Part 4 out of 6
"Well, then, I mean did Haines see the gang? Were any of them
"Injuns? No. The Boss thinks some of 'em were cattle-crooks from the
Case Egan outfit. I guess they ain't no Montana Injuns that'd start
anythin' like that."
"You guess a lot more than you know," said the Sheriff quietly. "I may
be calling on any of you boys for some fast work against old Red Snake
any of these days."
"What's the trouble, Sheriff?"
"Oh, just one of their devils brewing bad medicine again up at
Shi-wah-ki village. Red Snake always was a little bit crazy--talking
about the thieving white man that stole his country and looking for a
chance to get the rest of his people killed off."
"I heard that down at Hallick's last week," drawled a man in the crowd.
"The Sioux is only waitin' for the Great White Queen to come out o' the
heart o' the airth an' lead 'em on the warpath. They got a surprisin'
plenty o' arms, too, for reservation Injuns. Know that, Sheriff?"
The Sheriff nodded slowly. "I wish Haines would get in," he said.
"I'd like to have a talk with him before we start. But it's getting
The dull thudding of tired horses hoofs from the other side of the hill
below town came, to him as an answer. Presently Haines and his
companion joined, silently, the eager crowd at the station.
The owner of the Double Cross seemed to have aged ten years since he
had driven away with Pauline from that same station platform only a few
hours before. He would have given all the acres of the Double Cross
for just a word about Pauline; he would have given his life to know
that she was alive.
"There's nothing for it, Sheriff, but to rake the whole country," he
said wearily. "They've hidden her somewheres, if they haven't killed
her. And if they've killed her, mind, it's me you're to hang for it."
The Sheriff laid a strong hand on his old friend's shoulder. "I can
get the state militia out to look for that girl, Hal," he said. "By
the way, is there anything--anything queer about her?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Why, only that her folks have been writing to the Governor at Helena.
Sikes just gave me this from Governor Casson himself. Who is this
Raymond Owen? Who's been wiring to the Governor?"
"That's her guardian, I think. H'm," mused Haines as he read the
message, "that is queer. I wish they'd have wired me that yesterday."
The Sheriff folded the telegram and putting it back in his pocket,
stepped up on a box near the hotel door.
"I want to call for a hundred volunteer citizens to go hunt this girl,"
A minute later, all that was left of Rockvale was the buildings and the
women, children and old men who stood watching a cloud of dust blotting
the sunset glow and listening to the retreating clatter of a flying
Sikes kept the office open late. At 7 o'clock he telephoned to Mrs.
Haines at the Double Cross:
"What does he say?" she cried.
"Just one word--Comin'," said Curt in an aggrieved voice. "He
could've sent ten words fer the same price," he grumbled.
Red Snake was one of the younger chiefs of the Sioux. He was too young
to have had a share in the bloody last stand of his race in their
Montana wilderness; but he was old enough to have watched the dwindling
of spirit and power among them for twenty years.
And every day of watching kindled new hate in the breast of the
Indian. In him the spirit of his fathers had left the old unquenchable
belief in the Day of Restoration, when, by some supernatural
intervention, the Indians would return to their lands, the lands revert
to their primeval state, and civilization be lost in the obliterating
The officers of the Agency had had trouble with Red Snake on several
occasions. Twice he had started out at the head of war parties and had
been caught just in time to prevent bloodshed among the isolated
settlers. But of late he had been docile and peaceful. The new
disturbances--the occasional shooting of a cowboy and the petty
stealing of cattle dated from the beginning of the sway of a new
medicine man in Red Snake's principal village of Shi-wah-ki.
His name was of many syllables in the native language, but he was known
as Big Smoke. He was a young Indian who had spent some years among the
whites in the Southwest, had made a pretense at getting an education,
but had reverted violently to the life and faith of his fathers. Big
smoke had predicted to Red Snake the coming of the Great White Queen,
who would empower the arms of the red man to overthrow the whites and
would make him again master of his rightful lands.
Red Snake, squatted on a blanket beside his teepee, listened with
immobile features but with a thrilled heart. He summoned a council of
the chiefs, secretly, and the medicine man addressed his message to
Thereafter the Indians of Shi-wah-ki were restive. Their growing
spirit of rebellion manifested itself in foolish little offenses
against the white men. These were punished with the white man's
customary sternness and this increased the rancor of the Indians. It
increased, too, their eagerness for the fulfillment of the strange
prophecy of the coming of the White Queen.
On the very day when the white man's village of Rockvale was in a
hubbub of excitement because of the kidnapping of Pauline, the village
of Shi-wah-ki was tumultuous with a different fervor.
Into the circle of the assembled chiefs, rimmed with awed faces of
squaws and papooses, had danced the weird figure of Big Smoke. He had
been called upon by Red Snake to announce what further of the White
Queen his medicine had revealed.
Big Smoke wore the head of a wolf with cow's horns set over the ears.
His lithe red body was covered with a long bear skin. His legs were
bare to the tops of his gaily beaded moccasins.
He circled the silent group with fantastic gyrations and stopped
finally in the center. Lifting his hands, he addressed the tribe.
First, in glowing rhetoric, he pictured the ancient glory of the Sioux
--their wealth in lands, their prowess in the hunt, their triumph over
all other red men. He told of their long and brave struggle with the
white man, who by the intervention of wicked gods had been enabled to
conquer them. But the time of vengeance and retribution had come after
long years. The Indian was to return to his own.
"The Great Spirit is sending us a leader," said Rig Smoke. "The Great
Spirit has spoken to me and said: 'Lo, I will send a White Queen with
golden hair. She shall come from the heart of the Earth, and she shall
lead your warriors against the oppressor."
This was the third time Big Smoke had said this. That was what made it
most impressive to the listeners. Big Smoke had staked not only his
reputation as a medicine man, but, also his life, upon this wonderful
prediction, which had aroused his people as they had not been aroused
in fifty years. For it was the law of the ancient code that
fulfillment must follow immediately the third announcement of the
miracle. If fulfillment failed there remained only the Great Death
Stone in the valley. No prophet of the tribe had ever won in the
race with the Death Stone.
And so the chiefs sat in respectful silence and the young braves arose
eager for the war dance when Big Smoke finished speaking.
The dance, beginning slowly, waxed wilder; the tom-toms beat more
vibrantly, until the whole village was encircled by the painted and
bonneted tribesmen. The red glare of daylight fires illuminated the
wild faces. The women cowered with their children beside the teepees.
In the midst of the tumult, the medicine man stood with hands stretched
upward calling on the Great Spirit to send the White Queen.
When the dance had subsided, the Council resumed its deliberations.
It was arranged that there should be a hunt that afternoon and the
foxes or coyotes should be driven as near as possible to the
settlements. This would be a means of reconnoitering and it would make
the whites think the Indians were engaged in peaceful pursuits.
Pauline, after her first startled cry, stood spellbound by the two
glowing eyes that shone from the far end of the cave.
There was no light now--save for the eyes. The rift in the roof from
which the mysterious glow had come seemed to have been closed
suddenly. The pitch darkness made the eyes doubly terrible, and just
perceptibly they moved and flashed which showed they were living eyes.
Pauline longed to scream, but could not. Behind those fiery points
imagination could picture all manner of horrible shapes. Was the
creature about to spring upon her?
The eyes vanished as suddenly as they had appeared.
The low rustling sound came again; then the utter silence.
Pauline, freed of the uncanny gaze, was able to think and act. If that
animal could find its way into her prison house, there must be another
entrance to the cave.
It was plain that the animal had been crouching on the slant rock above
the ledge. Pauline began again to grope around the wall. She could
touch the top of the ledge and now in several places she found small
crevices in the wall by which she tried to climb.
Time and again she fell back. Her soft hands were torn by the jagged
rock; her dress was in shreds; her golden hair fell down upon her
shoulders. She might have been some preternatural dweller of the
At last her foot held firm in a crevice three feet above the floor.
Clutching the ledge-top, she groped for another step--and found it.
In a moment she was on the ledge.
She sank there, covering her face with her hands. The eyes had blazed
again scarcely three feet away. She felt the breath of hot nostrils,
the rough hair of a beast, as the thing sprang. She felt that the end
had come, but she still clung to the ledge.
As she uncovered her eyes, slowly, she was astonished to see that the
faint light had returned. It came, as she had thought, over a
concealed shelf of stone above the rocky incline.
The eyes had vanished. The cave was still.
She began to scale the incline. Her hands and feet caught nubs and
slits of the surface and a little higher she felt the cool dampness of
earth and grasped the root of a tree. As she drew herself up, she
looked over the shelf and saw, at one end of it, the open day.
She crawled a little way upon the shelf then stopped. She hardly dared
to go on. What if the opening, large enough to admit the light, were
too small for her to pass through? What if the light had been only a
lure to torture her? What if she must return into the darkness with
that thing unknown, the thing with the blazing eyes!
She crept on with her eyes shut. A stronger glow of light upon the
closed lids told her she had reached the end of the shelving. The next
moment would tell her if she had reached freedom or renewed captivity.
She looked up.
Three of Red Snake's young warriors had gained most of the plaudits of
the village during the afternoon of the hunt. They rode together and
not only did they bring in many foxes and coyotes but much news of the
white people. They had met armed men throughout all the mountain
country, riding up and down the river. The armed men had greeted them
fairly and had asked them for information of other white men who had
stolen a girl and carried her away. The white men were thus fighting
among themselves. It was a propitious time for the coining of the new
These three young men, about five o'clock in the afternoon, had just
started the drive of a coyote towards the level country when the quarry
doubled suddenly and turned into the hills.
With shouts and shots, the Indians pursued it, but their horses were no
match for it on the devious wooded paths, and grunting their disgust
they saw it dive into a burrow in a rocky hollow of the cliff.
They dismounted and stood about the mouth of the burrow grumbling and
"cursing their luck" in an ancient tongue. At last two of them mounted
and started to ride away, and their companion followed, slowly, leading
A sound made him turn his head. With a cry of mingled fear and joy, of
awe and triumph, he threw himself prostrate before the mouth of the
The other Indians dashed back. They literally fell from their horses
to the feet of the wonderful being who had risen from the heart of the
earth--the promised goddess who would lead them against the
oppressors. In the poor, disheveled person of Pauline, coming from her
prison cave, they saw their great White Queen.
THE DEATH STONE
As the thrilled and frightened Indian lay prostrate at her feet, he
might well have believed her to be some creature from another world.
Her face was very pale and round it fell in tumultuous glory the
cascades of her golden hair. Her dress was torn to shreds by the
jagged rocks and there was blood upon the delicate hands that she held
out in pleading to the only living thing she saw-the red man.
He did not move. She stepped nearer and, stooping, gently touched his
shoulder. At the touch he trembled like a leaf, but raised his head
and looked at her with terror and awe and adoration in his eyes.
"Won't you help me? I have ben a prisoner in the cave. I must find
Mr. Haines--Haines, do you hear? Or go to Rockvale--Rockvale," she
repeated, hoping that the names at least he might understand.
He motioned questioningly toward his horse, and, at her nod, he sprang
up and brought the animal to her side. Helping her to mount, he took
the bridle and began to lead the way into the thickly wooded hills.
The journey was slow and arduous, but it was not long. Darkness had
not yet fallen when the hill trail dipped into a valley, and Pauline's
weary, hopeful eyes looked down upon a village on the plain.
The hope vanished quickly as she realized that the houses of the
village were teepees and that the people that moved among them were
braves and squaws.
An Indian boy of perhaps twelve years sprang suddenly from a thicket
beside the trail, gave one glance at her, and, with a shriek, set off
at full speed toward the teepees.
Cries sounded and resounded from the hills. Tom-toms were beating.
She became aware that the Indians were swarming about her and
acclaiming her a guest of unusual honor. They stopped her horse at the
entrance to Red Snake's teepee. The great chief stepped forth himself,
with Big Smoke, the medicine man, close behind him.
The prophet, who had foretold the coming of the Great White Queen, wore
a mien of pride and triumph, even as he bowed low before Pauline. But
of all the red folk in Shi-wah-ki village, Big Smoke was undoubtedly
the most amazed at the fulfillment of his prophecy.
The braves who were assigned to lift Pauline from her horse and bear
her into the Chief's teepee were surprised that one immortal should be
so weak as almost to fall into their arms, so weary as to be scarcely
able to walk. But Pauline, seated upon a high pile of furs within the
teepee, where the weird light of a fire fell upon her pallid features
and her flowing hair, presented a picture strange and marvelous.
They gathered around her, Red Snake and the medicine man in the center
of the adobe, the lesser chiefs behind them, and in another circle the
ranks of the braves.
Even in her utter exhaustion, the savage solemnity of the gathering
fascinated Pauline. Had she been left alone she would have fallen
asleep upon the piled furs; but this low muttering, grim-visaged
assemblage of the red men forced her to respectful attention. That
they honored her, she understood; but she saw, too, that the Indians
were all armed and some of them were painted. As Red Snake arose to
address the tribe a menacing murmur filled the teepee and the young
chiefs whetted their knives upon the ground.
Red Snake's harangue, unintelligible to Pauline, had an electrical
effect upon the Indians. Frequently as he spoke he turned toward her
and always when he did so he bent his head upon his breast and raised
his mighty arms in token of submission to a power mightier than his
As he finished, Pauline arose, swaying a little from her great
weakness. She shook her head in token that she did not understand.
Her outstretched, pleading hands bewildered, but subdued the warlike
Red Snake called a ringing summons, and from the rear circle of the
audience shuffled forward the strangest man Pauline had ever seen. His
undersized, stooping form was garbed in a miner's cast-off red shirt, a
ranchman's ex-trousers, a pair of tattered moccasins and a much-dented
derby hat, with a lone feather in the band of it. It was White Man's
Hat, a half-breed interpreter.
As he approached, cringing and bowing, Pauline noted that a
penetrating, not unkindly eye gleamed from under his bushy brow,
scrutinizing her in flashes between his obeisances. Unlike the other
Indians, he was not afraid to look the Great White Queen in the face,
as he solemnly repeated the last words of Red Snake:
"According to the prophecy, you have come from the heart of the world
to lead us against those who steal our land."
Pauline stood for a moment in complete bewilderment. Then, as the
meaning of the words, with the meaning of the strange gathering,
flashed upon her mind, she took a step forward, speaking in earnest
But she spoke only to the Chief, for the Indians had broken all
restraint and were crushing their way out of the teepee, with cries and
brandishing of weapons. They swept the little interpreter with them.
And Red Snake saw in Pauline's look and tone of appeal only the
pleading of a wronged goddess for vengeance upon her enemies. He
called the women of his household, who shyly led the Queen away.
Darkness had fallen as the women glided ahead of her to a spot outside
the main village, where a spacious teepee had been erected apart. Only
a peaceful moon and a firmament glittering with stars lighted their
path. But from the town behind came terrifying yells, the rattle of
tom-toms and occasionally a rifle shot as the braves prepared their
spirits for the test of battle. Pauline found her new home filled with
all the luxuries and sacred relics of the tribe. There were rugs
richer than those in the Chief's house; the walls were festooned with
strung beads, and on the large, low couch of bear skins lay the most
splendid of Indian raiment.
The women, with better understanding than men of the earthly needs of
immortals, made her lie down, while they bathed her aching temples and
wounded hands, replaced her torn garments with a gorgeous blanket robe
and smoothed her flying tresses into long comfortable braids. Other
women came bringing food. And there was a pipe and a pouch of agency
tobacco with which the goddess might soothe the hours before repose.
Pauline ate eagerly while the women looked oil in silent approval.
When she had finished, she arose smiling and signed to them that she
would rest. They left softly, and neither the exciting recollections
of the day's adventures nor the tumult of the braves outside could hold
her for a moment longer from the blessedness of sleep.
She slept far into the next morning. But so did the village, for the
Indians had reveled to exhaustion. It was nearly noon before she
attired herself in a fringed and beaded dress of buckskin, with
leggings and exquisite little moccasins and laughingly permitted one of
the women attendants to place a painted war feather in her hair. Thus
clad and with her wide braids falling, she sat regally to receive the
morning call of Red Snake. She was beginning to take a tremulous
pleasure in the game of being an immortal. Pauline's questing spirit
was too happy in adventure not to find a thrill in being thus
translated from hungering captive to reigning queen, from queen to
Red Snake's call was formal and politely brief. He brought with him
the amusing interpreter to inquire if the Spirit had found comfort in
the hospitality of his people, and more particularly if the war dance
of the preceding night had given her satisfaction.
Pauline replied, with gracious solemnity, that her Spirit had found
good repose and had been comforted by the pleasant music.
"And when will the White Queen lead us against our enemies--the men
of her own color, but not of her kind?" inquired the Chief with
Pauline hesitated an instant after the interpreter repeated the
question. Then, recovering herself, she answered gravely:
"Today, Red Snake, the Queen rests from her long journey out of the
Happy Hunting Ground. Tomorrow also. Upon the next day, perhaps, she
will lead the warriors."
The little interpreter's keen eyes flashed understandingly as he left
out the word "perhaps" in repeating her answer.
Red Snake was elated. He made profound salutations, promised that the
war party would do her honor, and hastened away to announce the news.
The interpreter lingered, pretending to smooth the door rug. He looked
up suddenly and his eyes met Pauline's with an expression of friendly
interest. Instinctively she accepted the tacitly offered friendship.
"You are a white man--you speak English," she said.
"Part white--part red. You speak all white," he added
"Of course," she whispered, stepping to his side. "I am not a Queen--
not a Spirit. I do not know why they believe I am. But I must get
away--to Rockvale, to Mr. Haines's ranch, to the white people
anywhere. You will help me?"
He looked at her pityingly now. He had believed that she was an
accomplice of the medicine man in a shrewd fraud, and he had merely
wanted to share the joke, risky as it was. To find her an accidental
and unwilling monarch struck him dumb.
"That is very hard," he said slowly. "Look!"
He parted the folds of the teepee door curtain so that she looked out
toward the village. Three women sat next the door and beyond were
groups of braves, still in their war paint, some conversing, some
stalwart and still. They seemed to be doing nothing in particular.
"Well?" questioned Pauline.
He led her across the teepee to a narrow slit in the rear curtain.
Through this she peered as she had peered through the door and saw
exactly what she had seen though the door--women crouching at their
tasks in the near foreground, an armed circle of warriors beyond.
Now she understood.
"I am a prisoner then?"
"They will guard you night and day."
"It was prophesied that a Great White Queen would come to lead them to
battle. You have come, as the prophet said, and you have promised to
lead them to battle. Above all, be proud, and not afraid."
The ioterpreter hesitated a moment.
"There was another White Queen whose coming was prophesied many
hundreds of years ago," he said. "She came. She led the Indians
victory over other Indians and then she vanished in the strangest way.
I would tell you of it--but I am afraid. They say her spirit is
always near. Some day you may know how she vanished."
Before she could speak again, he had glided out of the teepee.
While Pauline was away Harry had planned to accomplish mighty labors.
With masculine fatuity he let himself believe--before she went away
--that a man can get more work done with his goddess afar than when
Cupid has a desk in his office.
It did not take more than thirty-six hours to turn separation into
bereavement; not more than forty-eight to turn his "freedom for work"
into slavery to the fidgets. The office, instead of a refuge, became
a prison to him. However, he made a pretense of sticking to the grind,
and it was not until the Thursday on which his chartings showed Pauline
would arrive at Rockvale that he actually quit and went home.
He slipped into the library to be alone. It was more restful here. As
he sat in the great leather chair and unfolded a newspaper, the
portrait of Pauline smiled brightly down at him in seeming
camaraderie. At his side stood the Mummy so intimately associated with
her and his dead father's strange vision from the tomb.
Harry began to read, but he was still nervous to the point of
excitement, and his thoughts wandered from the words. He was suddenly
conscious of another presence in the room. He let the paper fall and
gazed intently at the portrait.
But a moment later, Harry Marvin sprang excitedly from the chair and
fairly leaped towards the picture. From somewhere out of the dim air
of the library a hand had reached and touched his. It had touched his
shoulder and then, with a commanding finger, had pointed upward at the
picture on the wall.
"The Mummy! It has warned again," gasped Harry. "Polly, Polly!" he
cried to the portrait, "I'm coming. Just hold on."
He strode bark to the table and pressed a bell.
"Tell Reynolds to pack me up, Bemis," he charged the astonished
butler. "Tell him it's for Montana in a rush. Have a machine ready
for me in fifteen minutes."
Even Bemis's constitutional aversion to haste was overridden. He sped
into the hall, calling to the valet, as Harry picked up a telephone.
"Hello, this is H. B. Marvin. I want our private car attached to the
Chicago flyer," he said. "No matter if it holds up the flyer, I'll
have President Grigsby's authorization in your hands in five minutes.
Thank you. Goodbye."
As he reached the door of the machine, a messenger boy turned up the
steps. Harry called to him, took the telegram and read Mrs. Haines'
message: "Pauline kidnapped; come at once."
With a muffled ejaculation, he dropped the slip of paper and sprang
into the car, which in ten minutes pulled up to the station just as the
disgruntled, but curious trainmen were coupling the luxurious Marvinia
to the eighteen-hour express.
Owen coming quietly down the steps of the Marvin house, picked up the
telegram which Harry had let fall. Reading it, he smiled, and he was
still smiling when another messenger boy followed him to the door.
Owen took the second message and the smile broadened into an ugly grin
as he read:
"Raymond Owen Fifth avenue, New York. All's well.
Five days after the disappearance of Pauline, the express stopped again
at Rockvale station. As Harry swung from the rear step to the dingy
platform, there were many curious eyes to observe his arrival, but the
watchers were mostly women and children. The men of Rockvale were
still out on the long hunt for Pauline.
Harry hurried first to the station telephone. Sikes had got Mrs.
Haines on the wire as soon as the smoke of the express had been sighted
ten miles away. But all she could tell Harry was that there was
nothing to tell. His lips were set in a hard line as he hung up the
receiver. He asked a few hasty questions of Sikes, hurried across to
the little hotel, paid for a room and hired a horse. Blankets and
provisions strapped behind, he was out and away up the road to the
mountains within an hour.
And while he urged his sturdy little mount to better speed on his
uncharted journey, Pauline, not twenty miles away, was preparing for
the last journey she might ever make.
The blow had fallen. Her royal place, her immortal power had
The Indians had permitted one postponement of the day of battle. She
had said that the Spirits had spoken to her and warned against
bloodshed upon that day. It should be the second day thereafter the
Spirits had said. The Indians were disappointed, but they bowed to the
The morrow passed quietly, but on the next day--the fifth of her
royal captivity--she was summoned from her house by the assembled
chiefs in battle paint and feathers. She tried to whisper through the
doorway that the Spirits had forbidden again, but Red Snake answered:
"You are greater than all other Spirits; you will lead us today!"
"Tell them," said Pauline to the interpreter, "that the White Queen
does not lead today!"
Red Snake, his face black with anger, after haranguing the chiefs,
turned to Pauline:
"Daughter of the Earth--twice our warriors have been ready for battle
and you would not lead them. Today you must go before the Oracle and
prove your immortality. The Oracle will tell."
The warriors departed; only the little interpreter remained.
"What does it mean?" cried Pauline.
"It is the race with the Great Death Stone," he answered, and his own
voice trembled. "But," he whispered, "I will ride. I will try to find
He slipped under the back of the teepee. Unseen by the excited
Indians, he made his way to the line of ponies, with lariats and rifles
swung from their saddles. He picked one and, mounting, rode slowly out
of the village, speaking here and there to the braves he met.
Pauline, left alone, fell upon her knees and prayed.
Harry met Haines and two of his posse on the road to the mountains.
They were on their way back to a general rendezvous ordered by the
Sheriff, but Harry continued on his way up the mountain.
Mile after mile the little mustang put behind him while the sun was
still high. On the slope of a hill they came to a crossroads, and
Harry, riding almost blindly, reined to the right.
The pony swerved wildly to the left.
Instinctively Harry gave the frightened horse its head.
A half mile farther on the animal stopped and sniffed the wind. At the
same instant Harry heard a feeble shout from the road. A weirdly
garbed little half breed lay on the ground holding the bridle of the
horse that had thrown him.
"Ankle gone," he explained. "Riding for help, I help was. You ride
now. White girl--they're killing her up there now."
"White girl? Where? Talk fast, man."
"Two miles over the mountain and down to the valley straight ahead.
You go to the bottom of the valley, not to the top--not where the
Indians are. Climb tree; take my rope; it's the only chance now."
Harry caught the coiled lariat from the other's saddle and rode as he
had never ridden before. All was vague in his mind, except that
Pauline was near, was in peril, and he must reach her.
How, by road and trail, he ever reached the Valley of the Death Stone
Harry never knew. Perhaps chance, perhaps some invisible courier
guided him to the lonely spot. After long, hard riding he was
attracted by the low rumble of many voices lifted in a sort of chant.
Following the voices, he came to the foot of a steep cliff side where a
long trench, partly of natural formation, partly hewn from the stone,
made a chute or runway from mountain top to valley.
At the upper end of the runway a motley band of Indians were engaged in
some weird worship. Harry started his horse up the steep in the
shelter of the woods. When he came to a spot where a huge tree limb
crossed the runway, he remembered the little half breed's words, "Climb
the tree; it is the only chance."
Almost at the same instant from the midst of the Indian group emerged
two giant braves carrying a white woman between them. They placed her
in the runway. Her golden hair, unbound, floated on the wind.
Harry choked back a cry, threw aside his rifle, caught the lariat, and,
swinging up the tree, crawled swiftly out on the overhanging limb.
Concealed by the foliage he waited.
A rifle cracked, and, for the first time, he saw that at the top of the
runway, behind Pauline, the stood a mighty boulder, almost perfectly
round, the diameter of which--about five feet--fitted the trench so
well that it could roll in it like a ball in a bowling gutter.
None even among the Indians knew how many times the Stone of Death had
rolled and been dragged back again to the top of the cliff. The stains
upon it were unnumbered. Up on its surface was written in blood the
doom of the false prophets and pretending immortals. None had ever won
in the race with the Death Stone.
The crack of the rifle was the signal for a group of red men to press
behind the stone to free it on its fearful course. It was also the
signal for Pauline to run. Her hair streamed wildly in the wind as she
sped, like a frightened deer, down the deadly path.
The rifle sounded again and the Indians heaved the stone into the
It rumbled as it came on. It gained upon the fleeing girl. They had
planned to prolong the torture by giving her a hopeless lead.
Dancing, gesticulating, shouting, the Indians watched the race. Only
one watcher was silent and motionless. Hidden by the leaves he braced
himself upon the tree limb. For the first moments after the rock was
released he had turned sick and dizzy. Now, as they came near--the
thing relentless but inanimate pursuing the thing helpless, beautiful
and most precious to him of all things in the world, not the quiver of
a muscle hindered the desperate task that he had set himself.
A moment later he was sobbing like a child as he half dragged, half
carried Pauline to his waiting horse. By the magic of luck, by the
mystery of a protecting Fate, the lariat noose had fallen about her
shoulders. To the amazed and terrified Indians up the cliff she had
soared suddenly, spirit-like, out of the trench and vanished in the
foliage of the tree, while the boulder thundered on, cheated of its
But swiftly out of the woods upon the open plain below appeared a rider
with a woman clasped before him on the saddle.
The baffled Indians scurried for their horses. They reached the
valley. They gained upon the burdened horseman and his tired horse.
They fired as they rode, the bullets spitting venomously in the dust
around Harry and Pauline.
The pony stumbled. Harry jerked it up and it struggled bravely on, but
the cries behind sounded louder.
The bullets hit nearer.
Suddenly the firing increased. There were more cries. And Harry,
reining the pony saw, galloping over the ridge to the westward, the
full posse of Hal Haines. They fired as they came. They cut between
him and the Indians. He stopped the pony and lifted Pauline to the
"My precious one, God bless you and forgive us all," sobbed Mrs. Haines
as Polly was caught in her mothering embrace. "And you--you had to
come all the way from New York to save her," she added, turning to
"Don't say anything about it, Mrs. Haines," he said in a stage
whisper. "I came out here to rest and avoid publicity."
SOPHIE MCALLAN'S WEDDING
A few days after their return from Montana Pauline sat reading by the
library window. They had come late to the country this Summer and the
park of Castle Marvin had had time to leave and bloom into utter
splendor. It was like a flowery kingdom in the Land of Faery, and as
her eyes were lifted listlessly now and then from the printed page,
they roamed over the garden which lay like some vast and radiant
Oriental rug in Nature's palace hall. The distant forest was the
palace wall, tapestried in green; its dome, a sky of tender blue; its
lamp, the morning sun; its Prince, her Harry standing in the garden.
"He should always stand in the garden," thought Pauline tenderly. "The
flowers are such a splendid foil for him."
She shut her eyes in sheer satiety of beauty. Not even the shabby man
mopping his hot forehead as he came along the road, marred the
picture. She was a little surprised to see him, a moment later,
talking in an easy way with Harry but there was no false pride in her
lover--brother and all men were his friends until they proved
themselves his enemies. All except Owen.
The shabby man, holding his hat between his nervous hands, was
evidently an applicant for work. Harry pointed to the flower beds and
the rose trees with a nod of inquiry. The man assented vaguely. And
they came on up the path together, making their way towards the
servants' quarters over the garage. Harry paused at the window:
"I have hired a new gardener, who does not know his own name," he said
as they passed on.
Pauline turned back to the pages of the Cosmopolitan. A picture in an
article on the motor races caught her eye and held it for some reason
that she did not at first understand. It was a picture of a man in
auto-racer's costume, with a helmet tight upon his head and the keen
features and daring eyes peculiar to those who live by peril. She had
started to read the caption when she was interrupted by Bemis bringing
her letters. With a little flutter of pleasure, womanlike, she began
to read the letters from their postmarks before opening them. She hit
upon one that brought a little peal of laughter from her, and she
opened it eagerly and read:
"Walter and I want you and Harry to be with us at the wedding. Don't
faint. We decided only yesterday, and it's going to be very quiet,
with just the few people whom we can reach with informal notes like
this. You can motor over in an hour. Tell Harry our lions arrived
last Thursday from Germany, and after the wedding the keeper will
exhibit them. If Harry won't come to see me married, he'll come to see
"Yours in a flurry, Sophie McAllan."
Pauline laughed again. It was like her unconventional chum, Sophie, to
arrange her wedding with the same startling haste that had marked all
the breathless events of her life. The lions she mentioned were
typical of her original ideas. She had suddenly announced to her
parents one day that she was tired of domestic animals and was going to
keep lions instead. And her amused and amazed father had not only been
forced to yield, but to keep his eye out all over Europe, Asia and
Africa for new bargains in well bred lions ever since.
It was also typical of Sophie that she had selected from among all the
dashing wooers; at her heels, Walter Trumwell, simple and sedate, who
was horrified by her pranks and shocked by her use of slang, but who
adored her with the devotion of a frightened puppy. Their engagement
had been long announced. It was only in its high-handed abruptness
that the wedding was a surprise.
Pauline dropped the letter on the table and hurried from the room to
look for Harry.
He had head her first call and was coming in from the garage. Pausing
at the door of the library, where he had last seen her, he narrowly
avoided a collision with Owen, who was hurrying out. The look of
covert guilt on the secretary's face aroused his latent suspicion. But
Owen, quickly recovering himself, bowed, apologized and passed on.
Harry stepped into the library. He saw the open letter on the table,
looked at the envelope and saw that, he was included in the address.
He read the letter, and the old look of trouble came into his eyes as
he turned to see if Owen were watching.
As he stepped into the hall he saw the secretary leaving the house. He
stood in the doorway and watched Owen depart in his own machine, driven
by his own chauffeur, a sullen young fellow whom the other employees
held in aversion.
"He's up to something. I wonder what harm he could do at the McCallan
wedding," muttered Harry, as he moved down the steps and out to where
the new gardener was working. The man had been greatly improved as to
cleanliness and clothes, but there was still the strange distant look
in his eyes as he got up from a flower bed to speak to Harry.
Pauline, after circling the house in vain search of her brother, had
returned to her unread letters and her magazine.
As she lifted the latter from the table, the picture of the man in
racing costume again struck her eye, and this time she read the
"Ralph Palmer, whose skull was fractured in the Vanderbilt Cup Race and
who disappeared from a hospital six weeks ago."
She studied the face again. It seemed the living likeness of one whom
she had seen dead. Suddenly her thoughts crystallized and she sprang
up. She rushed again to the front door, carrying the magazine open and
saw Harry and the gardener talking on the path. She ran down to them.
The gardener took off his hat, but Pauline looked at him with such
piercing scrutiny that he hurried to resume his work. Harry, after a
brief affectionate greeting, turned to give some last instructions,
and, behind his back, Pauline stole another look at the magazine.
"It is; I am sure it is," she said half aloud.
Harry turned quickly. "What is, dear goddess of the garden?" he asked
Pauline closed the magazine abruptly.
"Oh! I--I was dreaming," she answered, with a little nervous laugh.
"You can't have a dream when you are one," he said, putting his arm
about her waist as they moved back towards the house.
"I have news," she exclaimed, remembering the wedding invitation.
"Sophie McCallan is to be married tonight--just like that--without
telling till the last minute."
"I read the letter in the library."
"Did you tell Farrell to have the car ready?"
"I will, dearest. But I am not sure that I can go."
"But you must go."
"I got a telegram this morning, and I must go into town."
"To New York! Oh, Hairy, I simply hate your old business. Haven't we
got enough money without trying to make all there is in the world?
"No, not to New York--just into Westbury, Miss Firebrand. I must use
the wire direct to the office."
"Absurd. Why don't you telephone your message?"
"Code messages, dear. They can't be talked."
"But you'll be back in time to go with me?"
"I'll do my best. I'm starting directly. There's Farrell with the
"But Farrell must get my car ready."
"He will. Farrell isn't going with me."
Her threats and pretty pleadings followed him as he drove away. But
Harry did not drive towards Westbury farther than the first
crossroads. Instead, he swerved out across country towards Windywild,
the great McCallan estate. Only a vague purpose moved him. His
suspicions were groping. But he was forming dimly in his mind a plan
to keep Pauline away from the McCallan wedding. Premonition whispered
that even among the nuptial gayeties there might be danger.
On the crest of Winton's Hill, from which the road slopes down to
beautiful Windywild through parked forests, but from which the rambling
white villa, with its barns and garage can be seen in striking
bird's-eye view, Harry stopped his machine.
To his far vision there was no unusual stir about the McCallan house,
in spite of the wedding day. Owen's car was not at the gate nor in the
yard, and he certainly would not have sent it to the garage if he were
making a business visit to the manager of the estate.
With a hateful sense of spying on the innocent and the sincere dread of
being met there by anyone--even by Owen--he was about to turn
around, go back and agree to take Pauline to the wedding, when the
movement of a figure through the distant garage yard made him stiffen
to attention and strain his gaze.
In an instant he had whipped his binoculars from under the seat of the
runabout and was staring through them at the establishment below. A
few moments afterwards he carefully replaced the glasses, and drove
Owen had left the Marvin place in haste, seemingly intent upon a direct
and important errand, but if any one had seen where the car stopped an
hour later, both the haste and the errand would still have been
They were in the loneliest stretch of woods a half mile beyond the
McCallan house when Owen leaned forward and said to his driver: "You
may stop here."
"Yes, sir," answered the young man with a respect that he showed to no
one else. He drew the machine to the roadside and then asked: "Am I to
go with you or stay here?"
"Stay here," answered Owen. "But don't sit there lolling in the seat.
We have broken down--you understand--and you will keep us broken
down and keep on mending the machine until I return."
Owen, who was not averse to physical effort when his dearest object was
at stake, walked the half mile to Windywild rapidly. Unlike Harry's,
Owen's plans were definite and fixed.
He strode through the front gate but took his way immediately to the
stable in front of which two grooms were currying a restless horse.
"Hello, Simon," said Owen. "My car has broken down up the road here. I
wonder if you can help me out."
"I guess so," said the groom, not very cheerfully.
"We got plenty to do today as it is, Mr. Owen, with the weddin' party
on an' them gol blamed lions to look after."
"Who talka da lions?" cried a grim voice, and, turning, Owen pretended
to see for the first time a short, heavy set man of the gypsy type,
seated on a box at the stable door smoking a cigarette and evidently
regarding all the world as the object of his personal hate.
"Why, who is that man?" asked Owen of the groom in a tone of
condescending interest. "Where have I seen him before?"
"If ye ever saw him before, ye wouldn't want to see him again,"
declared the groom. "He's Garcia, Miss Sophie's new lion tamer, but we
ain't had time to tame him yet. He's wild."
The answer to this taunt was a rush from Garcia, who, uttering an
unintelligible roar that might have done credit to one of his lions,
sprang towards the groom. The latter took quick refuge behind the
The man's fury made Owen step aside, too, but he looked on with an
appreciative smile. As Garcia came back, growling, to his seat on the
box, the secretary stepped up to him and held out his hand.
"Is it really you?" he said, the patronage in his voice offsetting the
familiarity of his manner.
"If it looks like me, it is me," snarled the Gypsy. "Him--over
there," he cried, pointing to the groom, "he donta looka like his own
face if I get him."
"Come, old friend," said Owen in a low voice. "Don't you remember me?
Don't you remember the Zoological Garden in Brussels and the lion that
bent a cage so easily one day that it killed Herr Bruner, of Berlin."
The last words spoken almost in a whisper, had an electrical effect
upon the lion tamer. He fairly writhed in his seat and cowered away
from Owen as from one who held a knife over his head.
It was at this moment that Harry, looking from the hill, put away his
binoculars and turned his car around.
"Come, let's see the lions, may I?" asked Owen, cheerily ignoring the
man's terror, secretly enjoying it.
Without a word Garcia led the way into the stables.
The lions, six in number, were quartered in box stalls rebuilt with
heavy steel bars. They had been quiet, but the sight of a stranger set
them wild and their roaring thundered through the building.
Garcia led Owen to farthest cage and stopped abruptly.
"You after me?" he inquired, his nerve partially recovered.
"Yes, but to help you, not to harm you, old friend."
"You lie, I theenk. You tella the police of the leetle accident in
"No, indeed; you are too useful a man to lose, Garcia. Besides, I need
The gypsy held up his hands in refusal. "No," he whispered. "I hava
one dead man's face here always." He pointed to his eyes. "I cry it
away; I go all over da world. I not forget. He not forget. He folla
Owen laughed. "Come, come," he said, "you are foolish. You had
nothing to do with that affair, except to loosen one little bar ever so
little. (Garcia groaned.) And it would be just as easy to leave say a
cage door open tonight while they're having the wedding."
"I mean only a little joke. Nobody will be hurt, I feel sure. Of
course, if any one should be, you could not be blamed. Come, I want a
quick answer. If you won't do it, of course--you don't want anything
said about Brussels, do you, old friend?"
The man uttered another cry.
Owen drew money from his pocket. The man seized it greedily. If he
was to do the blackest of deeds, there was nothing in his conscience to
prevent him from profiting.
"Tonight--during the wedding, remember," said Owen. "I will give you
the signal. And, mind, you brute, if you don't do it, you know what
I'll do to you."
A few moments later he was out chatting cheerily with the grooms. "I'm
not going to ask you to help me with the car, Simon," he said. "You're
too crowded today, I see. I'll send Farrell up to the Hodgins House
and wait for him. Good-day."
He swung off down the road, greatly at peace with all the world. He
did not even rebuke his chauffeur when he caught him loafing on the
Harry and the household chauffeur, Farrell, were talking together
outside the garage and Harry was handing a $10 bill to Farrell, who
grinned broadly as he pocketed it. Owen saw nothing in this to cause
him apprehension. Harry was always generous with the employees. It
was well for Owen's plan that he should go to the wedding in so
pleasant a mood.
Pauline looked up from her book as Harry entered the library.
"I'm so happy," she cried. "You are a darling boy to come home so
He accepted her rewarding kiss gratefully.
"Yes, I think it's all right," he said, "though there are some serious
matters in hand at the office."
The butler appeared at the door. "Farrell asks if he may have a word
with you, Sir."
"Farrell? Why, yes; let him come here."
The chauffeur, cap in hand, stepped into the room.
"Guess I got to take the big car to New York, Sir. I haven't got the
parts to fix it, and I can't get them nowhere but in New York."
"Very well; that's all right, Farrell."
"But be back surely by four o'clock, Farrell," warned Pauline. "You
are the only driver I have."
"Oh, I'll get back all right, Miss."
But immediately after uttering these words in a tone of perfect
respect, Farrell committed an astonishing offense against the laws that
separate servitor and employer. He caught the shimmer of a wink upon
Harry's eye, and he had the audacity to return it.
Three minutes afterwards Farrell did a stranger thing. Going direct
from the house to the telephone in the garage, he took up the receiver
and called up the house. Owen, passing by, stopped spellbound, at the
door, to hear these mandatory words spoken by the chauffeur to Harry
Marvin, whose answering voice could actually be heard by Owen through
the open window of the library.
"Mr. Marvin, you are needed at your office. Come at once," phoned
He was grinning again as he came out of the garage, got into a machine
and drove away. Owen gazed after him with puzzled, lowering brows.
PALMER COMES BACK
Harry had just hung up the receiver of the telephone and had turned to
Pauline with feigned disappointment.
"My office is calling me," he said. "I'm needed there at once. I
shan't be able to go to the wedding."
The sight of the happiness fading from her flowerlike face filled him
with shame. It was the first time in his life that he had lied to her
and he was half sorry now that he had done so. But he must go through
with it now, and if there was apology in the kisses he pressed on her
reproachful eyes it was not confessed.
"I am going to the wedding just the same," declared Pauline.
"Of course, you are," he agreed heartily. "Farrell will be back with
the car by five o'clock."
"But who will chaperon me?" she objected, woman-like, to her own
decision. "It would look absurd to take Margaret, and Owen isn't
"You will not need a chaperon going over--provided Farrell gets
back," he said as he took his hat from the table.
"You mean you don't believe Farrell will get back!" she exclaimed.
"You are treating me like a child. You don't want me to go to the
wedding just because you can't go."
"Now, don't, don't," he pleaded, as she started to leave the room. "I
don't mean anything of the kind. I mean Farrell is the only man who
can drive the large car or the roadster safely. There is no reason in
the world why he shouldn't get back."
"And how am I to come home?" she demanded, turning again toward him.
"I will call for you in the runabout on my way from New York. Perhaps
even I shall be able to arrive in time to greet the happy pair," he
added cheerfully. "You'll make my excuses."
Owen, who was listening at the door, had just time, to glide away
before Harry hurried out.
The young master of the house had driven far toward the station before
the secretary returned to the library.
This time he entered and pretended to be hunting for a magazine.
Pauline's disconsolate face gave him the excuse he desired.
"Why, Miss Marvin, has anything happened?" he asked in a tone of
"Oh, everything has gone wrong," she cried, almost in tears.
"What do you mean?"
"Harry is called to the city just when we are invited to Sophie
McCallan's wedding, and Farrell has taken the limousine for some silly
repairs. They'll not get back; I know they'll not. They never do."
"But, Miss Marvin?"
"Oh, don't try to apologize for him. He cares more for his old
business than he does for me. He makes automobiles himself, and yet I
can't have enough for my own personal use. I'm sorry I forgave him,"
"You are right, Miss Marvin; it is an outrage."
She looked at Owen in astonishment. It was the first time she had ever
heard him venture a critical word against Harry.
"I think it is your fault," she declared. "You are the one who should
see that I have cars and drivers--everything I want."
"But you know the machines have not come from the town house, Miss
Marvin. They will be here tomorrow."
"Well, Owen, it isn't for you to say that what my brother does is an
outrage. He does everything for the best."
"Miss Marvin, Harry is lying to you," he said quietly. "He and your
chauffeur have formed a plot against you. Your car will not be back
this afternoon at all."
She sprang to her feet, furious.
"Owen, be still! How do you dare to say such things?"
Raymond Owen had found his great moment, His enemy had set his own
trap and Owen would see that he should not escape easily. The
opportunity to break forever the bond of faith and affection between
Harry and Pauline had come. His voice rose as he poured out his
revelations and denunciations.
Pauline was leaving the room, when he thrust himself before her.
"You must hear me. I know what I say is true. It hurts me as deeply
as it will hurt you, but you must hear it. I believe I have discovered
--by the merest accident--the cause of all your perils. The plots
against you have been arranged at home."
"You are mad. I will not listen to you. Let me pass."
"Not until you have heard," he declared firmly.
"I was passing the door of the garage only a few moments ago," he went
on in a rapid whisper. "I saw Farrell at the telephone. He called the
private house number--the number of this phone on the table. You and
Mr. Marvin were sitting here. I was so surprised that I stopped and
listened to Farrell's words. I could see Mr. Marvin listening at the
phone here. Farrell said: 'Mr. Marvin, you are needed at your
office. Come at once.' Then he hung up the receiver and came out,
laughing. He got into the limousine and drove off towards the city.
If he could drive the limousine to the city, could he not drive it to
the McCallan's for you?"
Pauline put her hands to her ears with a protesting cry.
"It isn't true," she whispered. "It is only a scheme of Farrell's to
get an afternoon off."
"It is a scheme of Harry's to keep you from the wedding--for what
purpose only he knows. It is one of many schemes that have held your
life in constant peril. I saw their plan arranged. I saw your brother
hand money to Farrell at the door of the garage and they parted,
Pauline's mind whirled. "I won't believe it! I can't; I can't!" she
cried. Doubt and fear and fury mingled in her breast. Weeping
tumultuously, she rushed past Owen and up to her own room.
Two hours later, the struggle over, she called Margaret, who bathed her
hot temples and dressed her for the wedding.
Harry Marvin, in town, tried his best to make good use of the time he
had stolen. But the thought of his well-meant chicanery was heavy on
his mind and it was not unmixed with apprehension. After all, Pauline
might find a way to go to the wedding. Might he not, instead of having
averted a danger, simply have absented himself from the scene of danger
when he was most needed? His nervousness increased. He found himself
incapable of work, and at three o'clock, to the surprise of his clerks,
who had thought his unexpected visit must mean an important conference
of directors, he called a taxicab and started for Westbury. But he had
no intention of going to Castle Marvin unless it was necessary. He
meant to telephone from Westbury and learn whether or not Pauline had
gone to the wedding. If she had not, he would remain away until late.
A few minutes before four o'clock, Farrell, with his pretty wife whom
he had called to share his plot and his holiday, drove up to a rural
telegraph office. They were both laughing as Farrell handed this
message to the operator:
Miss Pauline Marvin, Castle Marvin, Westbury. Blow-out. Can't get back
this evening. George Farre
"You--don't want to say what kind of a blow-out it is, do you?"
grinned the operator, glancing out of the window at the spic and span
"If you don't see everything you look at, you'll save your eyesight,"
replied Farrell cheerfully.
At the next town he telephoned to the Marvin office in New York. He
came out of the booth with a worried look.
"The boss has left in a taxi for home," he said. "Wonder what that
means. Guess we better sort of travel along towards Westbury. He
might need me."
They changed their course and had driven for some time at an easy rate
through the smiling country when the sound of a machine coming up
speedily behind caused Farrell to look around. The passenger in the
open cab waved his hand and Farrell, saluting, slowed down. The cars
stopped, side by side. Harry raised his hat to the young woman.
"You're not going home, are you, Farrell?" he said.
"I heard you'd left the office and I thought something might have
happened, and I'd be near enough so you could get me quick."
"Nothing has happened. I'll get along nicely with this cab. You'd
better keep a good distance and not come home until tomorrow morning."
"Very well, sir. That suits us fine." Farrell grinned.
The taxi started on and Farrell turned off at the next crossroad.
"He's a great boss, but a queer one," he said to his wife. "It's a
queer family all around. I wonder what's being cooked up now."
As the time of Farrell's expected return drew near Pauline's despair
and anger increased with every moment. When four o'clock struck she
arose and walked nervously out to the garage to ask if any word had
been received from Farrell. She found Owen there.
As she turned toward him, after her futile questioning, Pauline's grief
suddenly mounted to anger.
"It is after four, and Farrell has not returned," she exclaimed.
She had come out to the yard in the exquisite white gown that she was
to wear to the wedding, a flashing jewel at her white throat, her hair
done regally high. Now, in her anger, she was a picture of fury made
Her outburst was interrupted by a messenger boy with a telegram. She
opened the message with nervous fingers.
"Blow out. Can't get back this evening," she read.
She tore the message into pieces, dropped them and, stamped upon them
with her white slippers.
"It's true, it's true!" she cried, turning desperately to Owen.
"I am terribly, hopelessly sorry--but I knew that it was true," he
At this moment along the drive came the new gardener wheeling a barrow
of fresh mold, his rake and hoe lying across it. "Palmer!" Pauline
The man let fall the barrow as if he had been cut with a whip lash. He
looked up and for an instant his dazed eyes seemed to brighten. Then
he picked up the barrow as if no one had spoken and went on.
Pauline followed him.
"Bring out the roadster," she called over her shoulder, and, as she
stopped beside the gardener. The garage men, bewildered, but used to
the kindly vagaries of their pretty employer, sent the machine down
"Can you drive an automobile, Palmer?" asked Pauline.
This time the man's eyes did not brighten. He looked at her
respectfully, but dully. She drew him to the car and repeated the
question. He only grinned foolishly and kept on shaking his head.
"Wait," she said, and, running back to the house, reappeared directly
wearing her hat and flowing white wrap. "Come, Palmer, you must drive
me to the wedding," she declared.
She made him get into the car and take the wheel. As she got in beside
him, his hands fumbled aimlessly with the lever.
"Palmer! Palmer!" she dinned his forgotten name into his ears. "Don't
you remember the race, the road, the flying cars, the speed, the
speed! Don't you remember the man who was in the lead--the man the
crowd cheered for? That was you, Palmer, the greatest of all the
She leaned forward in the seat, arms outstretched as if holding a
tugging wheel, eyes set straight ahead, slippered feet threading
imaginary levers, graceful body swerving.
He watched her, frowning. A vague purpose seemed to animate the hand
groping with the levers.
"Wake up, Palmer! It's time for the race--the Vanderbilt Cup. Kirby
and Michaels have started. There's Wharton coming to the line. Don't
you see the crowds? Can't you hear them cheering? Palmer! Palmer! *
* * Yes, we're coming! * * * Palmer is coming back. * * * Way there!"
He found the self-starter; the engine sounded. He found the clutch and
gears. His eyes were shut. The car started slowly and he opened his
eyes. Pauline sank back in the seat, laughing and clapping her hands,
"Bravo, Palmer!" she exulted.
The astonished workmen saw them glide through the outer gate. Raymond
Owen from his window saw them and rubbed his hands pleasantly. Fate
indeed seemed to be favoring his deadly work today!
The car swung into the highway.
"Drive faster," commanded Pauline.
The listless hands hardened on the wheel. She saw him bend over and
fix his vision on the road. She thrilled at the miracle she had
More speed, and the wind blew her cape from her shoulders; the dust
beat in her face. She merely tightened her veil and sat silent.
"Take the first turn to the right," she called in his ear as they
neared the crossroad. He did not slacken the speed.
"It's a sharp turn; slow a little," she cautioned. He did not seem to
She placed her hand sharply on his arm. He drove past the crossroad,
the speed to the last notch.
Pauline tried to stand up in the seat and seize the wheel. He thrust
her back with one hand, not even looking at her. He was leaning far
over the wheel now, his eyes blazing. She could see the beat of blood
in his temple.
"Stop! Stop! You are on the wrong road. You will kill us both!" she
screamed in his deaf ears. She tried again to wrest the wheel from
him, but this time he held her fast after he had flung her back. She
had raised up a Frankenstein for her own destruction. She was being
driven by a madman.
As they took the curve outside Westbury village another car filled with
men and women fairly grazed them. The women screamed and the men
shouted wildly after them. But they flashed on.
Down the hill at Gangley's Mills the pace grew even greater. From the
west prong of the road fork at the bottom a taxicab shot into view.
There was a shout of warning, a rattle and creak as the taxi swerved,
safe by inches.
On the skirts of Clayville a group of farmers and a constable were
arguing a roadside dispute. Pauline could see dim figures leap into
the road waving arms; she could hear them shouting. The figures jumped
to either side as Palmer drove through the group.
They sprang back into the road, cursing and shaking their fists, only
to be routed anew by the rush of the taxicab following.
The roadster straightened out on the ledge of Scrogg Hill. In spite of
the curve and the precipice Palmer held his speed. His daring, his
utter mastery, stirred a kind of admiration in Pauline and the death
she saw looming stirred anew her courage. She wrenched her arm free
from his grip. She stood up and swung her weight against the man,
rasping for the wheel. The car swerved toward the cliff, but he jerked
it back, striking at her brutally with his free hand. She fell in the
seat, but returned, desperate, to the encounter. She caught the
wheel. She tried to command it, but his strength drew the other way.
The machine shot toward the abyss. There was a crackle as the wooden
guide fence splintered under the wheels. There was a crash!
Harry, leaning from the taxicab behind, uttered a groan. The roadster
had gone over the cliff.
Fifty feet down the rock-gnarled hillside they took Pauline from the
clutch of the dead driver. His fall had broken hers and it was only
from fear that she had fainted. Harry, pressing the taxi driver's
flask to her lips, saw her eyes open and his cry was like a prayer of
When Harry lifted Pauline to carry her to the taxicab, to his abasement
he felt her hands press him away. He thought she had not yet
recovered, that she believed herself still in the grasp of the madman.
He set her on her feet and looked at her questioningly.
Without a word she turned from him and started up the road.
"Pauline!" he cried. "What do you mean? Don't you know me? It's
She kept on without turning. He caught her by the arm. "Don't you
know me, your brother?" he pleaded.
She turned, tremblingly. "You are not my brother," she blazed. "And I
did not know you until today."
"You are hurt and ill, dearest. Come, let me take you home."
She walked on up the road.
"But where are you going?" he demanded.
"I am going to the wedding. You tried to keep me away by your base
trick but you can't do it."
Now he understood. "I know; I know," he groaned. "It was the meanest
and most useless thing. But I did not think it was safe for you to go
to the wedding. I am sorry to the bottom of my heart."
"Goodbye," she said coldly, walking on.
"But you can't go like that," he exclaimed, pointing to her torn and
draggled clothes, her unfastened hair.
"It is better to go to friends whom I can trust," she said coldly, and
As gently as he could he lifted her in his arms and carried her to the
taxicab. Placing her in the seat he followed, and as the machine
started began to pour out his repentance. She would not even answer,
but sat with averted face, weeping and trembling.
At last she became quiet. He drew her tattered wrap closer about her
shoulders and put his arm around her so that her head rested against
his breast. A moment later, looking down, he was surprised to see that
she was smiling like a tired child.
A HOT YOUNG COMET
"That's right; praise her; pet her; make her think she's great, so
she'll do it all over again."
Harry turned away wrathfully from the joyous greetings of Lucille and
Chauncey Hamlin to Pauline.
"Harry is quite right," said Lucille. "I ought to snub you entirely.
It is disgraceful, it's wicked to be as brave as you are, Polly."
"Oh, I say, Lucy," pleaded her brother. "You'll have Miss Pauline all
"She likes it," snapped Harry. "She's been upset out of everything
from a balloon to a house afire, and now she's looking for new
"Polly! You wouldn't try it again! You don't want any more thrills
after this?" Lucille's astonishment was sincere.
Pauline cast a serpentine glance at Harry. "Am I to live quietly at
home with a creature like him?" she inquired.
"Why don't you have me beheaded, O Great White Queen?"
"The braves are reserved for torture. Where are you people going so
bright and early?" she added turning to Chauncey.
"Going to take you for a little morning spin. Car's perfectly safe."
"Yes, do come along, Polly," urged Lucille.
"What! In a safe car? Never!" exclaimed Harry. "It isn't done, you
know--not in this family. Now, if you had a hot restless young comet
hitched at the door, Chauncey."
Pauline laughed merrily. "No, I couldn't go this morning even behind a
restless young comet." She glanced mischievously at Harry. "Duty
before pleasure; have important business on hand. No, I can't tell
even you, Lucille--you're not to be trusted. You'd be sure to tell
As the Hamlins drove off, Harry turned anxiously.
"You've not forgotten your promise? There is to be a long rest from
wildness, isn't there--no more adventures?"
"Yes--a rest from wild ones. I am going to have a tame adventure
"Polly, Polly! What do you mean?"
"This," she answered, taking the morning paper from the table.
Unfolding it, she showed him a headline:
GREAT LORDNOR STABLES
TO BE AUCTIONED
World-Famous Horses of Late Millionaire Sportsman Under Hammer.
"Well?" questioned Harry.
"Don't you see?" she tantalized him.
"Not in the least."
"I am going to buy Firefly and ride him in the steeplechase handicap."
Harry's smile was almost despairing, but he answered quickly. "Oh, I
see. You'll have me ride him and break my precious neck. I thought for
a second you meant to ride yourself."
"That's just what I do mean. It will be gorgeously exciting--and
"Well, of course, I might be killed by a fall or something."
He laughed in spite of himself. "I shall not permit it," he said.
"You will not permit it?" she beamed. "Then I'll ask my guardian. I
may ride Firefly in the steeplechase if I choose, mayn't I, Owen?" she
Pauline could never bear malice; already she had forgiven Owen, as well
The secretary had just entered and was watching the two with a
"If we own Firefly, you may," he smiled back at her.
"I told you," she triumphed over Harry.
"But we don't own him," said Owen, puzzled.
"We shall this afternoon. The Lordnor stables are being sold. Please
give me a great deal of money so that I can't be outbid."
"Does Miss Pauline really mean this?" asked the secretary.
"She does," Harry answered in a tone of disgust at what he thought now
was only Owen's weakness. There seemed no chance of a plot against
Pauline in this original scheme of her own.
"She rides wonderfully. I do not see why she should not," Owen
"You don't seem to see much of anything," declared Harry.
"But you'll take me to the auction?" coaxed Pauline.
"I'll have to--or you'll spend the whole estate on a Shetland pony."
Owen sauntered from the room, laughing. Bareheaded he walked quite
across the garden and down into the wood-copse by the path gate.
A gypsy was leaning upon the gate and gazing nervously up and down the
road. He turned at the sound of Owen's footsteps, and the eyes of the
young chief, Michel Mario, gazed apprehensively into the smiling eyes
of the secretary.
"How are you, Balthazar?" greeted Owen.
"Don't use that name to me," pleaded the gypsy. "You have work for
me? I have come all the way back from Port Vincent to see you."
"It was kind of you," said Owen with the faintest tinge of sarcasm.
"Yes, I have important work for you. Have you ever doctored a horse,
"Many times--but not with my beauty medicine," grinned the chief.
"I mean with a hypodermic needle. I mean a race horse-so that he might
possibly fall in a race."
"And injure the rider?"
"It is very easy--but very dangerous. I should want--"
"I know; I know," exclaimed Owen petulantly. "Here is the money."
Balthazar gloated over the yellow bills.
"And here is the weapon."
The Gypsy took the needle from the hand of the secretary and thrust it
quickly into the inside pocket of his blouse. "Thank you, master. I
will do what you say," said the Gypsy, making a move to go.
"Not quite so fast," commanded Owen. "You do not know the place or the
"The Jericho track next Saturday," answered the Gypsy promptly. "What
is the horse?"
"Firefly. It will be bought at the Jericho stables this afternoon.
You will be there to see it and to remember it. Goodbye now."
"Goodbye master--and many thanks."
Michael Caliban, wealthiest of sportsmen, attended the auction of the
Lordnor stables, and seemed bent on adding the entire string of
splendid horses to his own far-famed monarchs of the track.
The only time during the afternoon that he met with defeat was when the
famous steeplechaser Firefly was brought out.
"Five hundred dollars," said Caliban curtly.
"Six hundred," said the musical voice of a girl and the crowd turned to
Caliban smiled condescendingly. "A thousand," he said.
"There, you see you can't do it. The horse isn't worth any more,"
"Fifteen hundred dollars," cried Pauline.
"Does she mean that, or is this only a joke?" demanded Caliban, turning
to the auctioneer.
"The lady's word is good enough for me. Going at fifteen hundred--
"Two thousand dollars. I guess that'll stop any jokes around here,"
"Three thousand," said Pauline so quickly that even Harry gasped, cut
short in mid-protest.
Caliban turned away and strode disgustedly out of the crowd amid hoots
"He is worth it; why he is worth any price," cried Pauline as the
smiling groom led Firefly up to her.
The magnificent animal thrust its nose instantly between her
outstretched arms, and as she patted him delightedly the crowd rippled
with spontaneous applause.
Harry joined her on the way to see Firefly put in his stall. He gave
the caretaker instructions, and laughingly dragged Pauline away from
her new pet.
As they entered their machine, Raymond Owen came from behind the
Engrossed in the business complications growing out of the European
conflict, Harry had quite forgotten Firefly and the steeplechase when
the day of the great Jericho handicap arrived.
He was in the library reading a letter when there burst upon his sight
through the open doorway a vision that took his breath away.
Pauline, in full jockey uniform, white and blue and yellow, was
pirouetting on her gleaming black boots before him.
"Polly!" he cried, unable to grasp the meaning of the prank. "Have you
cut off your hair?" he added in alarm.
"No; here it is," she laughed, snapping off her visored cap and
revealing masses of hair.
"Oh, don't do it," he begged. "Look! Here's a letter from the
McCallans asking us to their house party in the Adirondacks. We're
expected tomorrow. Let's go there instead."
He handed her the letter. Without glancing at it she flicked it into
the air with her riding crop and danced out of her room..
"So I surrender again," he murmured, laughing in spite of himself.
Riding out toward the starting line, Pauline swerved her course a
little to avoid the gaze of the gentlemen riders who eyed her
curiously. She heard a call from an automobile beside the track and
rode, over to where Harry and Owen were seated in the car.
Their lifted hats as, she bent to shake hands with them caused the
crowd to stare in astonishment. Pauline, blushing furiously, sped
Firefly to the line.
"That horse works queer," commented Harry, as she rode away.
"Do you think so?" asked Owen.
"Yes, it's on edge, but its legs are shaky. I wonder..."
But the riders were ready. The signal sounded. The crowd's cheer rose
in the names of their various favorites. Field-glasses were
"By jolly, Firefly took the first jump in the lead," cried Harry, a
thrill of admiration lightening the worry in his heart.
"He's all right," said Owen.
Over the wide green the horses began to string out, with Firefly
"She's going to win it; I believe she is," exclaimed Harry excitedly as
he and Owen stood in the automobile. "No--no; he wobbled at the
fourth jump. He's losing ground."
But Firefly seemed suddenly to grip his strength as one horse passed
him. He pulled himself together under Pauline's urging. He regained
They came down splendidly toward the homestretch. The bodies of the
powerful beasts rose one by one over the last hedge.
"They're over! They've won--or, heaven help her! They're down!"
Leading at the last jump, the drugged heart of the great horse had
conquered his courage. As he stumbled heavily, Pauline shot over his
head and lay helpless in the path of the other riders.
Harry, dashing madly toward the track, but hopelessly far from her, had
to turn away his head as the crashing hoofs passed her. When he looked
again, attendants were carrying her swiftly to the clubhouse. He sped
toward it, Owen following.
Harry tore his way through the excited crowd to the side of Pauline. A
doctor was administering restoratives. Pauline opened her eyes and
looked about her bewildered. She saw Harry's anxious face and smiled
"I've--learned a lesson this time," she whispered.
"It is nothing serious--her shoulder bruised a little," said the
"Thank Heaven!" breathed Raymond Owen with well feigned emotion.
OWEN OFFERS A REWARD
Cries of delight coming, in the voice of Pauline, from the direction
of the garage made Harry lay down his newspaper and go forth to
As he approached he saw Bemis and Lucille's coachman lifting a crate
from a carriage. From within the crate came the whimpering barks of an
imprisoned bull terrier.
"Oh, isn't he dear?" cried Pauline turning to Harry.
"I don't know, I haven't yet made his acquaintance. Where did he come
"Lucille sent him to me. Johnson just brought him over. Hurry, Bemis,
and let him out. The poor darling!"
"Is that what is called puppy love?" inquired Harry.
"Hush," commanded Pauline. "And Bemis, run and tell Martha to cook
something for him--a beefsteak and potatoes."
"And oysters on the half shell," suggested Harry.
"Love me," announced Pauline sternly, "love my dog."
The coachman had ripped of the last top bar of the crate and a splendid
terrier sprang out with a suddenness that made Pauline retreat a
little. But, as if he had been trained to his part, he bent his head,
and, with wagging tail, approached her. In an instant she was kneeling
beside him rewarding his homage with enthusiastic pats and fantastic
"Why, he likes me already--isn't he charming?" she demanded.
Harry threw up his hands-- "And this for a dog--a new dog--possibly
a mad dog!"
"You are a brute."
The dog was making rapid acquaintance with his new home, investigating
the garage and, more profoundly, the kitchen, door.
"Here, Cyrus, come Cyrus," called Pauline, and started towards the
house. Owen, in his motorcycle togs, was lighting a cigar on the
veranda when they came up the steps. Without even pretending to enter
into Pauline's enthusiasm over the terrier, he excused himself and
walked off briskly in the direction of the garage. A few minutes later
they saw him on the motorcycle speeding down the drive.
"I wonder what the impressive business is today," remarked Harry
"Let poor Owen alone. He is good and kind even if he doesn't care for
"Look here! Why don't you ever say any of these nice things to me--
the things, you say to dogs--and secretaries?"
"Because I've promised to marry you--some day--and it is fatal to
let a husband--even a futurity husband--know that you admire him."
"Well, as long as you do, it is all right."
A half mile down the main road to Westbury a runabout was drawn up, and
a converted gypsy was alternately pretending to repair an imaginary
break and relieving his nerve-strain by pacing the road. Balthazar's
fantastic garments had given way to a plain sack suit and motor duster,
but the profit of his employment by Raymond Owen was worth the
discomfort of becoming "civilized."
The muttering of a distant motor made him fall to his knees and, wrench
in hand, wiggle hastily under the machine.
To all appearance he was bitterly pre-occupied with the woes of a
stalled tourist when a motorcycle chugged to a stop beside the runabout
and Owen called him.
"I thought you had failed of our appointment, master," he said eagerly
as he crawled out. "I have waited for more than half an hour."
"It is sad that you should be inconvenienced, old friend," answered
"I have done what you commanded me, master," Balthazar said with an
ingratiating smile. "I have found them."
"The friends I spoke about at our last meeting--the little band that
earns money by--making it."
"Oh, yes--your counterfeiters. Are they to be trusted?"
"Master, all guilty men are to be trusted. There is always protection
in knowing the sins of others."
"Sometimes, Balthazar, I almost suspect you of possessing a brain.
But, remember, I have told you that I shall soon be through--unless
you accomplish something."
"Master, it is because I dare not risk your freedom--your life. For
myself I care nothing. I live to serve you, who have been my
"You lie, of course," remarked Owen casually. "But what of the new
"They are in Bantersville, only twelve miles from Castle Marvin. A
house that has been long occupied and with no houses near."
"And they are still manufacturing coins there?"
"Yes; but they are becoming frightened. Two of the distributors have
been arrested. They would be glad of a safer, a swifter method of
"Come along, then."
Owen mounted the motorcycle while Balthazar sprang to the seat and
started the runabout. They sped briskly over the roads, turning at
last into an old weed-grown wagon path fringed copse-like by the
branches of ever-hanging trees. The machine swished through the
barrier leaves and came out upon a small clearing where there stood a
gaunt house, evidently long deserted.
Balthazar drove on along the road for almost a quarter of a mile before
he stopped the machine, Owen following without question. They left the
runabout and the motorcycle and walked back to the house.
"It is an excellent location," commented Owen, as Balthazar lead the
way into a basement entrance. "Who did you say was the man in charge
"Rupert Wallace. He is a world-traveler like yourself, though no match
for you in mind, master."
Balthazar, as he spoke, was rapping lightly on a wall, which had no
sign of a door. It was pitch dark where they stood. But suddenly with
hardly a sound, two sliding doors opened to the Gypsy's signal and a
faint light from a gas jet on the wall gleamed on an inner passage.
Balthazar, closely followed by Owen, walked quickly down the secret
hall, and, without signal this time, another set of silent doors opened
upon a brightly lighted room.
A crabbed, withered woman admitted them.
The room was overheated because of the presence of a gas forge on which
a cauldron of metal was being melted. On one side there was a stamping
press, and on the other a set of molds.
Wallace noted Owen's curiosity, and stepping to the table in the middle
of the room, picked up a handful of half-dollar pieces.
"You are interested in our work--the work of supplying the poor with
sufficient funds to meet the increased cost of living," he said,
smiling. "These are some of our product. We are proud of them. The
weight is exactly that of the true fifty-cent piece. And only one man
in fifty could tell the difference in the ring of the metal."
Owen looked at the coins in sincere admiration.
"It is very remarkable," he said. "But Balthazar tells me--"
"I know. You have a little business of secrecy for myself and my
friends. You may speak here in perfect safety, Mr. Owen. Gossip is
not a fault--or a possibility--of our profession."
"I do not believe there is anything to say but what Balthazar has
already told you, except--"
"Except what, master? Is there a change in the plan?" asked
"I think there might be. Something occurred today that might give us a
favorable lead. Miss Pauline received as a gift a terrier dog. I
believe it could be made use of."
"In what way?" asked the counterfeiter.
"By stealing it and bringing it here."
"I don't understand--ah, yes; indeed I do."