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A Desperate Chance Or, The Wizard Tramp's Revelation, a Thrilling Narrative   By: (1839?-1898)

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First Page:

A DESPERATE CHANCE:

OR

THE WIZARD TRAMP'S REVELATION,

A Thrilling Narrative.

By OLD SLEUTH.

[Illustration: "He Placed the Ladder of Saplings Across the Abyss."]

1897

CHAPTER I.

THE CAMPFIRE IN THE GULCH AN ALARM THE SOLITARY FIGURE UNDER COVER A WHITE MAN "HAIL, FRIEND!" A CORDIAL MEETING A SECOND STRANGE CHARACTER.

"Well, Desmond, we've taken a desperate chance, and so far appear to be losers."

The circumstances under which the words above quoted were spoken were weird and strange. A man and a mere youth were sitting by a campfire that was blazing and crackling in a narrow gulch far away in the Rocky Mountains, days and days travel from civilization.

The circumstances that had brought them there were also very strange and unusual. Desmond Dare was the son of a widow who owned a small farm in New York State. There had been a mortgage on this farm which was about to be foreclosed when Desmond, a brave, vigorous lad, sold his only possession, a valuable colt, and determined to enter a walking match for the prize. He was on his way to the city where the match was to take place when in a belt of woods he heard a cry for help. He ran in the direction whence the cry came and found three tramps assailing a fourth man. The vigorous youth sprang to the rescue and drove the three tramps off, and was later persuaded by the man he had rescued to go with him to a rock cavern. There the lad beheld a very beautiful girl of about fourteen whose history was enveloped in a dark mystery; he also learned that the man he had rescued was known as the wizard tramp. The latter was a very strange and peculiar character, a victim of the rum habit, which had brought him away down until he became a tramp of the most pronounced type. This man, however, was really a very shrewd fellow, well educated, not only in book learning, but in the ways of the world, and seeing that Desmond had resolved to take a desperate chance, the tramp volunteered to land him a winner; he succeeded in so doing. The champion of the walking match carried his money to his mother, the tramp went upon an extended spree and spent his share. Afterward the tramp and Desmond Dare started on the road together. The girl had been placed with Mrs. Dare on the farm, and the man and boy proceeded West afoot, determined to locate a gold mine. The former discovered each day some new quality, and held forth to Desmond that some day he would make a very startling revelation. The youth had no idea as to the character of the revelation, but knowing that the tramp, named Brooks, was a very remarkable man, he anticipated a very startling denouement. After many very strange and exciting adventures Brooks, the tramp, and Desmond Dare arrived in the Rockies, and in due time started in to find their gold mine. The previous history of these two remarkable characters can be read in Nos. 90 and 91 of "OLD SLEUTH'S OWN."

At the time we introduce the tramp and Desmond Dare to our readers in this narrative, they had been knocking around the mountains in search of their mine and had met with failures on every side, and at length one night they camped in the gulch as described in our opening paragraphs, and Brooks spoke the words with which we open our narrative.

They were sitting beside their fire; both were partly attired as hunters and mountaineers, and both were well armed. Brooks, who had practically been a bloat had lived a temperate life, had enjoyed plenty of exercise in the open air, and had experienced to a certain extent a return of his original physical strength and vigor. At the time the whilom tramp made the disconsolate remark quoted, Desmond asked:

"What do you propose to do give it up?"

"I don't know just what to do, lad."

"We've scraped together a little gold dust; possibly we may have money enough to engage in some legitimate business, and what we can't get by the discovery of a mine, we may acquire in time in speculation. You are shrewd and level headed."

"That would be a good scheme for you, lad, but not for me... Continue reading book >>




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