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NEWS IN BRIEF.I

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REPORTER" -RAILWAY -GUIDE.…

REPORTER" -RAILWAY -GUIDE.…

M???M?????saM??s? ? ||jSj…

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â iav e met qune cooiiy; out tiiere mlgClt D trouble here, and bloodshed as well. Ilis teeth chattered. "It is good to have so stout a comrade," De Lava said. But I implore you not to be violent, my dear fellow." "I'm not used to it," Sexton growled. "I can be cool enough in the face of some kinds of danger, as you know. I can face a judge and jury and lie myself clear out of the docii. That even you were afraid to do on a certain occasion. Besides, I am not fright- ened of a few lucifer matches on a table." The retort silenced De Lava for the moment, and he grew pale. All right," lie said. I'll not chaff you any more. There will be just time to smoke one cigarette, and then to business." The cigarette finished at k-n^rh. De Lava rose to his feet. He pushed boldly -moss the grass until he sto:>d under the window of the dressing-room. It was not far from tht ground, and, the wall being covered with ivy of ancient growth, the task was an easy one. The gems are in a drawer up yonder," De Lava whispered. The thing is simpler that I had imagined. Why was I so generous as to let you come into this good thing? Why didn't I keep it to myself?" Because I shall be useful later," Sexton muttered. "Generous! You I am sur- prised that you can pronounce the word. You couldn't spell it." De Lava chuckled noiselessly. This humour appealed to him. Give me the torch," he said, and the knife. Wait here and keep vour wits about you. If anybody comes in sight give a whiiftle. It's a soft job for you, my friend, and one that you will be well paid for. Honest, too, by comparison with some of your exploits." With this De Lava proceeded to climb up the ivy. He speedily reached the window and pushed back the catch with the thin blade of the knife. A moment later and the adventurer was in the room. He pressed his finger on the button of the torch and the tiny lance of brilliant flame shot out. Here was the dressing-table, and there the drawers where, so gossip said, the mad Lady Amory kept her gems. Gossip for once in a way was correct, and De Lava could not know that he had come a (lav after the fair. With growing impatience and muttered curses, he turned one drawer out after another. Finallv everything in the table had been ransacked; but not a single gem was to been seen. With a furious oath De Lava flashed his light about the room. He replaced the cover on the dressing-table, which he had dis- arranged, and as he glanced down the curses died away on his bloodless lips. The five matches' The sign of the dagger! The sight petrified him for the moment. The white lips quivered. Those fellows must be in league with the devil," he muttered. They read my inmost thoughts; they know what I mean to do be- fore I know myself. Now, this poltroon of a Sexton never heard of the gang. He did not know till just before we left the Red House that I meditated this expedition to-night. Therefore, he is playing no tricks upon me. Yet there are the .igns-large, legible, menacing. The mere sight of them turns my blood to water." He was sweating from head to foot, leaning against the dressing-table for support. He was fighting desperately to regain control of himself. Gradually the colour crept back into his cheeks, and the trembling in his limbs ceased. After all. there could be no im- mediate danger, and the task of the evening was not yet done. The gems must be somewhere near. In all probability they were in Lady Amory's bed- room. This increased the; risk, of course, but De Lava was not the man to retire at the first indication of failure. He slipped out of the room and joined his companion. Sexton sighed with positive relief. We can be off now?" he asked. There is nothing to wait for? On the contrary," De Lava said, drily, there is a good deal to wait for. There are the diamonds, my dear sir." "You don't mean to say you haven't got them?" Sexton said, dismally. That's about the size of it," De Lava re- sponded. This doesn't appear to be our lucky day. The diamonds are not where I ex- pected to find them. Our fair friend -has taken it into her head to hide them elsewhere âprobably in her bedroom." Then we had better return to our hotel," Sexton suggested. "Without money to pay the bill! My dear fellow, if you think 1 am going back now you have mistaken your man. An obstacle or two âbah! what of that? On the contrary, I am more than ever resolved to have those stones. I will enter the lady's room. If s he is asleep and I can get the diamonds without disturb- ing the sweet serenity of h'r slumbers, so much the better. If I don't find them, I shall be under the painful necessity of awaking her. Ah. no; I will use no violence. Henri De Lava is too devoted a s tave of the sex for that. Stay here, but keep your wits about you." Sexton groaned, while De Lava slipped through the window again quite gaily. With the electric torch in his hand he crept into Lady Amory's room. He was slightly dis- mayed to find that the electric light over the bed was still burning. Lady Amory, however. lay fast asleep, as her regular breathing testi- fied. It promised to be an easy matter, after -.]I. But the diamonds were not to be dis- covered. At the end of half an hour De Lava had searched everywhere to no purpose. His heart was hot with baffled fury and disap- pointment. His fingers crooked towards the bed. If the worst came to the worst, he would not hesitate to wake the sleeper and demand to know where the jewels were con- cealed. He was spared the trouble. He turned as an exclamation fell upon his ears. Lady Amory was sitting up in bed, a wild fury gleaming in her eves. There was no siurtsv* tion of fear on her face. She sprang up and huddled herself into a wrap. "What are you doing here?" she cried. De Lava stepped back amazed. Maria! he exclaimed. Maria There is some mis- take. Lady Amory-" I am Lady Amory. Once more, what are you doing here?" The words were cold and cutting. There was no mental weakness in the woman now. Her eyes were bold and resolute; she knew exactly what she was doing. "I am Lady Amory," she went on. "What you are is only known to Heaven and your own foul mind, 1 Itiri the last person in the world vou wanted to see. The shock of meetnif, you ¡- has given me back my reason, for the time, at all events. To-morrow the cloud nuw fail again. Ah I guess what you want. You have heard of Lady Amory's diamonds." De Lava bowed and smiled. "You have saved me the pain of introducing a disagree- able subject," he said. You always were a wonderful woman, Maria. Behold me for the time being penniless. The confession is humiliating.* but true. You have the vv here- withal to set me on my legs again. The household is asleep, nobody knows that I am here. It would distress me beyond measure to be compelled to resort to violence, Maria. "Would it?" the woman asked, with a bitter sneer. Then a heart and a conscience must have been born in you since last night. You will get nothing from me. What you find you may keen." For an instant she glanced at the bed. De Lava saw the look, and, like a flash, put the right interpretation upon it. He began to drag at the mattress. The whole thing came away to the floor, and the pile of flashing stones lay disclosed. With a chuckle of triumph the thief grabbed them. This action roused Lady Amory to fury. The sane look faded from her eyes, and she became wild and ungovernable again. She beat with her hands madly on De Lava's shoulders, and raised her voice until scream after scream rang through the silent house. With a muttered curse, De Lava tried to ehake her off, while the gems scattered them- selves about the floor in a shimmering stream of blue and yellow fl&me. The din was at its height when Sexton uttered -a warning cry. De Lava dashed t) the dressing-room window and looked out. Sexton was struggling with somebody, whilst another figure was climbing up the ivy. Drop back or I fire," De Lava said in a hissing whisper. If you don't stop I'll shoot the pair of you." (To be continued.)