ALIAS J OHN SMITH
A speedy, complete novelette, with nearly all the action taking place on a Canadian transcontinental train.
ARCHIE P. McKISHNIE
A. C. VALENTINE
THE solicitor and family advisor of the Trevelyns for more than half a century, Andrew Roxborough, paced agitatedly up and down his office floor, shaking his
white mane like an angry lion and pausing at each turn to cast a disapproving glare at a big young man in whose sun-blistered face lurked something of the hardness of the granite wastes he had lately quitted. On the table between the two lay several pieces of mineral bearing quartz, an assay-report and a recording claim. The old lawyer snorted as his eyes sought these articles which exerced a certain fascination. “And now you’ve gone and discovered this dashed gold-mine,” he groaned. “Of course you had to do some unprecedented thing!” “It was you who sent me up there,” Billy Trevelyn reminded him. “Sure, I sent you up there. I hoped that wild country would give you a chance to work off some of your devilish energy. How was I to know, you would stumble on this gold? And now you’re cockier than ever, I suppose.” “Well, why shouldn’t I be?” Trevelyn drawled. “I’m third owner of one of the likeliest-looking claims in the North; and when I buy Frankfort’s two-third interest—” “And where do you expect to find the forty-five thousand dollars he asks for his two-third interest?” Roxborough interrupted. “From me, I presume?” “Exactly,” Trevelyn grinned. “From you, of course.” “You see,” as the lawyer dropped limply into a chair, “if I don’t buy it, Frankfort will sell to the Olong Syndicate—and you know what those sharks will do to me. I’ve got to have that money right away. In one month my option expires. How about it?” Roxborough looked slowly up. In his eyes was the light of affection rather than anger now. He had known this boy from the time he was an aggressive toddler; and he was the last of the Trevelyns. But as he gazed, his expression .quickly changed to one of sternness again. “I may as well tell you now,” he spoke deliberately, “that I haven’t any m.oney to put in this venture of yours, Billy. Every available dollar I could command, I invested in another enterprise, only yesterday.” Trevelyn, who was rolling
a cigarette, calmly Ht it and pinched out the match. Apparently, he was quite unperturbed by the news. “It must have been a pretty sure thing,” he remarked. “It was,” Roxborough
said, “so good that I also invested in it the money which you gave me power of attorney to handle.” “The dickens you did!” Trevelyn sat straight up and gazed ruefully on the older man. “Then you have put me in a nice box, for sure!” “I did you a good turn,” Roxborough flared. “Your twenty thousand will double itself in two years. We were lucky to get in on this thing. Only for the fact that I was a personal friend of—” “Tell me,” Trevelyn interrupted, “just what is it we are in on?” “Matches,” Roxborough answered. “Manufacturing ’em. Our company will be a branch of thé largest match-manufacturers in the States. We wil' have our factory at—” “I’m not a bit interested in the manufacturing of matches,” Trevelyn broke in. “If you say the investment's sound, that’s good enough for me. What worries me now, is, where am I going to get my grippers on forty-five thousand dollars with which to buy Frankfort’s interest in the
Frankfort’s interest in the Little Rainbow claim?” HE PICKED up one of the pieces of mineral and weighed it in his hand. “The Little Rainbow, according to the analyst’s report on these samples, is remarkably rich in free gold. And this,” tapping the paper, “says that the claim has been duly recorded, etc., etc. I’m just a little afraid that we can’t hope to manufacture sufficient matches to prevent a freeze-out, if once those Olong crooks get around Frankfort; and Frankfort, I happen to know, is under the thumb of the Olong boss, Galbraith. Now then, to repeat a momentous question, where in the Sam Hill am I going to get hold of that forty-five thousand?” “There’s but one place,” answered Roxborough almost too eagerly. “Your Uncle Tom’s proposition is still open to you—if you care to accept it.” “Is it?” Trevelyn’s face lost its smile. The grey eyes which flashed to the other man’s were hard as points of steel. Ignoring the danger signal, Roxborough went on.
“All you have to do is to drop the name you bear and take your uncle’s name instead. He hated your father, whom he accuses of being responsible for his and your mother’s estrangement. Do this, marry the girl he has picked out for you, and conduct yourself according to his dictates—these last two stipulations are scarcely worth considering—and you will inherit your Vancouver uncle’s millions.”
“Simple enough, isn’t it?” grated Trevelyn. “Three months ago when I came to you with Uncle Tom’s letter, containing his proposition to me, you went straight up in the air.
You called him every name you could think of; remember?”
The lawyer gasped helplessly.
“I did just that,” he admitted.
“The offer your uncle made you in that letter was a downright insult, and I’m not denying that if you had been weak-kneed enough to accept it—I would have washed my hands of you forever; still—”
He ceased speaking abruptly and sat gazing at Trevelyn speculatively.
“You haven’t asked me why I wired you to return?”
“No,” Trevelyn replied.
“I’ve been waiting for you to tell me.”
The lawyer cleared his throat.
“Your uncle,” he said, “has honored me with a letter. It arrived yesterday. In this letter he states that a brief communication from you in response to his former favor —respectfully requests him and his millions to go to a— ahem—a warmer climate.”
“Correct,” Trevelyn nodded.
“And begs that all future communications—if any—be referred to me.”
Again Trevelyn nodded.
“Here’s his letter. You had better read it for yourself.”
FROM a drawer Roxborough took a closely-written sheet of paper and passed it across the table.
Trevelyn unfolded the paper and read:
Mr. James Roxborough,
Dear Sir: Three months ago I wrote my nephew, William Trevelyn, a letter, the contents of which you doubtless know. His reply was prompt, brief and to the point. He would, he said, see me and my money in hell before he would consent to drop the name he now bears and take mine; that he absolutely refuses to be coerced into marriage with a girl whom he has never seen, and begs, should I not feel inclined to let the matter drop here, that I shall communicate with you direct. Accordingly, I am so doing.
Permit me to say that I am more than pleased with the show of spirit my nephew displayed in his answer to my proposal. He has aroused my interest in him, although being the son of his father, I greatly fear that he wi'l never show the necessary cleverness and business astuteness that will command any great degree of my respect. However, in this regard I may be doing the boy an injustice. He is tiie only relative I possess in the world, and naturally I am greatly disappointed that he saw fit to refuse my proposition. You might convey as much to him, and tell him that I am watching him.
Any time he chooses to swallow his abhorrent Trevelyn pride, I shall be glad to have him visit mè; if he still feels that he cannot accept what I consider a most generous offer—I am nevertheless ready and willing to give him a good start in life.
I remain, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Trevelyn folded the letter and handed it back to Roxborough. Then he walked to a window and stood gazing down on the street crowded with late-afternoon shoppers.
When he turned, his face wore its old smile, his eyes their old devil-may-care light.
“There’s no time to lose,” he addressed the lawyer, “so I’m leaving for Vancouver to-night. But—” as Roxborough’s face brightened visibly, “I’m not going with the intention of accepting any favors from my
uncle. Neither am I going as Billy Trevelyn: I’m going as plain John Smith, and I intend to sell one Thomas Ronald, who boasts that he made his way across this country without one cent in his pockets, carved out four millions of money from lumber, and never in his life
parted with one cent for something he could not see, a two-thirds interest in a gold claim—for $45,000.”
“You’re crazy!” groaned Roxborough.
“After which,” Trevelyn went on, unheeding, “it is barely possible I may make my true identity known to him.”
He went across to the table and began to gather up his specimens and papers, the while Roxborough sat stupidly watching.
“Billy,” the lawyer spoke at length, “you can’t mean to attempt this brainless thing! It’s impossible, I tell you! Why, Tom Ronald has the name of being the hardesu-headed man on the coast—the very Old Nick himself for shrewdness. He’ll have you thrown out of his office.”
“I don’t think so,” Trevelyn returned. “I’m not the kind that throws easy. Dear Uncle Thomas is my one chance—and I’m going to take it. If I fail—goodbye Little Rainbow!”
He laughed as he caught sight of the lawyer’s face.
“See here,” he said, going over and placing his hands on the old man’s shoulders. “From what my mother has told me, I think I know what sort of a man my Uncle Ronald is. I’m neither denying nor admitting that a reconciliation between us would please me. I’m simply remembering that mother loved him,” and incidentally, he added with a shrug, “that he is the one man I know who can spare $45,000. He doubts my ability to win his respect. I’m going to show him! Now—that’s that!”
A KNOCK fell on the door. Roxborough started, but Trevelyn, busy stowing his minerals away in a canvas sack, failed to notice it.
“Billy,” spoke the lawyer nervously, “will you please go out by the way of the side door, and quickly. I’ll see you later. For certain reasons I don’t—”
Before he could finish, the door opened to admit a young lady; a young lady who was tall and slight and so
December 1, 1924
altogether lovely that Trevelyn, hugging his precious bag of quartz beneath one long arm, stood rooted in his tracks.
“I beg your pardon,” the charming visitor addressed the lawyer. “I thought you were quite alone, Mr. Roxborough.”
“I am,” he hastened to assure her. “At least, that is to say, I soon will be. I’m just through with Mr.—”
“Smith,” cut in Trevelyn sharply. He bowed and returned the smile she flashed him from Irish-blue eyes.
“Mr. Smith,” Roxborough interposed hurriedly, “is ahem-—interested in—”
“Railroads,” Trevelyn finished for him.
“P'ease,” the young lady turned to the lawyer, “won’t you introduce us? I, too, am rather interested in railroads.”
She had dropped into the chair which Roxborough had placed for her and Trevelyn, grinning gloatingly on the old lawyer’s discomfiture, laid down his samples.
“Why, to be sure, to be sure,” spluttered Roxborough. “This gentleman, Miss Raynor, a—is Mr. John Smith, who, so he tells me, is a builder of railroads.”
He turned to Trevelyn. “I’ll not keep you longer, Mr. Smith,” he said, holding out his hand, “and I’ll think over your proposition.”
“Oh, must you go?” spoke the girl disappointedly. “I should so like to hear more about your road.”
“I’m not in the slightest hurry,” Trevelyn answered, quite ignoring the scowling look his lawyer gave him. “I’ll be glad to tell you all about it, I’m sure.” “Mr. Smith,” said Mr. Roxborough, clearing his throat, “is leaving for Vancouver to-night, he informs me.”
For an infinitesimal second his eyes flashed to the blue ones. She nodded. “Oh, in that case, of course, I couldn’t think of detaining him,” she replied.
“Oh, I say, I’ve got lots of time,” Trevelyn began, but the lawyer broke in crisply.
“But Miss Raynor has not, if I may be so permitted to say.” He bowed graciously toward the young woman.
“Dear me,” she murmured, “I’m afraid Mr. Roxborough is right, Mr. Smith. I had quite forgotten, and we have so much to do. You see,” as Trevelyn’s heart sank, “I, too, am leaving Toronto to-night.” Of course there was nothing left for Trevelyn to do but to get out.
until he discovered himself walking down ten flights of stairs, instead of taking the elevator, did he realize that before his vision was a picture of feminine loveliness that refused to be effaced. Not that he desired that it should be effaced. Far from it. So long as he lived, he told himself, he would see those dancing pools of blue beneacn their halo of gold. Who was she? he wondered. And in what way was Roxborough acting for her? The old boy was certainly secretive enough. That was why he was considered an able lawyer, he supposed.
“Oh, the devil!” Trevelyn uttered the words aloud, as he reached the last floor of the tall office-building, and almost in the ear of a thin, elderly gentleman who all but collided with him around a corner.
The latter turned and stared angrily.
“Were you addressing me, young man?” he enquired sharply.
Trevelyn shook his head and swung outside. He hailed a taxi and was driven to his rooms. There was one thing he must do before he left the city—pay his landlady a month’s rent in advance. He counted off $50 from his roll and slipped it in an upper vest pocket, his intention being to hand it to the good lady as he went out.
While he packed his bag, his thoughts dwelt on the girl he had met chat afternoon. When he saw that tightlipped old Roxborough again, he would choke some information out of him, he told himself savagely.
But when he next saw the lawyer—it was just an hour before his train left—he utterly failed to secure any information of a comforting nature from that astute man of business. Miss Raynor was Miss Raynor; further than this fact Roxborough seemed to know nothing. She was the confidential agent of a certain man of wealth, for whom he, Roxborough, was swinging a big deal. This was all Trevelyn could force from his family solicitor, so with that he was forced to be content.
He nodded moodily, scarcely hearing, when Roxborough asked him if he had plenty of money, and with a curt goodbye to the lawyer, and with ears deaf to his protests against his foolhardy undertaking, parted from him.
N THE October first issue the announcement was made of an increased quantity, as well as quality, of fact and fiction features. Turn to the “M.A. L.” column at the back of this issue, and you will observe “page 88.” The promise is being fulfilled. In the December issues there will be, in addition to regular departments, at least two long, complete novelettes, ten short stories and eight feature articles— equalling two large novels in total “wordage.”
At ten o’clock he was at the Union station. He had purchased railway and sleeper tickets earlier in the afternoon.
It was half an hour before the Canadian National would pull out, and Trevelyn suddenly discovered that, in thinking of the girl who had so oddly disturbed him, he had forgotten all about supper. His vigorous body was clamoring for food. There was a lunch counter near by, and thither he now turned his steps.
As, bag in hand, he made his way toward the restaurant, somebody in the eager throng of comers and goers touched his arm. He turned to look into che swarthy face of a small man who was moving beside him.
“Why, Tony,” Trevelyn spoke quickly, “you here? I thought you were helping the boys watch the claim.”
“I overheard somting what maka me come,” the Italian spoke guardedly, “and so I follow you by nexa train.” “You overheard what—?” Trevelyn asked, drawing him a little to one side of the human current.
“Thata Frankfort he doa you dirt maybe,” the Italian said. “Da Olong peoples come getta dat option. You watcha dem sharp, eh?”
Trevelyn frowned. He had explained to Frankfort not an hour ago just how he intended to secure that $45,000. Perhaps he had been unwise.
“You mean, Tony,” he asked, “that you overheard somebody belonging to the Olong Syndicate say they would try to steal my option? Is that it?”
The Italian nodded eagerly. “Data Galbraith he steala et from you sure, you no watcha damn sharp!” “Thanks, Tony, but that option is now reposing in a safety deposit box,” Trevelyn said. “They haven’t a chance in the world.”
He pressed a bill in the man’s hand. “To defray your expenses,” he said, as the Italian shook his head. “Now, Tony, you hike back North and help the boys keep an eye on things until I get back. I’ll likely be away a month or six weeks. Going to Vancouver, Tony, to make a rich uncle loosen up; after that, we’ll be on velvet.”
Trevelyn sought the restaurant and seating himself on one of the high stools ranged along side the marble counter ordered coffee and sandwiches. As he was about to begin on his humble meal, a diner who wore a tweed auto-cap pulled low over his eyes, addressed Trevelyn from the right.
“I beg your pardon, Mister, but did you order coffee?” “Yes,” Trevelyn answered, “I did. Why?”
“Then the waiter musta got our orders mixed,” the other explained. “I ordered tea.” He pushed cup and saucer down tne counter, and Trevelyn proceeded quite leisurely with the frugal repast he had ordered.
Outside, the caller was announcing the departure of his train. He swallowed the last drop of coffee and made his way outside.
As he crossed the platform toward the waiting train, a strange dizziness assailed him. A wall of blackness seemed pressing against his eyes. He staggered forward and would have fallen had not a pair of strong arms caught and supported him.
Vaguely Trevelyn heard voices as coming from a long distance, speaking.
“Too much coke . . .
Has a ticket for Vancouver.
TREVELYN awoke to find a black hand gripping his shoulder.
And then a voice with a note of authority in it said: “You fellows help him aboard.”
“All right, sah,” spoke a voice seemingly from a long distance.
And then the lights went out for Trevelyn.
He sat dizzily up and parted the curtains. With the exception of his own and one other, all the berths in the sleeper had been transformed into seats. The green plush was restful to Trevelyn’s aching eyes. He became conscious that he was fully dressed. “Great Scott!” he shivered, “what happened to me, I wonder?”
Apparently he was on a train, journeying to some destination, but what destination he had not the remotest idea. Everything would dawn clear in a little, of course.
He groaned inwardly as a sharp pain stabbed his temples, and strove to focus his gaze on the woolly head which protruded itself between the curtains of the berth.
“Porter,” asked Trevelyn thickly, “are all the other members of the family down?”
The darkey grinned. “Yes, sah,” he answered. “All down ’cept yo’self an’ de gen’man in lower twelve, what helped yo’ aboa’d.”
“Eh?” Trevelyn asked, dully. “Did somebody help me aboard?”
“Helped ain’t nowise de proper word, sah. Toted am mo’ob a qualifier ob your mode ob locomotion, I reckon. It took dat gent in lower twelve, a trainman an’ myse’f to carry yo’ll an’ your load to dis berth.”
“Porter,” said Trevelyn solemnly, “let this be a lesson to you. Never attempt to take more than you can carry. Who’s in the washroom?”
“It’s all clear, sah.”
“You’re sure the man with the red undershirt and police braces is all through grunting and splashing?” “Yes, sah. Eberybody’s froo washin’ up.”
“Good. Now find me my bag, and after I’ve breakfasted, I’ll shoot you a game of craps.”
The black face disappeared. Trevelyn sank weakly back on the pillows. He raised himself painfully on an elbow as he heard the porter’s voice saying;
“Don’ seem ter be no bag er nuffin like luggage here, sah.”
Trevelyn thrust his head between the curtains. “But,” he exclaimed, “it must be there somewhere! I had it when I came aboard, didn’t I?”
“Cayn’t recollect dat yo’ had nuffin’ ’cept de clothes yo’ was wearin’,” the porter said. “But I remembers, sah, lower twelve had two bags; mebbeso one ob dem ones is youm?”
“It is,” Trevelyn affirmed. “Please fetch it.”
The porter shuffled off. Trevelyn, as he prepared to rise, felt a premonition of trouble.
As he slid from his berth, the porter returned carrying a huge tan-colored valise. “Am dis yourn, sah?” he asked. “Lower twelve done say it ain’t, but I aimed ter make sure.”
Billy glanced at the bag and shook his head. “It’s not mine,” he said regretfully. “By the way, porter, what sort of a chap is this gentleman who occupies lower twelve?” he asked.
“Big gen’man. Reckon he’s all ob seven feet tall. He’s fer Vancouver, sah.”
“Vancouver,” repeated Billy perplexedly. “And where am I going? Any idea?”
“Well, sah, de ticket what dey foun’ on yo’ las’ night read Vancouver. De conductor tried ter wake yo’ up twice ter see dat ticket. I heerd him tellin’ de conductor dat relieved him at Sudbury ter watch out fer yo’.”
The black face disappeared.
TREVELYN’S head felt large and heavy; his memory of preceding events was most hazy. As his feet slid to the carpeted aisle of the coach, force of habit prompted him to feel and see if his wallet, which contained his paper, tickets and money, was safe.
The wallet was gone.
Hurriedly, Trevelyn turned back to his berth and frantically searched its sheets.
But his search was unrewarded. As he turned to leave the berth a folded slip of paper caught his eye. It lay on the outer edge of the mattress. Trevelyn picked up the paper and unfolded it. Nothing but a senseless jumble of words met his eye. He was about to crumple the paper into a ball and cast it away, when he had an idea. “It looks like a secret code,” he told himself, “and the chap who got me into this mess likely dropped it. I’ll just keep it; it may prove useful.”
Enlightenment was seeping slowly to Trevelyn’s muddled senses. Of course the Olong Syndicate was responsible for the unenviable position in which he found himself. Tony had warned him that they were after the option. Frankfort had turned traitor and gone over to the Syndicate. He had told the big boss, Galbraith, of Trevelyn’s plan to raise the purchase price from a relative in Vancouver. No doubt it had been one of Galbraith’s tools who had slipped the dope into his coffee, hoping in that way to get possession of his papers. Thwarted in this design, and not to be outdone, the man had purchased a ticket for some point up the line and had followed him aboard., During the night he had stolen Trevelyn’s wallet and baggage, thinking perhaps the option was amongst the papers—or in the event of its not being—to prevent Trevelyn from going through to secure the required money. Time was the important factor to that gang of cut-throats. Well, Trevelyn told himself, they may have effectively clipped his wings— but they hadn’t gotten the option. It lay securely locked in his strong box in a Toronto trust company’s building.
Trevelyn smiled whimsically as he made his way to the wash-room. He could usually see the humor in any situation, but this one, he was forced to confess, offered little of that article.
He was just completing his toilet and longing for his safety razor, when the conductor entered.
Trevelyn shook his head. “I just can’t seem to remember where I am going,” he confided. “Perhaps you will allow me to explain. You see, it was this way—”
“I am not collecting explanations,” interrupted the conductor, “I am collecting tickets.”
TREVELYN groaned deep in his soul. Then suddenly he had an inspiration. “The gentleman in lower twelve may have my ticket,” he suggested, sparring for time. “He is my friend. I have a vague recollection that I gave him my ticket for safekeeping.”
He sank into a seat as the conductor passed from the compartment.
“Oh, Lord,” he groaned,
“Let me have your ticket, please,” he addressed Trevelyn, appraising him coldly over his glasses.
Trevelyn had made a diligent search of his pockets, and had failed to find anything that resembled a railway ticket.
“It looks as though I have either mislaid or lost—” he commenced, but the conductor waved a hand and clicked his punch impatiently.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“what a pickle those Olong sharks have put me in! I’ll have to get a S.O.S. off to Roxborough right away.”
Trevelyn had always enjoyed breakfast more than any other meal of the day—and now that the effect of the drug had worn off, he was as hungry as a school-boy. It must b? getting late. He felt for his watch, then suddenly remembered that he no longer possessed a watch.
Again his hands searched his pockets. Yes, his wallet, money and tickets were gone!
Then suddenly Trevelyn felt cold all over. Supposing Roxborough failed to receive his telegram! The lawyer had mentioned something about leaving on a trip to Cincinnati, he remembered.
There was absolutely no one else to whom he might turn for help out of his present difficulty. Unless Roxborough wired him money, he was done. He would be obliged to leave the train.
Not even the Canadian Government could be expected to carry him two thousand eight hundred and sixty-three miles, feed him and bed him for nothing. There was no sentiment, no pity about any railroad that he had ever known.
A man either had to pay his fare or—
A slow step was approaching the compartment. Trevelyn braced himself and waited.
That would be the conductor returning to do his duty by the company which employed him. Trevelyn had often wondered why most all conductors were ponderous men
and wore square-toed boots. He believed he knew now.
But the man who entered the compartment at this moment was not the conductor. He was a slight, elderly man and looked more like a retired cattle drover than a railway official. He glanced disinterestedly at Trevelyn as he dropped into a seat. “It is indeed,” Trevelyn said pleasantly.
The elderly' gentleman stared at him.
“I don’t remember addressing any remark to you, young man,” he said icily.
“I beg your pardon,” Trevelyn apologized. “I was sure you said something about it being a fine morning.”
“I said nothing, sir.”
He turned his back indignantly on Trevelyn and from an inside pocket drew a small, pasteboard box. From this he took a small, white tablet and placed it in his mouth.
“The old boy has eaten too much breakfast,” thought the starving Trevelyn. “Indigestion and soda-mints journey hand-in-hand.”
TTE PULLED on his coat and sank dejectedly into a seat opposite the other traveler, just as the conductor returned. There was a stern look on the latter’s face. He approached Trevelyn and clicked his gleaming punch.
Trevelyn w'inced. The darned thing resembled an automatic, and gritted its teeth like one too.
“Don’t point that infernal thing at me,” he cried sharply. “Put it away!”
“Young man,” spoke the conductor severely, “I’d advise you to keep a civil tongue in your head.”
“I didn’t intend any incivility,” Trevelyn said.
His jaw had set and there was a look in his face that caused the conductor, astute reader of men that he was, to recoil a step.
Excuse me, conductor,” spoke up the elderly gentleman from his seat, “I guess maybe this young man is a returned soldier, and some of them are a bit queer about these little things. I never liked those confounded punches myself. They always make me think I’m going to have a tooth yanked.”
The conductor allowed his glance to stray from Trevelyn to the speaker.
“Listen,” he said. “For some reason this passenger refuses to show his ticket. He was drunk when he was assisted aboard this train last night, and he must still be drunk.”
“I admit,” Trevelyn spoke up, “that I was a bit fuddled last night. Also, that I am minus tickets and money, although I’m positive I had both yesterday. My luggage, too, seems to have gone astray.”
“Do you,” the conductor asked, “remember now where you intended going?”
“I do,” Trevelyn replied. “I intended going--and still intend going—to the famed sea-coast city of Vancouver.”
The conductor smiled grimly. “You’ve got a fat chance,” he affirmed, “I’m putting you off at Ruel.”
He swung towards the door.
“That chap in lower 12," Trevelyn called after him, “did you inquire of him—”
“I did. He hasn’t your tickets. He claims he doesn’t even know you. He helped put you to bed last night, that’s all.”
He passed out and Trevelyn dropped back into his seat.
“There’s no use trying to fool one of these conductors,” spoke his fellow passenger, disapprovingly. “It simply can’t be done. You might as well confess the truth to this one.”
“Look here,” Trevelyn cried, sitting erect, “I know my story sounds fishy; but it’s the truth, every word of it. I’ve been touched for tickets, money and baggage.”
The other paused in the act of carrying a mint to his mouth to stare unbelievingly at the speaker.
“Yesterday,” Trevelyn went on, “I made up my mind to visit my uncle in Vancouver. I drew all my available cash from the bank, bought my tickets, packed my bag, and was at the station half an hour before this train pulled out. I remember eating a sandwich and drinking a cup of coffee at the station restaurant. From that time on everything is pretty much a blank. This morning I woke up with a head the size of a barrel, to find myself minus everything I owned except the clothes I wore. And now I am in a fix.”
He waved a hand airily about him.
“Nice train, splendid service, and all that; but, you see—you’re expected to pay something for it. That’s the dickens of it.”
“Just so;” nodded his hearer. “And you haven’t got the wherewithal to pay? That it?”
“Considering the fact that I have just told you that I’ve been touched for everything I possessed, your perception does you credit, sir,” Trevelyn replied ironically. “I have not.”
“And,” asked the other, ignoring the satire, “what will you do when they put you off the train at this place, Ruel?”
“I’m not sure,” Trevelyn answered. “But I have an idea that I shall get on the train again.”
“Why don’t you,” suggested the elderly gentleman, “wire this Vancouver uncle to telegraph you money? He would surely help you out, if he had it, wouldn’t he?”
Trevelyn shook his head gloomily. “Oh, he has the money—four millions of it—but I know him too well to ask him for any of it. That is,” he corrected himself, “I don’t know him well enough. I have never seen him, even. He is very eccentric, and he considers me a rank bounder. He would likely tell me now I had gotten into a scrape, to get out of it the best way I could.”
“Humph! Then he must be_^a damned mean man,” grunted the other.
"No,” Billy said, “on the contrary, he is considered by those who best know him a very generous man, I believe. But, you see, he knows I’m no good.
“I «ay,” he repeated in louder tones, as the other vouchsafed no reply to this frank admission, “I’m no good!’’
“Well, why be so vehement about it?” the elderly
gentleman retorted testily. “I’m not in the least inclined to dispute your statements, young man. You ought to know what you are, if anybody does. If, as you say— he knows you for what you are—why the devil do you visit this uncle of yours anyway, then? It isn’t likely he will place his millions at your disposal, is it?”
REVELYN threw back his head and laughed. “My dear sir,” he cried, “my uncle is a business man. He possessed good sound sense. No, I don’t ever expect to inherit his money, but—well, I do expect to separate him from some of it on a strictly business proposition. Besides he’s the only relative I have in the world and I’ve been wanting to see him.”
His hand strayed to his coat pocket. Oh, how he longed for a cigarette!
“A match?” enquired the elderly gentleman. “Permit me. I am a manufacturer of a match called the ‘Smoker’s Friend’; Factory in Cincinnati. One box in every five thousand contains a prize. Great advertising stunt. My secretary—she is accompanying me and my business agent Adamson, across the continent—thought of it. Clever girl that. Here you are. If you stay any length of time at Ruel, young man, you might talk about Billard’s ‘Smoker’s Friend’.”
He gave a cackling laugh and getting stiffly to his feet, passed from the compartment.
Trevelyn sat gazing down at the small pasteboard box in his hand. What was it Roxborough had said about investing money in a Cincinnati match-manufacturing concern? Could it possibly be this company? he wondered. Where had he seen this wiry old American’s face before? Ha, he remembered now. He it was whom he had almost collided with in Roxborough’s office building. No doubt then about it being his company in which he had $20,000 invested. What a damned funny mix up it all was!
A white-aproned mulatto stuck his head in the doorway. “Last call for breakfast!” he announced, and went on.
Trevelyn gazed longingly after him. Then his eyes fell on a thin, metal case which reposed on the seat which the match manufacturer had recently occupied. He picked it up, in his heart a forlorn hope. He opened the case. It was half full of a brand of cigarettes which he particularly liked.
“Manna in the desert!” he exulted fervently.
He cut the paper seal of the match-box with his thumb nail and slid back the Any container.
Then he blinked. Neatly folded atop of the matches was a bank note.
Trexelyn pulled it out and smoothed it open.
“Fix e dollars!” he murmured. “One of gran’pa’s prize packages! Heaven bless all match-makers and thoughtful secretaries of same! Now for a smoke, after which I’ll get that wire off to Roxborough, repair to the diner and proceed to eat a large, ragged slice from this five dollar note.”
HAVING breakfasted, Trex'elyn sat in peaceful contemplation of his surroundings. For tne moment he felt like a storm-lashed gull that has unexpectedly found shelter .from the gale. To so much as allow his mind to dwell on what might happen when his torn pinions were forced to fan the unfriendly etner again, would, he felt, be the rankest of sacrilege. For the present, “God was in his heaven and all was well with the world.”
Buc one other late breakfaster was in the diner. He sat with his square, aggressive-looking back toward Trevelyn. Beyond bestowing one incurious glance on the man, Trevelyn was utterly oblivious to his presence until he became conscious of a voice speaking close beside him. He glanced up to see a huge young man, dressed in tweeds, gazing resentfully down at nim.
There was something about the man that made him feel unpleasant. He didn’t like the soft, flabby face with its sneering lips nor the cold, unfriendly eyes.
“I beg your pardon,” he said, “did you address me?” “I asked you,” the other repeated, “how are you feeling now?”
“Bodily,” Trevelyn returned, “I am feeling like Christopher Columbus, Napoleon Bonaparte and all the other discoverers and conquerors combined; spiritually, like the devil, and financially like a cipher.”
The huge young man dropped into a chair. “I’m the chap who helped you aboard last night,” he vouchsafed, watching Trevelyn speculatively. “My name’s Adamson. Mr. Billard was telling me about your case. Considering the fact that he is anything but credulous, you deserve credit for putting your story over with him.” Trevelyn sat silent. “I’ve been wondering,” the other continued, producing a monogrammed cigarette-case, “just what your little game might be? Perhaps you’re paying a penalty-bet or something. What?” Trevelyn was seized with an unsatiable desire to string the curious Adamson. “I’ll be hanged if you haven’t guessed it,” he confessed. “You won’t give me away, I hope?” “Why should I?” the other answered with a bored air. “You see,” Trevelyn explained, waxing confidential, “I made a wager with some friends; a rather preposterous one, I begin to see now. But you know how these things happen. The wager was that I could travel from Toronto to Vancouver without money or baggage, and that on the way I would become engaged to a girl I had never before seen.” “Some contract!” “Isn’t it though?” Trevelyn sighed and smoothed his stubbled cheek with his fingers. “I wonder,” he asked, turning to the haughty Adamson, “now that I have explained my predicament, if you would mind loaning me a razor? And a clean collar,” he suggested further, as the other stared, “and perhaps a few dollars.” Adamson’s lips curled in a derisive smile. “You are certainly modest in your requests,” he sneered. “You mean, you won’t help me out?” Trevelyn asked in incredulous wonder. “I certainly do mean—just that,” Adamson declared. “Dear me, and you looked—so easy, too!” Trevelyn’s fingers strayed to the diamond cluster in his tie. “Then it looks as though I’ll have to try and hock this,” he said reflectively, his eyes on Billard. “You don’t suppose, now,
your employer, the patriarchal manufacturer of ‘Smoker’s Friend,’ would condescend to advance me a small amount of cash on such a trifle, eh?” “Mr. Billard,” Adamson spoke loftily, “is a man of very peculiar traits. The chances are if you tried to hock that pin with him, he would be suspicious that you came by it unlawfully. He might even have you arrested.” “Gracious!” murmured Trevelyn, “I can’t afford to be arrested. I’m due in Vancouver with this train.” Adamson laughed skeptically: "Fine chance you’ve got,” he scoffed. “What dy’e suppose they run railroads on? Air?” “Not at all,” Trevelyn returned. “That’s how they stop ’em from running, I believe.” “Ugh!” grunted Adamson. He got slowly to his feet, bestowed one last scathing look upon Trevelyn, and passed out of the diner. TREVELYN sat absently fingering the change left on the tray which the waiter had placed before him. He laid a half dollar on the table and pocketed the remaining two dollars and a half, and with a sigh of relinquishment pushed back his chair. He simply hated to leave the homey luxury of the diner. Adam, when he was forced out of Eden, must have felt the same regrets which he was now experiencing. Only he had it on Adam in one way at least. There was no Eve to upbraid him for his shortcomings. And it was at this very
moment that he saw her. She was just entering the car —the girl who has been in his thoughts ever since yesterday—tall, slight, with eyes of dreamy violet and a shock of golden hair that reminded one of the guineagold spray of an eastern sunset. No wonder the steward bowed to her with obsequious deference and every ebony-faced waiter in that diner smiled her homage. “By George!” murmured Trevelyn, “it is she! It’s Miss Raynor!” She swept past the staring nomad of the Government Railroad with the air of a queen, and seated herself in a chair at an upper table. Her face was toward Trevelyn. Almost he was persauded to order another breakfast so that for a brief time he might drink in that picture of girlish loveliness, but, of course, that was out of the question. Would he make himself known to her? No, he decided, under existing circumstances he couldn’t very well do that. As he arose from the table, he caugnt her gaze fixed upon him. He felt his skin prick and his ears burn. Surely there was recognition in that glance. He fancied the red lips twitched ever so slightly as she lowered her eyes and opened the mesh bag which she had placed beside her on the table. And then he heard her gasp, saw a look of consternation cross her face. At the same moment his toe touched a yielding something on the floor, which he knew before glancing quickly down, was a roll of banknotes. He stooped and retrieved the money. There were several bills rolled within a thin elastic band. She was still searching frantically through her bag when he laid the notes before her. “This no doubt is what you have missed,” Trevelyn addressed her. She glanced up as he spoke. “Mr. Smith!” she exclaimed. “So it is you! “Oh dear me, no,” she sighed as he relinquished the hand she extended to him. “It wasn’t money I lost, but a letter—a rather important letter.” At sound of those liquid notes Trevelyn’s heart pounded strangely. He was a fatalist. He believed what was to be, must be. For the first time in his life he was hopelessly in love, and knew it. “But you see, Miss Raynor,” he found himself saying
lifted the menu-card which the waiter had placed before the girl. He had glimpsed the corner of an envelope beneath the card. There lay the lost letter. Trevelyn noted with a pang of resentment that it was addressed to a man. He had time to read the words—“Mr. William”—before she snatched it up and hid L away; her eyes were shining, her face glorified doubtless by a relief which he had brought to her. Of course this chap, William, was her sweetheart, her fiance, likely—but at least the glorious present belonged to him, Billy Trevelyn—plain John Smith, pro tem. “Won’t you please sit down and talk to me?” she asked demurely. “I believe it quite within the conventions for two people who have been properly introduced to talk to each other, isn’t it, Mr. Smith?” “Quite,” Trevelyn acceded willingly, seating himself opposite her. “Then you’ll be the young lady who put the bill in Billard’s Matches, Miss Raynor? I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Billard this morning.” “Oh, isn’t he an old dear!” she cried enthusiastically. “I also met Mr. Adamson, his agent,” Trevelyn informed her, watching her f: ce. A thin line grew between her brows. “I don’t like Mr. Adamson,” she spoke candidly. “He is uncouth and conceited.” “He is,” Billy agreed heartily. T_T IS eyes strayed to the roll of bills on the table. “About this money, now—with whom had I better leave it? You see, somebody must have lost it.” “Are you sure you didn’t lose it yourself?” she asked, smiling. “Absolutely,” Trevelyn answered. “Suppose you count it,” she suggested, attacking the grape fruit which the waiter had placed before her with the gusto of youth and healthy appetite. He removed the elastic band from the notes. There was $50 in the roll. The money was his own! It was the money he had forgotten to leave with his landlady in Toronto. He had missed it in his hurried search, and must have drawn it out of
and must out his vest-pocket with his pencil. “You shouldn’t be allowetl to travel alone, Mr. Smith,” she laughed. “You’ll be losing your railway ticket next.” “Not the slightest danger of that,” Trevelyn returned quite truthfully. He stood up. He couldn’t, of course, take further advantage of the position in which luck had placed him. besides, the conductor would be looking for him about now, and while with the acquisition of the recently discovered $50 he felt better prepared to meet him, he much preferred that this wonderful girl be not near to witness. “Of course,” he said eagerly, as he turned to go, “we’ll meet again soon, I hope, Miss Raynor.” “Oh please,” she begged, “won’t you wait for me? I’m quite finished and I do so want you to tell me about some of the big railroads you have built.” “ Railroads ?” repeated Trevelyn dully. “Oh yes, I’ll be very glad to.” SHE had risen, was standing beside him, a fragrant bit of slender feminity that stirred every nerve in his healthy young body and lifted his soul to exalted heights. Somebody, Trevelyn told himself,would “That's another lie,” shouted Adamson to the detective. inanely, “somebody must have lost this money. I found it on the floor beside my table. I am
yield him clean linen and a razor, or die. He could not afford to lose the friendship and respect this girl of girls had so frankly accorded him.
It was after they had reached his car that the trouble which he had anticipated met Trevelyn face to face. In the corridor stood a middle-aged man with keen face and hawk eyes, conversing earnestly with the conductor and occasionally snapping a question at the crinkleheaded porter who had shown certain humane tendencies toward Trevelyn that morning.
“Dear me,” murmured Miss Raynor, after they had parsed the trio, "but that man looks stern; and did you notice how the conductor glared at you?”
"He has grave responsibilities,” Trevelyn explained. "He is worried this morning. We are running two minutes and ten seconds late.”
They had come to the compartment-observation car. Trevelyn was sure there was invitation in the smile she dashed him, but he steeled his riotous heart and glanced significantly over his shoulder.
‘T think perhaps Hank and the conductor wish to consult with me, Miss Raynor,” he said. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll join them now.”
“Hank?” she repeated, puckering her brows. “You mean the gentleman with the strong face and the searching eyes?”
"The same. He is the president of this road, you know. It’s imperative that I see him. I’m awfully sorry, but I’ll tell you about my railroad-building later, if I may?”
She nodded. “I didn’t know you were quite such an important personage, Mr. Smith,” she smiled. “You, too, are an officer of this road, I presume?”
“Why, no, not exactly,” Trevelyn answered, “but I owe it a good deal; more, I fear, than I can hope to pay.”
TTE LEFT her then and went slowly forward to Sleeper Number 4. He glanced about him for the detested Adamson, but that gentleman was nowhere in evidence. He was likely in the smoking-room, in which event he would be an interested listener and observer of what Trevelyn had a hunch would soon transpire there.
Yes, there he was, huge and complacent, half reclining on one seat, with his feet on another. Trevelyn saw him at once as, followed by the men who comprised the coming inquisition, he entered the compartment.
“Now then,” the conductor brusquely addressed Trevelyn, “I would like to know what you intend to do, sir. I can’t allow you to remain on this train unless you pay your fare. You must also pay for your reservation from Toronto.”
“Why, that seems only fair,”
Trevelyn began, then turned to meet the taunting gaze of Adamson, who had emitted a gleeful chuckle.
“You’ve been acting mighty strangely, if you ask me,” the conductor continued, “but let me tell you, you can’t come any sharp tricks on this road. If you get through to Vancouver without being arrested, you can tell yourself that you’ve been lucky.”
Here the man with the steel-gray eyes broke in :
“Better let me have charge of him, Jim. I’ll have him taken care of at Ruel.”
Billy turned to the speaker.
“But Sir Henry—” he began.
“Now then,” snapped the one addressed, “you can stow that nearhumor stuff. See this?”
The hand that flashed from a pocket held a small metal badge.
The steel-grey eyes bit into Billy’s soul.
“I’ve met enough of your kind to know how to handle ’em, I guess.
Now then, Mr.--”
“Smith,” Billy enlightened him.
“Well, Mr. Smith, I’ve got to admit you don’t look like a regular fare-beater, but I’ve been fooled before. You either pay your fare now—or you get off with me at Ruel. Take your choice.” Again sounded a throaty chuckle from the seat near the window.
tt Trevelyn wheeled. “Mr. Adamson,” he said levelly, I would advise you to suppress your mirth, otherwise this railroad detective with the pocket-badge is going to have a real reason for locking me up.”
Adamson’s lips sagged to a belligerent snarl.
“Is that so?” he sneered. “Well then, officer, for your enlightenment, let me say that I happen to know that this man, who gives his name as Smith, has in his possession a valuable diamond pin that he attempted to hock with me less than an hour ago.”
The conductor turned and gazed at Adamson over his glasses. “That,” he said, “is none of our business, and I don’t think it’s any of yours, sir. If any passenger aboard this train has lost such a pin, the loss has not been reported to me.”
Trevelyn grinned at the crestfallen Adamson. Then from his pocket he drew the bundle of bank-notes and handed it to the conductor. “There’s fifty dollars there,” he informed that gentleman. “I don’t suppose there’s any use of my saying I only discovered it less than half an hour ago, but I understand that for every three cents and a fraction I’m willing to pay it, the Dominion Government is obliged to carry me a full mile on this train. I may be a rum-runner, a runaway slave or a bank defaulter seeking cover, but until such time as you are able to prove it, or until I give you some other reason, you can’t have me arrested.”
“Excuse me,” spoke Adamson, standing up. “If it’s a charge against this man you require, I think I may be able to supply it. I accuse him here and now of stealing one of my bags this morning. He deliberately told the porter the bag belonged to him.”
The conductor turned to the negro, who seemed to be enjoying it all hugely. “How about this, Jake?” he demanded. “Is what this gentleman says, true?” The porter’s rolling eyes sought Trevelyn’s face.
“No, sah,” he exclaimed, emphatically. “What dat gen’leman lower twelve say is nowise a true fact. This gent, lower fo’,” indicating Trevelyn, “he say ter me, ‘Fin’ my bag. Dat gent what helped me abo’d las’ night likely has it.’ So I goes to lower twelve, who ain’t yit up, an’ I brings a big bag what I found dar back to
lower two. Lower fo’ he say dat bag ain’t his’n nohow. Dat’s all an’ eberyfing what transpired, sah.”
The conductor shrugged, gave the pricked Adamson a contemptuous look and counted the money Trevelyn had handed him.
“This fifty dollars will pay your fare as far as Winnipeg, also your berth, providing you wish to remain here,”
he informed Trevelyn. “You can, of course, save money by going forward to the colonization car.”
“Thanks,” grinned Trevelyn, “but I think I’ll stick to this car. I sort of like its atmosphere of friendliness and affability.”
Dead silence followed, broken by a chuckle from the porter. He ducked from the compartment as the irate conductor wheeled on him.
Five minutes later Trevelyn stood absently folding the perforated receipts for his departed cash. Save for himself and the sullen Adamson, the compartment was empty.
Trevelyn removed his coat and threw it across the back of a seat. His eyes rested on the uneasy Adamson speculatively. Calmly he unlinked his cuffs and proceeded to roll his shirt-sleeves up his brawny, sunbrowned arms.
Adamson watched him uneasily. Not until Trevelyn turned to the wash-stand, did he settle back in his seat with a sigh of relief.
His ablutions completed, Trevelyn reached for his coat, then turned his attention again to Adamson, who was submerged, apparently, in the pages of a magazine. Trevelyn reached down, took the magazine from the other’s hands, turned it right side up and handed it back to him.
“You should be more careful,” he observed gently. “You seem bent on ruining your eyes.”
“I’ll risk any damage you’re able to do to my eyes,” Adamson returned hotly. “And, see here, I don’t want any more of your confounded cheek.”
“Obviously not,” returned Trevelyn. “You already seem to possess a superabundance of that article. Doubtless there are things which you require more than cheek, and I’m guessing you’ll be getting one of them soon. You’ve started out right, at any rate.”
Adamson jerked his feet from the seat and sat up, bristling. “Am I to construe that remark as a threat?” he demanded.
“Not at all,” Trevelyn answered. “It’s an assertion. I’m simply telling you something.”
Adamson laughed sneeringly. “Really,” he shrugged, “you’ll have to be a little more explicit. Just what, for instance, are you trying to tell me? ”
A sinewy hand fell on each of Adamson’s shoulders, and tightened.
“The first time I find you off this train, Mr. Adamson, I’m going to give you a receipt in full for that little attempt you made to have me arrested as a thief.”
“I’ll report what you’ve said to the conductor,” stuttered Adamson. “We’ll see if gentlemen traveling this road must be insulted and threatened by tramps like yourself.” “Of course,” Trevelyn asserted, “you pay for that remark too. But I’m willing to bet you anything you like the conductor of this train already knows what’s going to happen to you. Conductors, Mr. Adamson, are said to be very shrewd men.”
Trevelyn left the compartment and sought his seat.
Condensing his long frame into the smallest possible bulk, he gazed out of the window at the swiftly gliding landscape. Everything would be all hunky soon, he told himself. Roxborough would have received his wire by now and would telegraph him money to Ruel. He would surely be able to get hold of a razor and some clean linen somehow. In the meantime—he should worry!
The porter came down the aisle and paused beside Trevelyn. “Telegram, sah,” he said, grinning broadly.
Trevelyn, with a word of thanks, extended his hand for the message. It would be from Roxborough, of course, to say that he had received Trevelyn’s S.O.S. and had acted.
Hastily he tore open the envelope. Tne wire was not from Roxborough. It was dated Toronto, Ont., and was signed Galbraith. Its contents were a maze of meaningless words to the perplexed Trevelyn. The wire read: ■ “Mr. John Smith, aboard the National.
Stick close to your holdings. Wait for further instructions from Bull at Hornepayne. Hold at any hazard.
Continued on page 60
Continued from page 18
Alias John Smith
Indubitably the telegram had been intended for some other John Smith; there might be a dozen John Smiths aboard the train. There was something about the name of the sender that stirred unpleasant memories in Trevelyn. Galbraith was the name of the big boss of the Olong Syndicate. Already he had had one or two pretty sharp run-ins with the man, and he had been tipped off that Galbraith was out co get him now. Could it possibly be—?
TREVELYN’S fingers dived into his upper vest-pocket and drew out the slip of paper, the secret code which he had found in his berth that morning. It contained a long list of words with other words directly opposite them.
He hoped luck was with him. It looked as though she were: if so, he might just find something here which would help him grasp something tangible out of mj stery.
Slowly, methodically, he set to work to decipher the message. His task at length completed, Trevelyn replaced the code in his pocket, and sitting back elatedly, read the result:
Mr. John Smith,
Aboard the National.
Stick close to your man. Bull joins you at Hornepayne. Follow his instructions. The password is hazard.
“Well, if that don’t beat the devil!” Trevelyn muttered, as he tore the telegram into s rips. “I always thought coincidences were things used by authors to help their stories along; but here is one in real life. The pleasant murderer who gave me the knock-out drops at the station-restaurant, bears, it would seem, the unusual name of John Smith; same name as my own, pro tern. Evidently, the big cut-throat, Galbraith, figures that he is aboard this train. But he’s dead wrong there. This gentle creature, Smith, likely wired Galbraith that he had failed to get me in Toronto, and thac he was following me; but the fellow, having secured what he was after—as he thought—made his get-away from the train sometime during the night. He likely landed in a spot many' miles remote from any telegraph station. I hope he did, and that he never finds his way back. Or, what is still more likely—he has double-crossed his chief, and is at this present moment beating it, with my money and belongings, to a safer clime. Galbraith gets in touch with this man, Bull, who is doubtless working on some other of his nefarious schemes up the line, and orders him to take this train and help Smith put the screws on me. It sure begins to look as though little Willie was going to have plenty of excitement!” Trevelyn came out of his abstraction to hear the porter’s voice saying:
“Excuse me, sah. If you’ll stan’ up, I’ll bresh yo’ off. Dar’s cigarette ashes on dat coat.”
Trevelyn arose and stepped intotheaisle. The darkey wielded his whisk diligently. “Boss,” he spoke suddenly, “dare’s
sumfin’ far down in dat coat-linin’ dat rustles like paper. Best see if yo’s got a rent in dat inside pocket.”
Trevelyn picked up the comer of his coat and fingered it searchingly. Sure enough there was something there, and it felt suspiciously like a bank note.
By inserting two fingers in the tiny rent of the pocket-lining, he was able, finally, to fasten on to the foreign substance. He drew it forth and stared at it bewilderingly. It was a five dollar bill!
“Dat oT green-back shore tried ter run off frum yo’, sah,” laughed the negro.
“I can’t understand how it ever got there,” Trevelyn said. He pulled the pocket inside out, and examined it closely.
“Dat ain’t no natural rip,” the porter declared. “Dat’s a clean cut by a penknife, er sumfin.”
He was feeling Trevelyn’s coat over hopefully, an ear attuned for further crinkling sounds.
Trevelyn laughed. “No use, Jake,” he said. “They come only one at a time. I’ll go to sleep now and maybe when I wake up I’ll find another one in my hair.”
The porter rolled his eyes. “Boss, I cayn’t say as I like dese supornat’ul happenings,” he muttered. “Nuffin’ but queer fings been a-takin’ place eber since I started on dis hayr trip.”
Trevelyn looked at him. Here was at least one human being—-withal a black, kinkle-headed human being—who has stood by him in his troubles. Somehow, he had always considered pullman porters human automatons who worked smoothly just so long as their cogs were kept well greased; but here was one who, without any hope of pecuniary reward, was sticking to him like a brother.
“Jake,” he asked suddenly. “Did you get that wire I gave yôu off O.K.?”
“No wire was ever got off okeyer,” the porter assured him. “I done slip it to de agent at Capreol, when us slowed froo dat station.”
Trevelyn thanked him and from a vestpocket fished the change from the five dollar bill he had broken for breakfast.
“Never min’ dat, sah,” said the porter quickly.
“Why not?” Trevelyn asked wonderin gly.
“ ’Cause I’ve been already—”
He checked himself suddenly.
“What I means to say, sah, is, if so I took dat money frum yo’ll, what’s up agin it right hard, I wouldn’ hab no luck but bad luck,
“ ‘Take a man’s las’ cent
Means yo’re on trubble bent.’
“No sah, yo’ll ’scuse me, an’ I shore t’ank yo’ greatly, but I ain’t dat kin’ of a railway officialer, nohow. An’ besides, I knows what it is ter be up agin’ it same as yo’ be now.”
“In that case,” Trevelyn smiled, “you can advise me what I better do, perhaps.” The porter nodded. “Jes’ yo’ set tight —an’ hope,” he replied. “Don’t cost nuffin’ ter set tight and hope.”
“I’ll take your advice, Jake.”
“An’ keep a eye peeled on dat lower
twelve,” the porter supplemented in guarded tones. “If so I’s any jedge of mankin’, dat man aims ter do yo’ dirt.” “I’ll watch him,” Trevelyn promised. Half an hour later the train pulled into Ruel Station.
Trevelyn arose and reached for his hat. He would step into the telegraph office, sign for the money Roxborough had wired him, and for the remainder of his journey be free from worry.
On his way out he glanced hopefully at the sullen Adamson; but that gentleman, it would appear, had not the slightest inclination of leaving the safety of his seat.
Trevelyn joined the eager throng on the platform, and in due course found himself facing a lank telegraph-operator, who wore a green shade over his eyes.
“I believe a sum of money has been telegraphed me from Toronto,” he informed the agent.
“Your name?” questioned the king of the clicker.
“Five hundred dollars.” “Identification?”
Trevelyn’s jaw dropped. He had no identification to offer, not even a letter. Not one soul within hundreds of miles of him knew him. It was just as sickening despair was sinking her talons deep in his soul that he espied Jake, the porter.
The negro turned as Trevelyn called his name.
“Jake,” Billy addressed him, as he came shuffling up to the wicket, “tell this operator who I am.”
“Dis hayr gen’leman,” the obliging Jake spoke up, “is Misto John Smith, of Toronto. I’ve knowed him mos’ all my life. I done worked fer him abo’ad his steam yacht free years.”
The agent nodded. “I guess that’s good enough, Jake,” he said. “Only, turning to the impatient and sweating Trevelyn, “I’m sorry to inform you, Mr. Smith, that we have received no advice here concerning the money.”
“You mean,” Trevelyn gasped, “that it’s not here?”
“Precisely that. Something may have occasioned a delay. Are you going on, sir?” “As far as Winnipeg, anyway,” Trevelyn answered dismally.
“Then, should the advice come through. we’ll shoot it on to you there.”
Billy thanked him and turned away.
As he was about to swing aboard the train, he caught sight of Adamson’s face pressed against the window. It was smiling malevolently, but Trevelyn scarcely saw it. At the window of the next coach was another face lit by eyes of violet blue, and it too was smiling. Miraculously, Trevelyn’s troubled thoughts swept from him, and in his heart stirred a song that sent his blood rioting through his veins.
When the train was under way again. Trevelyn sought his seat. On the cushion he found a small package wrapped in brown paper, the name, Mr. John Smith, scribbled across it in sprawling hand. Though greatly surprised and curious, Trevelyn did not at once examine the parcel. Across the aisle lolled the selfsatisfied Adamson and he wasn’t going to give that inquisitive gentleman the satisfaction of seeing what the parcel contained.
Perhaps the unusual happenings of the morning had been a little too much for him; now that the reaction had set in Trevelyn felt a trifle tired.
Almost immediately he fell into a heavy slumber. When he awoke, the afternoon shadows were lengthening on the rugged landscape without. The train was darting through a country of indescribable loneliness.
“Caesar’s ghost!” he murmured, sitting erect, “I must have slept for hours and hours!”
Trevelyn’s first act on waking was to feel in his vest-pocket to see if the receipt which the conductor had given him was safe.
As his fingers groped for it, they encountered the greasy touch of a bank note. He brought check and bill forth together.
“Another five spot!” he gasped. “Well, I’ll be shot!”
A strange porter approached him.
“I was bid to tell you, sir, that the gentleman you’re expecting is in the next car—seat 10,” he spoke guardedly and passed on.
“By George!” murmured the perplexed Trevelyn, “either I’m crazy, or every-
Continued on page 62
Continued from page 60
body else is. Or, stay! That fellow will be Galbraith’s henchman—Bull. I’ll have to do some thinking before I see him.”
His eyes fell on the parcel, for the time forgotten. Adamson was no longer occupying the seat opposite.
HE UNTIED the string and unrolled the paper. Three clean collars, a safety razor and a tube of shaving soap laughed up at him. He fairly hugged his find to him.
“Glory to Dame Luck!” he whispered reverently. “Now where in the world did these things come from?” Porter Jake must have been the good angel, he told himself. It was a find, for sure.
The collars looked the right size, too. He would just make certain. Yes, sixteen was his size.
He re-wrapped the parcel and placed it in his coat pocket; then, rising, he sought the diner.
He judged it must be eight o’clock, or after. Having missed his lunch, he was hungry as a hunter. Well, he possessed all of ten dollars. Things might be much worse.
The steward seated him at the same table he had occupied that morning. The diner, he observed, was pretty well filled. His eyes swept the place until they rested on a halo of golden curls. Miss Raynor was seated with her back towards him. Opposite her was the old match king, Billard, and, smug and smiling, the detested Adamson.
The latter glanced suddenly up and his gaze encountered Trevelyn’s. Trevelyn saw him say something to his companions. The golden head nodded, and old man Billard glared coldly at him and bowed stiffly.
“I’ve got a lot to settle with that brute,” Trevelyn mentally commented, as he pencilled his order.
Of course, Adamson had told Miss Raynor and Billard all he knew—and likely more. Trevelyn’s cheeks burned.
He did not so much as glance up as the three passed him on their way out. It was not until the breath of violets was wafted to him and a sudden realization of her nearness assailed him, that he raised his eyes to find Miss Raynor gazing down upon him.
‘‘You’re not very neighborly, Mr. Smith,” she chided.
“I beg your pardon,” Trevelyn stammered, rising, “I’m afraid I was preoccupied.”
“More railroad troubles?”
“Thank heaven,” he replied, “they are side-tracked for the time being.”
“And how did your conference with your friend, the President, come out?” she enquired.
“Only fairly well, Miss Raynor. There were one or two little points upon which we failed to agree; but we finally arrived at a compromise.”
“An agreeable one to you, I hope.” Trevelyn looked straight at her. Never in all his life had he met one of her sex who was so altogether desirable. The very thought that in a few shore hours she would go out and on from him—perhaps forever—was maddening; that the gloating Adamson would remain near her was torture.
“I said,” she repeated, “that I hope the compromise effected was an agreeable one to you.”
“Well, it wasn’t,” Trevelyn confided. “It will necessitate my stopping off at Winnipeg.”
“And it is not your wish to stop off at Winnipeg; is that it?” She spoke quickly and there was just a tinge of color flushing her cheeks.
“No,” he answered slowly. “I would much prefer to go on—with you.”
He felt a quick, surging relief at having voiced the insistent urge of his heart. She might despise him for his presumption— but he had said it, and it was over.
And he knew that she was too generous to take offence at his unwarranted assertion; that was,what made him love her so distractedly—her great sympathy and understanding. He felt like a cad at haying so grossly deceived her. If only she could guess what sort of a masquerading rotter he was, just what would she think of him? he wondered.
The only thing to do was tell her, confess everything to her. He looked up
slowly to find her eyes fixed gravely upon him. The flush was gone from her cheeks and the smile from her lips. Her hands were clasped before her. She raised one of them now and rested it lightly on his arm in the touch of true comradeship.
“I am sorry you are not going on,” she said softly, and turning, walked swiftly away.
Trevelyn sank back in his chair, and sat looking into distance while the waiter brought his dinner; sat staring away while it cooled. Food! What was food to one who by the brush of vtings and twang of bowstring had suddenly become immortal?
Nevertheless, he ate his dinner with the zest of one who had long fasted, and strode from the diner.
He would go through, he told himself. No power on earth could prevent him from sticking to this train. If needs be, he would ride the bumpers—but he was going to remain near her.
TREVELYN passed through his own car and on to the compartment observation car. He was feeling singularly happy and irresponsible. There was a song in his heart which even the direst of misgivings failed to silence. She had said, in all sincerity, he believed, that she' was sorry he was leaving the train at Winnipeg. It was not a great deal on which to hang his hopes—but it was something. If only that conceited Adamson were out of the running, he would feel much better. Adamson had everything in his favor, it would seem.
Trevelyn desired to be alone. In all probability Miss Raynor would be busy writing letters and telegrams for the crusty old match manufacturer in his drawing-room, and next to the bliss of being in her presence, solitude appealed to him most. He had some thinking and planning to do, and he felt that another sight of Adamson might incite him to violence.
Hands deep in his pockets, he passed through the observation car, opened the door at the rear, and stepped into the open vestibule. An impending storm had driven everybody inside. At last he was alone.
The damp air swept his face gratefully. He dropped into a chair, and lifting his feet to the railing, watched the jazzed lightning stab its course from cloud-peak to cloud-peak. He was sorry the rumble of the train drowned the thunder. In his present state of mind he felt that its booming crash would have given him a certain relief.
He became conscious, gradually, that he was no longer alone. He lifted his feet from the railing and swung about to encounter a pair of shrewd, old eyes survey ing him from beneath their grizzled brows.
MR. BILLARD, of Cincinnati, gave a dry chuckle, and drawing up a cháir, seated himself opposite the object of his regard.
“Young man,” he began, without preamble, “yesterday morning you all but hypnotized me into believing that you were in a heap of trouble. Almost I was on the point of offering you financial assistance; me, by gad! who is supposed to know men if anybody ever knew men! You’ve succeeded also in buncoing Miss Raynor, my secretary. Adamson seems to be the only one of us you haven’t fooled. Now, jus* why the devil did you do it? I’m curious to know.”
“Do what?” Trevelyn asked.
“Do what?” sputtered the old gentleman, “do what? Well, of all the nerve! See here, you don’t remember telling me a cock-and-bull story about having lost your money and tickets, I suppose?”
“I told you what is true,” Trevelyn declared.
“Then you must have found ’em again. Is that it?”
“No,” Trevelyn said, “it’s not it. Not by a long chalk. I haven’t found them.” “Humph!” grunted Mr. Billard. “Well, young man, providing you are telling the truth, which, I must admit, I very much doubt, there can be but one other explanation to your still being on this train. You must have wired that uncle of yours or somebody else for money.”
Billy turned toward him slowly, met the boring eyes squarely, and grinned.
■ “Why don’t you tell me it’s none of my
confounded business,” growled the old man, “I suppose I deserve it.”
“But, you see,” Trevelyn returned, “it is your business, Mr. Billard, in a sense, at least.”
“Eh? What’s that?” The matchmanufacturer sat erect with a jerk. “See here, sir,” he demanded, “how can anything you do or say possibly be my business?”
“In this respect,” Billy answered. “Naturally you will attach some interest to the man who intends to make Smoker's Friend matches scratch a circle round the globe.”
Mr. Billard sat staring and speechless. “Well, by the glories to be!” he finally ejaculated, “You seem to have settled the matter quite fully, sir.”
“Quite,” Billy returned. “Already I have been at work thinking up a slogan for Smoker's Friend. Listen to this, now.” “ ‘Billard’s matchless matches make merry men merrier.’ How’s that?”
“Rotten!” growled the old man. “Impossible! But, just to show you what a premium I set on original ideas, I’m willing to buy that one of yours. How much?”
“It ought to be worth a couple of dollars.”
Mr. Billard showed no surprise at the modesty of the demand. He produced a swollen roll and from it peeled a two dollar bill.
“Any more at the same price?” he enquired.
“How about a new name for your match?” Trevelyn suggested, “a brand called the Ball Fan, say. It would make all match-users think of the great national game, you see. They’ll buy millions of Ball Fan.”
Mr. Billard hitched his chair forward eagerly. “By George, it’s worth thinking over!” he exclaimed.
“That idea will cost you another two,” Trevelyn informed him. “Thanks. Now, how about a slogan for Ball Fan? How does this strike you? ‘Ball Fan Matches— Three Strikes and Out’.”
“The devil!” shrilled the old man. “Do you want me to commit business suicide, sir? Why a slogan like that would kill the best match in the world!”
“That’s what I thought. It’s an idea, though, isn’t it?”
“Perhaps,” conceded Billard, “but not worth one cent to me.”
“I think you’re wrong there,” Trevelyn said. “It’s worth quite a bit to you. If you own that slogan, you know that nobody can tack it to Ball Fan matches; isn’t that right?”
BILLARD chuckled. “Young feller, you’re pretty bright!” he admitted grudgingly. “And what are you going to hold me up for on the ‘Three Strikes and Out’ idea, sir?”
“I’ll throw that one in,” Trevelyn said, . placing the two bills in his vest-pocket.
Mr. Billard arose. “I’m off to bed,” he said, gruffly. “It’s late, and I’ve got to guard against rheumatism during these sudden storms.”
The rain was falling now in a steady downpour that softly subdued the roar of the heavy train. Billard stood for a moment gazing out into the wall of mist.
Billy watched him. There was something very likeable about this crusty, outspoken old American, with the eagle eyes and the grizzled hair.
At the coach door the old man paused. “You’re getting off at Winnipeg, I understand,” he spoke. “Young man, take my advice from a man old enough to be your granddaddy. Stop this damned masquerading before you find yourself in trouble. You’re keeping it up just a little too long.”
Trevelyn made no answer. Billard waited a reasonable time, then with a snort turned away. Billy spoke then.
“Will you please inform Miss Raynor that I’ve changed my mind about stopping over at Winnipeg,” he said, “I’ve decided to go through.”
The door slammed and he stood alone. From a vest-pocket he took the two two-dollar notes and surveyed them whimsically.
“I’m darned if I know how I’m going to do it,” he murmured, “but go through I must.”
He threw a laugh into the rainy darkness of the gliding open, and with a shrug followed in Mr. Billard’s wake.
TREVELYN found all the berths of his sleeper made up, but he did not particularly care to turn in. His long sleep of tne afternoon had thoroughly rested him, and his mind was too active for sleep. Tne gloom induced by the subdued lights of the car and the deep breathing of weary passengers struck rawly on his nerves. He decided he would seek the smoking compartment, borrow a deck of cards from the porter, Jake, and have a game of solitaire.
The porter glanced up from his task of polishing a heterogenous pile of boots, as Trevelyn entered, and something like a look of terror flashed across his ebony countenance.
He stood up and waving his brush toward a huddled form stretched on a seat, crooked a black finger and tiptoed out into the corridor. Trevelyn followed.
“Now what?” he demanded, when .hey were alone together.
The negro rolled his eyes and pointed toward the smoker.
“Dat man in dere is lookin’ fer yoall right hard,” he informed Trevelyn, “an’ he’s got blood in his eye.”
“But, Jake,” Trevelyn smiled, “that man is asleep. So long as he is under the soothing spell of Morpheus he can’t hurt me, can he?”
“I don’ know nuffin ’bout him bein’ under no spell of morphene,” the porter shivered, “but I knows he’s packin’ a gun. I saw it. He done tell me dat he sent word to yo’ by de porter of Sleeper Five, dat he wished ter see yo’, an’ fer yo’ ter come back ter his sleeper. He’s been here for an hour.”
“Oh,” Billy said, “so he’s the chap, eh?” “Yes, sah. He come aboard at Hornepayne, he claim.s. Ast me if I knowed whereabouts a Misto John Smiff’s berth was, an’ I tole him. He told me afore he drapped off ter sleep dat he wouldn’ budge an inch till he saw you, sah.”
“And you think him a bad man?” “Misto,” groaned the distraught Jake, “I don’ need no belibe; I know._ I come from de South, an’ dere’s two things I sure knows when I sees ’em—bad men and chickuns. Yo’ take my advice an’ run clear of dat man in dere.”
From the smoking compartment came the sound of a long yawn and a pair of heavy boots striking the floor.
“Lorgawd!” groaned the terrified porter, “he’s awake. He’ll come a-smokin’ and I lose my job and maybe my life!” “You leave him to me,” Trevelyn said. “You go up into the car and stay there. Let me face this bad man alone.”
PORTER JAKE needed no second invitation. He vanished like a black streak. Trevelyn turned back into the compartment.
A short, powerfully-built man of middle age, was standing beside the window, his hands in his pockets. He turned with the sliding ease of a boxer and confronted Trevelyn, looking him through and through from black eyes set in a lowbrowed face.
“Who are you?” he asked guardedly, “If you’re who I think you are, give me the sign.”
“Hazard,” Trevelyn answered. Something like relief flashed into the eyes surveying him suspiciously.
“Helluva fliver you’ve made of this Trevelyn-option business,” grunted the man disgustedly. “What you got to say for yourself, Smith?”
“I say keep your shirt on. What I want to know, Bull, is, why are you butting in on my job?” Trevelyn demanded.
“You know damnw’ll why,” Bull answered. “The chief gave me my orders. We’ve got to get hold of this Trevelyn if we have to sandbag him. He must have that option on him somewhere. If he hasn’t—he can’t be allowed to go through, that’s all.”
“Why?” Trevelyn asked.
“Why? Because he knows where he can raise the money to purchase Frankfort’s interest in the mine; that’s answer enough, ain’t it?”
Trevelyn forced himself to look surprised.
“How did you find this out?” he asked. “Why, Hartwell told the chief, after Galbraith had tightened the screws on him a bit. Trevelyn is going to get the money from a rich relative in Vancouver. We’ve got to stop him.”
“Then Galbraith has Hartwell in a corner?”
“The tightest you ever saw. Trust him. Now, see here.”
He glanced about him cautiously and lowered his voice to a whisper.
“I come aboard at Hornepayne just four hours ago, but to prove to you that I’m a fast worker, I’m goin’ to tell you somethin’. I’ve got this man Trevelyn spotted already. He’s occupin’ lower twelve of this sleeper. How do I know? Hell, son, it’s a gift; a gift, I tell you. But Jim Bull always plays sure. You betyu! I’ve had a look over his baggage, and among other things I found a leather pocket-wallet with the name William T. Trevelyn stamped in gold on the flap.” Trevelyn gulped. His head was in a whirl.
“This bird, Trevelyn,” Bull went on, “is a wise one. You bet he is. He’s travelin’ under an assumed name, and he’s workin’ an old goat named Billard for a grand shell-out. They were together all the early part of the evenin’, and I overheard enough of their conversation to put me wise to his game. He’s sweet on old whiskers’ pretty secretary, too. Can’t blame him there, for she sure is a peacherino of a looker.” He broke off suddenly, to glare about him. “Where’s that nigger gone, dye suppose?”
“I fixed him to stay away,” Trevelyn said. “He won’t bother us.” Hesankinto a seat and lit a cigarette. “Well, what’s your plan?”
“Just this.” Bull seated himself opposite. “We’ll make our grand play when we get to Winnipeg to-morrow afternoon. I’ve got a pal there named Wallace, who captains a strong-arm crew. You just leave it to me to fix this man Trevelyn. He’s goin’ to disappear and, if I’m not greatly mistaken, old Uncle Jonathan’s bank roll disappears with him. Get it?”
“You mean,” Trevelyn said, “your scheme is to rob this man Billard?”
“Gosh, but you are clever!” sneered Bull. “However did you come to guess it?” “And he will blame Trevelyn, of course?”
“Sure! What d’ye think of my little scheme, huh?”
“It’s pretty good,” Trevelyn conceded, “but I think I have a better one.”
“Eh?” Bull sat straight up. “The devil you have. Let’s hear it then.”
“It’s this,” Trevelyn explained. “You say this man Trevelyn is on his way to Vancouver to get hold of some $45,000. And he looks like a man who would get what he goes after.”
“He sure does,” nodded Bull. “Well?” “I’m in favor of going through with Trevelyn and pulling our abduction stunt after he has got hold of that money.”
Bull sat scowling, deep in thought. “You mean he’ll have fleeced Billard by then, too, and we’ll get that pile without havin’ to tap the old codger ourselves?”
“But what d’ye ’spose Galbraith will have to say about it? His orders are to get that option and get it quick.”
“How,” asked Trevelyn meaningly, “is Galbraith going to get wise to anything? We can say what we like, and he’ll have to believe it.”
“You mean, any side-wads we pull down, we split? That it?” Bull’s small, greedy eyes were fairly glowing.
TREVELYN stood up. His air of nonchalance had vanished. His face was hard as he surveyed Bull contemptuously. It had taken him just ten minutes accurately to gauge his man. He knew Bull for a bluffer and a bully; one of a “strong-arm” force who always plays safe. And he knew the man was ready and eager to double-cross Galbraith, who hired him to do his dirty work.
Almost, Trevelyn was on the point of closing with him then and there. There could be no question of the outcome; the fellow was yellow clean through. But he was armed. And Trevelyn suddenly remembered that as John Smith, traveling hobo, without any credentials and under suspicion already, he would have a nice time handing Bull over to the custody of the law. But he did long to see the conceited Adamson suffer. Adamson had not missed one chance to cut him on the raw. Why shouldn’t he, now he had the chance, make him squirm? But, in his heart, Trevelyn knew that it was not what Adamson had said or done to him that rankled. It was because he was insanely jealous of the man that he desired to put him on the rack. But it wouldn’t be playing the game, .somehow. No, the only thing to do was to pretend to fall in'^with Bull, and warn Adamson and Billard of
their peril. It would then be up to them to have the man arrested.
Just here Bull broke in on Trevelyn’s meditations.
“Say, what’s on your mind now? What you lookin’ at me that way for?”
“I was just wondering,” Trevelyn answered, disarmingly, “if you would stand by a pal in a tight pinch. You see, Bull, I don’t know you.”
“Nor I you,” retorced the bridling Bull. “We’re sixes, there, bo. But lemme tell you somethin’. The fact that Galbraith, who has his gang of workers in every city between Windsor and Vancouver, picked little me to do what you failed to do, ought to count for some little lot with you. Didn’t he wire you to do as I say?” “Yes,” Trevelyn admitted, “he did.” “Well, that settles that. I’ll see you do it.”
“All right,” shrugged Trevelyn. “What are your orders?”
“You’re to keep off this lay, and let me have a free hand. I told you I was a fast worker. Now you listen to this. I overheard this Billard tell Trevelyn that he had got a couple of easy marks in Toronto to take his bait in some manufacturin’ business or other to the extent of twenty thousand apiece.”
Trevelyn started. “Oh, you did?”
“You bet I did. Of course, I figgered that this old owl wouldn’t take any chance on stop-payment on cheques and would have the ‘long-green’ cached somewhere in his luggage. Well, he had; fifty thousand in bonds, but it ain’t there now. How’s that for speedy work?”
He chuckled at the blank look that came to Trevelyn’s face. “Still think you can beat old Bull on schemin’?” he gibed. “I guess hardly.”
“So—you got Billard’s money?” Trevelyn spoke dully.
“Fifty thousand,” nodded Bull. “Got it quick, easy and simple, in my own little way. No trick at all.”
“And how about Trevelyn?”
“You leave him to me,” Bull answered. “I’ve got a little joker in my sleeve to put that gent where I want him. I’ll look after Trevelyn.”
He turned his pig-like eyes on his companion and nodded slowly. “I’ve made up my mind to ditch Trevelyn at Winnipeg.” “But I thought—” Trevelyn began. “What you thought, or think, don’t count,” Bull cut in, blusteringly. “I’m runnin’ this show. I’m turning Trevelyn over to the tender mercies of Wallace at Winnipeg. He has that option on him somewheres, and Wallace’ll give him the third degree and sweat it out of him.” He leaned forward and tapped a pudgy finger on Trevelyn’s arm. “Wallace will come aboard at Miniki and play the part of a detective. I’ve wired him. You watch and see what happens.”
“But,” cried Trevelyn, “if we have him taken care of at Winnipeg, we’ll lose our big chance on the $45,000 he intends to raise in Vancouver.”
“We will not,” chuckled Bull. “Oh, no, we will not, either. I’ve planted enough phony evidence on this Trevelyn to make him out the rankest imposter and greatest thief alive, and I’ve picked enough out of his private papers to prove you up—” “Me?” Trevelyn asked. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that from Winnipeg on, you’re goin’ to be Trevelyn. That’s what I mean!”
Trevelyn sank limply into a seat.
Bull laughed wheezingly. “Kind of bowls you over, don’t it? Ingenious, eh? Why, Smith, all you gotter do is visit old uncle and garner in the spondulicks. Don’t you see?”
“But,” Trevelyn asked, “won’t he know at once that I’m a fake?”
“Naw. No chance in the world. I happen to know that that old money-mint never met nephew Trevelyn. Besides, won’t you have the real Trevelyn’s credentials on you? Wake up, Smith, wake up!”
“But if this man Billard gets suspicious?” Trevelyn asked.
“Billard will be obliged to stop over at Winnipeg to push his charge against Trevelyn,” Bull answered. “It’s all easy. Me and you—we’ll shoot through to Vancouver and after you’ve played the old millionaire, we’ll be knee-deep in clover.” He chuckled and rubbed his thick hands together gleefully.
“Of course you’ve got a gat?” Trevelyn shook his head. “My gun’s out of order,” he answered. “I was just going to ask you if you had an extra.” Bull slipped his hand in his hip-pocket
and produced a squat, wrench-like pistol with a cylindrical contrivance attached to the muzzle. “Be careful of that little tool,” he adjured, “she sprays to a hair’sweight on the trigger, and with that silencer does it in a whisper. I ain’t advisin’ gun-work unless it comes to a pinch, though.”
“I’ll be careful,” Trevelyn promised, pocketing the pistol.
Bull arose and threw away the butt of his cigar.
“We won’t meet again till after we’ve left Winnipeg. Then we’ll manage to get together for a minute or so. Mustn’t show anybody that we’re working together, you see.”
HE SWUNG about to glare venomously down at Trevelyn. “You make another mistake, Smith,” he threatened, “and out goes your light. Them’s my orders, and they stand. Here’s another thing. I’ve made up my mind to kidnap that gold-haired secretary of old Billard’s too. I’ve sort of took a fancy to her. I understand you’ve met her, Smith. The porter tells me he saw you two talkin’ together. It’ll be your job to shine up to her and sort of get better acquainted. You’re not a bad lookin’ chap, and it should be dead easy. You’re to get her off the train at Winnipeg, some way. Use your head. After that somebody else’ll do the lookin’ after her.”
He chuckled again, and Trevelyn, sitting with his hands fiercely elenened, had to keep tight hold of himself. He longed to spring at this arch-schemer and beat him to a pulp. But he sat grim and silent until the red haze lifted before his vision, and simply muttered:
“All right, I’ll do as you say, Bull.” “You’d better.” Bull stood for a moment gazing down at his supposed subordinate, then with a grunt turned away.
Trevelyn sat up then. “How about money?” he asked. “I’m broke.”
“Oh, you are?” Bull turned to glower on him. “Well, for that matter, so am I, or confoundedly near it. But I’ll be gettin’ some money at Winnipeg. I’ll fix you up then.”
Trevelyn sighed relievedly as the burly form passed from the compartment.
Of course, he told himself, there was only one thing to do; save Billard and his party at any cost. This man Bull was a deadly menace to everybody—himself included.
He drew the pistol from his pocket and examined it with an air of abhorrence. There had been a time when he had loved fire-arms; but ever since the war he had loathed the sight of them.
He slipped to the window, raised the screen, and hurled the pistol into the night.
“There,” he sighed, “if the worst comes to the worst, they can’t label me a gunman, anyway.”
On his way to his berth, he looked about him in search of the porter.
But Jake was nowhere visible.
IT WAS noon, next day, before Trevelyn glimpsed any of the Billard party. He had purposely held to himself during the morning, partly to deceive the watchful Bull, partly to plan someway out of his difficulties. That he was on the horns of a bellowing dilemma, went without saying. What would happen to him when they reached Winnipeg—exactly three hours and a half away—he could not conjecture. One thing he knew, though; if he were free to do so, he was going' on to Vancouver, and on this same train. The fact that he had but a few dollars in his pockets bothered him little. Some way, somehow, he would make the grade. A certain girl had expressed ner regret that he was stopping over at Winnipeg, and that girl was holding all that was good in his heart between her pink palms. Yes, he would go through!
Twice during the morning Bull had passed his seat, and on both occasions he had given the sign that things were working smoothly. This would mean that Billard was still oblivious to the loss of his money. It was reasonable to believe that the match-manufacturer, having placed it in a safe place among his baggage, would hardly look to see that it was still secure unless his suspicions were aroused. It looked as though everything was set for the showdown.
When the train stopped at Miniki, Trevelyn managed to avoid the eagle eyes
of Bull long enough to send a telegram. The message was to the Chief of Police, at Winnipeg.
HE ATE his lunch with little appetite, although it was the first meal that day. Miss Raynor was not dining; neither was Mr. Billard. At an upper cable sat Bull, and opposite him a big, broadshouldered man, whom Trevelyn had seen boarding the train at Miniki. This man, of course, would be the fake detective, Wallace.
Bull looked up as Trevelyn entered and winked solemnly.
Trevelyn swore beneath his breath, and glued his eyes to the menu. He longed with a potent longing to leap across to that table and knock together the two heads of those conspirators. He drank his tea, and, leaving his food scarcely tasted, left the diner.
He went directly to the compartmentobservation car and passed through it to the open vestibule. He was not disappointed. The girl who had been constantly in his thoughts was there and, wonder of wonders, all alone!
She smiled, and the color in her cheeks heightened, as she caugnt sight of Trevelyn.
“You are quite a stranger,” she said, making room for his chair.
“You are not dining?” he asked, as he seated himself.
“No; Mr. Billard is suffering from one of his indigestion attacks, and may need me. Oh, please,” as Trevelyn rose, “don’t order anything for me. For once, Pm not hungry.”
Trevelyn resumed his seat. “Miss Raynor,” he commenced, haltingly. “I would like to tell you a story.”
She looked up interestedly. “Oh, how lovely!” she cried.
“Pm afraid,” he said, miserably, “you won’t think it very lovely; but it’s a story you should know.”
“Please don’t spoil my pleasurable anticipation,” she pouted. “Begin, sir: ‘Once upon a time—’ ”
“Once upon a time,” Trevelyn said, bracing himself, “there was a man who called himself John Smith, but he was really not John Smith. And he met the only girl in the world and fell straightway in love with her: but the only girl—”
The story was left unfinished. The door swung open and Mr. Billard tottered forward and dropped into a chair.
Miss Raynor was instantly on her feet and by his side.
“My dear,” the old man spoke quite calmly, “I have been robbed.”
“Robbed?” she repeated dully.
THE white head nodded. “Of bonds, amounting to fifty thousand dollars. Somebody must have entered my drawingroom. I don’t understand—”
He broke off suddenly. Voices, one high-pitched and angry, the other quiet and authoritative, were approaching. Four men entered the vestibule. Adamson, flushed and disheveled, ahead, behind him the big man whom Trevelyn believed was Bull’s confederate, Wallace, the train conductor, and, just behind them, his small eyes glowing with malevolent triumph, the man Bull. In their wake were many curious passengers.
“Mr. Billard,” cried Adamson, “please tell this man who I am.”
Billard rose slowly from his seat.
“Who are you, sir?” he demanded, addressing the one who held a tight grip on Adamson’s arm.
In answer the man drew back his coatlapel and displayed a metal shield.
“This man,” he spoke, “is wanted in three countries for burglary and working various confidence games. His real name is Britton.”
“It’s a lie!” fumed Adamson, “a frameup, that’s what it is!”
“Wait,” cried Billard, “you have surely made a mistake, officer! This man whom you have arrested is Mr. Adamson, my business agent. I have known him intimately for more than two years.”
The.detective laughed. “That’s you’re specialty, eh, Eddie? Getting the confidence of wealthy persons and then getting away with their wads.” He turned to Billard.
“Might I enquire if you have missed anything of value, sir? I happen to know that this bird was preparing to flit when he reached Winnipeg. Better have a look through your belongings.”
Slowly Billard slumped into a seat. His eyes were on the angry ones of the leashed Adamson.
“I have just discovered,” he said slowly, “that somebody has stolen bonds amounting to fifty thousand dollars from me. I do not think it was Mr. Adamson.”
The detective swung Adamson about so that he faced his employer.
“This bird,” he said levelly, “threw a package through the open window when I pinched him. It might have been your money, sir.”
“That’s another lie!” shouted Adamson. “I _ believe, sir,” the detective said, pointing to Bull, “this gentleman saw him also. He was close beside us at the time.” “I sure saw him toss something through the window,” Bull substantiated. “A small, oblong package, it was.”
“Search him!” Billard commanded.
THE detective ran his hands through Adamson’s pockets.
“Don’t seem to be much here, sir, to incriminate him, that I can see. Just a few letters.”
“Then,” said Billard, “I prefer no charge against him.”
_ “All right, all right!” sneered the detective. “No need to get excited about it. We’ve got enough on him now to get him life, I guess. Maybe you’re not just satisfied in your mind that this bird is what we claim he is. How about these letters, then? See? They’re addressed to Mr. James Britton. I’ll read one or two of ’em. Listen to this.
We pulled off the Barton stunt with flying colors. We’re holding your share—”
“And here’s another:
We had to croak Jackie. He got the hop-fever so bad he caved to the police and split on the gang.”
“Want to hear any more of ’em?” he asked, leering at the old man.
Mr. Billard shook his head. He seemed stunned at what had happened.
Trevelyn took Miss Raynor’s hand, and led her through the ranks of curious passengers to his own car.
The train was slowing down. They were coming into the city of Winnipeg.
He felt her fingers tighten about his own, and a great pity surged through him. Perhaps, after all, she loved Adamson.
As the train glided and shuddered to a stop, Trevelyn whispered, “Please wait here, Miss Raynor. I won’t be a minute.” The next moment he was beside Porter Jake.
“Hurry!” he urged.
The step swung down and the door opened.
Four uniformed officers, a sergeant and three policemen entered the car.
Trevelyn spoke a few quiet words to the sergeant.
Then “Come,” he said, holding out his hand to the girl. Her face was pale and her eyes wide. They passed into the compartment-observation car.
The detective, followed by the gloating Bull and the conductor, were just entering from the rear end. Adamson, hand-cuffed, walked before tnem.
At sight of the police, the detective paused. Then, speaking in a swift aside to Bull, he turned and leaped for the vestibule. But there, three more policemen barred the way. The next moment he and Bull were being held securely, while they struggled and cursed.
It was all over in an instant.
“We know these fellows,” the sergeant was explaining to the bewildered Mr. Billard. His deft hands had removed a package from Bull’s inner pocket, which the match-manufacturer recognized as his stolen bonds. “We’ve been after them for a long time.”
“And how about him?” It was Bull’s voice cha., spoke, hoarse with hate and passion. He pointed his manacled hands at Trevelyn. “He is one of us. If you take us, you’ve got to take him too!”
The sergeant turned swiftly on Trevelyn. One hand closed vise-like on Trevelyn’s arm.
And then Miss Raynor spoke, smiling into the stern eyes of the officer.
“Oh, don’t let that brute make a fool of you, after the splendid work you’ve done,” she half whispered. “Can’t you understand? It was this gentleman who wired you to come aboard this train. Why this gentleman is one of the big magnates of this road, and a bosom friend of the President.”
“Good Heavens!” groaned Trevelyn.
He found himself free of that steel clasp. The sergeant was murmuring something that sounded like an apology.
And then, abruptly, he was in the vestibule, alone with the girl he loved.
The smile was gone from her lips. Contempt and loathing looked from her ejes.
“How—” Trevelyn commenced, but she stamped her little foot and pointed away.
“Go,” she whispered tensely, “while you have a chance! You don’t deserve to be saved. I don’t understand why I interceded for you. I’ll hate myself for doing it, all my life!”
And tnen sne turned and fled. Trevelyn found himself out on the platform, wandering aimlessly between hurrjing throngs.
THAT settled it, Trevelyn told himself grimly. Sne believed him one of che Galbraitn gang, and nothing that he could say or do would convince her otherwise. She had interposed for him, saved him from arrest through generous impulse —but she despised him. He had seen tne look of utter abhorrence on her face as she uttered those scathing words of denunciation. All right. He was sport enough to take his medicine, he hoped. He loved her still, whole-heartedly and distractedly, but between his heart and its desire jawned a ciiasm he could never hope to span. He had deliberately and unthinkingly entered on a crazy project, had brought disaster to his hopes by attempting something he might have known he could not linish. No longer did he possess an insatiable desire to go through to Van coût er on tnis train that carried the girl he loved. On tne contrary, the one wish in his bitter soul now was that he might never see her again. But there'was tnat man Adamson! How had Adamson come into possession of his, Trevelyn’s, wallet? Who was he? And what was his game? Billard seemed to trust the fellow; Miss Raynor also, although she had as much as confessed that she disliked him.
Trevelyn found himself laughing harshly, as he moved among the crowds on the station-platform. Of course, she handn’t meant that. Women—all women were natural deceivers. He was through with women forever.
There came to him quite suddenly the sickening realization that he was now a nameless, moneyless nomad in a strange city. Strangely, he had experienced none of this feeling when aboard the train. In a sense, he had enjoyed the unique experience of railway hobo de luxe immensely. Of course it had been because she was near him. Now the world seemed very big, and unfriendly and—empty. Yes, empty.
Trevelyn discovered himself standing at the upper end of the train, beside the colonist car. Eager, clucking mothers and grave-faced fathers were marshalling their families aboard. Before them lay adventure and the realization of dreams in a big world of newness. Swarthy-faced, sleepy-eyed Italians with huge bundles, chattered in jargon, as they swarmed all about him.
From the cab-window of the panting Mogul, the engineer, his hand on the throttle, awaited the signal of the conductor, who, watch in hand, surveyed, with the patience of a stoic, the getting aboard of the aliens.
A familiar voice brought Treveljm out of his musings. “Misto Smiff, sah. Gen’leman name Billard done sent me after yoall. Says yo’ was de means ob savin’ him a heap ob money, an’ he’ll see yo’ froo.”
“Jake,” Trevelyn said, “go back and thank Mr. Billard for me. Tell him that I had my own reasons for having Bull arrested and that I do not consider him under the slightest obligation to me.”
He smiled and held out his hand. “Goodbye, Jake. And thanks for your friendship.”
Then Jake was gone, and Trevelyn stood gazing down on an envelope which the porter had almost thrust in his hand.
The crowd on the platform had thinned. Mostly all of the tardy passengeis were aboard.
As Treveljn was about to turn away, from the colonist car sprang a nervouslooking, much disheveled personage, close behind him three slant-eyed Chinamen.
He almost pounced upon Trevelyn. “For Heaven’s sake, Jackson,” he cried, thrusting some papers into Trevelyn’s hand, “hurry and get aboard. These
three Chinks are the worst I ever handled. You’ll need to watch ’em! Bradley will relieve you at Edmonton.”
Before Trevelyn could recover from his surprise, the man turned and, like a freed rabbit, darted away.
The cry of “All aboard!” sounded. Slowly the train began to move out.
“Come on, you!” cried a trainman, as he bundled the last protesting Oriental up the steps. “Where do you think you are, anyway?”
The dazed Trevelyn felt himself almost lifted onto the car platform.
Fate had again interceded. He was once more aboard the National.
“Well, I’m damned!” he murmured. But he was a fatalist, and he grinned as he said it. He examined the pass which the excited stranger had forced upon him. It was issued in favor of one George Jackson and read Winnipeg to Vancouver.
“I’m supposed to play herder on those Chinks, I take it,” he mused. As he entered tne car, a big man dressed in grey tweeds brushed hurriedly past him through the door. It was the hated Adamson!
The three Chinamen were huddled close together in the upper end of the coach. All three lifted blank faces as Trevely n paused beside them.
“You go allesame Vancouver?” he addressed them.
He had a disturbing recollection of hearing, somewhere, that Chinamen were hard people to manage. He had a premonition that he had his work cut out for him.
“You go Vancouver?” he asked again.
One of the trio, an aged Chinaman, with all the guile of the world stamped on his parchment-like face, smiled blandly up at Trevelyn, and answered.
“Mebbeso Vancluver, mebbeso no. Some placie makie big washee, me stop. Next placie makie big washee, him stop.”
“Oh, I guess not,” Trevelyn said, seating himself on the arm of the seat. “You boys are billed for Vancouver, and to Vancouver you go.”
Three pig-tails shook in feigned misunderstanding.
“Allsamie we get off big washee place. You go Vancluver, sure. All ri’, helledammee fine. You play fan-tan?”
“See here,” Trevelyn’s voice was stern. “You boys get me, and get me right. You are all going through to Vancouver. The first one of you I find trying to leave this train, I’m going to kick so hard, he’ll be lucky if he lands this side of the Pacific Ocean. Now, you be good!”
WITH this parting admonition, he took a seat opposite his clacking charges and from his pocket drew the envelope which the porter had given him.
He opened it and the faint perfume of violets stole up to greet him as he drew fordi a thin strip of paper.
Pencilled on the paper in a fine hand were these words:
“Are you quite fair to leave a wonderful story unfinished?”
That was all. Trevelyn’s pulses leaped. His heart sang for joy. A wonderful story unfinished! Of course she referred to what he had tried to confess to her. Her words implied that she would like to hear the remainder of the story. Then she wouldn’t quite despise him. Could it be that she— “Oh, Lord,” murmured Trevelyn ecstatically, “if it could only be!”
And to think that she was near him now, with only a few coaches separating them! Of course, she could not know that he was aboard. Well, she would know it, and soon. He would manage to see her or at least get word to her by some means.
But he was to learn thac this was not easy. It required all the vigilance of which he was capable, and more to keep his bland-faced charges in order. The Chinamen seemed to be obsessed with the determination to leave the train and take up tneir abode in divers and out-of-theway places along the line. Apparently, anything was preferable to going through to Vancouver.
Noon of the next day found Trevelyn’s temper brittle and his nerves flayed raw. Twice, the guileful Wong-Hoo—spokesman of the party—had all but gotten away from him. Sam Lee had gone so far as to pretend death in hopes he would be thrown from the train, and one named Wing Wong, the smallest and most sinful of the three, had taken so violent a liking to him that his presence was becoming obnoxious.
Trevelyn told himself that he would carry on until they reached Edmonton;
after that die other fellow could do the worrying.
He had been quite unable to get word to the girl who was constantly in his thoughts. There was nobody aboard the car that he felt he could trust with such a message. He had considered getting in touch with Jake, the porter, but something had cautioned him to have patience and wait. He was growing irritable. He had found it impossible to sleep, because the Chinamen required constant watching. He needed a shave. He was going to seed.
The train pulled into Edmonton late the following night. The immigrant agent Trevelyn hoped might relieve him was on hand. He was young, good-natured and likable. Trevelyn adjured him in brief, disjointed sentences to take a club and watch those slant-eyed sons of sin like a cat watches a mouse. And then he climbed into a berth and slept the sleep of the utterly weary till eight o’clock next morning.
He awoke greatly refreshed, and his own man again. If only he might have a bath, a shave and a change of clothes, how toppy he would feel, he told himself, as he swung from his berth. The stubble on his chin must be rapidly nearing the propensity of a beard, and all in all, he must look pretty much like a wreck.
AND then he stood still and rubbed his unbelieving eyes. On the floor, bel ore him., lay his lost suitcase!
“One of the pullman porters left it,” his grinning co-guard explained. “This also.”
He handed Trevelyn his missing wallet and a small square envelope that emitted the faint perfume of violets.
Dazedly Trevelyn examined the contents of his wallet. His money was there, intact, his railway and sleeper tickets too.
Like one in a dream, he heard Bradley saying, “In one hour we’ll be at the famed Jasper Park. Wish I could stay over.”
But Trevelyn was scarcely conscious of the remark. He had opened the envelope and was drinking in the few words it contained with greedy heart and eyes.
“We are stopping off at Jasper for a day or two. How about the unfinished story?”
The note was unsigned, but Trevelyn, above his heart-beats could hear a voice that thrilled him with its music. His world was suddenly one of gold and blue again.
But how, he asked himself, had she known he had got aboard again at. Winnipeg? And then he remembered that Adamson had witnessed the whole transaction of his having been mistaken for one Jackson. It’s a wonder the fellow hadn’t exposed him then and there. Of course he had told Miss Raynor all about it. Well, for once, Adamson was out of luck.
With a wild swoop Trevelyn gathered up his suitcase and dived for the washroom.
MISS RAYNOR sat beneath the shade of a wide-spreading spruce. Above, arched a clear, blue sky. Before her, rising steep on steep, swept grey-blue mountains, golden-limned in the flood of afternoon sunlight.
For a long time she had not turned the pages of the magazine on her knees. Her eyes were looking away into distance, unseeing, pensive almost to sadness.
Then suddenly she became aware that the man who was in her thoughts was standing before her, tall, immaculately groomed, with a great light and a great hunger in his boyish face.
Her color ebbed and her voice, as she spoke his name was little more than a whisper.
“So you came after all,” she said, as he with the air of a conqueror lifted her hands and held them close in his.
“To finish my story,” he answered, dropping to the moss beside her. “Let’s see, just where was I when I was interrupted?”
“You were at the place where the wicked young man, who loved the ‘only girl in the world’, was about to tell her who he really was, and why he had been masquerading under another name,” she responded.
“Oh, yes: You see, the wicked young man had an old uncle in Vancouver, who hadn’t a great deal of use for him because the wicked young man refused to take uncle’s name and marry the girl of uncle’s choice. And he was on his way to see this uncle and, as John Smith, induce him to
part with forty-five thousand dollars of his money when fate threw him in with the ‘only girl’ for the second time. And, you know, he loved her so much that he was forced to lie to her; and then he was afraid to confess that he had lied, because he loved her so much. And that is the whole story,” he ended, “except that the real name of the young man was Billy Trevelyn.”
And after the “only girl” had listened to this “wonderful story,” she whispered: “Supposing she too had a story to tell? Supposing she confessed to the wicked young man that she, too, had been masquerading; that the kind old gentleman who was supposed to be her employer was not her employer at all, but her guardian. And supposing she were to confess that the guardian’s name was not Billard at all, but Thomas Ronald—”
“Great Caesar’s Ghost!” gasped Trevelyn.
He felt her hands clench within his own.
“I’m afraid it was all a heartless frameup,” she admitted. “Mr. Roxborough is equally guilty with ourselves; as a matter of fact, he and your uncle were the chief conspirators; my big cousin, Porter Jake and I were only subordinates.”
“Cousin?” Trevelyn grasped at the word like a drowning man grasps at a straw. “Then you mean to say this man Adamson—?”
IS MY cousin? Yes. Tom is really a very fine chap. He hated the part he had to play, leaving five dollar bills and clean collars where you could find them and being mean to you generally; and he confessed that he was just a little bit frightened that you would thrash him for his insolence. He is at the head of the government Immigration Bureau.” “Please go on,” Trevelyn begged, as she paused. Neither seemed conscious of the fact that he had drawn her just a little closer.
“Let me start at the very beginning,” she said. “Your uncle Ronald wrote you a letter simply, as he says, to try your metal. In this letter he proposed that you give up your own name and take his and that you agree to marry a woman of his choice. Of course you refused, as he hoped you would. But there never was such a woman.”
“Indeed, there was!” Trevelyn affirmed. “But please continue.”
“Your uncle said, C am going to have that boy. We’ll go to Toronto and fetch him back with us.’ We came to Toronto. You had gone North on a prospecting tour. Mr. Roxborough and your uncle got their scheming heads together. We learned quite a lot about you from your lawyer,” she laughed, “one thing being that you would not be driven into anything. So Guardie wrote another letter, as dictated by Mr. Roxborough; then Mr. Roxborough wired to you to return.” “The old fox,” murmured Trevelyn, “just wait till I see him!”
“You came back full of this wonderful gold discovery,” she continued. “It all but disorganized our plans. Mr. Roxborough, however, was equal to the occasion. He pretended to have invested all his own and your money in a matchmanufacturing concern.
“That left you but one alternative, to raise the price demanded by Frankfort for his two-thirds interest in the mine. You decided to go to your uncle as á stranger; as a stranger induce him to part with $45,000. You chose the name of John Smith. You were very courageous, Billy Trevelyn.”
“You mean, to choose the very uncommon name I bore?”
“I mean, to attempt what you attempted. An unforeseen element entered into your scheme of things,” she continued. “I refer to the Olong Syndicate and their attempt to get possession of the option. I must be brief. One of the Olong henchmen managed to drug you that night in the station restaurant. My cousin saw the whole transaction. He had the man—■ strange to say his name was John Smith, too—arrested. It was Cousin Tom who helped you aboard the train. Your uncle and Mr. Roxborough had almost quarrelled over you on many occasions. Mr. Roxborough insisted that you were able to do anything which your uncle had been able to do, and Guardie’s one great boast is that he traveled across this continent without one cent in his pockets.” “I begin to see the light,” Trevelyn said. “So Uncle Thomas desired to see if little nephew could do the same thing?” She nodded. “My cousin took your wal-
let and all your belongings from you while you were helpless,” she murmured. “Oh, it was a mean thing to do! Somehow, I just couldn’t bear to see—”
“You dear,” Trevelyn murmured rapturously.
“So I wrote a letter to you, in which I confessed everything. I intended to give it to you that day on the diner.”
“So that was the letter I saw, addressed to William,” sighed Trevelyn. “Fine, and then what?”
“Then you happened to find that fifty dollars, which cousin had in some manner overlooked, and as it would pay your way as far as Winnipeg, I decided not to play traitor to dear old Guardie—just yet. So I destroyed that letter.”
She became silent. He felt her shiver and drew her still closer.
“I am nearly done,” she whispered. “We had decided to make our true selves known to you at Winnipeg. Your uncle was bursting to tell you what a splendid fellow he thought you were. Oh, but he is proud of you!” she insisted, as Trevelyn shook his head.
“But there entered the real villain! Somewhere between Miniki and Winnipeg that man Bull came into the reckoning. “Tell me,” she asked, struggling free, and gazing at him with wide eyes, “how did you manage him so well?”
In. a few words Trevelyn explained. “Ánd you almost broke my heart when you turned against me,” he ended.
“Oh,” she cried, “but you see I was sure that you would follow me, like they do in the pictures and novels, and try to explain. I never dreamed that you would leave the train.”
“I felt pretty badly,” Trevelyn said, following up his vantage.
_ He believed that he might venture to kiss those trembling lips, and he straightway proceeded to do it.
It was long moments later that he asked again in muffled tones, “Of course it would be Cousin Tom who worked me in as shepherd of those Chinamen?”
“Luckily, he was able to do just that,” she answered, in tones quite as unintelligible.
Somewhere below them, through the still mountain air, sounded voices.
“It is Guardie and Cousin Tom,” she said softly. “Shall we go and meet them?!’
“In a moment,” he answered. He was looking deep in her eyes, eyes as limpid as the swimming skies that touched the mountain peaks about them.
“And when the wicked young man had told the ‘one girl’ his story, and had asked her to marry him—can you guess her answer?”
He saw the color surge to her cheeks, saw the long lashes shadow the blue. “Why, Billy Treveljm, alias John Smith, what a foolish question!” she whispered. “What answer could the ‘only girl’ give but yes?”