mmcm iji.i. i mi i m
to the car roof as though exhausted.
L noticed that the filmy drees she
wore was torn as if by brambles or
fence wire. She wore no hat or
wrap and her hair was disheveled
"Does does this train start soon?"
' she panted out
"Why, yes," I answered, "but not
with regular passengers."
"I know, I know," she breathed
hurriedly, "but couldn't I stay, here
and ride just a little?' L wouldn't
niake any trouble. I'd keep real
quiet," she added, with eyes full of
piteous entreaty that stirred, my
' heart Just then the signal whistle
"I will be back in a minute and see
what I can do for you," I said, mar
veling greatly, for at a glance I dis
cerned that this was no girl tramp,
or that genus, and I was-at a loss to
sense the cause' of her' distraction.
When I got to the ground down
near the caboose the conductor was
waving a paper.. It proved to be or
ders to belt road the car I was in
when he reached a certain junction.
Just, as I completed reading a red
faced, -excited man rushed up.
Pompous, irascible, I think he had
the- ifieaaest countenance and the
most treacherous eyes I have ever
"You, men I" he shojitedv "Have
you seen anything ofa girl?" and
he rattled out a description of the
very person whom I had left on top
of. my car.
" "Look in thecabooss there's six
xwajr fares there," observed the con
. ductor, and I hurried back to my car
to -finjl no trace, of the mysterious
young lady who had so recently ap
I p'ealed to my chivalry and sympathy.
; She was gone. I scanned the level
"stretch beyond the tracks, expecting
to glimpse her flying form, for I
doubted not that he yas a run
away. I pitied her if the man I had
jjustfsejBn was her guardian or rela
tive. She did not drift soon out of my
mind. So vividly had she. impressed
me that I could' reproduce her men
tally with clearness.. We made our
run and dusk camp on just .as we
reached the junction: . (As "we made
up a new train and got well on to x
the bel, spur I determined to open
the trap in-th roof and get inside
and by'the aid of my flashlight en
joyed the lunch I had tossed among
the packages below.
We. were just passing an overhead
bridge when I 'caught a fleeting
glimpse of a descending form. In a
flash my suspicions were excited,
and rightly. A man had dropped to
the roof of the car from the girders.
He bore down upon me:
Of course I realized what iwas do
ing. A gang were after the contents
of the special car, and here, was the
forerunner of the group. He made
for me' and we collided. I went flat, -and
he, too. He was intent on throw
ing me off the car and later cast the
precious freight to confreres await
ing hkn farther down the line.
I slid and, lying extended, seized
the rod of the brake wheel. He would
be upon me in. another moment,
when he uttered a sharp cry. Turn
ing, I saw a figure beside the open
trap. I saw the ankle of my enemy
seized. He was swung backwards
'and then squarely over the side of
the car into space.
The girl! In a flashing second I
understood it all. She had got
down into the car hours before,
doubtless frightened into hiding
from the man who was looking for
her. She had thrown back the scut
tle cover just in time to save the
freight and myself!
And now, having shown the cour
age of a true woman, she became
timid and reticent I could not influ- .
enee' her to explain her situation.
"Only to get away from persecu
tion!" she uttered more than
once, and shuddered. "Only to find
some secluded home, a shelter, a
safe retreat tor a singte. month!"
I won upon her confidence during
that strange night journey. When
xml | txt