Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent townlot scheme in wester Illinois. We talked it over on the frontsteps of the hotel. Philoprogenitiveness, says we, is strong in semirural communities; therefore, and for other reasons, a kidnaping project ought to do better there than in the raius of newspapersthat send reporters out in plain clothes to stir up talk about such things. We knew that Summit couldn’t get after us with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds anda diatribe or two in the Weecly Famers¡ Budget. So it looked good.
W selected for our victim the only child of a prominent citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. The father was respectable and tight, amortgage fancier and stern collection-plate passer and forecloser. The kid was a boy of ten, with bas-relief freckles and hair the color of the cover of the magazine you buy at the newsstand when you wantto catch a train. Bill and me figured that Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of two thousand dollars to a cent. But wait till I tell you.
About two miles from Summit was a little mountain,covered with a dense cedar brake. On the rear elevation of this mountain was a cave. There we stored provisions.
One evening, after sundown, we drove in a buggy past old Dorset’s house. The kid was in thestreet, throwing rocks at a kitten on the opposite fence.
“Hey, little boy!” says Bill. “Would you like to have a bag of candy and a nice ride?”
The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with a piece ofbrick.
“That will cost the old man an extra five hundred dollars,” says Bill, climbing over the wheel.
That boy put up a fight like a welterweight cinnamon bear; but, at last, we got him down in thebottom of the buggy and drove away. We took him up to the cave, and I hitched the house in the cedar brake. After dark I drove the buggy to the little village three miles away where we had hired it,...
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