EAGLE - THE NEW jd NATIONAL STRIP CARTOON WEEKLY
PILOT OF THE FUTURE
26 MAY 1950 No. 7
VERY WELL, MISS PEABODY YOU >
WILL PILOT THE SHIP. BUT ONCE
WE REACH- VENUS YOU WILL PLEASE
CONSIDER YOURSELF UNDER ARREST ,
FOR INSUBORDINATION A
VENUS, SIR RUBE RT
f WE SHOULD
BE NEAR THE
WILL YOU HAVE THE FIRST SHOT AT
GETTING THROUGH? I CAN'T ALLOW
PROFESSOR PEABODY TO TALE THAT
ALL SET DIG? WERE WE GO THEM,
CROSS ALL YOUR LINGERS AND
WAKIG ON TO YOUR WAT
YOU MUST HAVE BEEN RIGHT
ABOUTTWE RAYS ONLY ATTACKING
IMPULSE MOTORS, SIR — USING
ROCKETS MUST BE THE ANSWER
THE RADIO RECEIVER'S
BLOWN UP SIR
OF COURSE/- WHAT IDIOTS WE
ALL ARE ! THE RADIO'S WORKED
BY IMPULSE WAVES
HOLD FOR MUCH
LONGER - AND
ONCE THEY GIVE
WAY. . . ,
IT CAUGHT FIRE ,SIR, BUT
| I GOT THAT OUT WITH
. AN EXTINGUISHER —
/TROUBLE IS THE /#
'PLATES ARE BADLYf^T ^
STRAINED ON THE
'^STARBOARD _Kg »
nfr-fw SID E
I KNOW, DIG - ONCE
THE INSIDE SKIN GOES
WE'LL JUST BE TWO
MORE BITS OF SPACE
DUST WELL, IT WAS
A NICE TRY.
PITY WE CAN'T RADIO
GALE OUT — IF THE
WE SLOW DOWN
THE OTHERS, AND TELL
THEM — THEY'D
GET THROUGH THE
V RAYFIELD EASILY
IF THEY KNEW
-WE'VE WIT THE AIR
ROUND VENUS !
FROM THE FAMOUS RADIO
series by ALAN STRANKS
plot ACA/Nsr me world
sealed himself more comfortably, and began
lapping and scraping for all lie was worth.
It was about twenty minutes before his rapid
signals came to an end.
He waited for some acknowledgement, but
none came. He tapped out an enquiry, but
got no reply. There was no way of telling how
much of his message had been received on the
other side of his prison wall.
Had he been able to see through that wall
he would have recognised the lower half of
the man who lay upon the bed in the other
room of the octagonal tower: and he would
have recognised not only the sponge-bag
trousers, but also the thin lips and the nose
like the beak of a bird of prey, which belonged
to the man who sat by the bed with a note-
book and pencil. The two gangsters who had
captured him in the cellar, and presumably
moved the stolen uranium before bringing
him here, had tried a more subtle method than
torture for worming out of him the secrets of
The man in the leather gaiters, who had
been afraid lest Ray should recognise his
voice, swung himself olf the bed, and stretched
with a noisy yawn.
"I shall fall asleep if I stay there any
longer!” he remarked. "Well, your little
dodge worked. Did you get it all down?”
“Every word,” replied Sponge-Bag trium-
phantly, his cruel lips twisted in a mirthless
caricature of a smile. "We've found out more
about the Conspirators in the last half hour
than we’ve ever known before. But we still
don’t know where the place is, curse it. If we
could only find that out — ”
"Perhaps my methods will succeed in carry-
ing on where yours left off,” suggested
Gaiters hopefully. “No harm in letting me
have a go at him, anyway. I'm sure I could
have broken down lliffc, if only you — "
"You’re a fool!” snapped Sponge-Bag.
“You have your uses, but thinking isn't one
of them. These men are fanatics, and torture
is useless. We might let you amuse yourself,
you big ape, if it didn't make any difference
one way or Ihe other, but if you mess up any
of our plans, you'll be sorry!"
”1 was only trying
"Well, don't!" cut in Sponge-Bag con-
temptuously. “Just carry out your orders, and
leave the planning to those with brains, fetch
Gaiters went out obediently. His fear of the
other man was proved by the fact that he
didn't allow his face to betray the slightest
sign of resentment until he was on the other side
of the door. Even then he made no rebellious
gesture; but merely gritted his teeth and
narrowed his piggish little eyes still further.
He ran quietly down the spiral stone stair-
case and entered the room below the one he
had just left. The nurse was combing her hair
in front of a mirror, apd surveyed him with
cold distaste as she turned to face him.
“The boss wants you," he mumbled.
“Right. Now get out."
She proceeded leisurely with her coiffure,
tlien picked up her cap and began to adjust it.
Gaiters stood and watched her until she came
“Ybu still here?” she enquired, pushing
past him indifferently.
"He's in no mood to be kept waiting," ex-
She shrugged her shoulders, and preceded
him up the staircase. Sponge-Bag was tapping
his foot impatiently as they came into the
room. Gaiters made as if to leave, but his boss*
motioned him to remain. He shut the door
and stood by it.
Sponge-Bag studied Anna calculatingly.
without speaking. The girl met his gaze un-
flinchingly, betraying none of the uneasiness
she fell. She could deal with the unwelcome
attentions of the lout by the door, but there
was something inhuman about the cold
eyes fixed on her like those of a newt.
“You are beautiful, Anna." stated Sponge-
Bag. "Does our guest” (he jerked his head in
the direction of the partition wall) "remain
unmoved, or do you think you could win his
er - good-will?"
“I don't know,” replied the girl sullenly.
"He has no reason to trust me.”
"Nor would we have, if you didn’t know
your father was in our hands," answered
Sponge-Bag smoothly. “You had better put
by Chad Varab
The story so far
She was standing watching him, a magazine
in her hand. She was dressed as a nurse, and
was very, very beautiful. As he looked a* her,
she put down the magazine on a chair from
which she had evidently just risen, and came
over to him. She settled him more com-
fortably, working with the practised deftness
of a trained nurse.
"What's your name?" asked Ray.
"You can call me ‘Anna’," she replied.
She spoke softly, for which he was grateful:
and he wondered whether there wasn't a trace
of some foreign accent in her speech.
"Where am 1 7” he asked.
“Don't worry now. Drink this." she com-
manded. Yes, slie wax foreign. Ray was
parched, and drank obediently. It didn't
occur to him until it was too late that the
drink might be drugged. It tasted like pure
water, but he had such a horrid taste in his
mouth anyway that he couldn’t be sure.
“I must know where I am," he repeated.
Anna shrugged her shoulders.
“You arc being cared for,” she said, “and
you must stay here until you are better. Now
try to sleep a little."
She gave him a brief professional smile, and
went out of the room. He heard the key turn
in tlie lock after she closed the door. He
glanced towards the window: it was heavily
barred. He was a prisoner.
He would try to escape when he felt a bit
better. At the moment he hadn't the energy
At least he could study the details of his
prison for future reference.
It was as barely furnished as any cell. The
shape of it puzzled him, until he realised that
it was half an octagon with a bit cut off. He
There was something inhuman about the cold eyes fixed on her
must be in one of two rooms in an eight-sided
tower or turret reached by a staircase.
Was there anyone in the other room? Ted
He tapped on the wall, and was rewarded
by an immediate response.
There was a small metal ashtray on the
table by his bed, and after an effort he
managed to reach it. As tlie partition wall
was on his right, it wasn’t too difficult to
bring his good arm across and use the ash-
tray for tapping and scraping. “Tap” for
“dot", "scrape” for “dash” - he could signal
to Ted in Morse code.
“Tap-scrape-tap tap scrape-scrape scrapc-
scrape-scrape tap-scrape-tap tap-tap-tap tap,”
The answer came back at once.
"Scrape tap- tap-tap- tap tap-tap lap-tap-iap
tap-tap tap-tap-tap. Scrape tap scrape-tap-
tap." "This is Ted"! The message continued.
"Who are you?"
"Number 49," replied Ray. "What hap-
pened to you after the lad found you in that
cellar, and where are we now?”
The tap-scrape from the other side of the
wall answered with feverish speed.
“Never mind about that now - we may not
have much time. Has the nurse given you any-
thing to drink?"
“Yes. I think it was water. Why, is she — •?’’
The taps from the other room interrupted
"Don't know. She does as she’s told.
Listen, I heard them tell her to give you some-
thing. and after she had gone one of them
whispered something (p the other.”
There was a pause. Ray waited, but when
nothing further came, lie tapped ;
"What was it 7’
Again there was a pause, and then came the
"I only heard the words 'dead in an hour'."
“You think they meant me?" signalled Ray
“Yes. I am still of value to them, I sup-
Ray made no reply. He was thinking. The
lapping from the other room began again,
swiftly and urgently.
"Where shall I go if I can get away?” it
"Back to the arsily to report.”
"What is my best route to the Varsity?”
"Route 'C’, this time," answered Ray.
“ Have you found out anything? If so,
better pass it on to me in case I get through,
and you are poisoned."
Ray didn't answer for a moment. He was
trying to colled his thoughts. His head didn’t
ache quite so badly now, but he was still
dazed, and rather tired from signalling.
Whilst he paused another message came
“You may not have much time. Hurry. I
Ray was looking worried, as well he might.
A frown appeared on his face as lie pondered.
Then, with an expression of resolution, he
The Traitors’ I Mir
W H E N he opened his eyes again.
Ray found himself in bed in a
room of most peculiar shape. It
took him some time to remember
what had happened to him. His head ached
violently, and there was a throbbing pa in in his
right arm. He felt for it with his left hand, and
was astonished when his fingers encountered
bandages and the hard outline of a splint.
He tried to lift his head, but he couldn't.
Someone had strapped it down to tlie pillow.
He felt his forehead, quite expecting 10 find a
leather band across it, but there was nothing
there. No they'd put a lead weight on the
back of his head that mast be it. He felt for
it, and winced as his hand encountered a
tender swelling. He turned his head, and a
firework display immediately burst in front of
his eyes. He waited for it to finish, but didn't
dare to turn his head back. That thug mast
have hit him hard! A wonder he hadn't
cracked his skull !
He closed his eyes. He could still see “fire-
works", but they were dying down, and the
pain was settling down into a numb ache.
As ihe last rocket disappeared, he opened
his eyes cautiously. Then he saw her.
on a good ac(, hadn't you. my little Anna?"
His bared teeth gave the impression more
of animal menace than of a human smile.
"I shall do what you tell me, of course,"
she said, without emotion. “I have no choice.”
"Exactly. Now we have managed to find
out a good deal about the Conspirators, but
we could not ask too obviously about the
location of theirheadquarterswithoutarousing
the young man's suspicions. He seemed to
assume that his 'friend' knew all about the
‘Varsity’, and about the route he called "C
for reaching it. You're sure he said ‘Varsity’?”
This question was shot at Gaiters, who
started to attention. "In his message, as you
read it to me, the ‘V’ was missing."
“He must've missed it by accident,"
grumbled Gaiters. “There isn't no such word
“Well, that's one of the things Anna must
find out," said Sponge-Bag. “To make him
trust you, Anna, you must be kind to him,
and he must see one of us being unkind to
you.” Gaiters' eyes flickered, and he licked
his lips nervously. “If you tell him part of the
truth about your father, and add a few ‘sweet
nothings', that should do the trick. Begin by
‘sneaking' him some food.”
The girl turned to the door.
“You think you can manage to wheedle
out of him the location of their H.Q-?” asked
“I'll do my best."
“You'd better!" he snarled. She backed
away from his sudden rage, and Gaitersdoscd
the door after her.
tN was finishing his second breakfast that
day, whilst the Vicar was upstairs shaving
and dressing, when the door-bell clanged.
Forgetting that he wasn't in his own house.
Ken rushed to the door, just beating his host
to it. When he saw the slight, bespectacled
figure on the door-step, he knew a momentary
disappointment, quickly changed to surprise
when the Vicar hailed the new arrival as
".Geoff". This chap wasn't Ken’s idea of a
Secret Service man! Why, the burly parson
looked the part better, except for his collar!
“You don’t look a bit like my idea of a
Secret Agent!" blurted Ken. Then he wished
he hadn't said it, for it didn't sound exactly
complimentary. He was quickly reassured.
“Splendid!" exclaimed the man called
Geoff. "That's the last thing we want to
look like. Now, tell me everything you know
about this business.”
He made himself comfortable in one of the
shabby chairs. His host offered him a cigar-
ette, but he shook his head and took out a
silver snuff-box. He helped himself delicately
to snufT, and once again Ken wondered at the
dandified air of this hunter of desperate spies.
Then, meeting the frosty blue eyes that never
left his face and seemed to bore right into him,
he remembered the “Scarlet Pimpernel”, and
was glad he was on the same side as Geoff
Or was he? He was on Ray’s side, no matter
what might happen, and hoped that was the
Ken related everything he knew, with
occasional interpolations from the Vicar and
shrewd questions from Geoff. He hadn’t
meant to say anything about Ray. but found
himself pouring out the whole story as if he
were hypnotized. When he had finished, Geoff
cocked an enquiring eyebrow at his host, and
reached for the 'phone.
He made several calls, both trunk and local,
speaking rapidly in the tones of one accus-
tomed to be obeyed without question. When
be had finished, he said, “Now we’ll go and
have a look at that cellar."
They soon reached the bombed house from
whose cellar the gangsters had operated, and
Ken watched with awe as Geoff's slender
fingers found the secret of the two pivoted
flags and revealed the hidey-hole empty.
For a long time the Secret Service man
studied the hole by the light of the torch the
Vicar held, but remembering what had hap-
pened to Ray, he didn't put his hand in. At
last he drew back, and studied once again the
messages left by Ray and the missing scientist.
“Seems genuine," he muttered. “A box as
heavy as lead was concealed in that hole, and
Ray was probably right in supposing that it
was uranium. And Edward lliffe's message
certainly means 'Gog is one of them'. He may
be wrong, of course."
“I don't think so,” put in "Burglar Bill”
quietly. “I know something of Ray’s ideas,
and whilst I mustn't say too much. I'm at
liberty to tell you that I shouldn’t be a bit
surprised if his friend lliffe came here to
interest Gog in their organisation, and found
that the Gog was already involved with a less
respectable one of his own.” •
"So you are a sympathizer of the Con-
spirators, are you?" enquired Geoff.
“Is that what you call them? I believe they
call themselves “The Peacemakers'. I don’t
know much about them, but I do know Ray.
I would trust him absolutely. So you can put
He ran quietly ilown the spiral staircase
me down as a sympathizer if you like."
The Reverend Bill's jaw was thrust out
and Geoff retreated in mock alarm.
“At least we can work together in catching
Gog." he said. “I probably know more than
you about the Con — about the Peacemakers,
and we've no proof that they are disloyal at
the moment. It's not illegal to persuade
people, even atomic scientists, to leave the
country voluntarily, but I'd like to know what
they're up to wherever they take them.”
The man from M l. 5 led the way back into
the street, where Ken was surprised to find
Dr. Briggs's grey Jaguar, with Dick at the
wheel, and Jim sitting beside him. Ken ran
across to them.
“How's Pru?” asked Jim anxiously.
“Oh, she's all right," returned Ken, with
brotherly casualness. “How is it you aren’t in
a deep, dark dungeon?"
Dick answered for him.
“It’s out o' the hands of police, now.
They’ve nowt more to do wi’ it. Secret
Service ’as took over. Yon feller’s in charge.”
He indicated Geoff with his thumb.
Before Ken could reply, the Vicar and his
friend came up and the Secret Agent was
introduced to Dick and Jim.
“Jolly decent of you to let us be in at the
death!” enthused Jim.
“Whose death, I wonder?" murmured
Geoff— but they were all getting into the car.
and only Dick heard him.
“Are ye satisfied to work wi’ a team of
amachoors?” asked the Northerner. "Ah
notice police ’as all 'opped it. ’Ave ye no pals
on the job?”
“I’m satisfied," smiled Geoff, ignoring the
second question. "I should think you’d be a
good man in a scrap, and I know ‘Burglar
Bill’ is. These lads must confine themselves to
scouting for us. You’re under my orders,
“Yessir!” chorussed Jim and Ken, trying
to look alert and dependable.
“Where d’ye want to go?” asked Dick,
letting in the clutch.
“You solved it first. Bill - tell him!” said
the man from M.I.5.
“The desirable modern residence - 3 reccp.,
6 bed., h. and c., mod. con., and all the usual
offices, standing, 1 assure you, in its own
grounds,” said the big man, “of that eminent
scientist and traitor. Professor Gog!”
Dick put his foot down, and the Jaguar
“Ah bet we’ll find bird’s flown," he said
(To be continued next week)
THE MARY CELESTE
Captain Morehouse of the barque Dei Gratia,
130 miles east of Portugal, sighted the two-
masted 282 ton brig, Mary Celeste in the
afternoon of 5th December, 1872. Her master.
Captain Benjamin Briggs, was his friend. The
Mary Celeste had left New York for Genoa
four days earlier than the Dei Gratia. As Cap-
lain Morehouse wanted to wave a greeting
to Briggs, he ordered the helmsman to steer
close to the Mary Celeste. When the two
vessels drew abreast Captain Morehouse
became alarmed. There was no one at the
wheel of the Mary Celeste, no one on her
deck. Captain Morehouse hailed her. There
was no reply. He lowered a boat and rowed
across. The brig's sails were set but the
breeze was light. The ship was empty. Cap-
tain Briggs, his wife, their small child and the
crew of seven had all disappeared. Captain
Briggs' cabin was tidy. The lid of a har-
monium stood open. In a sewing machine was
a half-made garment. In the Tc'sle hung the
crew’s clothes. There were no signs of vio-
lence. and there was plenty of food and
water. The last entry in the ship's log was
dated eleven days earlier. After that the entire
crew had disappeared. The ship’s one small
boat was missing. For ten days the ship had
sailed herself 750 miles on the right course.
Captain Briggs was a fine seaman ; he had left
a fourteen-year-old son ashore in their New
England home. Captain Morehouse took the
Mary Celeste in charge. An official enquiry
offered no explanation. Captain Briggs and
his companions were never heard of again.
The Mary Celeste was sold and was finally
wrecked in 1885, having provided one of the
greatest mysteries of the sea.
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HEROES OF THE CLOUDS
AND EDITOR'S PAGE
2 6 May 1950
The Editor's Office
43 Shoe Lane, London, EC4
W E have jus! had lo make a very
difficult decision to reduce the
number of pages in eagle to 16
each week instead of having 20
pages every other week as we have had so lar.
We hope this won’t be for long, but the
demand for eagle has been so great that
many people have been unable to get a copy.
The paper we save by making this reduction
will enable us to supply a great many more
people. We had to choose between fewei
pages for more people and more pages for
fewer people and we feel sure you will agree
that the fair thing is to choose the first.
As soon as we can,
shall increase the number \|
of pages again. Meanwhile, I
we are sure you will agree j
that even with 16 pag
week eagle is very good j
value for money. And from f _
now on, there should not be so many of you
disappointed at not Igetting your copy each
This does not mean, of course, that you
won't be getting those fortnightly features
which many of you say you like so much ; for
example Professor Brittain and Bernard New-
man’s Spy Stories. We shall still be printing
tliesc whenever possible.
We should like to thank all those of you
who have written to us telling us what
you like and do not like about eagle and
making some very valuable suggestions which
we are going lo follow up.
We shall hope to write to you all personally
but you will understand this takes a long time
as we have had so many letters. So please
forgive us if you don’t get a reply to your
letter straight away.
Here are the names of those living in Scot-
land who were among the first 100 members
of eagle Club. They are being taken to see
the Highland Games at Oban.
Franco Pisaneschi, Watson St., Motherwell
John Swann, Carmichael St., Dundee
Thomas McCrossan. Panmute St., Glasgow
Daniel Crawford, Coulten
Helena Newton. Hcssing-
ton Rd., Bcarsdcn
Gordon Fraser, East Park
David Mungall, Croft Bank
Robert Nelson, Ducklage Cottage, Crieff
Agnes Beveridge, Glasgow Rd., Hamilton
John Whitelaw, Gladstone St., Burnbank
Estyn Griffiths, Campbell St., Banff
Alice Burke. Whoterbank, Dundee
David Roberts, Edinburgh Rd., Harthill
Nan Sneddon, Bridgeress Rd.. Bo’ness
David Magowan, Dalton St., By Cambushany
James Welsh, Bclses Drive, Cardonald
Alistair Foster, Shearer St,, Glasgow
Vernon Wiseman, Albert Avenue. Glasgow
James Cosgrove. Deanhill Rd., Kilmarnock
Betty Kilpatrick. New St., Riccarton
Sidney Smith, Gowan's Terrace, Muirton
Peter Mackay. Station House, Ballinluig
James Stewart, Amott Drive, Coatbridge
Hector Adams. Alpine Terrace, Ardrossan
Ian Taylor, Gladstone Road, Saltcoats
W e had a great many replies to the Fill-Ins
competition in Issue No. 2. A team of
art experts from the various papers published
by Hulton Press sorted out the entries and
managed to make a short list from which we
had to choose the winner. It was not at all
easy to decide but in the end we came to the
conclusion that the best drawn and most
original entry was sent in by Peter Denham,
46 Downing Road, Dagenham (aged 13). A
prize of a National Savings Certificate is
being sent to him.
Others who came very near to winning were
Gordon Jones, 31 St. Matthew Street,
Burnley, Lancs, (aged 12); Leslie Howard, 50
Wendell Road. Shepherds Bush, London,
W. 12 (aged 13); and P. J. French, 2 Belvedere
Villas. Pcnhill Road, Lancing, Sussex (aged
1 2) and we congratulate tltem on their efforts.
There are prizes for all these competitions this week. A 10/6 National
Savings Certificate Will be sent to the senders of the first correct solu-
tion of each competition ( except No. 4. which will be judged on merit )
opened on May 3 1st. You can send all your entries in one envelope ,
but please put your answer lo each competition on a separate piece
of paper and put your name and address and Club number on each.
Atldress to Competition. EAGLE, 4 New Street Square. London, E.C.4.
as a — . (d) lively as a — , (c) merry as a — , (f) nimble as a — , (g) quiet as a
(h) timid as a -
3. TREASURE HUNT The pages of eagle are full of treasures. For this
week you need not look further than the headlines on various pages. By using certain
words to be found in the headlines on some of the pages it is possible to make
another headline. For instance; eagle (page II) presents (page 15) mysteries
(page 5) of the (page 10) countryside (page 10).
Now sec what you can make with some of the words to be found in the headlines
on pages 8,4, 1 , 7, 5. 6, 14, 3. (The pages are not numbered in the right order). The
prize will go lo the sender of the first correct headline opened.
4. IN REVERSE There arc certain names, such as Eve, Anona, and Hannah,
etc., which have the peculiarity of reading the same either forwards or backwards.
There are also little sentences which spell and read the same backwards, such as that
gloomy saying of Napoleon's : "Able was I ere I saw Elba !” I recently asked a young
friend of mine if he could make up some of these sentences, and he derived a lot of
fun in producing “Eros saw I was sore " and “Ma's not a ton, Sam!”
So 1 wonder how good you can be at making up similar sentences in reverse (or
Palindromes as the dictionaries describe them). The best sent in will be printed in
eagle, and receive the prize.
5. BIRDS IN COMPANY You probably know that a number of part-
ridges gathered together are described as a covey, but do you know the descriptions
for a collection of (a) goldfinches, (b) nightingales, (c) larks, (d) snipe, (e) woodcocks,
<f) plovers, (g) quails, (h) geese, (i) curlews?
Here is the answer to last week's Competition
No. 4 (The Belligerent Goats). The least-
touched parts ate shown shaded. The centre
oval, although in both circles, received no more
cropping titan the rest.
Lash Lonergan’s Quest
By MOORE RAYMOND
The story so far
dead in (he bush with a piece of opal in his hand; and
Dago Messilcr claims lo be his heir. The Uncle's will is
stolen from the bank by a bushranger called The
Hunchback. Lash follows The Hunchback but is injured
in a fight with Mcssitcr who waylays him. In spite of his
injury Lash wins the first event at the Sports next Jay.
He is also challenged by Messiter lo ride an unridcable
A FTER sundown, darkness came
swiftly. Bui still Ihe claypan by the
creek was aglow with tires and lights.
"What's goin' on over there?"
asked Squib, pointing to a gathering group on
the bank of the creek. They were forming a
ring. Some brought hurricane lamps, burning
kerosene with a soft, yellow flame. A few had
carbide lamps that produced a hard, bright,
"Why don't you mizzle ofT and have a
squiz, me lazy lad?” muttered Rawhide.
"I’m knocked up," yawned the boy, settling
himself against the bottle tree.
■'Cocklightin'," someone said. “There’s
goin' to be cockfightinY'
.Squib was on his feet in a flash. Lash and
Rawhide followed at a more leisurely pace.
The Irishman said quietly to his friend: “I
don't savee why The Hunchback wrote you
that letter. Everybody knows you're jisl about
stony-broke till you git Coolabah Creek
station out o' the hands o' Dago the dingo.”
"Maybe he thinks I can get hold of some
cash somewhere," replied Lash. "Maybe he
thinks I can borrow enough from friends lo
outbid Messiter for the will, and then pay
them back when I get Uncle Peter's estate."
Rawhide spluttered indignantly and
squawked: "What does he take you for?
Does he think you've got the dingbats? Stone
the crows and stiffen the lizards!"
"Cool down, cobber. Come and watch the
But instead of being spectators, they
immediately became contestants.
"Come on. Lash," urged the self-appointed
referee and master of ceremonies, tugging at
the roughrider's sleeve. “You and Rawhide
against Jack and Joe Cappy."
But before the Cappy brothers could take
up Ihe challenge, another voice cut in:
"We'll take you on !"
Lash and Rawhide turned to see Dago and
Greasy Joe with taunting grins on their faces.
The crowd murmured, knowing the deadly
rivalry, sensing the tension between the two
f ash chuckled. "Dago, why don't you and
your otfsider go and crawl into a hollow log?"
The overseer flushed, and the fat man spat.
"I'm thinkin'," chipped in Rawhide, “it
might be a good idea to take the hide ofT this
pair. I hear they're givin’ good prices Tor
Everybody laughed everybody but Dago
and Greasy Joe.
The latter snarled and made as if to attack
the Irishman, but Dago smilingly restrained
him and said suavely to Rawhide: “If it's
stoush you want, you hairy hooligan, then it's
stoush you'll get."
Rawhide spat delightedly on his hands.
"Oh, praise be to the powers of the upper air
as me Chinese friends say - for givin' me
sich a bonzer chance o' goin' to bed happy."
"A hospital bed, probably,” smiled Dago.
" And your friend."
"Hey, listen no rough stuff!'' exclaimed
the man who had organised the cockfighling.
He knew that the game frequently resulted in
bumps and bruises, but it looked as if this
contest might be more lerious.
"Too right, me boy, too right." said Raw-
hide in tones that dripped with Irish blarney.
“It's goin' to be as dainty a little cockfight as
ever you did see."
Chuckling, he turned to the grinning rough-
rider and invited him to mount.
Lash nimbly climbed the stooping Irish-
man and sat on top of his shoulders, with one
leg down either side of the huge chest. While
Lash tucked each foot into the small of Raw-
hide's back, the irishman wrapped his huge
arms about his friend’s shins.
Meanwhile Dago Messiter mounted Greasy
Joe’s shoulders. The fat man. despite his
girth, was surprisingly powerful and nimble.
"First two falls out of three," said the
As the contestants circled warily in the
light of the lamps, they looked like a pair of
lumbering giants about to engage. The
"mount" the man underneath had to
keep the balance while his rider tried to grasp
the other rider. Then, with a push or pull, the
man on top tried to upset his rivals and send
them tumbling to the ground.
“Ga-a-ah!” bellowed Greasy Joe. He ran
straight at Rawhide and crashed straight into
him before anyone else involved knew what
was happening. At the same lime the fat man
brought up his heavy knee and thrust it into
“Ugh!” grunted the injured Irishman. He
staggered and fell, bringing down Lash into
the dust. &
"Foul!" yelled Rawhide, scrambling to his
feet. “Dirty foul!"
The foul had been so well disguised that
only Rawhide was sure it had happened.
"One fall to Dago and company." called
the referee. The cheers were feeble.
As Lash scrambled on his back. Rawhide
glared at Greasy Joe and muttered.
Once more the giants circled each other.
This lime Rawhide advanced on Greasy
Joe. Above him. Lash reached out and
grabbed at Dago's outstretched arms.
At the same time, Rawhide lurched against
Greasy Joe and, with unexpected speed.
stretched his neck and sank his teeth into the
fat man s ear.
"Ow!” roared Greasy Joe, stumbling back-
wards and overbalancing. He crashed on his
behind, with Dago on lop of him.
"He's bit me ear orf!” howled Greasy Joe,
reaching for the injury.
"He shoved his ear right in me mouth."
declared Rawhide to the delighted spectators.
“I opened me gob to take a breath of air. and
he sticks his flappin', floppin' ear into it."
Amid laughter from Ihe crowd, the referee
declared a fall in favour of Lash and Rawhide.
T hey remounted and circled for the final
and decisive fall. The two “mounts”
moved closer. The furious Dago swung a
closed fist an uppercut that grazed lash's
"Hey!” yelled the referee. “No punching"
Dago knew as well as anybody that fist-
lighting was barred in cockfighting. Lash
decided to give him no chance at another
The roughrider reached for Dago's throat,
and the other man's hands came up in a pro-
Lash swiftly caught Dago's right hand in a
thumb-lock and swayed to the left.
Dago tried to resist. His face went white
with pain as he clutched at his opponent.
"Better give in." murmured Lash grimly.
“No, no," croaked the victim.
I .ash applied severe pressure. With a grunt
of mingled pain and dismay. Dago Hopped
over on one side. Thrown ofT his balance.
Greasy Joe staggered and fell into the dust.
While the crowd cheered Lash's victory.
Dago thrust his way through the spectators,
shaking his hurt hand as he went.
Back at the bottle tree Squib gasped, ad-
miringly: “Gee, Lash, you slung 'em down
with a couple o' fingers!"
"A judo thumb-lock I learnt in my travels,"
smiled Lash. ‘Til teach it to you some time."
Rawhide picked up his battered banjo and
"Up the rood!" panted the man breathlessly
strummed on the strings as he sang one of his
“Now lash and Rawhide had a go
At Dago Messiter and Greasy Joe.
Thanks to Rawhide, thanks to Lash,
Joe and Dago came a crash!
Bash, bash, bash!
Smash, smash, smash!
Joe and Dago came a crash!"
Someone touched Lash's arm. He turned to
see a big, well-dressed man in city clothes. A
townie, thought the roughrider. A com-
mercial traveller, or some other kind of
business man from town.
“My name’s Arkell," said the man, holding
out his hand. “William Arkell, from Curly-
horn. But you can call me Bill."
Lash grinned and shook hands with the
wealthy owner of Curly horn cattle station, a
vast and rich holding on the other side of the
"Can I talk lo you privately. Lash?"
“O.K.. Bill,” said the roughrider, im-
mediately at ease with the newcomer.
“Come over to the hotel."
As they edged through the crowd, Arkell
said: “I knew your Uncle Peter. Not very
well, but well enough to know he was dink-
um. And of course I know quite a bit about
the famous Lash Lonergan as well."
Lash received the compliment with a smile.
"My wife and I are on our way to Sydney
for a holiday," said Arkell when they had
settled down in the deep squatter's chairs.
“That’s why I’m all dressed up like this. It’s
our first holiday for seven years, and we'll be
away for several months. That's why I want
to talk to you."
“No savee," smiled Lash.
"I want you to be overseer of Curlyhorn
while I'm away."
“Eh?" came the startled exclamation.
"I've got a good manager who looks after
all the routine stuff at the homestead. But
I've always acted as overseer of the stockmen
myself. I'd like to go on my holidays knowing
I've left my men and my stock in the hands of
a man like you. I’ve been worrying about it
ever since 1 left Curlyhom, and as soon as I
saw you here I knew you were the very
“I know what you're going to say." in-
terrupted Arkell. "You've got to gel Coola-
bah Creek away from Dago Messiter and his
mob. You’ve got to hunt down The Hunch-
back and get the will. I know all about that.
But you can't do it single-handed or even
three-handed, to include your two cobbers."
"We'll try," replied Lash firmly.
“You need help a lot of hetp - more help
than a couple of friends and a couple of
mounted police can give. So I'll make a bar-
gain with you. If you be my overseer for three
months, when I get back I'll use all my power
lo see you get your rights. I'll use my money
my men everything to get Lash Lonergan
back to Coolabah Creek."
Lash was silent for a while.
"I'm sorry. Bill,” he said at last. “It's no
“I can't wait three months. I can't even
wait a month, or even a week. I've got
enemies, and I've got to go after 'em full tilt."
Arkell sighed his disappointment.
Lash went on: "You've made me a bonzer
offer, Bill. I only wish I could shake your
dook and say yes. But well, what's the use
of arguing. I've made up my mind about this,
and no amount of talk will make me change."
“Oh, well," laughed Arkell, "if you're still
up the same gum tree when I get back. I’ll
help you all I can."
“If I need you," grinned Lash, "you’ll hear
my coo-ee from here to Curlyhorn!”
The sound of music drifted down from the
hall where people were gathering to sing and
Lash said goodnight to Arkell and strolled
up the road to the hall. Already the dance was
in progress, and he found the little wooden
building packed with people.
Spotting Squib. Lash beckoned him over.
They both went up to the platform where
Rawhide was silting.
“Listen, cobbers,” he said to his mates,
“tonight we'll doss on the bank of the crcck.
I’ll go out now and see the horses are settling
down for the night.
He was interrupted by an uproar outside
the hall. To the sound of confused shouting,
followed by several ride shots, the crowd in
the hall made for the door.
“The Hunchback!" came the cry. “The
“I saw his ugly mug!”
Lash caught the last speaker by the shoul-
der. “Which way did he go?"
“Up the road!” panted the man breath-
lessly. pointing into the darkness. “He just
came ridin’ past with a grin on his face. Some-
body took a couple o' potshots at him, but I
reckon he's gone."
“Was anybody else with him?"
"Not a one."
Lash started to run, but a restraining hand
caught his arm and held him back.
“Don’t waste your time and strength," said
Sergeant Cleaver, the Oonawidgec mounted
policeman. Behind him stood Sergeant Sneed.
A fine couple of coppers you are !" snapped
Lash. A moment later he regretted the
He shrugged and smiled. “I'm sorry,
mates. Of course you're right. That bush-
ranger is somewhere out there - in the dark."
“We were down at the bank waiting for
him,” said Sergeant Cleaver, “in case lie kept
his promise to tum up."
“Not a sign of him," said Sergeant Sneed.
“And then we heard shouts and we saw him
galloping up the road."
"Did you do the shooting?” asked Lash.
"Yes, but we couldn't hit him.”
“What!” exclaimed the roughrider. "Do
you mean to tell me a couple of crack shots
like you couldn't hit The Hunchback?”
Sergeant Cleaver made a gesture of despair.
"We couldn't fire al the man because there
were so many people about," he explained
impatiently. "We fired over his head. We
thought it might stop him, but it didn't.”
"So he didn’t rob the bank?" said Lash.
"Then why did he come?"
As if in reply to his question, the answer
came from the owner of Curlyhom cattle
station as he jostled his way through the
crowd to (he two policemen.
"My wife's jewels!" stormed Arkell.
"They've gone! The Hunchback's got them!
All the bonder jewelry I bought her! A couple
of thousands pounds' worth! look at this!"
He held out a piece of paper.
Somebody held up a hurricane lamp. Lash
leaned over and read the note.
“Better late than never," said the crude
lettering. “Yours truly. The Hunchback."
Lash took Sergeant Sneed on one side.
“About those notes the bushranger sent to
me and Dago," said Lash to the policeman.
"What say you go and ask Dago what’s he’s
going to do about his invitation 7'
“You don’t think he'll tell me. do you?”
“Maybe not,” agreed Lash. “But Tve got
an idea for a trap for The Hunchback. You
remember his note - he wants a bid for the
will to be put in a tin and dumped in the road
through Opaltown by Sunday sundown.”
“I'll write a bid and put it in a tin, and I'll
put it just where The Hunchback expects to
find it. Then you and I, together with a few
selected coves, will wait in ambush. But
before I do (hat I'd like to get some idea of
what Dago Mcssiter is doing.”
"All right," sighed the policeman. He went
to look for Mcssiter.
They were discussing future plans when the
"Dago's gone," he said. “Greasy Joe says
he's gone hunting The Hunchback."
A smile spread over Lash’s bronzed face -
a knowing smile that made tlie others stare.
“Sergeant," he chuckled, “Tve changed my
mind again about Dago and The Hunchback.
See you in the morning - all of you."
"But — ” began Sneed.
But Lash had disappeared into the dark-
ness. Fifteen minutes later he rode Monarch
at a steady canter along the road to Coolabah
To be continued
Cadbupys Comer oh*
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HOW HIGH IS
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HAVE YOU A
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ROB CONWAY (N SEARCH OF A SEC RET CITY
YES,' PITY WE LET
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fet i i
CHEERIO / AND TH ANILS
FOR. THE HELP. WE'LL
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NOW MY LAD , SPILL
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GOOD HES KNOCKED
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THE GREAT ADVENTURER