The Oakdale Affair (Chapter 2, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 2

In a clump of willows beside the little stream which winds through the town of Payson a party of four halted on the outskirts of the town. There were two men, two young women and a huge brown bear. The men and women were, obviously, Gypsies. Their clothing, their head-dress, their barbaric ornamentation proclaimed the fact to whoever might pass; but no one passed.

"I think," said Bridge, "that we will just stay where we are until after dark. We haven't passed or seen a human being since we left the cabin. No one can know that we are here and if we stay here until late to-night we should be able to pass around Payson unseen and reach the wood to the south of town. If we do meet anyone to-night we'll stop them and inquire the way to Oakdale--that'll throw them off the track."

The others acquiesced in his suggestion; but there were queries about food to be answered. It seemed that all were hungry and that the bear was ravenous.

"What does he eat?" Bridge asked of Giova.

"Mos' anything," replied the girl. "He like garbage fine. Often I take him into towns late, ver' late at night an' he eat swill. I do that to-night. Beppo, he got to be fed or he eat Giova. I go feed Beppo, you go get food for us; then we all meet at edge of wood just other side town near old mill."

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