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1 CYCLING DUELLO.

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(Copyright.) 1 CYCLING DUELLO. B* B. RANGER. notistf» «"Glam°yIe, R.A "A York 4 John Shairp, Detective," &c., he. ,extremely pretty girls, and as )eo ight js as any two people whose bg_ right and who havt> perfect mirrors > either e was never anv nt>nsense about Thev h Rot when they were alone, at any *Ud h /i been friends from their baby- '°»eg act worn blue sashes and embroidered ll^anrtgethor- They llad n- to the sa?ie ''ow they were both in love with :H&and were attempt!? to keep up '<m .L"!Iies3 while discussing the matter. °8eci 'Ie-°re you came to VurW, that you Ch ,u ^"ould have to choose between the 'l, y, the Army, and so y<m hare, said 'U tho r.v dark one. '-l"f only you had lily Ch'Jrch." ^hair6 °thor one' was n' uii' 1>ut slie had ^have Jane," she said, "if Captain i'to j fn 'n the Church." Ill ^esay," said Sylvia. ?*> if have been eijua!iwell, either, lWe/°u 'lad not happens to pay your ■ ^JUst now. Captain H»lt and 1 would eatn engaged in a few weeks. I'm sure." liti you invited Sylvia, *h, v of course. I know that. It was) ar,j ut- Still, if you Lad not happened; J to v everything' Lewis has taken Stilf >U' 1 ^now- NoW can help seeing J,* ,had takena t'.mry to me before rj'y 8'I'm sure, morally sure, yes, I'm v r timt if either of us were to go '1 witwetl—well then, Captain Holt, would 4s in i °ther one. I'm convinced that »% „ Uc" torn in two wan as we are." *1 the last two sentences slowly. In ^isoi, °- ends had arrived at this point in .^Pon <r.Sl°ns several times before, and it loll ha,e iu the matter that the whole t f-j They continued it too, now, on %1kliQes m usaai. a wretched accident of course," ■h^Pbs retfully, after a pause. "Still— 18 awfully nice, Sylvia." A !),?% not take hiai yourself?" asked iNf* >ed her face uneasily in th« cushions] f^de »°n w^ich she was lying. |fe i#' 8'le said, briefly. ^'<1 s-??re trade for you than he is for a- "And you knr>w has plenty V' "lilv." 'Vn 311 irreproachable character, Sylvia." 'in be rather nice, in some respects, said riyivia. ,lVuu come intc ah^hv fv? £ °od many secrets. They say the v^CiC-i Marchioness of Sand shire was so ^Usn ^r* Cripp., at the Hunt Ball, <Ufe owes hitn an endless bill." K*>' said Emily, thoughtfully. But you know, Sylvia' 1'ancy seeing tyg» on your neighbour'* knives and jSyiVif7eryb°dy admire3 trcdr nowadays," •*1^ • "and Mr. Cripps is a perfect little l No one could say otherwise." money-" ^<14 ^cle in Parliament. ^^°ther who is a mayor." 8 pause for a mittu^* here, as if J^ad temporarily used up their %|v • but,before long Emily began again. Holt would distinctly shew jj" s ^ore for either one or the other CCtl K -J » "a exactly what he won't do, saidi k> Und .y°u say, I believe Captain Holt iSj ^«t, a?;,lded as we are as to which he carea; nt the only tiling to do is for one orj L^tog, ^8 to go awav, —irritably {Si WP ^or it." lu^to ^possible su^^tion, both girls, 0^ fot ence again. They continued in w the a 1?e time, too, one restlessly sigh-j cushions, the other drumming. V^ Presently Emily suggested iij ^8 H)11- for a run on their bikes, eir usual morning occupation, but: •L contin ^idly negatived by Sylvia, the again, until, some time after, S t»o«t v!^ brok,'ri by » scream from Sylvia Vl °7 the window. Emily raised her confronted by Sylvia's face, a(tiant and flushed with a sudden Ha SOt fl [^1**1*11f ,rnost brilliant idea, exclaimed Va cow J'011 b°w we'll settle it. We H v Mthlncea one of us were to Dra0^ explanations that the other it| Ifolt V'Vlcal,y certain to bccoine Mrs. \V^' I'hen let us ride a bicycle race Mi The tl0t "J Let us put it at the end of i 0 loses ?r,e who wins remain here. The has to undertake to %o away from fj14 Itolf —without any explanation to k J1, tha °f course—and ive the field i«v It What do >• >'•> think of it, R.°f n„°uld settle the mat'u-r without any H?Varrelling or ill-feeling. What do €%t E • iyf was, perhaps naturally, de- fi-(]V'4's. n>1rick by this novel suggestion 1 *t6 i> Perhaps Emily wao a little less Y*i»ie an ber iriend." Ar; any rate she so 'Ht c0tit;SoiTleW'hat out of breath at first, as (t(-lu?c' to pour ou! die manifold ),'y thai 'r scheme; ar.d it was only t whole beauty ui the idea as her began to. dawn on her. a8Jie.r^ the tossing-up that you ^ll e aS°>" she said, doubtfully, at •is^y not?"' asked Sy'via, recWessly. h »^vl • <lecide the nir.tt.-r somehow or! 41 jj^ia was known a-> a pioneer in rt j^ements amongst her friends—"Why t at the end of so;i; etfurt which we Ila e ^k^ko ? aud both to give up to \><la 0 Wins without ill-toe]in? H that Sylvia could see nothing > splendid in her proposition, and the poured strongly of the up-to-date 8'Hv Char £ icters of which they were 'ilS K0t' at anv rate, in a tew minutes e rit to see some of the unique ..both ,1(lea. if 1 "so something alike, don t we?" s tK^se H 0uld be fair i!1 that resl)ect- 6 ^hou^°uld," said Sylvia. "Then it ra" jt fatter without chance of dis- e f°ra Mil be perfectly lovely to ride t t0 „ prize—and I think it's fine. ^ily^thpj. 6 \pjn(jow to settle the question 'n' ^t, b ^fbaps the fact just mentioned » Par l girls' riding abilities were ■' it °r th a(' a good deal to do with W, ^9,8 settling of their difficulty. Or,! °thor asjHict of that likeness—! J; in tv Practically little more than ai"t, of wheeling that made i: %i e tn,a(i°lJt this special method of; 9 S 6 PraZp 'r to the test. In other words,! ir' ik.^th WaR yet in its first stage of raw! ^lylit seem strange, consider- *t! %«(.>„ %virt* the tftnea the two were At ^clist..> >"et they were not at all profi- » tli ha whie.h was owing to the Mh §o, been brought up—up to six W4 ^'v-i!y had come to live at V e far ( orkshire village, where the >L ^it^ 00 hilly for cycling. In con- ^«»eels ii. 4. the girls had done much 1 *ii^ die1'' three wee ts ago. when Syl- t tce \jastrons visit to her friend had u tnor,;fri both had spent the greater gr, In the saddle. that t^hia comparative rawness as e is a the two to look upon a l^rhan!na^ter of enjoyment in itself. them' th<1 same you't-h fulness in the ^■tue8chQ pre"ently, when Emily's diffi- }». 4t tvbad worn off, to choose the \Vte7^id for the ride" ork t0 Mai ton at first; but, 'Observed, that would not fni,r;^s ^r both "pace and "stay." i vProve to have one and one the Kt5'thsr 0)'k to Scarboro' was sng- it til, Cf knew much of the it''1 >k "? lis 1, their acquaintances bad !> ,ii t thp .J' both knew. The only could see to the Scarboro' 'Vi).tii' t',eskvwas a little overcast. Nv ever ridden a long dis- Jttj,Ce j "-her had either of them had tr iTiiif roads; so thev decided on J' tirsl- e cheerfully. And half-an- of Sylvia's original In the saddle. They had fc0V* <'o/ y i^b- Each girl hid also ,'fi ■;[? in her pocket, and then ''ger 0» jr novel race, which seemed V iI' in h n £ 'ts interest as a race t It ftorn h Zst with which the girls cVoi- erect blcycl»st's point of view. Cr.and smiling, each girl in her t/ -Ume' tbe flasks of cognac .P°ckets, and the caly the very actual ¥< So the race began; and the first seven or eight miles of it went off splendidly. This had been about the extent of the girls' spins hitherto; ana as they had never felt unduly fagged at the end, of them they had concluded that t:y could do a much longer spin if necessary. And they die not feel at all tired now, when they drew up at the first stopping-place-Earthn -in-the -Willows. According to the road-map this place was half- way to Malton, which is, in its tum,half-way to Scarborough, and the girls congratulated each other on both their pace and stay here as they dismounted to breathe. The only drawback, so far, had been that, from force of habit, they had generally forgotten to try to get in front. Eachl had found herself turning back to call to the other or even to wait for her. But they decided to be more careful in future. Both were very determined, however, and even the misfortune of a heavy shower of rain which fell from the overhanging cloud while the girls were in the inn at Barton, did not damp their ardour. It succeeded in damping the roads, however, as, when they were in the saddle again, they discovered. Then they remembered, too, that they had not ridden on heavy roads before, and they grumbled a good deal. But presently they settled down to remember again that they were racing. Then it was splendidly exciting, they said. were racing. Then it was splendidly exciting, they said. They had frequent opportunities for judging each other's powers now, for they passed each other every few minutes during this part of the race. The second half of the distance to Malton was other's powers now, for they passed each other every few minutes during this part of the race. The second half of the distance to Malton was naturally the more tiring, however, as both said, as they dismounted again at a little village three miles on the York side of Malton to rest again for a few minutes. Each had a little of her cognac here also. put in a bottle of lemonade which they bought at the inn and they declared, as they got into the saddle again, that they felt quite fit for the rest of the journey. But at Malton they decided to stop and have a second lunch. 1;. ,1 .1 Perhaps both girls were reeling a ii«ae urcu by this. It was on the length of previous spins of theirs that they were talking, at any rate, as they sat before the fire at the hotel where they had ordered lunch. They arrived at the conclu- sion that the present effort was exactly five times as long as any previous one. Then the roads were so bad, too, they mentioned again. They had never ridden on heavy roads before, ana they hoped that the man with whom they had left their bicycles would clean them thoroughly well. But the lunch made them feel better untill they got up to face their machines. And then each was appalled to find that her stiffness was worse for resting it awhile, yet neither of them said anything of this to the other. They mounted their bicycles in silence here, the only remark being a query from Emily as they pushed off as to whether, according to the road-maps, this second half of the journey were not some seven or eight miles longer than the; first And Sylvia replied that it was. It was half- past two as they left Malton. There were twenty five miles yet to cover, and they must try to get it in by the time darkness fell which would be about half-past four. Yet it was astonishing how soon there seemed: to arrive a suspicion of dusk in the atmosphere. Another eight miles brought them to Knapton. This had-taken them rather more than half anl hour to accomplish. It was a little after three when they reached here, and already there •eemed to be a darkening in the East. However, it was here that the most exciting incident of the race-so far-took place. Sylvia arrived here, so much in front of Emily that she was able to: mount again and ride away as Emily drew up at the inn. It seemed as if pace were likely to win, for both had agreed in the earlier part of the day,] when they had ridden so much together, that y Sylvia seemed to have it for pace, and Emily fori stay. But a little more than two miles past Knapton, when Emily was again in the saddle,] she passed Sylvia sitting under a hedge, herl machine resting against a gate. Perhaps by this time both girls were begin- ning to own to themselves that they were tired. They had passed each other at Knapton,' and where Sylvia was sitting under the hedge almost without a word, and Emily had said nothing to Sylvia of the fact that her hat waa on one side, while Sylvia had never mentioned that the pattern of Emily's veil had come off in fancy, trelliswork on her nose. However, a few minutes after Emily had passed her, Sylvia dragged herself up and oa to her machine again. She was strongly tempted to try walking and pushing the bike, but that would not get her on very fast. She mounted and rode on, and the next inn she rode dete minedly past, hoping that Emily was inside j Yet she was very tired now. 8he had never had; really aching limbs in her life before, and she had not expected it would be as bad as Mils. It was growing darker too. A village clock struck the three quarters after three, and i would plainly be quite dark before they could reach Scarboro'. Sylvia dismounted to light her: lamp and consult her road-map again. She hoped that she had passed Emily somewhere, and as she had several times during the past quarter of an hour ridden a dozen yards or 150 with her eves shut, in reckless fashion, it was quite possible that she might have done so without knowing it. She sat under the hedge again to consult her. road-map, wondering half dreamily where Emily was, and quite unconscious that, not al hundred yards away, another white road-map was flickering out ghost-like in the dusk, where Emily leaned against a gate to consult it. "I There was still another fifteen miles to be done yet, and presently Sylvia doggedly mounted again and pushed on. She almost wished she had not ridden past the last inn now. The thought of a cup of tea with her remaining drop of cognac in it occurred to, her—and possibly Emily might be as belated as she, though, as a matter of fact, the thought oft riding into Scarboro' first in triumph waa beginning to look a somewhat poor affair to| Sylvia now. Then another inn threw its ruddy, welcoming, light out into the dusk, but a sudden fresh accession of determination here caused her to resist her former desire for tea. She asked for and had a bottle of soda-water with the remain- ing brandy in it, and then she pushed on again' in some style, until she approached another inn, not a hundred yards away. Perhaps a couple' of drunken navvies at the door of this place helped Sylvia to ride past it. At any rate she' did pass it. Then on again. A hill came next,! and she fancied that walking and pushing the! bike was easier than riding; but she believedj that falling off it under the hedge would be- easiest of all. It was becoming a rather dreadful affair now. She wondered sometimes where Emily was. She had had no idea that a bicycle-race of forty; odd miles would be like this. It was almost quite dark too, now, and Scarboro' was probably yet twelve miles away, which seemed to Sylvia something like twelve hundred would do on an ordinary occasion. Yet she rode or for another ten minutes, and then another blessed inn fire flickered out in the landscape She would stay here she decided. She drew up at the dS thinking how these in neigl^hog. hke tott. ljrt >«- -abasia made a circuit in the darkness, a to the same place that she had p minutes ago. L She tumbled off her machine, and, asking, m a faint voice, for a cup of tea and a private room, she turned aside into what she supposed was indicated as the latter, and, finding a sofa and table there, she sat down on the former, I and, laid her head on the latter, determining to push on again very soon. Perhaps half-an-liour, or more passed while Sylvia rested in this little inn parlour. Apparently her order for tea had been misunderstood, for no one disturbed her while she sat still, not <l»rin(r to look at her watch for fear five minutes should have passed. But, although she felt hazy about some things, the knew that her tea had not arrived yet, because she had decided that the rattling of the tea-things when they appeared should be the signal for her to lift her head. Then perhaps she fell asleep. Perhaps the hazy thoughts about how very far away the other side of the room seemed when she thought about getting up to walk it-never to mention Scarboro', twelve miles away—passed into dreams. At any rate it was quite an hour after the strange lady had been shewn into the deserted bar-parlour and forgotten, when a strangely familiar sound suddenly broke upon Sylvia's ears and caused her to raise her head with a start. Yet the sound was only that of a very quiet ordinary man's voice, giving a still more ordinary order for hot port, at the bar just outside Sylvia's door. And the gentleman who gave the order was also quite ordinary-looking -a little nattily-dressed man, with, however, a certain air of wealth and standing about his app ;ance and his manner of quiet composure. but Sylvia, hearing the remark, suddenly sat! upright m her corner in the deserted bar-room. She listened for more. The colour that had so long been absent from her face returned to it, too as she heard further remarks outside—a q'li'et "Thank you," then a genial remark about he weather. Still Sylvia sat with head erect, apparently thinking. For two or three minutes he weather. Still Sylvia sat with head erect, apparently thinking. For two or three minutes the sat thus, the colour coming and going in her j I cheeks. Then she suddenly seemed to mafee up her mind. She felt if her hat were straight. Then she coughed. At 44ae sound of that cough- rather a prolonged one-the little gentleman outside started. Then he put down his glass, pushed open the door of the barroom, and con- fronted Sylvia with a at?.-tl-d face. "Miss Bruce?" he exclaimea, in evident astonishment. Sylvia smiled. "How astonished you look, M. Cripps," she said, in as ordinary a voice as a girl who was a mass of aches and bruises could assume. "I—I have been bicycling and-er-have got lost." There was more truth in the last remark than Sylvia knew. Mr. Cripps advanced further into the room, still very much surprised and con- cerned apparently. "And you are all alone-at dark?" he asked. "Emily was with me," said Sylvia, hastily, "but I believe I've lost her! Oh. please don't look so shocked! I really couldn't help it!- and I believe I asked for Jome tea, but it hasn't come." Mr. Cripps disappeared at once to in- quire after the tea. Then he returned. It appenred that lie had called at this place partly on business—knives and scissors with his name on again, no doubt; but what a trifle that appeared at present. He sat down a little nearer to Sylvia now. and when her tea appeared she persuaded him to join. Indeed, they became quite friendly over it. But then they always had been moderately friendly. And Sylvia was so bewilderingly pleasant to Mr. Cripps during tea, that it was no great wonder if he sat a little nearer still to her on the settee after tea. For- tunately he did so, but Sylvia did not quite know yet how to bring the conversation into exactly the channel that she wished until pre- sently an idea occurred to her, and she said, softly: "011, Mr. Cripps, I have been wanting for ever so long to apologise to you for being so rude at the tennis ball." "Rude to me ? exclaimed Mr. Cripps. amazed again. "Yes, at the tennis bali, you know," repeated Sylvia. "But I was not at the tennis ball," said Mr. Cripps. "Ah, it was the hunt ball, then!" "I was at the hunt ball, but—I don" remem- ber your being rude to me, Miss Bruce. unless Neither did Sylvia; but the conversation was going more as she desired now. Mr. Cripps had come nearer still. You seem to have been different to me since then," she murmured. Then Mr. Cripps drew nearer still. But there still seemed to be a moment of indecision, of want of perfect understanding. And then Sylvia raised a pair of brilliant, feverish, audacious eyes to the young man's, and somehow, that seemed to finish it off. Mr. Cripps came nearer still; next instant he was saying something incoherent about the hunt ball, and wishing he had some- thing to forgive, and then Sylvia's head was on his si oulder; and then it was all finished. Five minutes or so after that. a new Mrival appeared at the inn door. This was a weary, forlorn-looking girl, with a fancy trellis-work pattern on her nose, and pushing a bicycle before her She pushed her machine into the sanded pas- sage, and then, giving some order at the bar, she also, as luck would have it, turned aside into the quiet bar parlour. There she was met by the sight of two people who made her exclaim; and after Sylvia had risen with as much alacrity and grace as her aching limbs would allow, and pushed Emily into a chair, and after a few more exclamations and explana- tions had ensue 1, Sylvia said to Mr. Crippst "Shall I tell?" "If you don't, I will," said that gentleman radiantly. So Sylvia told; and when the recital was over Emily rose-stiffly-and, forgetting congratu- lations, apparently, she went out of the room to countermand an order about her bicycle. Sylvia followed, and linking her arm within her friend's in the little sanded passage, she said: "Emily, I wish never, never, to hear the name of Captain Holt again. I have been doing the best I could during the last half-hour to provide for my never hearing his name again." Emily raised a pair of haggard eye& to her friend's face. "Neither do I," she said, with emphasis. However, Emily changed her mind. Sylvia did not; and Mrs. Cripps and Mrs. Captain Holt are still the best of friends. ETVX END.]

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