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XIII. Hostages to Momus O Henry

Section III

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"I reckon," says he, after thinking a bit, "to the vice-president of our railroad, at the general offices of the Company in Edenville."

"How far is it to Edenville from here?" I asked.

"About ten miles," says he.

Then I dictated these lines, and Colonel Rockingham wrote them out:

    I am kidnapped and held a prisoner by two desperate outlaws in a
    place which is useless to attempt to find. They demand ten
    thousand dollars at once for my release. The amount must be raised
    immediately, and these directions followed. Come alone with the
    money to Stony Creek, which runs out of Blacktop Mountains. Follow
    the bed of the creek till you come to a big flat rock on the left
    bank, on which is marked a cross in red chalk. Stand on the rock
    and wave a white flag. A guide will come to you and conduct you to
    where I am held. Lose no time.

After the colonel had finished this, he asked permission to take on a postscript about how he was being treated, so the railroad wouldn't feel uneasy in its bosom about him. We agreed to that. He wrote down that he had just had lunch with the two desperate ruffians; and then he set down the whole bill of fare, from cocktails to coffee. He wound up with the remark that dinner would be ready about six, and would probably be a more licentious and intemperate affair than lunch.

Me and Caligula read it, and decided to let it go; for we, being cooks, were amenable to praise, though it sounded out of place on a sight draft for ten thousand dollars.

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I took the letter over to the Mountain Valley road and watched for a messenger. By and by a colored equestrian came along on horseback, riding toward Edenville. I gave him a dollar to take the letter to the railroad offices; and then I went back to camp.

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The Gentle Grafter
O Henry

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