupor. Her wedding day was so fraught with danger that she and her husband were forced to flee from the deadly menace that ruthlessly dogged their every move. She learned to avoid the man with the red beard and his swarthy knife-juggling companion. Above all, she feared and avoided Gussie, whose drawl and monocle gave him a deceptive appearance of meekness. Who were these three and who was her strange husband and what was the secret that spelled death between them? Mysterious tramps, Chicago gangsters, and villainous members of the English nobility!

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 288

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER I

THE tramp looked to be less savoury than most tramps; and more dangerous. For he was playing with a serviceable automatic pistol, throwing it from one hand and catching it with the other, balancing its muzzle on his forefinger with an anxious eye as it leaned first one way and then another; or letting it slip through his hands until the barrel was pointing earthward. This pistol was rather like a precious plaything; he could neither keep his eyes nor hands from it, and when, tired of the toy, he slipped it into the pocket of his tattered trousers, the disappearance was momentary. Out it came again, to be fondled and tossed and spun.

“Such things cannot be!” said the tramp aloud, not once, but many times in the course of his play.

He was unmistakably English, and what an English tramp was doing on the outskirts of Littleburg, in the State of New York, requires, but for the moment evades, explanation.

He was not pleasant even as tramps go. His face was blotched and swollen, he carried a week’s growth of beard, one eye was recovering from the violent impact of a fist delivered a week before by a brother tramp whom he had awakened at an inconvenient moment. He might explain the swelling by his ignorance of the properties of poison ivy, but there was nobody interested enough to ask. His collarless shirt was grimy, his apology for a jacket had bottomless pits for pockets; on the back of his head, as he juggled the pistol, he maintained an ancient derby hat badly dented, the rim rat-eaten.

“Such things cannot be,” said the tramp, who called himself Robin … the pistol slipped from his hand and fell on his foot. He said “Ouch!” like a Christian man and rubbed the toe that was visible between upper and sole.

Somebody was coming through the little wood. He slipped the pistol into his pocket and, moving noiselessly between bushes, crouched down.

A girl, rather pretty, he thought; very slim and graceful, he saw. A local aristocrat, he guessed. She wore a striped silk dress and swung a walking stick with great resolution.

She stopped almost opposite him and lit a cigarette. Whether for effect or enjoyment was her own mystery. Not a hundred yards away the wood path joined the town road, and a double line of big frame houses were inhabited by the kind of people who would most likely be shocked by the spectacle of a cigarette-smoking female. “Effect,” thought Robin. “Bless the woman, she’s going to set ‘em alight!”

From where he crouched he had seen the look of distaste with which she had examined the feebly smoking cylinder. She puffed tremendously to bring it into working order and then went on. He rather sympathized with people who shocked folks: he had shocked so many himself, and was to continue.

Leisurely he returned to the path. Should he wait for nightfall or make a circuit of the town? There must be a road west of the rolling mills to the north or past the big cheese factory to the south. Or should he walk boldly through the main street, endure the questions and admonitions of a vigilant constabulary, and risk being run out of town so long as they ran him out at the right end? He had elected for the first course even before he gave the matter consideration. The town way was too dangerous. Red Beard might be there, and the fat little man who ran so surprisingly fast and threw knives with such extraordinary skill.

Another pedestrian was coming–walking so softly on rubber shoes that Robin did not hear him until too late. He was a lank young man, very smartly dressed, with a straw hat, adorned with a college ribbon, tilted over his right eye. The buckle of the belt which encircled his wasp waist and supported nicely creased trousers was golden, his shirt beautifully figured. He might have just walked out of any ad. page of almost any magazine.

The rather large mouth twisted in a grin at the sight of the ragged figure sitting by the path side.

“‘Lo, bo!”

“‘Lo!” said Robin.

“Going far?”

“Not far–Canada, I guess. I’ll get ferried over from Ogdensburg.”

“Fine: got your passport ‘n’ everything?”

Sarcasm was wasted on Robin.

“I’ll get past on my face,” he said.

The young man chuckled and offered a very silvery case, thought better of it, and withdrew the cigarette himself. Robin respected the precaution; his hands were not very clean.

He lit the cigarette with a match that he took from the lining of his hat, and smoked luxuriously.

“You won’t find it easy. Those Canadian police are fierce. A fellow I know used to run hooch across, but you can’t do that now–too fierce.”

He was enjoying his condescension, his fellowship with the lowly and the possibly criminal. He was broad-minded, he explained. He had often talked with the genus hobo and had learned a lot. Only a man of the world could talk with tramps without loss of dignity. One need not be common because one associated with common people.

“That’s what I can’t get our folks to understand,” he complained. “Old people get kind of narrow-minded … and girls. Colleges ruin girls. They get stuck up and nobody’s good enough for ‘em. And Europe … meeting lords and counts that are only after their money. I say ‘See America first.’”

Robin the tramp sent a cloud of gray smoke up to the pine tops.

“Somebody said it before you,” he suggested. “It sounds that way to me.”

The young man’s name was Samuel Wasser. His father kept the biggest store in Littleburg–Wasser’s Universal Store. Samuel believed that every man was entitled to live his own life, and was careful to explain that a young man’s own life was an altogether different life from any that was planned for him by people who were “past it.”

“I made seven thousand dollars in one year,” he said. “I got in with a live crowd fall before last. But the Canadian police are fierce, and the Federal officers are fiercer–still, seven thousand!”

He was very young; had the joy of youth in displaying his own virtues and superior possessions. He rattled certain keys in his pocket, hitched up his vivid tie, looked despisingly at the main street of Littleburg, and asked: “Did you see a young lady come along? Kind of stripey dress?”

Robin nodded.

“I’m getting married to-night,” said Samuel lugubriously. “Got to! It’s a mistake, but they’re all for it. My governor and her uncle. It’s tough on me. A man ought to see something of life. It isn’t as though I was one of these country Jakes, jump at the first skirt he sees. I’m a college man and I know there’s something beyond, a bigger world”–he described illustrative circles with his hands–“sort of–well, you know what I mean, bo.”

Robin knew what he meant.

“Seems funny talking all this stuff to you, but you’re a man of the world. Folks look down on you boys, but you see things–the wide-open spaces of God’s world.”

“Sure,” said Robin. The tag had a familiar ring. “Where men are men,” he added. He had not seen a movie show since–a long time; but his memory was retentive.

“Have another cigarette. Here, two. I’ll be getting along.”

Robin followed the dapper figure of the bridegroom until it was out of sight. He wished he had asked him for a dollar.

Looking up into the western sky, he saw above the dim haze that lay on the horizon the mass of a gathering storm.

“Maybe it will come soon,” he said hopefully.

Red Beard did not like rain, and the fat little man who threw knives loathed it.

CHAPTER II

MR. PFFIEFER was a stout man with a sense of humour; but since he was a lawyer having his dealings with a dour people who had one public joke which served the whole county when recited at Farmers’ Conventions, and one private obscenity which, told in a smoky atmosphere ‘twixt shuffle and cut, had convulsed generations of hearers, he never displayed the bubbling sense of fun that lay behind his pink mask of a face.

He could have filled his untidy office with unholy laughter now, but he kept a solemn face, for the man who sat on the opposite side of a table covered with uneven mounds of paper, law books, and personal memoranda was a great personage, a justice of the peace and the leading farmer in the county.

“Let me get this thing right, Mr. Pffiefer.” Andrew Elmer’s harsh voice was tense with anxiety. “I get noth’n’ out of this estate unless October is married on her twen’y-first anniversary?”

Mr. Pffiefer inclined his head gravely.

“That is how the will reads.” His podgy fingers smoothed out the typewritten document before him.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.