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EVENING EXPRESS" NEW SERIES.…

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EVENING EXPRESS" NEW SERIES. fline Points of the Law. [COMPLETE.] The train had left Withmore far behind and as rushing on in its twenty minutes pause- less run between that quiet little town and the next station of Farridge. I sat back in my corner of the first-class carriage and regarded my one fell ow-traveller with a self-satisfaction which, I think, was not undeserved. Self-satisfaction from a moralist's point of view may never be a praiseworthy frame of mind, but there is no doubt that it is some- times unavoidable, and I flatter myself in my case that at this particular moment I had very good grounds. What a valuable thing a little medical knowledge way be, especially < -when it takes the form of a fairly thorough acquaintance with anaesthetics! The young man opposite to me lay back in his seat with his head thrown back comfortably against the cushions, sleeping as soundly as ever he slept in his life. He would most certainly so con- tinue to sleep for the next three-quarters of an hour at least, and yet he would wa'ke at last with no worse physical result than a possibly severe headache. I could not help laughing to myself, as I thought how superior my method was to that of some of my colleagues. Their only way of accomplishing their end was a, blow, which would probably injure the recipient severely, and even in some cases a shot, which would prevent his ever receiving any further injury in this world. But here was my young friend rendered quite as oblivious to my proceedings, and unhurt. I lifted his bag to my knae and leisurely inspected its contents. Yes, it was all right! There lay the diamond tiara which was the cause of my present little excursion. I took out a powerful lens and examined the mag- nificent stones by its aid, and as I did so I reflected on what rashness tha junior part- ner of the great firm of jewellers, Seton and Seton, had shown in travelling alone with such a treasure. I suppose, however, that even in such a case familiarity breeds contempt, but the young man now sleeping peacefully while I examined his property had given me some trouble before I succeeded in administering the drug which had worked so well. I have never yet seriously injured a man in my life-except on one occasion, when, in aheer self-defence, I struck him so thac I saw by the papers he was laid up for some months. I have an intense horror of so doing, and the unusual strength of wrist I possess, aided by the fact that the drug I use, once inhaled, produces almost instant unconsciousness, saves me as a rule from such an unpleasant necessity. My spirits rose as I inspected the tiara, and estimated cheerfully that it must be worth at least twelve thousand pounds; tha Countess to whom Mr. Seton had been conveying it could certainly spare that sum far better than I. As I reached this agreeable conclusion, I glanced out of the window and saw that we were close to Farridge, and in a minute or two the train would slacken speed. I rose and took a final critical survey of myself in the glass over the seat. I had entered the carriage a dark-haired man, wearing beard and moustache, and looking about thirtyâin point of fact, I am six years older, but I aometimel look younger than my real ageâand attired in grey tweed suit and bowler hat. but from the glass there now looked back at me a miid-faced old gentleman of at least seventy, with thick whife hair and shaven chin, wrin- kles of a placid type here and there in his face, and spectacles with that patriarchal and benevolent air in every curve of tham which gold rims of a certain thickness may be relied on to impart. The tweed suit and bowler hat had disappearedâthe latter was keeping in- congruous company with tha diamond tiara, as my own bag was rather wanting in space- and this worldly attire was replaced by irreproachably ecclesiastical garments of sober black, while my reverend locks were crowned by a soft felt hat. which accentuated the benignity of my aspect. I sat down again with a chuckle at the further end of the carriage to young Seton, and. taking a "British Churchman" from my pocket, waited until we began to enter Farridge Station, by which time I was diligent ly perusing an article on "State Control of the Church." It was regrettable that I could not leave the train at Farridge, but the place was too small to give me any chance of leaving tha station without every porter on the plat- form retaining a distinct remembrance of me. In my business hours shrinking modesty is one of my chief virtues, and I had the faintest desire to obtrude myself on the officials' notice. Therefore, I was compelled to travel to the next station of Insfteld, a Sfteen minutes* run, where I might reasonably hope to pass un- observed in the crowd. I was just congratulat- ing myself that no one showed signs of entering my compartment, when a young lady came hastily up, glanced at Tie. and, no doubt attracted by the spectacle of venerable benevolence that I presen ed, threw the door open and jumped in. It was annoying, but I never betray myself by not-headed rashness, and I was not to be alarmed into leaving the train at Farridge. Seton was sleeping very quietly; there was nothing to show that things were not rightâin fact. from my point of view. things were rightâand, as I glanced at the girl, I felt still more re-assured. A charming girl! Small, unusually pretty, ith a rounded babyish face, innocent blue eyes, and an impression of that extreme youth about her which some girds convey so much more than others. Her blua eyes glanced casually at Seton, but evidently saw nothing noteworthv, and then she looked across at me with an open trustfulness which I could not help ascribing, much against my wishes, more to my attira than to myself. Then she suddenly leaned forward. "I am all right for Insfield, am I not?" she said, with a little smile, in the softest and sweetest voice I ever remember to have haard. "Quite." I replied. "Quite." "Because," she went on, "I don't know Insfield a.t all, and I don't want to make a mistaka." "I will see that you do not pass it, my dear young lady." I spoke with a paternal smile, to which she responded with one that lit up her childish face like sunshine. She was a most charming girl! I blessed the aged disguise which ren- dered it correct for me to use the endearing adjective in addressing her. "That is so kind of yon," she said. "Do you know the place? I have to meet a friend there, only, I'm afraid, not until to-morrow." I looker at the pretty child with some in- dignation that her friends should allow her to travel under such arrangements, alone. "I think, my dear young lady." I said kindly "that in that case I should not remain in Insfield. Don't you think you had better go home and come again to-morrow. Yon are ycung to be alone." She hesitated a moment, and as she answered she looked again for a minute at Seton with evident anxiety. But she need not have feared; there was no chance of his overhearing tu ything she chose to say for some time to 4rcme. "No. I can't do that, because-because-. She paused, and her pretty eyes filled with tears; then she suddenly went on impulsively. 'It'it's-the gentleman I'm engaged to. I'niafraid he'3 got, into trouble. I may be n-aiwto see him all right to-day. and then I shan't stop, but if I don't set a chance to talk to him until to-morrow, you see, I must wait." She stopped, pressing her hands together on her knee in a troubled fashion, and I paused. too, a minute. What a scamp the man must be to get into a scrape that could bring such trouble to her face! He deserved to be horse- whipped. He had no business to be engaged to her at all! On that point I felt perfectly clears and what an innocent child she was. telling n* all her trouble with the simplicity of a veritJole child. There was no doubt she was much too young to be engaged to the fellow. "I'm sorfy," I Baid bluntly. Then, re- membering my patriarchal character, I added, "but. my dear child. if you'll take an old man's counsel, dezLt try to reform him: you â won't be able to. Let me take a ticket back for you, and give me his name and address, and I will ,do my best to restore him to the right path." This phrase went well. I felt that I was living up to my cloth, although my proposal to interview the young rascal was necessarily a figure of speech. But the girl only shook her head. "You are so good," she said, with a grateful smile, "but I can't do that. Only I should like to know that you are in Insfield, too. Are you going there, Mr. Seton?" I coughed to hide a start: then I understood. Her innocent eyes had Been the name on the bag at my side. It was certainly imprudent to have left it in view; however, it could tell JI. nothing. "I am not sure." I replied cautiously; nn- ÃI, I could not let even her know my movements/ "It depends whether I receive a telegram at the station. Here we are!" I lifted out her bag, and handed her out. "I should go to some nice quiet rooms if I were you." I said. I really wished to give good advice to this little girl. "The porters will tell you of some. Good-bye, dear child. May I know the name of my little fellow- traveller? You are very like one of my granddaughters." j. "Oh, yes. I am Mary Smith. Good-bye. Mr. Seton. Perhaps we may meet again." She nodded, and looked as if she really wished that we might do so. and a minute after, as I disappoared through the booking- office, I saw she had taken my advice and was speaking to the stationmaster. I lost no time in making my way to a quiet hotel in the suburbs of Insfield. where I took a room for the night. I have had a I good deal of experiencs, and I do not believe in pushing hurriedly on away from the neigh- bourhood where one has done a stroke of business. Take my word for it, the immediate vicinity is the last place that the police will search thoroughly. Having booked my room, I descended to the colFee-room, where I had some luncheon, and fraternised amicably with a dissenting I minister, who appeared to admire such an instance of broad-mindedness on the part of the Establishment, and clung to my society for the rest of the day. Together we "did" the sl-'hts of Insfield, and in the pariah church, which we carefully inspected, I caught sight of Mary Smith. She must hava entered after our arrival, for she was certainly not in the building then. It was a plain straight structure, of which we could see the whole at a glance, but as we passed down the aisle r-n our way. out I jaw her standing, half-hidden by the pulpit, gazing intently at a very beautiful east window. She did not see us, and though my first impulse was to speak to her I repressed it. I had already made up my mind that I would pursue the acquaintance, and had carefully noted the' fact which Mr. Gladstone had pro- claimed that she was passenger from Farridge. Since she evidently lived there I should not have much difficulty in finding her again, but for the moment it would be unwise to draw her attention to mysalf, since it was absolutely necessary that I should leave unobserved early the next day. My dissenting friend departed that evening, leaving me a warm invitation to visit him, and with a promise from ma that when I did I would not fail to give an address in his mission-hall; we shook hands cordially, and I retired to my room, where I again iaspected the diamond tiara. As I put it back in its case I wondered what had become of young Seton, and casuaily hoped that his heart was in good order, for I had been obliged to administer a stronger dose of the drug than I usually approved of. It would be a great pity if he died under it; I should be extremely sorry to have such a thing happen. As I hinted before, I am soft- hearted, and I grew a little uneasy at the idea. However, it was a mere chance, not a probability, and after all, in such a case, he might almost be described as accessory before the fact, for it was his violence that necessitated the larger dose. Also. 1 had very little fear of being caught even if the warrant were for manslaughter, and such things were the constant chances of business. At the worst, it was more merciful than the work of a bogus company promoter, such aa some of my acquaintances carry on. Cheered by these reflections,§1 was up in good time the next morning, for I intended to catch the eight o'clock train to town. I bs- towed a tract on the waiter and another on a chambermaid I passed. They got a little mixed, and I believe the one she received was entitled, "Why do you swear?" which was probably inappropriate. However, that was unimportant; they would create their usual impression of the harmles-sness of the donor, and. with my "British Churchman." carried conspicuously in my hand, and every requisite for a complete change of appearance placed ready for use in my bag, I betook myself to the. station. There were a good many business men going off, but I succaeded in finding an empty compartment, and was opening the door, when someone ran lightly up. and a fresh voice exclaimed, "Oh, dear Mr. Seton, may I travel with you? I should so like to tell you the result of my visit to Insfield." There was Mary Smith, smiling and fresh, with her childish faca alight with happiness and a sort of suppressed excitement. It was really very awkward. However, I reflected, I could change carriages at the next station, and I could not deny myself the pleasure of another conversation with her. So I agreed; and once in the carriage she began to chatter how glad she was to see me, how lucky that we had hit on the same train, how strange that the day before she had prophesied that we should meet again. And so on, until we had left Insfield behind and had almost reached the next station. "Well," I remarked, rising to take down my bags, "I am very glad to have seen you. dear child. Now, will you promise me sometimes to think of an old man, and. will you be pleased to see me if ever we meet again?" The train was slackening spead. We had just reached Farle. where I intended to change carriages. I held out my hand. "Oh," she said, "did you think it stopped here? It doesn't." As she spoke, someone flung open the door of the still moving train and sprang in, and instantly we began to increase speed and rushed out of the little station, as sha said, without stopping. I darted a. hurried glance at the intruder, who must have had some good cause for wish- ing to join this train, since he had boarded it while moving, and instantly my fingers grasped the life-preserver I always carry. It was Frank Seton! I cursed my ill luck and the evil chance which had brought him there. If he recognised me it would mean a fight for lib3rty, in which my chance of final escape would be a slender one, for we were not alone, and the frightened girl would be almost certain to pull the alarm bell. I felt myself grow cold as I realised the desperate position I was in, for I knew that I could not render her inactive by a blow, even if it would ensure my own safety, which was doubtful. I shrank from the very thought of that. I sat with every sense alert, but after a minute I breathed more easily. By whatever extraordinary chance Seton had contrived to join the train, he did not seem to recognise in the venerable ecclesiastic his dark-faced assailant of yester- day. Once more I became conscious of Mary Smith's voice. "Don't you want to know the result of my interview with my fiance?" she asked. Her voice quivered a little. I was astonished at. her indifference to a, second auditor, but, without giving me time to reply, she went on, "I saw him, and I found him ill. Wasn't that sad?" "Very," I replied absently. "Very." No, I felt sure now that Seton did not know me. He sat back in his sf-at, looking rather pale, his hands in his pociets, his eyes fixed 0:1 the girl's changing face. "I was frightened at first," she continued, "then I found he had been drugged-drtlgged, and robbed of jewels!" For an instant I sat absolutely motionless; I could not have been more astonished if a dove had suddenly attacked me, and the girl's soft tones stunned me more effectually than any blow could have done. Then I remembered the other listener, and, with a muttered oath, Cprang up. There was nothing for it but trong measures now, and I flashed out my loaded life-preserver, feeling that after all the more violent methods of my fellow-profes- sionals bad their advantages. But I was too late. As the girl spoke, Seton had leapt to his feet, and I saw the barrel of a revolver only a few inches from my chest. "Game's up!" he said coolly. "No, you don't!" as I made a violent attempt to knock up the revolver. "You had better take care. It's a nasty little weapon to play with, I assure you, quite likely to hurt you. Now, you precious rascal, where's that tiara?" I fell back helpless with that gleaming revolver before me, and half stupefied by such an unexpected reverse of fortune. The hand that held the revolver never faltered, and I looked at it with keen dislike to its near neighbourhood. "Where's that tiara?' he repeated, sternly. Mary Smith, as she called herself, was clasp- ing both her hands on Seton's shoulder, half laughing, half crying, but as he spoke she darted on my bag. "Here it is." sha crid, "It's all right, darling; only mixed up v.ith a lot of bottles and wigs and things. I expect that wretcli" (she meant me) "was going to make up as something else. She turned to me with her quick smile flashing out again. "-No, you needn't be afraid: I shan't forget you." she said. "I have taken too much trouble about you to forget you easily. I am a lady detective, and when my firm was telegraphed to about this tiaraâyou see, you've been too busy lately, and people are getting atly of travelling on this line with valuable property-I begged to l given the work instead of the man they were going to send. I am glad it was I, dear." The last phrase was not addressed to me, but to Seton. and as she '.poke she looked up I at him with her eyes full of tears. For an instant he glanced at her with quick, proud affection; it was easy to see he was infatuated about her. I saw it angrily, but, nevertheless, that momentary forgetfnlness of his saved me. I was near the door, and, as he looked away. I sprang up, flung it open I and leaped out. I J heard a loud shout from Seton. but the train rushed on, and I lay where I fell, on grass fortunately, but for the moment com- 'I pletely stunned by the shock of my leap. However, I wa3 unhurt, and. when I came to, succeeded in making good my escape, though it cannot be expected that I should give details of my means of doing so. So ended one of my most unfortunate ven- tures, in which I lost the tiara and a valuable collection of requisites for disguise, and in which I had the humiliation of being worsted by a girl with a guileless face, which seemed incapable of concealing the keen brain which had successfully outwitted me. My pride sus- tained a severe shock; the only point of consolation is that, though beaten, I was not captured by her. Had I been, I think I could never hava shown my face again, certainly not in professional circles. A morning paper on the following day gave a few more details. I copy the paragraph: "We have now gained further particulars of the recent attempted train robbert. Mr. Frank Seton, of the well-known firm of Seton and Seton, has had a narrow escape of heavy pecuniary loss, if not of his life. He owes his escape to the skill and keen wit of his fiance, Miss Marjorie Strickland. This young lady, whose appearance is far too charming to be in keeping with that usually ascribed to de- tectives, is nevertheless one on the staff of a well-known firm. She was instructed by them to join the train by which Mr. F. Stton was travelling in charge of a valuable diamond tiara, and entered on her task with ardour not lessened, we may well believe, by the fact that Mr. Seton was her fiance. Mr. Seton, unfortunately, jomed the train at an earlier station than was expected, so that when Miss Strickland entered his carriage she found that the robbery was already effected, and he himself unconscious. With the utmost courage, the intrepid young detective gave no sign of the terrible anxiety she must have felt, and, although she took steps to have the insensible man well cared for on their arrival at Insfield, and herself visited him two or three times that day. she shadowed the disguised robber with a skill worthy of the highest praise. "How she induced the guard of the morning train to slacken speed at Farle, so that Mr. Seton, according to the arrangement she had previously made with him, could join them, without a possibility of the ruffian escaping our readers already know, and we fael sure that they will join us in our regrets that he eventually evaded justice, and in our warm congratulations to Mr. Seton and his charming bride on their approaching marriage." A few weeks afterwards I saw a notice of their wedding, and amused myself by sending the bride a brooch in the form of a golden pistol with the inscription. "From the Rev. F. Seton." How she received it I do not know, but I slirjl always think of her with respect, and shall never cease to regret that such talent as hers should be thrown away first in the de- tective service and next in ordinary married life. If I had had a fair chance and had naada her my wife, between us we would have baffled the police of united Europe. As it is. the girl with the childish face and innocent eyes stands above and apart from all other women in my estimation, for she, and she alone, fought with me and defeated meâI acknowledge itâutterly and entirely. *=

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