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PAGE 2

Buried Bones
by [?]

“Hand me the bag,” he said.

The woman dragged a heavy gunny-sack to the edge of the hole. The man untwisted the neck of the bag and up-ended it over the hole. There followed the rattle of bones, one striking against the other, and the man handed the bag back to the woman. Chi Foxy peered eagerly at the hole. He saw bones. He looked up at the stars and saw it must be well after midnight. He saw the man hastily spade the soft soil over the bones, saw him scatter loose dry top-sand over the completed job, and saw the man and woman hurry back to the dark house.

The next morning Chi Foxy left his resting-place and climbed over the wire fence. He looked curiously at the spot where the weird burial had taken place, and went on toward the house. He knocked on the door, and it was opened by the man–a tall, lanky, coarse-bearded specimen.

“Say, friend, how about givin’ a feller some breakfast?” asked Chi Foxy.

“How ’bout it, ma?” asked the man, turning his head. “Got some breakfast for this feller?”

The woman looked toward the tramp. She evidently decided in his favor.

“Let him set on the step and I kin hand him out some coffee and some meat, if that’ll do him,” she said, and Chi Foxy seated himself. The breakfast she brought him on a chipped plate was all he could have desired. There was a half of a veal cutlet, browned to a nicety, a portion of fried potatoes, a thick slice of bread without butter, and a cup of coffee. Chi Foxy ate and drank.

“Thanks, folks,” he said. “I won’t forgit you.” And he continued on his way toward Riverbank.

“So you’re here,” said the first policeman he met. “Right on time with the first frosty breeze, ain’t you? Well, my friend, you can blow out of town on the breeze, just like you blew in. No more free board and gentle stone-pile massage in this town. Drift along, bo!”

He turned up the first cross-street. He went from house to house begging a hand-out, but the residents were colder than the weather. At the twelfth house he knocked on the back door, but he was beginning to feel hopeless. A thin streamer of smoke was issuing from the kitchen chimney, and where there is smoke there is food; but here, instead of a hard-faced woman coming to the door, a man put his face to the kitchen window and looked out. It was the face of a tall, thin man with a long neck and prominent Adam’s-apple, and as the man peered out of the window he looked something like a flamingo. He opened the door.

“Come right into the inside,” said Philo Gubb pleasantly, “and heat yourself up warm. The temperature is full of cold weather to-day.”

Chi Foxy entered. He looked around the kitchen. There was a brisk fire in the stove, but no sign of food.

“Say, pard,” he said, “how about giving me a bite? I haven’t had a bite this morning. I ain’t too late, am I?”

His host looked at him.

“You are not too late,” he answered, “because it may be some days of time before there is any eats here, for what’s burning into that stove is the unvalueless trimmings off of wall-paper. I’m not the regular resider at this house by no means.”

Chi Foxy looked at his host again.

“You’re a paper-hanger, ain’t you?” he said.

“Paper-hanger and deteckative,” said his host proudly. “My name is Mister P. Gubb, graduate of the Rising Sun Deteckative Agency’s Correspondence School of Deteckating in twelve lessons. And paper-hanging done in a neat manner.”

Chi Foxy held out his hand eagerly.

“Shake, pard!” he asked. “That’s my line, too.”

“Paper-hanging?” asked Philo Gubb.

“Detecting,” said Chi Foxy promptly. “I’m one of the most famousest gum-shoe fellers in the world. Me and this here great detective feller–what’s his name, now?–used to work team-work together.”