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About The Plattsmouth journal. (Plattsmouth, Nebraska) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 20, 1911)
Vlf II II
The car halted Just below the celling
of the first floor. "What's the matter
with you?" called a voice the voice
of the starter.
"Man robbed," said tb elevator boy.
"Bring the car down."
"No!" Bhouted Alcatrante. "The
thief is in the car. He must not es
cape." "I won't let him out Drlng the car
The boy let the car descend to the
Boor level. The starter placed himself
against the gate. "Now then, who was
robbed?" he demanded,
Alcatrante crowded forward. "It was
I. My purse is gone. I had it just
before I got in."
"Oh, It was you, was It?" The start
er remembered the trouble Alcatrante
had made a few minutes before, "Sure
you didn't drop it?"
"I am certain that I did not."
The passengers were shuffling theli
feet about, in a vain effort to touch the
lost property. A young girl was gig
"Perhaps you put It In the wrong
pocket, and didn't look careful
"I looked, I looked," exclaimed Al
catrante. "Do you think I would not
know. Seel I put it in this pocket,
which is now empty."
, He thrust his hand into the pockei
which he had indicated. Suddenly hit
expression changed to astonishment
"Find it?" grinned the starter.
With the blankest of looks Alca
trante pulled the purse from bis pock
et "It was not there two minutes
ago," he muttered.
"You've been dreamin'," remarked
the starter, opening the gate with a
hang. 'All out!"
Orme chuckled to himself. In a mo
ment Alcatrante would realize how the
purse had been replaced in his pocket
and he would be furious. Meantime
Orme entered another elevator, to go
back to the eighth floor, and, as he had
expected, the minister followed him.
When they were outside the office of
the Wallingham company Orme paused,
his hand on the door. "Senor Alca
trante," he said, "this business must
end. I shall simply have to call the
"At your own risk." said Alcatrante.
Then an ugly light flashed in his eyes
and his upper lip lifted above his yel
low teeth. "You got the better of me
there In the elevator," he snarled.
"You won't get the better again."
. Orme opened the office door. He
glanced about the reception room, to
eee whether the girl had hidden her
Iself. She was not in view; indeed,
there was even no one at the Inquiry
window. Orme reasoned that at this
hour some of the clerks might be leav
ingwhich would mean, perhaps, that
they were first putting away their
books. At least they would not be ex
pecting business callers.
The door of the great sample re
frigerator was ajar only two or three
He Received a Violent Push.
feet. When Orme was there a few
minutes before it had been wide open.
He wondered whether the girl had
chosen It as her hiding place. If she
had, his plan of action would be sim
plified, for he would slip the papers in
to her, then get Alcatrante from the
In a casual way he folded his arms.
He could now put his hand into his in
side coat pocket and the motion would
hardly be noticed.
For a moment he stood as though
waiting for some one to appear at the
Inquiry window. Though Alcatrante
was watching him closely, Orme con
tinued to act as If he were the only
person In the room.
And now the dial of the big ther
mometer in the outer wall of the re
frigerator appeared to catch his eye,
and be strolled over to It This placed
him almost In the open doorway. Ap
parently his eyes were on the dial, but
In reality be was glancing sldewlse Into
the chamber of the refrigerator. He
glimpsed a moving figure In there-
A ft kAw
heard a fa tut rustling. Thrusting his
hand into the Inside of his coat, be was
about to take out the precious papers
to pass them In to her.
Then he received a violent push
from behind. He plunged forward,
tripped with one foot on the sill of the
refrigerator doorway, and went In
headlong, sprawling on the tiled floor.
His clutching hand caught the fold of
a woman's skirt Then, though he re
mained conscious, everything suddenly
Bewildered as he was, several sec
onds passed before he realized that the
massive door had been closed that he
and the girl were prisoners.
Prisoner In the Dark.
Orme's hand still held her skirt
"Girl!" he whispered.
"Yes. Are you hurt?"
-Her voice came to him softly with
all its solicitude and symra?,". Qh
knelt, to help him if rf" fctr
warm, supple hand rested gently on
his forehead. He could have remained
for a long time as he was, content with
her touch, but his good sense told him
that their safety demanded action.
"Not hurt at all," he said, and as
she withdrew her hand, he arose. "Al
catrante caught me off guard," he ex
plained. "Yes, I saw him. There wasn't time
to warn you."
"He has been dogging me for an
hour," Orme continued. "I felt as
though he were sitting on my shoul
ders, like an Old Man of the Sea."
"I knnw him nf old." aha renllpd
"But you how did you happen to be
here, in the Rookery?"
"In the hope of finding you."
"Finding me?" )
"I called up the Pere Marquette
about five minutes ago, and the clerk .
said that you had Just been talking to
him on the wire, but that he didn't '
know where you were. Then I remem
bered that you knew the Wallinghams, I
and I came to Tom's office to see if be !
bad any idea where you were. I was
on my way when I passed you in the
"Tom and Bessie are at Glenvlew,"
"Yes, the girl at the inquiry desk
told me. She went to get her hat to
leave for the night, and I slipped Into j
this chamber to wait for you."
"And here we are," Orme laughed I
"papers and all. But I wish it weren't !
so dark." j
Orme hunted his pockets for "a
match. He found Just one.
"I don't suppose, Girl, that you hap
pen to have such a thing as a match?"
She laughed lightly. "I'm sorry
no." "I have only one," he ' said. "I'm
going to strike It, so that we can get
He scratched the match on his sole.
The first precious moment of light he
permitted himself to look at her, fixing
her face in his mind as though he
were never to see It again. It re
joiced him to find that ii that Instant
her eyes also turned to his.
The interchange of looks was hard
for him to break. Only half the match
was gone before he turned from her,
but In that time he had asked and an
swered so many unspoken questions
questions which at the moment were
still little more than hopes and yearn
ings. His heart was beating rapidly.
If she had doubted him, she did not
doubt him now. If she had not under
stood his feeling for her, she must un
derstand It now. And the look In her
own eyes could he question that it
was more than friendly? But the ne
cessity of making the most of the light
forced him to forget for the moment
the tender presence of the girl who
filled his heart. He therefore employed
himself with a quick study of their sur
roundings. I The chamber was about ten feet
squafe, and lined smoothly with white
tiling. It was designed to show the
sanitary construction of the Walling
ham refrigerator. Orme remembered
how Tom had explained it all to him
on a previous visit to Chicago.
I This was merely a storage chamber.
There was no connection with an ice
chamber, and there were none of the
hooks and shelves which would make
It complete for Its purpose. The only
appliance was the thermometer, the
colls of which were fitted In flush with
the tiling, near the door, and protected
by a close metal grating. As for the
door itself, Its outline was a fine seam.
There was a handle.
As the match burned close to his
fingers, Orme pulled out his watch. It
was twenty-nine minutes past five.
Orme groped his way to the door and
tugged at the handle. The door would
not open; built with air-tight nicety,
It did not budge In the least '
I Tbla was what Orme had expected.
He knew that Alcatrante would have
shot the bolt He knew, too, that Al
catrante would be waiting In the cor
ridor, to assure himself that the last
clerk left the office without freelug the
prisoner that all the lights were out
and the office locked for the night
Then he would depart, exulting that
the papers could not be delivered; and
In the morning Orme would be re
leased. But had Alcatrante realized that the
chamber was air-tight? Surely be had
not known that the girl was already
there. The air that might barely suf
fice fo keep one alive until relief came
would not suffice for two.
i There was not the least opening to
admit of ventilation. Even the places
where, in a practical refrigerator, con
nection would be made with the ice
chamber, were blocked up; for that
matter, they were on that side of the
chamber which was built close into the
corner of the office.
Orme drove his heel against the
wall. The tiles did not break. Then
he stepped back toward the middle of
J "Where are you. Girl?" he asked,
i "Here," she answered, very near
i He reached out and found her hand,
and she did not withdraw It from his
t "The rascal has locked us In," he
said. "I'm afraid we shall have a long
, "Will It do any good to shout?"
' "No one could hear us through these
walls. No, there's nothing to do but
remain quiet. But you needn't stand,
He led her to the wall. Removing
his coat, he folded it and placed it on
the floor for a cushion, and she seated
herself upon It He remained etandlng
"The papers," he said, "are In that
coat you are sitting on."
He laughed, with a consciousness of
the grim and terrible humor of their
situation which he hoped she had not
realized. Here they were, the hard
sought papers In their possession, yet
they were helpless even to save their
"I wish you would shout," she said.
"Very well," he said, and going over
to the door, he called out several
times with the full power of his lungs.
The sound, pent In that narrow room,
fairly crashed In their ears, but there
was no answer from without.
"Don't do It again," she said at last.
Then she sighed. "Oh, the Irony of it!"
"1 know." He laughed. "But don't
give up, Girl. We'll deliver those pa
"I will not give up," she said, grave
v ".-t tell me, how did you get the
Orme began the story of the after
"Why don't you sit down?" she
"Why" he stammered "I"
He had been so conscious of his
feeling toward her, so conscious of
the fact that the one woman in all the
world was locked in here alone with
him, that since he arranged her seat
he had not trusted himself to be near
her. And she did not seem to under
She wished him to sit beside her, not
knowing that he felt the almost over
powering impulse to take her in his
arms and crush her close to him. That
desire would have been more easily
controlled, had he not begun to believe
that she in some degree returned his
feeling for her. If they escaped from
this black prison, he would rest happy
In the faith that her affection for him,
now, as he supposed so largely friend
ly, would ripen into a glorious and
compelling love. But It would not be
right for him to presume to take ad
vantage of a moment in which she
might think that she cared for him more
than she actually did. Then, too, he
already foresaw vaguely the possible
necessity for an act which would make
it best that she should not hold him
too dear. So long he stood silent that
she spoke again.
i 'Do sit down," she said. "I will
give you part of your coat."
There was a tremulous note in her
laugh, but as he seated himself, she
spoke with great seriousness. "When
two persons understand each other as
well as you and I," she said, "and are
is near death as you and I, they need
not be embarrassed by conventions."
"We never have been very con
ventional with each other," he replied,
ahaklly. Her shoulder was against
his. He could hear her breathing.
"Now tell me the rest of the story."
! "First I must change your notion
that we are near death."
' He could feel that she was looking
at him in the blackness. "Don't you
think I know?" she whispered. "They
will not And us until tomorrow. There
isn't air enough to last I have known
U from the first"
"Some one will open the door," he
replied. "We may have to stay here
lulte a while, but"
"No, my friend. There Is no likeli
hood that it will be opened. The
clerks are leaving for tho night."
He was silent
"So finish the story," she went on.
"Finish the story I" That was all
that he could do.
"Finish the story!" His story and
hers only Just begun, and now to end
there In tbe dark.
But with a calmness as great as her
own, he proceeded to tell all that had
happened to him since he boarded the
electric car at Evanston and saw Maku
sitting within. She pressed his hand
gently when be described the trick by
which the Japanese had brought the
pursuit to an end.. She laughed when
be came to the meeting with the de
tective In his apartment The episode
with Madam Alia he passed over
lightly, for part of It rankled now. Not
that he blamed himself foolishly; but
he wished that it bad not happened.
That woman did a fine thing," said
He went on to describe his efforts
to get free from Alcatrante.
"And you ere under the table In
Arlma's room," she exclaimed, when
he had finished.
"I was there; but I couldn't see
you, Girl. And you seemed to doubt
"To doubt you?"
"Don't you remember? You said
that no American had the papers; but
you added, 'unless ' "
"Unless Walsh, the burglar, had
played a trick on Porltol and held the
true papers back. I went straight
from Arlma's to the Jail and had an
other talk with Walsh. He convinced
me that he knew nothing at all about
the papers. He seemed to think that
they were letters which Porltol wanted
for his own purposes."
"Then you did not doubt me." Glad
relief was in his voice.
"I have never doubted you," she
There was silence. Only their breath
ing and the ticking of Orme's watch
broke the stillness.
"I don't believe that Alcatrante knew
that this place was unvent'lated," she
remarked at last.
"No; and he didn't know that you
"He thinks that you will be released
in the morning, and that you will think
It wiser to make no charges. What
do you suppoBr his conscience will say
when he learr.s "
"Girl, I slnply can't believe that
there Is no hope for us."
"What possible chance Is there?"
IPer voice was steady. "The clerks
must all have gone by this time. We
can't make ourselves heard."
"Still, I feel as though I should be
fighting with the door."
"You can't open It."
"But some one of the clerks going
out may have seen that It was bolted.
Wouldn't he have pushed the bolt
tack? I'm going to see."
He groped to the door and tugged at
the handle. The door, for all the ef
fect his effort had on It, might have
been a section of solid wall.
"Come back," she called.
He felt his way until his foot touched
the coat. As he let himself down be
side her, his an3 brushed over her
hair, and unconsciously she leaned
toward him. He felt the pressure of
her shoulder against his side, and the
touch sent a thrill through him. He
leaned back against the wall and
stared Into the blackness with eyes
that taw only visions of the happiness
that might have been.
"We mustn't make any effort to
break out." Fhe said. "It Is useless,
and every tlma we move about and
tug at the door, It makes us breathe
that much faster."
"Yes," he sighed, "I suppose we can
only sit here and wait."
"Do you know," hhe said softly "I
am wonderlug why our situation does
not seem-more terrible to me. It
should, shouldn't It?"
"I hardly think so," he replied. .
"The relative importance of cur
worldly arfalrs," she went on dream
ily, "appears to change when one sees
that they are all to stop at once. They
recede Into the background of the
mind. What counts then is, oh, I don't
want to think of it! My father he "
Her shoulders shook for a moment un
der the stress of sudden grief, but
she quickly regained her control.
"There, now," she whispered, "I won't
For a time they sat In silence. Ills
own whirling thoughts were of a sort
that he could not fathom; they pos
sessed him completely, they destroyed,
seemingly, all power of analysis, they
made him dumb; and they were tan
"Try to Take a Different View, Girl."
gled Inextricably in the blended im
pressions of possession and Iobs.
"But you," she said at last, "is your
"No," he replied.
"And your mother?" she faltered.
"She has been dead many years.
And I have no brothers or sisters."
"My mother died when I was a lit
tle child," she niusod. "Death seemed
to me much more awful then than It
"It is always more awful to those
who are left than to those who go," be
said. "But don't think of that yet."
"We must think of It," she Insisted.
He did not answer.
"You don't with to die, do you?" she
. "No; and I don't wish you to dlo.
Try to take a different view, Girl. We
really bave a chance of getting out"
"Some one may come."
"Not at all llkoly," she sighed.
"But a chance is a chance, Girl,
"Oh!" she cried, suddenly. "To think
that I have brought you to this I That
what you thought would be a little fa
vor to me has brought you to death."
She began to sob convulsively,
U wa aa Lhouch for the Drat tux
she realized ber responsibility for his
life; as though her confidence In her
complete understanding of him had
disappeared and be was again a stran
ger to her a stranger whom she had
coolly led to the edge of life with
"Don't, Girl dont!" he commanded.
Her self-blame was terrible to him.
But she could not check her grief, and
finally, hardly knowing what he did, he
put his arm around her and drew her
closer to him. Her tear-wet cheek
touched his. She removed her hat, and
her hair brushed his forehead.
"Girl, Girl!" he whispered, "don't you
know? Don't you understand? If
chance bad not kept us together, I
would have followed you until i won
you. From the moment I saw you, I
have had no thought that was not
bound up with you."
"But think what I have done to
you!" she sobbed. "I never realized
that there was this danger. And you
you have your own friends, your In
terests. Oh, I"
"My interests are all here with
you," he answered. "It Is I who am to
blame. I should have known what Al
catrante would do."
"You couldn't know. There was no
"I s?nt you up here to wait for me.
Then, when he and I came In, I turned
my back on him, like a blind fool."
"No, no," she protested.
"After all." he said, "It was, per
haps, something that neither you nor
I could foresee. No one is to blame.
Isn't that the best view to take of It?"
Her cheek moved against his as sho
Inclined her hoad.
"It may be selfish In me," ho went
on, "but I can't feel unhappy now."
Her sobs had ceased, and she burled
ber face In his shoulder.
"I love you, Girl," he said, brokenly.
"I don't expect you to care so much
for me yet But I must tell you what
1 feel. There Isn't thero Isn't any
thing I wouldn't do for you, Girl and
bo happy doing It."
She did not speak, and for a long
time they sat in silence. Many emo
tions were racing through him. His
.happiness was almost a pain, for It
came to him In this extremity when
there was no hope ahead. She had
not yielded herself, but she had not re
sisted his embrace; even now her head
was on his shoulder. Indeed, he had
given her no chance to confess what
she might feel for him.
Nor would he give her that chance.
No, It was better that her love for him
he knew now that In her heart she
must love him It was better that It
should not be crystallized by definite
expression. For he had thought of a
way by which she, at least, might be
laved. With the faint possibility of
rescue for them both, be hesitated to
take the step. And yet every moment
he was using that much more of the
air that might keep her alive through
the night " '
It would be only right to wait until
he was reasonably sure that all the
clerks in the office had gone. That
time could not be long now. But al
ready the air was beginning to seem
close; ltwaa not so easy to breathe as
It had been.
Gently putting her from him, he
said: "The air will last longer If we He
down. The heart does not need much
She did not answer, but moved from
her seat on his folded coat, and be
took it and arranged It as a pillow,
and, finding her hand, showed ber
where It was. He heard the rustle of
her clothing as she adjusted herself on
the floor. She clung to his hand, while
he still eat beside her.
"Now," he said, cheerfully, "I am
going to And out what time It Is, by
breaking the crystal of my watch.
I've seen blind men tell tho time by
feeling tbe dial."
Ills watch was an old hunting-cane
which had belonged to his father. He
opened It and cracked the crystal with
his pocketknlfe. As nearly as he could
determine by the sense of touch It was
seven o'clock. Bessie Wallingham
would be wondering by this time why
he had broken an engagement with her
for the second time that day.
"There Is one thing more to do," he
said. "It is seven o'clock; I don't know
how much longer we shall be able to
breathe easily, and I am going to write
a note which will explain matters to
the persons who find us If we should
not happen to be able to toll them."
Laboriously he penciled on the back
of an old envelope the explanation of
their presence there, making a com
plete and careful chargo against Alca
trante. He laid the message on the
On second thought, he picked It up
again and put it In his pocket for If
by any chance they should be rescued,
he might forget It In that event Its
discovery would possibly bring an ex
posure or facts which the girl and her
fatbor would not care to bave dis
closed. A faint whisper from the girl.
"What is It?" he asked, bending
tenderly for her answer.
"You must lie down,' too."
Ho began to move away, as If to
"No," she whispered "hero. I want
you near me."
Slowly be reclined and laid his head
on the coat. Her warm breath was on
his face. He felt for her hand, and
found It held tightly to his.
His own mind was still torn with
doubts as to the best course. Should
he put himself out of the way that she
might live? The sacrifice might prove
unnecessary. Rescue might come when
it was too late for him, yet not too
late, if he did not hurry his own end.
And If she truly loved him and knew
that she loved him, such an act on his
part would leave her a terrible grief
which time would harly cur.
He tried to analyze their situation
more clearly, to throw new light on hla
duty. Tbe clerks must all have gone
by now. There would be a visit or two
from a night watchman, perhaps, but
there was scarcely one chance la s
hundred that he would unbolt the
The air was vitiating rapidly; they
could not both live through the night
But If she loved him as he loved her,
she would be happier to die with hint
than to live at tbe cost of his life.
He pictured for himself again thai
last look of her face; Its beauty, tta
strength, Its sweet sympathy. Ha
seemed to see the stray wisp of hair
that had found Its way down upon ber
cheek. Her perfect Hps how well he
remembered! were tbe unopened
buds of pure womanly passion.
After all, whether she loved him er
not, there would still be much In Ufa
. Time would cure her sorrow. There
would be many claims upon her, and
she would sooner or later resume ber
Slowly he disengaged his hand from
her clinging fingers. In his other band
he still held his pocketknlfe. To open
a vein in his wrist would take but a
moment His life would well away,
there on the tiles.
She would think he was asleep; and
then she herself would drift away Into
unconsciousness which would be bro
ken only after tbe door was opened la
Bah! His mind cleared In a flash.
What a fool he was! Need he doubt
her for an Instant? Need he question
what she would do hen she found
that he was dead? And she would
know It quickly. This living pulsing
girl beside him loved him! She had
told him In every way except in words.;
In life and In death they belonged to
They were one forever. They a till
lived, and whllo they lived tbey must
hope. And It hope failed, there still
would be love.
Ills pent-up emotions broke restraint.
With unthinking swiftness, he threw
his arm over her and drew her tight to
him. His lips found hers In a long
kias clung In ecstasy for another, and
Hor arms went about his neck. He
felt as though her soul had passed from,
her lips to his own.
"My lover!" she whispered. "I think
I bave always cared."
"Oh, Girl, Girl!" He could utter no
With a faint sigh she said: "I ant
glad It la to be together." She eat up,
still holding his hand. "If It need bet
at all,", she addod, a new firmness la
"If It need be at all!" Orme searched
his mind again for some promise of es-j
cape from this prison which had been
so suddenly glorified for them. The
smooth, unbreakable wans; the una
seam of the door; the thermometer.
Why had he not thought of It before t
With an exclamation, he leaped te
"What Is it?" she cried.
"A chancel A small chance but
still a chance!"
He found his way to the4 handle el
the door, which bis first attempt at
escape bad taught him was not eon
nested with the outer knob. Thon h
located the covering which protected
the colls of the thermometer.
Striking with his heel, he tried to
break the metal grating. It would net
yield. Again and again he threw his)
weight into, the blows, but without ef
At last he remembered his pocket
knife. Thrusting one end of It through
the grating, he prodded at the glasa
colls within. There was a tinkling
sound. He had succeeded.
He groped his way back to the gtrl
and seated himself beside ber. With,
the confession of their love, a new
hope had sprung up In them. They
might still be freed, and, though thai
air was becoming stifling, neither of
them believed that a Joy as great as)
theirs could be born to live but a few
For the hundredth time he was say
Ing: "I can't believe that we haveV
known each other only one day."
"And even now," she mused, "you
don't know my nnmo. Do you want
mo to toll you?"
"Not until you are ready."
"Then wait It will come In dua
form. Some one will say, 'Mr. Orme,
"The name doesn't matter," said
Orme. "To me you will always be Jual
To te- continued.
i:Aiiiiiiatkiii of Tone hern.
County Superintendent Miss Mary
Foster Is engaged today In holding
the regular monthly examination of
teachers for the county Bchools. Thos
In attendance today were: Mis
Leota McDonald of Murdork, Miss
May Durbln, Miss Hazel Lanphere.
Mr. Karl Slothower of Elmwood, Miss
Dovle Barkhurst of Union, and MIbs
AgneB O'Brien of Weeping Water.
Curd of Thanks,
To the kind neighbors and friends
who have tendered sympathy and as
sistance during the Illness and death
of our beloved son, little Guy, v
hereby express our slncerest thanks,
especially do we thank those who
sent (lowers for his casket.
William Illncr and Wife.
Jesse Hlner and Wife.
W. R. Goodrich, who has been em
ployed In the Burlington shops at
this place, departed for Alliance this
morning, where he has accepted a.
position as engine hostler with tha
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