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Newspaper Page Text
formidable accessory of the criminals
of Paris for drugging of killing a
I liad no sense of consciousness
after that until I found myself seated
in a chair in a close, stuffy room.
The man who had drugged me stood
before me smiling in a cynical, trium
"You forced me to act in an arbi
trary way," he said. "No harm has
been done. There are your tools of
trade,"" and he pointed to a table
where lay the parcel I had brought
from my Por studio. "And there,"
and he indicated an easel, "is the can
vas we wish you to fix up."
I stared in wonder, but with a posi
tive thrill at an unframed painting
held by brads across a' board upon
the easel, for it was "The Watchers."
Who in France has not heard of
"The Watchers," that" notable chief
d'oeuvre of an obscure artist who
gained fame only after , his death?
Who also, as I, did not know of its
mysterious theft from the Louvre, of
a fabulous reward offered for its dis
covery and the conviction of the
thieves. In a flash I recognized the
situation. In despoiling the frame in
the-great picture gallery of this cher
ished gem, the robber had torn and
defaced one corner of the priceless
"It will be five hundred' dollars if
you restore that painting to a pre
sentable condition. Can you do it?"
I was on my guard in a moment. I
realized how I should act and what
I should do. I doubted if I would re
ceive the money promised or be al
lowed to depart after I had done my
work, and I set my wits at work to
circumvent this probable agent of a
set of desperadoes. I assented to his
"Very well," he said, "I will go and
bring you some refreshments and
stimulants, for your experience com
ing here may have unnerved, you."
And then he was gone. In an in
stant I had that precious canvas re
leased from the easel, rolled up under j
! my arm andsa dash made for the
As I leaped out I landed in a close
court. I heard a shout from the ropm
I had just vacated, I saw a face at its
window. A door in the adjoining
building was open. I ran towards 1t,
to come upon a staircase. I followed
its windings, an uproar pursuing me.
I reached the second floor of the
building, seized the knob of the first
door I came to and bolted into a light
"I am being pursued by despera
does from the next building," I said
hurriedly, "Save mej hide me, and
I was aboiit to say: "And I will re
ward you richly' buf the eyes that
met my own told of real, sympathy, a
slight shudder that she realized my
peril. . .
"This way,, quick," she said; and
moved towards a ped. Within 'it ilay
an old man, evidently an invalid,
asleep orvunconscipus. She bade me
climb behind him,- qoverfcd'-ine up and
then resumed" herlseat.
The bangidg.at ihe doors, the;loud
shouts told that my pursuers dom
inated and terrorized, their neighbors.
Finally the door was thrust" open. My
captor fiercely challenged the girl.
She pointed' a. warning finger to her
lip and pointed at her invalid father.
The intruder loked under the bed,
explored a .closet and then proceeded
on his fruitless search.
I stole a glance at the fair girl who
had saved me. There was 'a beautiful
woman depicted in the canvas I had
rescued, but not to compare with the
serene yet sensitive countenance of
my gracious friend.
An hour later, enveloped in an old
coat she had loaned me, I left the
building and reached the police.
I will not tell the royal reward I re
ceived for returning the stolen pic
ture, but it was enough to complete
my education and get married on.
And she who shared my little for
tune was the lovely girl who had
helped me to win it.