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the searchers had discovered several
clues that led them to believe that
the fugitive had wandered into the
swamp district This was a danger
ous and interminable swamp spot,
and three days after the disappear
ance of Mrs. Mason a fire had swept
the greater portion of it. There was
every reason to believe that Mrs. Ma
son had perished.
A distressing feature of her fate
was the fact that the physician in
charge of. the sanitarium had enter
tained great hopes of her eventual
recovery. She had been improving
for some weeks prior to her escape.
It was about midnight when Mr.
Pelham, soundly asleep, was aroused
from his slumbers by a quick nudge
from his wife. Her voice was trem
ulous and agitated as she whispered
"Get up at once, Earle!"
"Why, what is the matter?" in
quired her better half drowsily.
"Burglars!" shuddered Mrs. Pel
ham. "Oh, do be careful. I've been
over half an hour lying awake lis
tening to suspicious sounds.
"The wind, I suppose "
"No, I thought so at first, but
found I was mistaken," "continued
Mr.s Pelham in a timorous voice.
"First I heard the front door rattle.
Then some one tried the side win
dows. Then there was a window
lifted in the garret Oh, I am sure
some one is up there! Now, Earle,
do you not hear?"
"You're right, Rachel,'.' assented
Mr. Pelham, after a moment' of in
There was no doubting the fact
that the floor overhead creaked as
hurried footsteps crossed it Then
there was a scraping sound, as of
some one pulling a trunk or box over
the boards. Then a breaking sound.
Mr. Pelham got out of bed, dressed,
and, lighting a lamp, got a revolver
from a bureau drawer. -His wife fol
lowed his example by throwing on"&
dress. She was close behind him as
they crept up the attic stairs
"Oh, do he careful!" she implored
whisperingly, as they reached the top
of the stairs and a low, vague, croon
ing sound reached their hearing from
beyond the threshold of the attic
"Hold the lamp," directed her hus
band. "When I pull the "door open
suddenly lift it so I can see where to
Mr. Pelham gave the door a quick
pull. With a trembling hand his wife
lifted and extended the lamp.
"Don't don't shoot!" almost
screamed Mrs. Pelham. "It's a girl
The flickering lamp fell across a
woman, singing softly to herself and
taking dfcess after dress from a trunk
she had opened. She turned toward
the intruders in a surprised way.
"Visitors," she observed in a soft,
plaintive tone. "You will have to ex
cuse me until I get ready to go down
and meet my guests. I have just ar
rived, home. Some wicked people
stole me from my husband and I es
r 'Oh, Earle!" gasped Mrs. Pelham,
.tugging at her husband's sleeve,
"don't you understand? It's that
poor lady next door they mourn as
dead. Oh, quick, quick, run for her
husband. She has found home at
last and see, that open window.
She must have reached It with the
Mr. Pelham, teribly excited, hur
ried away. Mrs. Pelham advanced
to the side of the woman, whose gar
ments were nearly in rags.
'Pick out your dress, dqar," she
said soothingly. "Your husband will
be here soon."
"But strangers in the house!" be
gan the other suspiciously.
"Oh, we are just guests," assured
Mrs. Pelham. "You will find every
thing in order below."
It was a great shock for Robert
Mason when his neighbor advised
him of the strange arrival of the
night. He calmed himself as he real
ized the situation. As he entered
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