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j START READING THIS STRIKING…

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j START READING THIS STRIKING SERIAL TO-DA Y I k j I NIGHT OF THE STORM. It was mid-November and the fiercest storm of the year was raging over the southern counties of England. The rain and sleet c-amo dowu in blinding torrents, and tonarde evening the wind increased to II tlio fury of a hurricane. Great forest trees rocked like eaplings, and their mighty branches alternately leaped to the sky and plunged to the earth like living creatures, in a mad frenzy, trying to escape from bondage. I Along a muddy Sussix lane, in the teeth of the storm, an old and battered brougham, drawn by a stout cob, slowly made itE., wa Y. It was a hind vehicle, and it was taking Miss Lucy Brandon fiom the railway station to Brandon Chase, where she was returning home after an absence of ten years. Joe Ma-ce, sitting on the box and wrapped up to hit: eyes in his oilskins, stared through his horse's eara at the patches of seething road made visible by his flickering lamps. j He was repenting bitterly having taken on j the job. but thH was no turning bMk now, j More than once, however, he bent his heatl and closed his eyes in the face of the driving elect. ) It must have been during one of these j brief intervals cf inattention that he j allowed the oob to turn slightly from the centre of the narrow road. The result was disastrous. They were moving forward at a walking pace when suddenly one of the front wheels slid gently into the ditch by the side of the road. I The patient horse made no fuss. It simply stopped while the brougham tilted a. little eifl-ewayg and rested comfort- ably again-st the hedge. Joe Ma-ce w-ae too diegusted even to swear. With a grunt of resignation he descended from his seat and went to the door of the brougham to see if his fare was all right. He opened the door just sufficiently to enable him to thrust his head in. Immediately a soft, musical voice oame to him out of the dark rcce--1?. What is the matter, coachman? Are we there?" I No, miss, we're here and we, are likely ] to stay here for a considerable period," replied Joe, grumpily. All the same," he added hastily, "there ain't no cause for to be alarmed. Just you wrap yourself up and keep warm while I have a look round. The oarriage is stuck in a ditch, and I must find someone to help me get it out. It's happened most unfortunate. The nearest house is nigh on a mile away, but I maybe I'll find Big Lee in Tinker's Dell, which is close handy. If I don't it's like to be a long job." ) With this comforting final remark he closed the door and took his departure, I leaving Lucy Brandon to wonder, ae she I snuggled among her furs, who Big Lee might be. I Lucy had spant the last ten years of her life at a school in France, and she was not I yet eighteen. During that time she had not once visited her native land, and her only sur- viving parent, Sir Philip Brandon, she had net seen since shp woci seven years old. Even then she had seen very little of him, ¡ for Sir Philip was a traveller and had .appeared seldom at the Chase, where the daya of her early childhood were spent. i Now he bad married again. Two years ago he had brought home a beautiful bride from fo.eign parts. Lucy knew no more than this. She had never seen her step-mother nor even re- ceived a letter from her. She did not even j know if she would be welcome in her father's house. I She was a sensitive and imaginative girl. and one night, in her Convent school in France, she had had a dream. It seemed to her that b-er father—the father she soarcely reznembered-waa calling to her. She awoke deeply impressed and in the morning she wrote home. A week-ten days—passed and she received no answer. It But the memory of the dream haunted her. and one day she announced to the Sister that she was going home. A telegram was sent to Sir Phillip Brafl- don. but before it was delivered at Bran. don Chase. Lucy had already started on her journey. Now the laat stage of that journey was reached and strange emotions filled the breast of the young girl as she crouched in the corner of the stufTy old carriage and heaird the raindrops lashing the window pane. Sooner than 8he expeoted j- Mace re- ? turned al?J' 4-?pmed the dcor.  a dr?uf  he ?d. and we may be a ,IT, of a Whi:e, if you do?t m?d?ktng ??.ber in Lee's caravan. fl's clo?e handy, and ? wiU Keep you dry. aziyway. t h Luc? stepped out into the pouring fUn, Instantly the big man loomed up out of the < da.kneaa. A vou don't mind, miss, 111 carry you. It's only a yard or ao" he !mid in a ahy 1 apologetic voice, and then without waiting for her permission he lifted her in hi& arms as though she had been a baby. Rather bewildered, Nblit not really frightened, she remained quite passive while the man bore her through the dark- ness. Suddenly he stopped and Me hea.rd another sound, 90 curious and unexpected that it startled her. It was the hurried tinkling of a bell with an extraordinary peculiar tone. It was not shrill and yet remarkably clear. it rose in a kind -f agination and then failed mournfully away. At the same moment tiie man who carrit i her spoke sharply. His voice was now gruff. but not unkind. (Jut o' sight, old woman! Dost hear? Tis the young lady of the Chase. She hrJ. enough to fright her this night withuua being scared by thy witch's face." in anotaer moment Lucy was sheltered.1 from the storm. Ycu'il be all right there, miee, till we get tlle carriage out of the dItch," said the man, whose towering figure she could just sec. No one won't interfere with thee. I'll be coming ba-ck when 'tis ready." OLD ).¡A OF THE JINGLING BELLS. Leit alone Lucy looked about her. It was a roomy caravan, neatly furnished, with a oed, crcssways. at the farther end. A cheap paraffin lamp was fastened to one of the vvau-3. The sir 1 sat on the edge of the bed arrt stared through the open door out into the etorm-ndaeu night. At first she could ? nothing but a wall of blackne8, Then looking down she Wtle conscious > f a movement out there in the darkndss. V black shape, blacker than the night cic-sa to the caravan wheel stirred slightly. Lucy thought it was a dog, and dropping on her knees ehe leaned forwajd and peered down at it. Same thing like a faint whimper oanje up to her, and then—die found herself lookup into a human face. Human and yet hardly human. It wr-9 the most hidoouB face shs had ever seen. The face of a woman incredibly old. almost flethless. It was just a. brown, lined, and pnciiered skin stretahed over a sknlL In a moment Lucy's gentle a-nd compas- sionate nature asserted itself, and her eclo thought was to comfort and to help. are vou out there in the rolnl Please co-nce inside at once, Oh! I do nopa they did not turn you out for me!" At the sound of her soft musical voice tho black shape rose from the sodden earth erl displayed a tall, lean, gaunt figure to which her saturated black gown clung like a skm. eliviVu'i.th her right hand she clutched a ?n? a.sh stick, nyon which she leaned but the?' was something in the aotive. easy poice cf her body that suggested that she hara' needed the support. Her bony, talon-like hand gripped stick some inches from the top and thei it was. Lucy noticed, that to the apMr ?' i of the stick a cunous contrivance w?9 affixed consisting of three little bella in a kind of frame or shield. The woman moved forward and peered up at the girl. Then she spoke in a rasping, crackei voice. ?You see me? You see my face? „ ?? of course. I ? you." rlicd t?. girl gently, at the same time emUir 7 the??n"I^ly'Plea^ don't 8Uy outsid3 there In the wet'' YDu Fee me and you a8k me to come in  that strong men shrink from old Nan ?H<??& ft^a"yOU,1S maid look on her without r? <vc°°Jn!na ———??  and l? ou? ?anu' she said gntly, come Md nr? youFout. T ? ? very 80rry th€7 turned Y<Hl out. The woman hesitated for a bare second and then eagerly snatched at the proff■ er•ed hand. With two strides she mounted the wtep" and entered the caravan. She then flung off her outer garment* and wrapped herself, with a. shiver, in a. greasy old dreasing-gown. finally she gquatted on the floor wit-b her back towards Lucy. "Thank ve kindly." she muttered. "I'll, bids here awhile. But there ain't no cause for you to look at me. Best not. Least- ways. &o folks say." She gave a little crackling laugh which- made Lucy's blood turn cold. v- The young girl, however, WM NSohedtO MOW no fwr. and when silence had pre vailed i u between them ?? several minutS 1)? ?? an effort to get into conversation. she said. is a very curiou* Gtick <? yoMs. ehe said. Wi?h a quick nervous movement the o? woman put her bony hand on the eti? which was lying by her side. The bells tinkled mournfully aDd theii grew silent again. This stick," she went on. goes yrffp me wherever I go. Then folks 8fj db13 #t want to meet old Nan can hear her coj»iJ> £ and keep out ofJier way It's the. bad-faC^ she has. Trouble comes to them à6 IcoKS on it. So they say. Fools, my child, More trouble in this old world has bee-* caused by a pretty face than ever was caused by an ugly one." She turned her head suddenly and razed at the girl. Ay 1 she went on. "you are pretty, child. That face of yours will briji,g trouble—to otbers maybe, to you for øUre." She paused, but still kept her mournful eyes fixed upon the girl's fair face. LUy met t-ieir steady searching gaze with- out tininehing. Indeed, curiosity rathfi" than fear was her dominant feeling at t.n, mument. This ugly old woman fascinated her it1 an odd. uncanny way. "Are you trying to frighten me?" ehe said. smiling bravely. sai' dN. o! 1\0 to frighten, but to The woman's rasping voice had suddenly suiiic to an earnest 'whisper. You have travelled far," she went 01], in the same low vehement voice, "and l1ûí1' you are on the threshold of your home—the home of your fathers. But even so it wouht be well if you turned back. But you will not. You will go on to meet your fate. old Na.n cannot save you. And yet if she could she would, for when you looked int» her face you did not shrink away, yeuf eyes were kind, and the words which f-.il from your lips came from a heart which ;9 gentle, loving and true. Who knows! OLd. Nan has seen much and her eyes are c-lill keen. and age has not yet blunted her w.s. When the hour comes that you are in peril and fear grips your hea.rt. then listen ?— listen well—and if you hear the jingiinS of my beils know that a friend is noor." With the la3t words she suddenly turpev. scrambled to her knees, gripped her Quc.r ash stick and thrust her hideous faoe to- "L door of the caravan, The next moment the sound of v*>|ce» could be heard outside in the darkness. Swiftly old Nas rose to her feet and with extraordinary agility scrambled down tbe ladder and vanished in the night. As slit3. disappeared the mournful jingle of her bells rose and then died away, swallowed un by the noises of the storm. Thie is the first chapter of this Great New Serial DrcOma. The continuation is given in Week End Novels Christmas Number. Full of Bit Situations and Startling Develop- ments. this story to going to he the Serirl Sensation of the Year. Spcure your copy by placing your order for Week End Novels Xow. On Sale To-day.

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