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       Motor Matt's Mandarin; or, Turning a Trick for Tsan Ti, p.1

          
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Motor Matts Mandarin; or, Turning a Trick for Tsan Ti

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MOTOR STORIES


THRILLING ADVENTURE


MOTOR FICTION


NO. 30


SEPT. 18, 1909


FIVE CENTS


MOTOR MATT'S MANDARIN


OR TURNING A TRICK FOR TSAN TI


_By THE AUTHOR OF MOTOR MATT_


_STREET & SMITH_ _PUBLISHERS_ _NEW YORK_


_Certainly it was not a time to laugh but Motor Mattcould hardly help it_]


MOTOR STORIES


THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION


_Issued Weekly. By subscription $2.50 per year. Copyright, 1909, by_STREET & SMITH, _79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York, N. Y._


=No. 30.= NEW YORK, September 18, 1909. =Price Five Cents.=


MOTOR MATT'S MANDARIN;


OR,


TURNING A TRICK FOR TSAN TI.


By the author of "MOTOR MATT."


CONTENTS


CHAPTER I. ON THE MOUNTAINSIDE. CHAPTER II. THE YELLOW CORD. CHAPTER III. THE GLASS BALLS. CHAPTER IV. THE PAPER CLUE. CHAPTER V. PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER. CHAPTER VI. A SMASH. CHAPTER VII. NIP AND TUCK. CHAPTER VIII. TSAN TI VANISHES AGAIN. CHAPTER IX. TRICKED ONCE MORE. CHAPTER X. THE DIAMOND MERCHANT. CHAPTER XI. THE OLD SUGAR CAMP. CHAPTER XII. A TIGHT CORNER. CHAPTER XIII. A MASTER ROGUE. CHAPTER XIV. THE GLASS SPHERES. CHAPTER XV. THE EYE OF BUDDHA. CHAPTER XVI. THE BROKEN HOODOO. A REAL PIRATE. SOME QUEER PHILIPPINE CUSTOMS. HIGH LEAPS BY DEER.


CHARACTERS THAT APPEAR IN THIS STORY.


=Matt King=, otherwise Motor Matt.


=Joe McGlory=, a young cowboy who proves himself a lad of worth and character, and whose eccentricities are all on the humorous side. A good chum to tie to--a point Motor Matt is quick to perceive.


=Tsan Ti=, Mandarin of the Red Button, who appeals to Motor Matt for help in a very peculiar undertaking.


=Sam Wing=, a San Francisco Chinaman, member of a _tong_ that is amiably disposed toward Tsan Ti.


=Kien Lung=, courier of the Chinese Regent, who respectfully delivers the yellow cord to Tsan Ti.


=Grattan=, a masterful rogue who consummates one of the cleverest robberies in the annals of crime.


=Bunce=, a sailor who assists Grattan and makes considerable trouble for the motor boys and the mandarin.


=Goldstein=, a diamond broker with a penchant for dealing in stolen goods.


=Pryne=, a brother-in-law of Grattan, who plays a short but important part in the events of the story.


CHAPTER I.


ON THE MOUNTAINSIDE.


"Sufferin' treadmills! Say, pard, here's where I drop down in the shadeand catch my breath. How much farther have we got to go?"


"Not more than a mile, Joe."


"We must have gone a couple of hundred miles already."


"We've traveled about six miles, all told."


"Speak to me about that! A mile up and down is a heap longer than amile on the straightaway. We've been hanging to this sidehill like acouple of flies to a wall. What do you say to a rest?"


"I'm willing, Joe; and here's a good place. Look out for that treeroot. It's a bad one, and runs straight across the road."


Motor Matt and his cowboy pard, Joe McGlory, were pop-popping their wayup a steep mountainside on a couple of motor cycles. They were boundfor the Mountain House, a hotel on the very crest of the uplift.


A day boat had brought them down the Hudson River from Albany, andthey had disembarked at Catskill Landing, hired the two machines, andstarted for the big hotel.


The motor cycles were making hard work of the climb--such hard work,in fact, that the boys, time and time again, had been compelled to getout of their saddles and lead the heavy wheels up a particularly steepplace in the trail. This was trying labor, and McGlory's enthusiasmover the adventure had been on the wane for some time.


The big root of a tree, lying across the road like a half-buriedrailroad tie, was safely dodged, and under the shade of the tree towhich the root belonged Matt and McGlory threw themselves down.


The cowboy mopped his dripping face with a handkerchief, pulled off hishat, and began fanning himself with it.


"One of these two-wheeled buzz carts is all right," he remarked, "wherethe motor does the work for you; but I'll be gad-hooked if there's anyfun doin' the work for the motor. And what's it all about? You don'tknow, and I don't. We made this jump from the middle West to the effeteEast on the strength of a few lines of 'con' talk. I wish people wouldleave you alone when they get into trouble. Every stranger knows,though, that all he's got to do is to send you a hurry-up call wheneveranything goes crosswise, and that you'll break your neck to boil out onhis part of the map and share his hard luck."


McGlory finished with a grunt of disgust.


"I've got a hunch, Joe," answered Matt, "that there's a whole lot tothat letter."


"A whole lot of fake and false alarm. Read it again, if you've gotbreath enough."


"I've read it to you a dozen times already," protested Matt.


"Then make it thirteen times, pard. The more you read it, the more Irealize what easy marks we are for paying any attention to it. It'sfine discipline, pard, to keep thinking where you've made a fool ofyourself."


Matt laughed as he drew an envelope out of his coat pocket. Theenvelope was addressed, in a queer hand, to "His Excellency, MotorMatt, Engaged in a?roplane performances with Burton's Big ConsolidatedShows, Grand Rapids, Michigan." Drawing out the enclosed sheet, Mattunfolded it. There was a humorous gleam in his gray eyes as he readaloud the following:


"HONORABLE AND MOST EXCELLENT SIR: It is necessary that I have of your wonderful aid in matters exceedingly great and important. I, a mandarin of the red button, with some store of English knowledge, and much trouble, appeal to king of motor boys with overwhelming desire that he come to me at Mountain House, near town named Catskill Landing, in State of New York. Noble and affluent sir, will it be insult should I offer one thousand dollars and expenses if I get my wish for your most remarkable help? Not so, for I promise with much goodness of heart. Let it be immediately that you come, and sooner if convenient. May your days be fragrant as the blossoms of paradise, your joys like the countless stars, and your years many and many.


"'TSAN TI, OF THE RED BUTTON.'"


"Sounds like a skin game," grumbled McGlory, as Matt returned theletter to its envelope, and the latter to his pocket.


"It's the first time a stranger in trouble ever sent me a letter likethat," remarked Matt.


"Regular josh. Button, button, who's got the button? Not us, pard,and we're _It_. There'll be no mandarin at the end of this bloomingtrail we're running out. You take it from me. Now----" McGlory brokeoff suddenly, his eyes fastened on the pitch of the road above. "Greathocus-pocus!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet. "See what's coming!"


Matt, turning his eyes in the direction of his pard's pointing finger,was likewise brought up standing by the spectacle that met his gaze.


A bicycle was coasting down the steep path, coming with the speed ofa limited express train; and some fifty feet behind this bicycle cameanother, moving at a rate equally swift.


In the saddle of the leading machine was a fat Chinaman--a Chinamanof consequence, to judge by his looks. He wore a black cap, yellowblouse and trousers and embroidered sandals. His thin, baggy garmentsfluttered and snapped about him as he shot down the road, and hispigtail, fully a yard long, and bound at the end with a ribbon, stoodout straight behind him.


The Celestial behind was leaner and dressed in garments more subdued.It was exceedingly plain to the two boys that his heart was in hiswork, and that the end and aim of his labors was the overhauling of theman ahead.


"Wow!" wheezed the fat fugitive. "Wow! wow! wow!"


For about two seconds this stirring situation was before the eyes ofMatt and McGlory. Then the tree root insinuated itself into proceedings.


The fugitive saw the root heaving across his path with a promise ofdisaster, but going around it was out of the question, and stopping thespeeding wheel an impossibility.


The inevitable happened. Matt and McGlory saw the bicycle bound intothe air and turn a half somersault. The fat Chinaman landed on his backwith the wheel on top of him; then machine and Chinaman rolled over andover until the impetus of the flight was spent.


The two boys ran to the unfortunate bicyclist, gathered him up, andseparated him from the broken wheel. The Celestial refused to be liftedto his feet, but contented himself with sitting up.


"My cap, excellent friend," he requested, pointing to where the cap waslying.


"Gee, but that was a jolt!" commiserated McGlory. "How do you feelabout now?"


"Kindest regards for your inquiry," said the Chinaman, extracting asmall stone from the collar of his blouse, and then emptying a pint ofdust from one of his flowing sleeves. "I am variously shaken, thankyou, but the terrible part is yet to come. Kindly recede until it isover, and add further to my obligations."


Matt had picked up the black cap. As he handed it to the Chinaman, heobserved that there was a red button in the centre of the flat top.


He was astonished at the Chinaman's manner, no less than at his use ofEnglish. His clothes were all awry, and soiled with dust, but he seemedto mind that as little as he did his bruises.


Putting the cap on his head, he took a fan from somewhere about hisperson, waved the boys aside with it, then opened it with a "snap," andproceeded methodically to fan himself. His eyes were turned up the road.


Matt and McGlory exchanged wondering glances as they stepped apart.


The other Chinaman, having a greater space in which to manoeuvre, hadmanaged to avoid the tree root. By means of the brake he had caused hismachine to slow down, and had then leaped off. After carefully leaningthe bicycle against a tree, he approached his fat countryman in a mostdeferential manner. The latter nodded gravely from his seat on theground.


The pursuer thereupon flung himself to his knees, and beat his foreheadthree times in the dust.


After that, the fat Chinaman said something. Presumably it was in hisnative tongue, for it sounded like heathen gibberish, and the boyscould make nothing out of it.


But the lean Chinaman seemed to understand. Lifting himself and sittingback on his heels, he pushed a hand into the breast of his coat, andbrought out a little black box about the size of a cigarette case.This, with every sign of respect and veneration, he offered to theother Celestial.


The fat man took the box, waved his fan, and eased himself of a fewmore remarks. The lean fellow once more kotowed, then arose silently,regained his wheel, and vanished from sight down the road. The fatMongolian was left balancing the black box in his hand and eying itwith pensive interest.


"Well, speak to me about this!" breathed McGlory. "What do you make outof it, Matt?"


"Not a thing," whispered Matt. "That fellow has a red button in hiscap."


McGlory showed traces of excitement.


"Glory, and all hands round!" he gasped. "Have you any notion that thechink we're looking for has lammed into us in this violent fashion,right here on the mountainside?"


"Give it up. Watch; see what he's up to."


The fat Chinaman, laying aside his fan, took the box in his left palm,and, with the fingers of his right hand, pressed a spring.


The lid flew open. On top of something in the box lay a white cardcovered with Chinese hieroglyphics. The Chinaman lifted the card andread the written words. His yellow face turned to the color of oldcheese, his eyes closed spasmodically, and his breath came quick andraspingly. McGlory grabbed Matt's arm.


"There's something on that card, Matt," said he, "that's got our fatfriend on the run."


While the boys continued to look, the Chinaman laid aside the card, anddrew from the box a pliable yellow cord, a yard in length.


That was all there was in the box, just the card and the cord.


Feeling that there was a deep mystery here, and a mystery in which heand his chum were concerned, the king of the motor boys stepped forward.


"Tsan Ti?" he queried.


Box and cord fell from the fat Chinaman's hands, and he turned aneagerly inquiring look in Matt's direction.



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