A Desperate Chance

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excerpt from the book.."Well, Desmond, we've taken a desperate chance, and so far appear to belosers."The circumstances under which the words above quoted were spoken wereweird and strange. A man and a mere youth were sitting by a campfirethat was blazing and crackling in a narrow gulch far away in the RockyMountains, days and days travel from civilization.The circumstances that had brought them there were also very strange andunusual. Desmond Dare was the son of a widow who owned a small farm inNew York State. There had been a mortgage on this farm which was aboutto be foreclosed when Desmond, a brave, vigorous lad, sold his onlypossession, a valuable colt, and determined to enter a walking match forthe prize. He was on his way to the city where the match was to takeplace when in a belt of woods he heard a cry for help. He ran in thedirection whence the cry came and found three tramps assailing a fourthman. The vigorous youth sprang to the rescue and drove the three trampsoff, and was later persuaded by the man he had rescued to go with him toa rock cavern. There the lad beheld a very beautiful girl of aboutfourteen whose history was enveloped in a dark mystery; he also learnedthat the man he had rescued was known as the wizard tramp. The latterwas 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 mostpronounced 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, thetramp volunteered to land him a winner; he succeeded in so doing. Thechampion of the walking match carried his money to his mother, the trampwent upon an extended spree and spent his share. Afterward the tramp andDesmond Dare started on the road together. The girl had been placed withMrs. Dare on the farm, and the man and boy proceeded West afoot,determined to locate a gold mine. The former discovered each day somenew quality, and held forth to Desmond that some day he would make avery startling revelation. The youth had no idea as to the character ofthe revelation, but knowing that the tramp, named Brooks, was a veryremarkable man, he anticipated a very startling denouement. After manyvery strange and exciting adventures Brooks, the tramp, and Desmond Darearrived in the Rockies, and in due time started in to find their goldmine. The previous history of these two remarkable characters can beread in Nos. 90 and 91 of "OLD SLEUTH'S OWN."
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