crack train of the road .usually
went- through clean as a whistle.
All Esther had to look out far was
cross orders from either end of
Esther saw that, the west sema
phore was set for" clear tracks.
Half a mile distant where the big
curve began was the east sema
phore. She noted that the go
ahead white light showed Some
occasional messages went over
the wires, but no call for tower 10
through the ensuing hour.
"Now for a comfortable rest
ing spell," reflected Esther; but
the resting spell merged into a
reading, and then into a thinking
spell. It was pleasant to realize
that she was doing her duty and
helping her father; it was still
more so to anticipate, the home
coming of Paul Reynolds. He
had written a glowing account of
his success as a gold miner hint
ing at.a comfortable nest egg, and
telling, Esther to keep her eyes
open for a neat little cottage, big
'enough, though, to shelter "fath
er," as Veil as themselves.
Esther roused from her day
dream reverie with something of
a shock. Very suddenly the trap
door in the floor was given a
great push, as if from a man's
strong" shoulder. Esther had
taken the -precaution to bojt it.
She heard a muffled ejaculation
of. disappointment. Warned
niore,. alarmed Esther, sprang
up quickly and threw the ,tin
shade over the lamp on the. oper
She ran ttf the window and
glanced down. It- was just in
time to see a lurking form steal
from the tower base and. slink
over behind the cattle pens.' Here
he was joined by two men. They
seemed to converse animatedly.
Two of them leaped into the
dijch at the side of the tracks arid
started in the direction of the
est 'semaphore. The third man
stood half concealed by a great
frame filled with hay used in the
cattle peris. Esther wondered
what-these suspicious' movements
betokened.-Just then she chanced
to, glance down the east tracks.
A startled cry .escaped her lips.
The whie clear signal was not
vjsible. It had'.been changed to
the .red stop ''signal. Esther
spring to. the semaphore levers.
. "The wires are" cut!'' she gasp
e'd, white and trembling and al-
most overcome. . '
"Within fifteen , minutes the
Night 'Flyer was due. The' signal
to come on was et, and sjie could
not change it. The east signal
had been tampered- with. The
Flyer would not discover this-until
thej. engineer had " passed.' the
tower. The train would halt
around the curve at a deserted
spot, outside of any immediate
"Train robbers!" breathed Es
ther aghast. ."What shall I do?" ,
She imagined the Night Flyer
at the mercy v of lawless, armed
bandits. Esther glanced at the
clock. In six minutes the-fastest
train on the Central .Northern
would come dashing down the
rails. She could see one of the
men in half view, as if hfs special
.mission .was -toprevent her from.
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