Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, December 11, 1916, Page 8, Image 8

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i HK- tiatj: UMAHA, MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1916.
From the Popular . Novel oil the same name
by C. N. and A. ,M. Williamson
, ' ' - Start of This Episode
. ' Next Week Another Story and New Picture
, ! Copyright, 11, by the Star Coawuur. AJ Foreign Rlghta reierved-
"Christopher Race, Motorist Lon
don," was scrawled In pencil and In an
uneducated hand on a common envel
ope; that and nothing more; yet the
powers that be In the postofflce had
sent it to him without delay. This was
tribute to his fame, but it was not
In the common envelope was a half
' sheet of thick and creamy parchment
paper with a monogram in pale blue
and sliver; a pretty monogram, but
o Intricate, consisting as It did of
three letters, as to be almost Impossi
ble for an uninitiated person to deci
pher. On this half sheet, written In
a Arm and somewhat. Original hand.
, which might bethat M a man or a
woman, were two sentences and part
of another.
. "Dear Sir: I, have heard of you
and your car and saw photographs of
both; I Know that you are a gentle
man and can be trusted. I hope very
much that you are free and can come
here by Thursday, if possible. early In
the morning, as It is a matter of life
and death to me, to get away " 1
Here the letter broke off, giving no
clew to the nature of the errand or to
the whereabouts of the nameless
writer. But Christopher was able to
make out the postmark. The scrawled
envelope Had been sent out from
Htoke d'Estcourt, In Warwickshire.
No. there was nothing to do, and yet
the last, broken sentence haunted
Christopher. He found himself con
stantly repeating it, and i wondering
whether his coming with Scarlet Run.
ner really had been a matter of life
and death to the writer. Again and
again he pondered at the breaking oft
of the sentence, which, If finished,
might have explained all. He studied
the monogram, fancying that It mum
mean V, L. H., and, though the hand
writing was uncommonly strong for
a woman, the monogram was essen
tially feminine.
Altogether, from telling himself
that there was nothing to do in the
affair of the unfinished letter, Chris
topher went In a few hours to the ex
treme of determining ito do a great
deal. The handbook told him that
Htoke d'Kstcdurt was a small but In
teresting hamlet situated about three
miles from a railway station. The
church was celebrated for Its brasses
and a Norman font The sixteenth
century Inn, still unspoiled, attracted
artists. There were several fine old
houses In the village and on the out
skirts, also a number Ul phHuresque
cottages, and tourist were advised to
visit the ruins ot.a castle In the neigh
borhood, r
This description enoouraged Chris
topher in the somewhat wild Idea that
by golnc to Stoke d'Estcourt and mak
ing Inquiries ha. might lie able to find
out who had sent him the unfinished
letter. I
His journey was smooth and un
eventful and It was still early In the
murky evening when the blazing rays
of his lamps Illuminated the quaint
' front of the old Inn of which he had
read in the guide-book. Welcoming
lights, streaming through red blinds,
seemed to speak of warmth and com
fort within. He drove his car Intq a
barn which had been converted Into
a garage and engaged a bedroom.
The first thing he did while his din
. nw was being prepared was to call
; for the local directory and por over
ts pages in the hope of finding some
one with the Initials "V. L. H." Hut
he was disappointed. . The popula
tion of the village and the Immediate
neighborhood was only a few hun
dreds and among the Harrises, the
Hasboroughs, . fho Hlcksos and the
Harveys there was none who owns the
Initials "V. L." This was a check for
which he had been quite prepared.
On arriving he had ostentatiously
driven Scarlet Runner through the
whole length of the village High Street
and past the cottages and old Queen
Anne or Goorglan bouses which sur
rounded the -famous green, thus ad
vertising his advent to whom it might
concern, and though the country air
and strong ale made him sleep he sat
up late pretending to read old num
bers of magaiines, In the hope of re
ceiving a letter or word of some sort
from his nameless correspondent By
7 o'clock he was df eased and it was
not yet S when he had breakfasted'
ana was starting Scarlet Runner be
fore the door of the Inn. The first
thing he did wax to teuf-teuf con
spicuously to the postoflloe, where he
Inquired it there were any letter for
Mr. Christopher Race. But nothing
of interest was forwarded, and nobody
at Stoke d'Ustcourt had taken this
means of communicating for the sec
ond time with the owner of Scarlet
"Do you ever get letters here for
anyone with the Initials V. L. H.T" he
ventured to ask of the postmistress,
who was too pretty and coquettish to
snub a polite and good-looking man
even If he. put eccentric questions.
No, so tar as the young woman
eould remember, none of her, "regular
. people" had such Initials. As for the
transient folk, she could not pretend
to say.
Baffled, as If he had been the villain
of the piece, Christopher went out of
th postofflce with only one card left
In the game to play. He determined
to drive Scarlet Runner slowly, tempt
ingly through every street of the vil
lage and past the gates of the great
nouses and even farms of the sur-
rounding country, weaving the car
through from rbad to road as his map
made possible.
He sounded his new and singularly
weet-toned musical siren unnecessa
rily often and faces peered out of cot
tag windows and fresh-faced girls
turned to look at him and his han
om red car in the village streets, but
Bo one beckoned, no one called to him.
He drove out of the village and
, took the road which, he had been told,
wouldlead him past several gentle-
. men's houses and outlying farms, past
the ruined castle, past General New
come's place, on to Lord Melden's. Be
yond the last estate he did not Intend
to go, but would turn there In order
to pass Sir Edward Leigh's and so go
back towards Stoke d'Estcourt by an-
, other road. - . d
Her and there he caused hi sl-
' ren to discourse snatches from the
opera of La Traviata, but when he
came In sight of the castle he forgot
to play his own accompaniment even
forgot for a few moments the busi
nee which bad brought him to Stoke
d Kstcourt
It really was a very fine and striking
ruin. Christopher drove very jilowly
, Company
to take In Its full magnificence and fi
nally stopped Scarlet Runner in the
shadow of the dark, towering walls,
though he did not stop 1U engine.
Looking up from his seat In the
gently purring car the huge Norman
keep loomed above him. From this
point of view the massive shape of
the castle showed no appearance of
decay and as Christopher's lively im
agination pictured moving figures In
quaint costumes and gleaming armor
suddenly there was framed In a small,
Ivy-draped window a fac as lovely
as any fir which a knight of old ever
did battle. - '
A girl was gazing down at him a
girl whose yellow-brown hair was
bright gold against a background of
darkness. Christopher bad Just time
to catch an impression of a beautiful
face, white and large eyed with terror
or, some other emotion strange for a
peaceful English morning, and Uien
an extraordinary thing happened. Q'he
large eyes met his in appeal; the Hps
opened without speaking; a hand and
arm wer thrust through the aper
ture, and something small that glit
tered as It fell was thrown to him.
The ithing, whatever It was, was
flung with a woman's aim and instead
of reaching H intended destination
landed noiselessly In a clump of dead
grasses and nettles by the roadside.
Instantly Christopher was out of the
car. Without minding the nettle's
sting, he thrust his hand and arm deep
among . rough stems and prickly
-leaves, 'coming almost Immediately
upon the object of his search, which
his touch told him must be a metal
card case or ofgaret case. Before his
eyes had a chance to Inform him fur
ther a low, inarticulate cry from the
window made him, still stooping over
the bed of nettles, lift his head to
look up once more. The girl, silent
after the one faint sound which had
drawn his eyes to her again, was sign
ing to Him eagerly to mount and ride
' Astonished, but ready to obey a
laays command no matter how
strange, Christopher sprang Into the
quivering car ana taking (orr tne
brakes put on speed which sent Scar
let Runner flying along the road like
a rea arrow.
It was not until the first turn when
Lthe castle towers were hidden from
signt oy an intervening hill that Race
slackened the car's pace and looked'
at the thin which the girl had
thrown to him. Then he saw that It
was a very handsome though small
atearet case, mad rather flat to avoid
bulging out the pocket which held
It and ornamented with the letters
"M. N." In diamonds. There was one
peculiarity which caused Christopher
to Jumn at the conclusion that the
thing had been made by special order
ana ior a laay. The inner part Of the
cas was entirely covered on on side
with a mirror set Into the gold and
surrounded by a frame of tlnv bril.
ttants, thus leaving place for clgarets
on the opposite side only. The fall
had cracked the glass across and the
loose bits would have fallen .out If
Christopher had not closed up the
case, fastening It with a snap. He
then put the dainty little affair Into
his pocket and- drove along his In
tended rout In almost hopeless quest
of "V. h. H." " ' ' '
that her act whatever Its meaning,
had been one of sheer desperation;
that she had chosen a course because
she could see no other.
Shewas so. beautiful, so altogether
Interesting .that Christopher would
gladly have 'seised upon the theory
that sho was "V. L. H.," because If
that were so she must have known
of him and summoned him. But
common 'Sense if common sense had
any place here did not support the
theory. "V. It. H.,V who had wished
to make use of ScArlet Runner for a
"matter of life or death," would hard
ly have sent Scarlet Runner instantly
away out of her sight.
In the circumstances Christopher
reit constrained for the sake of V.
L. H. to carry out his original Inten
tion But he made his round of th
roads and returned to the village by
a ainercnt way, as ne naa planned,
and no one had com forward to claim
his services, tq say, '"It was I who
wrote to you: I am glad that you are
here." Nevertheless, Christopher had
no thought of leaving the neighbor
hood. There were two mysteries In
stead of on to be pusxled into clear
ness now.
He had kept on his room at the inn
and when he' had put away Scarlet
Runner he shut himself up for an
other look at the clgaret case. Open
ing It the broken pieces of glass fell
out and he saw what he had not
guessed at before. The mirror con
cealed a false back to the case and
hidden there he found a photograph
of a young man. He was an exceed
ingly good-looking young man, with
a strong, clever face softened by the
dreamy arch of trie eyebrows, over
fine dark eyes. And between the pho
tograph and the thin strip of gold
which held It In place was a slip of
paper on which were written close to
gether and all In capitals the letters
"A key to a cipher, perhaps,"
Christopher said to himself. Was he
Intended to pluck out Its secret and
profit byvwhat It taught him? He
could not tell.
Ho decided, as the, person from
whom the girl wished to conceal the
cigaret case might haveseen a flee
ing motor car, thaplt would be well
for her sake ito appear on the scene
next time in the guise of an ordinary
tourist. Ho therefore exchanged his
chauffeur's cap for on of tweed,
which matched his clothes, and went
out on foot without his motor-coat.
In halt an hour he had reached the
castle and was knocking at the door
of a cottage built up against one of
the half fallen walla This was the
dwelling of the caretaker, whose busi
ness In life It was to guard the ruins
from vandals and to show visitors
He was'obliged to lift the knocker
two or three times before anyone an
swered, though there was a faint stir
ring Inside the house, and he fancied
that he heard suppressed voices.
Presently th door opened and an old
woman appeared. She was small and
bent though strong looking, with
hard features and singularly bright
eyes that glittered piercingly out of a
yellow network of wrinkles.
Christopher said civilly that he had
come to visit the castle and hoped that
he had not chosen an hour when It
was not to be seen by the public. The
old woman, who seemed somewhat
agitated though thee requests must
have punctuated the hours of her
dally life for yearn, replied that the
guardian, her husband, had had an
accident. and was In hospital, but that
she would take the gentleman round.
She then unhooked un enormous key
from a nail on the wall and led the
way out of doors.
To enter the ruins one passed under
a portcullis and so on up a gentle
slope between thick, broken walls. At
the end of this passage an ugly mod
ern door had replaced the old. one
long ago destroyed, and following his
guide Christopher found himself In
the castle. They went from room to
room, many of which were open lo
the sky, with mere stony suggestions
of what the upper stories had been,
but as Christopher had been led by
his late adventure to expect, the keep
was In a better state of preservation
than the rest. He asked no questions,
but going up a steep stone stairway
which would lead, be knew, to cer
tain window, his heal't began tdibeat
rather more quickly than usual. He
hoped, and more than half believed,
that he would find a beautiful girl
waiting for him at the top of the
steps, but he found stone walls and
emptiness, a silent place where noth
ing moved save the wandering sprayB
ot Ivy which peered' and beckoned at
tne window where she had been.
Deeply disappointed, Christopher
waiaea aDOUt. Dretenains to be inter.
ested In the thlcbnnHH nf thn walla
The old woman stood still, watching
mm as ne went to the window and
looked out. Turning quickly he
caught or fancied that h caught a
cynical expression, on the drled-atrple
fnr .
VI saw a young ladv looking out of
ine winoow inis morning wnom l tooK
to be an artist," said .Christopher,
growing impatient ''Very pretty",
with yellowiah-brown hair and dark
eyes might have been brown or vio
let. I think she had on a dark blue
dress." -
"You must have been mistaken.
sir," replied the old woman. "I didn't
bring any such young lady In this
morning." '
Christopher asked no more leading
questions, but meekly allowed himself
to oe snown tne usual things and told
the usual legend. Then he gave the
old woman the usual fee, with the
usual extra tip, and took his leave.
But turning to glance back ' at the
guardian's cottage when the door was
shut he saw his late guide at the win
dow peering out Behind her stood a
man, looking over the Stooping shoul
der, and though, as Christopher's eyes
met his, he moved away and was gone
In an Instant. - Race caught a clear
enough Impression to feel that he.
would recognize the face again. It
was that of a man passing beyond
middle age. The -wes and skin were
singularly dark Incontrast to (thick
white hair and there was something
peculiar Christopher had not time
to see clearly what about the promi
nent nose. , .
quest, he resolved to return to the
castle after dark and linger about in
the hope that the girl might return
under cover of dusk to demand her
property and explain her strange man
ner of disposing of - iV. Meanwhile,
however, he had half the day to get
through, and save for such Inter
ludes as meals, nothing todo With it
except to make Inquiries concerning
the girl. v '
Describing her, he questioned the
landlord at the inn, and afterwards
the coquettish young woman at the
postofflce, but neither the one nor the
other could tell him anything, and
when after nightfall he groped his
way through a thick mist towards the
castle ruins he had still no clew which
might help him to And the lady of the
clgaret case.
Sauntering as' If aimlessly along
the road dominated by the vast ruins,
Christopher begaji softly to whistle
the air from La Traviata which Soar
let Runner's new siren played. It
must have been those musical notes,
heard from, a distance, which had
drawn the girl to the keep-window
before he arrived beneath in the car.
If she remembered and recognized
them now she would know what then
meant, as they fluted a message out
of the night. Again he whistled the
same sin, while he lighted a clgaret
which should also have Its' special
meaning for the girl if she were near,
as well as giving her a hint of his
whereabouts. .
Perhaps she wanted a reassuring
glimpse of his face before speaking.
Well, she should have It He held up
the lighted wax match to the clgaret
until its flame began to burn' down.
Then, as It flared up before the end,
suddenly there came to his ears a hiss
sharp and wicked as a snake's, and at
th same Jnstanf'he was conscious of
a stinging pain In his left arm.
Away went match and cigarette,
their sparks drowned in the wet grass
and Christopher, surprised and pricked
to anger, realised he had been shot at
with an air-gun. Suspecting no lurk
ing malic, he had calmly made him
self a target lor someone to pot at;
.-. , .
and with a quick desire for-rengeance
he started to run in the direction
whence the first rustling had pro
ceeded. A Hhadow loomed ahead. Christo
pher sprang at it, only to seize the
beetling brunches of a young larch or
yew tree, and at the same time to
receive a blow on the shoulder frejn
behind a sharp, unexpected blow
which sent him pitching forward. Be-J
i,re ne couiu recover nis oaiance,
the ground seemed to vanish from un
der his feet and he plunged with a
great splash into the stagnant water
of the moat.
For a few seconds he floundered
clumsily, then got to his feet for the
water, though ice-cold, was not deep.
By groping he camo upon a broken
place In the moat wall, where he
could get foothold and handhold of a
precarious kind. After a slip or two
he succeeded In climbing out and de
spite the danger of being -shot at
again, devoted his attention to ridding
himself of as many weeds and as
much loose mud as possible. The per
son who had played him these two
sorry tricks, one upon the other, had
probably exhausted his forces for the
moment. In any case, no further at
tack was made, and after a walk
which 'restored his circulation If not
his temper, Christopher regained the
Inn. '
The wound in the arm was not se
rious, and Christopher, determined to
keep his own counsel, attended to it
unaided. But he could not help re
flecting that it hat perhaps been
rather a close shave for him. That
noiseless air-gun need 'only to have
been a little better aimed to 'have
reached his heart, "instead of inflicting
some slight damage on his left arm. '
Christopher JSegan to see that this
affair was of a far more serious and
complicated nature than he had sup
posed at first even when Its mystery
had most puzzled him. In his own
room at the inn he took out the cig
arette case and considered It with in
terest the while h rid himself of his
soaked clothes. , Certainly the little
gold box was of great value to seme
one, a value far beyond its intrinsic
worth, in spite of weight ind spark
ling diamonds. Was it for the con
cealed photograph, or the slip of
paper with the queer -cipher, that
someone had lain In wait to shoot or
drown him?
It was after nlno when he waked
again, and . he was much annoyed
with himself for wastlug time in bed,
when he might have been better em
ployed in pluylhg detective., During
the longj, wakeful hours ofv the night
he had planned, when day came, to
And out something about the man
who had peered at him through the
cottage window, over the old care
' takers shoulder. ' But whetf, by his
request, a London newspaper and
breakfast were brought to his room.
a paragraph in the personal column
of the "Dally Recorder" turned his
attention in an Instant from people
and events at Stoke d'Estcourt.
T.V. "B." stared at him In large
black capitals at the head of that
tamous column.' "Whoever can sup
ply Information as to these letters
and those following; will be richly
rewarded if he communicates with
Box 2001, 'Daily Recorder' Office," he
read with a keen stab of excitement
"Quick work!'1 Christopher jjaid to
himself. For he did not doubt that
he was the person for whose benefit
tne paragraph had been put in print.
He was in a position to supply the
wlshed-for Information, but he would
not sunnlv It until he could he
that the advertiser was the rightful
owner of the cigarette case, with such
secrets as It contained.
Having dressed hastily, he paid his
bill nt the Inn and , departed with
Scarlet Runner.
En route to 4own he concocted a
telegram, which he would not have
thought it wise to send from the 8toke
d'Bstcourt postofflce, and got it off
from a small town where he stopped
to lunch.
"Should the advertiser wish to hear
more of T. V. B the only way of
doing so will be to call o'clock to
night (Friday) on Christopher Race,
who may be able to give information
but will accept no reward."
This was all, save for the address
of his lodgings, inumber and street.
The first thing he did in the morn
ing was to open the "Dally Recorder"
and cast his eyes down th personal
column. "T. V. B." was conspicuous
only In absence; but towards the end
of the column appeared something
else which caught Christopher's at
tention at a glance. . '
"V. L. H. Is earnestly Implored to
communicate Immediately with one
who hoped to meet on Thursday 1 at
address V. L.' H. knows. Great anxi
ety. Can't bear suspense!" "
So, Christopher Race was not the
only person who' had been given rea
son to count upon meeting V. L. H.
on Thursday!
Christopher wished very ardently
that he as well as V, U H. aew the
address of the anxious advertiser; but
as he did not, and could think of no
means of finding it out, he could do
nothing to mutch the pieces of the
puzzle together.
A Mr. Warren Lockwood wrote
from the Laurels, Pleasant avenue,
Barnet, saying that friends had rec
ommended Mr. Race and his car.
Would Mr. Race he so kind as to drive
his Scarlet Runner out to the Laur
els, arriving as -near 8 o'clock as he
could make It convenient? For a
week's trip Mr. Lockwood was pre
pared to offer the round sum of 100
guineas, he stated in la postscript,
which also asked for a wire.
Taking everything together Chris
topher determined that it would be
as well, at least, to call at the Laurels,
and sent a wire to that effect Start
ing from Scarlet Runner's garage at
7, he found the fog so densely thick
ened that he doubted if he could And
the way.
Towards Regents park the fog lifted
slightly, but In Finchley road it set
tled again as densely as -ever, and he
could go at little more than a walk
ing pace. '
Suddenly, at what seemed to be a
corner of the wide country road not
far outside Barnet a voice called to
"Scarlet Runner?" it ehotlted: and
Race, astonished, answered before he
naa stopped to think: "Yes."
Next instant a black figure was sil
houetted strangely In the pale haze of
me car lamps, ana three snort sharp
reports Darned aryly In the night.
Someone had fired a revolver at his
driving wheel tires, and two shots had
taken effect, for he could feel the car
settling down on the deflated inner
tubes. Hot wlth fury at the outrage.
Race leaped from his seat to the road
way, peering into the darkness, ting
ling to inflict punishment and reckless
of all danger for himself. There was
no sound of running footsteps. The
scroundrel must , .be lurking. But the
thought was cut short abruptly as the
breaking of a thread.. An ti tnnnhed
ground, something thick and soft was
tnrown over; his head .from behind
and twisted tightly round his neck.
Taken by surprise in the heat of
nis rage, ror an instant Christopher
lost his breath. He stumbled under
the onslaught Hands deftly, swiftly,
tore open the- buttons of his overcoat.
and he knew Instantly with returning
presence ot mind that he had two
men to deal With.
A fierce upward Bwing of his right
arm was Just in time to prevent the
man at his back from twisting the
hood too tightly roundx his throat.
Stepping back heavily on the feet of
this fellow he shot out a left arm like
a battering ram and caught the would
be pickpocket 'squarely in the face.
There was a grunt pf pain, and the
Knrvlni, hnnil, fall awe. rV.-Jn,n
pher's coat '
To attempt pursuit In the fog
would be useless. Besides, he had
seen the face of neither man. Panting
from the struggle he assured himself
with some sense of triumph that the
clgaret case was still safe in his
waistcoat pocket.
- By the time the car was ready to
go on again, he had made up his
mma not to nay tne call alone, but
to take for a companion a member of
tne local ponce.
Most policemen within motoring
radius of London had heard the name
of Christopher Race, and he was re
ceived favorably at the police station
in Burnet. Without telling the story
oi tne cigaret case, ne confided to
the inspector in charge, of the fact
that a piece of Jewelry in his posses
sion was apparently coveted by an
unscrupulous stranger. He showed
the letter with the address of 'The
Laurels,"1 which was written,- not em
bossed, and gave an account of what
hud occurred to him on his wiiv to
keep the appointment
"Whoever this man Is," said the po
liceman, "he thinks more of his repu
tation than he does of getting what
he wants from you, though he's evi
dently keen on that You can count
on The Laurels' being watched; but
my opinion is that the hunt won't
come back that way. Tou'll find the
wind blowing from some other quar
ter, an unexpected one, maybe, and
my word to you is consult Scotland
With this advice still echoing In his
ears, Christopher at last drove Scarlet
Runner rapidly back to London, the
fog having lifted with a hint of breeze.
He waa. tired and hungry, and know
ing that he Would s-et nnthlnr 4a
hat his lodgings, when he had put up
me car, o.e went to nis ciua, where
refreshment liquid or solid, was to
be had at any hour,
Two men sat at a table In a corner.
talking earnestly, and hearing him
enter, they. Jocked up, as It not too
pieasea to nave the room invaded.
Both were young, and strangers to
Christopher, yet the faoe of one
seemed curiously familiar to him.
Now, where have I seen that good-
looking chap before, and lately, too?1
Race asked himself.
Then, suddenly the answer sprang
into his mind. This was the original
of the photograph in the gold cigaret
He took the gold cigaret case from
nis pocket' and laid it on the table,
where its diamonds flashed in the'
light of a red-shaded candle. Three
minutes later the gleam caught the
eye of the young man, and Christo
pher saw his fuce go through the
changes from astonishment and in
credulity to intensest eagerness.
"What will he do now?" was th
question in Christopher's mind. But
It was almost Instantly answered.
What the young man did was to ium
up, 'and on pretense of going to the
fireplace to worm his hands, puss close
to the table where Race sat. He paused
una i.nnsiopner s eyes and his met,
nis were nonest eyes as well as hand
some ones, and any doubt that might
have crept into Race's mind concern
ing the original of the photograph
uiea-m a second. , .
"rou will think it very strange,
said the young man, "but I must beg
you to ten me now you got that ciga-
icl ctue.
"1 don t think Itstrange," returned
Christopher. "When I recognized your
iuce x put tne case tirere hoping you
ask me that question. I'll answer it
with the greatest pleasure and there
are also some questions I trust you'll
answer me,
The other man got ud and came
across tne room. "You re Mr. Race,
aren t you?'' he asked
ChristODher assented and udded
that he had just learned that the other
was f'ergus O Brien of Sedtland Yard.
This Is my friend indeed, mv dis
tant relative Mr. Maurice Nav or.'
eald O'Brien.
"M. N.!" exclaimed Christopher Im
"Exactly. We were speaking of
mat cigaret case, when you showed
in. wnen you've finished your sup
"I have finished it," said Race, who
had already done Justice to a deviled
V'Then, perhaps pou'U accept an In
vltation to my chambers?"
"I'd rather you'd both come to my
iuuiiik, repnea unristooner. "You 11
understand why, -perhaps, when we've
naa a tain about the cigaret case.
iqu won t nave far to go."
inu tney am understand, in a. way
that was a surprise to all three; for
on arriving at Christopher's lodgings,
they came uDon a scene of wild nnn.
fusion in his sitting room. Everything
nau ueen ransacxea ana left .in dis-
oraer, ana it was the same In the bed
room. Someone, nndnr oni-a At th.
mien log, naa made an entrance nroh.
ably climbing across from the balcony
ui u uujoining nouse wnicn was tin
occupied. Nothing had been taken
away, so far as Christooher toulri tell
but nothing had escaped the most
minute examination.
"This is also en account of the ciga
ret case," said Christopher. "There's
a man who wants it badly. I don't
Know who he is yet, but '
i think I can tell you," cut In llau
rice wayior. s x
,"can you also tell me who is V. L.
"She Is Violet Hardrantle. th mWb
of the man' who probably paid this
iuum a visit wnne you were out. She
aian t give you the cigaret case?
"In a way. she did Drobahiv to
keep it out of her uncle's hands, as it
iuoro now. uan you tell me where
US i
JJl wish I could. I've been adver
tising for news of her. in the 'Dally
nevuiuer. My inena,- Mr. o Brlen
knows the whole story. When we saw
you I was consulting him about the
best way of reaching Miss Hardcastle,
who is engaged to me against her
uncie s will. 9
"remaps if I tell you how I g6t
the cigaret case it will help you
both," said Christopher-; and then, be
ginning with the unfinished letter, he
gave them thewhole history of the
affair,' ending with the episode in
"Certainly, It's Hardcastle who has
piannea it -an; u ne hasn't done It all.
exclaimed Naylor. "I'll bet it was he
wno graoDea you from behind tonight
He's as big a coward as he is a scoun
drel, though Q'Brien was saying that
"uve uimcuuy in proving him
villain." . ,
"He has a good fnough reputation
......... , .ro,u umieii, yul I
begin to think from things Navi,,, h..
been telling me that he's got Into-low
oeen speculating wltlt. his
cuent s money, perhaps, or "
"He's his niece's guardian
plained Naylor. "Brother of her dead
father, who thought everything of
him. But Violet's mother was an
'American, and she never liked the
man never trusted him. The money
was all hers, but he's got a lot of it
in his hands somehow-r-against the
mother's wish, I fancy and naturally
he doesn't want Violet to marry, as by
her father's will he has charge of her
affairs until she does. He had her at
school In Paris U4I she was SO, to keep
..c. u, ui me way oi men; out I m at
tached to the embassy there, and we
met I fell in love with her at sight
who wouldn't? and when Hardcastle
heard what had happened, he came
and carried her off at once. lie was
clever enough, though, to stop me
"" muiuiis a row oy saying we'd in
quire about me, and if all was well,
would allow the engagement to go
on. Meanwhile Violet was to stop
with hm in some country house he
was taking. Hardcastle promised to
write, and. promised that if everything
cu, un eApecieu, vioiet snouid too.
He d let mo know the address and all
that Well, I heard nothlmr. r rmn
uui ms omce aaaress and wrote sev
eral times, which was a horrid bother
but after a fortnight of
pense, I received a letter from Violet'
eviuenuy wriuen m reat haste. Here
it i. iou snau see it. Mr. Racf. "
From an inner Docket Nvior
duced a half sheet of paper, at sight
ua ttuilu avatjc .ma lo restrain an ex
clamation, for it exactly -matched the
one which he himself possessed, and
the writing, which covered it was the
same as mac in the letter over which
ne naa so oil en puzzled. '
uearest Maurice,"' he readT "this
a m me jfreaiest naste. I've nun away
from my uncle'sJious; escaped, I
miirht call it, for, since a dreadful
scene we had, I've been practically a
prisoner. I've, been planning this for
uayo, unx nave only Jusl succeeded.
I ve j?ot to a farm house not far from
the village, giving a-different name,
and making uu a stunid storv about
myslf, but it answers very well, for
mey re Keeping me as a lodger for a
night or two. Really, J'm ln hiding
here, for 1 daren't leave the house lest
my uncle or that hateful, wicked old
valet of saw in Paris pounce
down onrme like hawks and carry
me back again. I tell you, dearest,
I'm afraid of them both. I don't know
what they mayn't do, and all because
of my money. I'm sure uncle mustf
nave aon something dishonest with
it. Anyway, he came to me one night
and said that he know my mother had
left me a great deal which had never
come into his hands, that he'd got
information about there being valu
able bonds in a bank in New -York
of which he ought to have known. I
admitted that it was true, and that
dear mother had given me a letter
about the bonds just before she died,
saying that they were never to be put
in his charge. He said he must have
them, that he was in difficulties, but
this extra money would tide him
over and he iia would make it all
right afterwards. He begged and
pleaded so that I began to give him
the letters of the combination-Jock.
and had got as far as TVB when it
seemed exactly as if mother's voice
spoke In my ear and forbade .me to
go on. There was a miserable scene
between us after that. His eyes were
awful and he frightened me. You
know, in my little cigaret case, which
you gave me with your initials in it
And Vfllir nhninirrnnh hiHrlon Inairla
I told you 1 would keep the thing
most valuable to me after your pic-
ture. That thing is the combination
by which the safe at the bank which
uunmins me Donas can oe openea. wo
one has opened it and cut the bonds
since mother was in New York last,
not long before she died. Not a soul
living except myself 'knows the com
bination, not even the manager of the
bank. I'm sure mother was right in
not trusting uncle, and that this secret
fortune is ali I have left. I daren't
wait for you to come here, but shall
try to get to London by motor, rather
than ehow myself at a railway station,
and will go straight to the Savoy. You
will get this just in time to meet me
there if you start from Paris Thurs
day morning. I shall finish this letter
and write another arranging about the
motor, and to do both I've but one
sheet of paper. rYour loving
Christopher, stood silently thinking
for a minute, with the half sheet of
paper in his hand. He iruessed now
that the girl had been interrupted in
the midst of her letter to him, by
warnintr nf her imrle's arrival. The
Vman had traced her to the farm house
she spoke of, no doubt, and Violet, be
fore escaping the second time, must
have given the unfinished letter to
some one at the farm house, begging
that an envelope might be addressed
and posted. Maunit-e Naylor's letter
had been posted by the same hand.
All these thoughts passed through
Kace s mind in tne traction of a min
ute. and Navlor had hardlv time
t6 grow impatient at his silence over
tha latter hAfnr-A Tin hrmio-Vii nut tho
other half sheet and matched the two
together. He and O'Brien campared
deductions and arrived at the same
I think," remarked O'Brien grave
ly- "that we'd better go down at once
into Warwickshire, and pay a surprise
visit to Mr. Hardcastle's house, the
sooner the better."
"We can go in my car," said Chris
topher. "And we can start whenever
you UKe in hair an hour if it suits
you." - x t
There s just one thing we must do
before we start," said O'Brien, "and
that is, get a warrant for Hardcastle's
arrest. I can do it through Mr. Race's
evidence about what occurred to
night." t
"Also, went on O Brien quietly, "we
shall very likely find out that the spin
ster who's said to own the Laurels is
a clinet of Hardcastle's. In that case
we would have known about her house
standing empty, and perhaps about
the convival habits of her caretaker.
It's a good thing we can get that war
rant, or the man might give yx
trouble yet, his niece being still a few
weeks under age. Besides, if he's got
the secret out of her, the first thing
he'll dot will be to step off to'New York
and open that box in her mother's
bank". I suppose you don't know what
bank it is, Naylor?"
'Jio, I don t; and hang the bonds.
I want to get to Violet'1 answered the
young man. "I've got money enough
for us both."
Still, I've a fancy for saving those
bonds," smiled O'Brien.
It was d o clock on Sunday morn
ing, and still pitch dark, when they
got oft! in Scarlet Runner, but they
had the warrant, and the good car
seemed to know that there was stiff-
work to be done. It flew as it had
seldom flown before along the silent,
empty roads; and at, 9 three haggard
mud-spattered men arrived at Stoke
d'Estcourt after a non-stop run.
They learned from the first person
they passed in the village where to
find Mr. Hardcastle's place, and were
there within the next ten minutes,
flashing through the gates up to a
severe gray Georgian house.
Mr. Hardcastle, announced a sour-
faced middle-aged woman who opened
tne aoor, was not at nome. x
Are you his valet s wire? asked
O'Brien sharply. -
'What business is that of yours?
was the equally sharp answer. But
a look in the woman's eyes told the
detective that he had hit upon the
truth. Vtblet Hardcastle had had
Brrim laHers
We will see Miss Hardcastle, if her
uncle, is not here," he said authorita
tively. And to her surprise and the
astonishment of his companions, the
servant made no objection. Ushering
all three into a handsome if sparsely
furnished drawing room, she said that
Miss Hardcastle was not well, but
should have the gentlemen's message,
and would either come down orWnd '
"Tell her it's Mr,-Naylir. " cried the
girl's lover. "Mr ."'Maurice Naylor, who's
found her, though she gave him no
address; and he couldn't make out the
postmark on her letter."
"Will. she come? was the question
in the minds of the three men. And in
two minutes it was answered- by the
girl herself, pale and lovely, in a tea
gown of white her beautiful hair dis
ordered as if she had risen hastily
from bed.
'Oh, Maurice," she sobbed, running
to him, with eyes for no one else.
It was true that Mr.Hardcastie was
"nnt at hnmp " aa hist mervfinf harl dfllf)
But he had returned early that morn-
ng by motor, as O Brien had guessecL
and by threatening to kill Mauritfc
Nawlor, Whom he knew to be in Lon
don, he had induced Violet to tell
her carefully-guarded secret, to save
her lover's life. Then with his confi
dential man her uncle had gone dft
again in his car.
But luckily, remarked the detec
tive when he had heard these details
from the girl, "he can't sail ror New
York today."
I wonder? she said. "I happen to
now that he's lately bought or hired
big steam yacht, tnit si don t know
its name,"
We 11 know it before we re very
many hours older," O'Brien assured
her. We'll, know whether its
sailed; if so, from what port and for
what port. We'll know all there is to
know, in fact; and when TTr. Hard
castle steps on shore across the water,
he ll find himself under arrest;" which
was exactly what happened-. 'J!herefore
Mrs. Maurice Naylor is a rich woman,
as well as a happy one, in spite of the
enormous speculation of that now fa
mous defaulter, the solicitor Hard
castle. N
Thus, after all, Christooher thought
that he might fairly say he had won
his bet with himself, so he bought the
repeater, and Violet Hardcastle made
him a present of the said clgaret
( Another Adventure N ext) Week-)
of the XTJ
Churches V3jL
I BEE Building I JK
I Dec-4-16