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The News-Herald. (Hillsboro, Highland Co., Ohio) 1886-1973, December 24, 1914, Image 6

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-- T
I frit NEWS-HERALD, HILLSBORO, OHIO, 1 HUKSDAV , DECEMBER 24, 1914.
The million Dollar Mystery
By HAROLD MAG GRATH
Illustrated from Scenes in the Photo Drama of tho
Soma Name by the Thanhouser Film Company
(Copyright, 10K,
CHAPTER XIX,
A Blank Sheet of Paper.
Florence was a fortnight inrecov
erlng from the shock of her experi
ence at the masked ball of the Prin
cess Parlova, who, by the way, disap
peared from New York shortly after
the fire, no doubt because of her fear
of the Black Hundred. The fire did
not destroy the house, but most of
the furnishings were so thoroughly
drenched by water that they were
practically ruined. Her coming and
going were a nine days' wonder, and
'then the public found something elso
to talk about
Norton was a constant visitor at the
'Hargreave place Thereftwas to him a
new interest in that mysterious house,
with its hidden panels, its false floors,
its secret tunnels: but he treated
Jones upon the same basis as hitherto.
One thing, however He felt a sense
of security in regard to Florence such
as he had not felt before So, between
assignments he ran out to Riverdale
and did what he could to amuse his
sweetheart. Later, they took short
rides in the runabout, and at length
Bhe became as lively as she had ever
been.
But often she would catch Norton
brooding.
"What makes you frown like that?"
"Was I frowning?" innocently
enough. ,
"I And you this way a dozen times
In an afternoon. What is the matter?
Are they after you again?"
"Heavens, no! I'm only a vague is
sue. They will not bother me so long '
as I do not bother them. It has ,
dwindled into a game of truce." .
"Do you think so?" eying him curl-
ously. I
"Why, yes." j
' "What's the use of trying to fool
me, Jim? If they haven't been after (
ou, you are sensing a presage of evil.
I'm not a child any longer. Haven't
I been through enough to make me a i
woman? Sometimes I feel very old."
"To me you are the most charming
in all this wide world. No, you're not
a child any longer. You are a woman,
brave and patient; and I know that I
cuuici iruat you nun any secret i nave
or own. But sometimes a person may
have a secret which is not his and nave C0(jtied me lon en0URll nas. cIlcst, stepped Inside, and drew the
which he hasn't any right to ls-, much as I am the stake they are play-' 'id dcnvn- She was just In time. The
c,0e" v ing for, 1 intend to have something f" "Pened and three men entered,
She became silent for awhile. "I more than a speaking part in the .ta,1:inS volubly. They felt perfectly
hate money," she said. "I hate it, ' piay secure in talking as loudly as they
ha!e It!" i "All right: you're the admiral," he ',,eafef- T floT? " 8eM"?d aV
I "It's mighty comfortable to have It ald with pretended lightness. i " nPHMe tliat 'e' did not
around sometimes." he countered. ' So the two of them joined their I llear the thunder of her heart? Strain
"As In my case, for Instance. If I btibtle enemy, conscious of a tingle hQ ear aa sh, "'' she uId ath
were poor and had to work no one of zest as they did so. On her part, er ,)Ut llttIe of what thoy 8a,d' excePt:
would bother me." ' the countess was always suspicious of , "lf Hargreave had this paper we
i "I would!" he declared, laughing, this sleepy-eyed reporter She never mSht a11 b P"t on the defensive. To
"Come; let's throw off moods and go could tell how much lie knew. But an outsider " is a blank paper But
into town for tea at the Rose Garden; of Florence she was reasonably cer- J,",0 b03S wlu be able to read u-
and if you feel strong enough we'll tain; and so long as she could fool a,he speaker moved away lrom the
trip the light fantastic.'' , the pretty infant the suspicions of the "'"nlty of the chest and she heard
They had been gone from the house
less than an hour when a man ran
up the steps of the veranda and rang
the bell. Jones being busy at the rear
of the bouse, the maid came to the ,
door.
"Is Miss Hargreave in?" the stran
ger asked.
"No," abruptly. The door began to
close ever so slowly.
"Do ycu know where I can find
her?"
The maid eyed him with covert keen
ness; then, remembering that the re
porter was with Florence, said: "I
believe she Is at the Rose Garden this
afternoon."
"That is in, town?"
"Yes."
"Thanks." The man turned abruptly
and ran down the steps.
The maid ran back to' Jones.
"Why didn't you call me?" he de
manded impatiently.
"There wasn't time."
"Did you tell him where she was?"
"Yes. But I shouldn't have told him
if Mr, Norton had not been with Miss
Florence."
Jones ran to the front, dashed out,
eyed the back of the man hastening
down the street, smiled, and returned
to his work, or, rather, to the maid.
Ho took her by the shoulder, whirled
her about, and shot a look into her
eyes that quailed her.
"Always call me hereafter, no mat
ter what I'm doing. That man has
never laid eyes on Florence and has
no Idea what she looks like. Why did
you drug my coffee the night of that
ball?"
She stepped back.
"And how much did they pay you
for letting that doctor send Florence
to Atlantic City? I know everything.
Hereafter, walk straight. If you play
another trick I'll kill you with these
two hands. And listen and tell this
to yuur confederates: I always know
every move they make; that Is why no
one Is missing from this house. There
is a traitor. Let them find him if they
can. Will you walk straight, or will
you leave?"
"I I will walk straight," she fal
tered. "The money was too big a
temptation."
"Did they give it to your
i "Yea. And more to stay here. But
bj Harold MaoGratli)
this la the first bit of dishonest work
1 ever did "
"Well, remember what I have said.
Another misstep and I'll make an end
to vou. Don't think I'm trying to
scare you You've witnessed enough
to know that It's life and death in
hiious Now run along."
At the Garden Jim and Florence
sauntered among the crowd, not hav-
t -. '
Princess Parlova Attired for the Ball,
,K any particular objective point in
viinv
"si,!" whisppred Jim.
"What is it?"
"0lKa Perigoff is yonder in a box."
"Very well; let us go and sit with
ner Is bno aione?
"Appaiently. Hut don't you think
, better go elsewhere?"
-v.. ,ip..,r nnn.f n ,,i.i rinr.
ce wlth mo'cl loftiness. "Olga Peri-
ROt( naa written me down as" a sim-
pie joung fool, and that is why sooner
r nteri j.,n gomg to put tnQ shoe '
011 tl)e other foot yo), a)d Joneg ,
loporter were
negligible quan-
Florence Was Thrust Into a Room end
Made Prisoner.
tity. She greeted them effusively and
offered them chairs. For half an hour
they sat there, chatting Inanities, all ,
the while each mind busy with deeper
concerns.
When the man in search of Flor
ence eventually arrived and asked the
manager of the garden if he knew
Miss Hargreave by sight the manager
pointed toward the box. The man
wound his way in and out of the idlers
and by the time he reached the box
Jim and Florence had made their de
parture. The man bowed, approached,
and asked if she was Miss Hargreave.
For a moment the countess suspected
a trap. Then it appealed to her mind
that if there was no trap it might be
well to pose as Florence, lf only to
learn what the outcome might be.
"Yes. What Is wanted?" she asked.
The man took a letter from his
pockot and handed it to Olga, saying:
"Give this to your father. He knows
how to read it"
Before she could reply the man bad
turned and was hurrying away.
Olga opened the note, her heart
beating furiously. It was utterly
blank. At first she thought it was. a
hoax. Then she happened to remem
ber that thore was such a thing as in
visible Ink. At last! Hargreave waa
vi i y
Mt7'M0M'iiiiC
it? :yJ&W$m$p$5z &
sv'w9muBrSu
We ", ' '' ''' '' mm s vWLSs" SiHm 1
olive; this letter aetUod all doubt In
her mind on this question, Allvet
And not only that, but tho girl and
Johes were evidently In communica
tion with him. She summoned a
waiter, mode a secret sign, and ho
bowed and approached She slipped
tho letter into his hand and whis
pered: "Show that at the cave to
morrow. It is in invisible ink and
meant for Hargreave."
"He's Oliver'
"Positively."
"Very well." The waiter bowed and
strolled away nonchalantly.
Bralne was In Boston over night,
otherwise the countess would have
taken tho mysterious note at once to
him. She remained for perhaps a
quarter of an hour longer and then left
the garden. She would have taken the
letter to her own apartment but for
the fact that the chemicals needed
were hidden in the cave.
Now it happened that Florence went
out for her early ride the next morn
ing, and crossing a field she saw a
man with a bundle under his arm.
The sun struck his profile and limned
it plainly, and Florence uttered a low
cry. The man had not observed her.
So, very quietly, she slipped from the
horse, tethered It to a tree, and started
after the man to learn what he was
doing so far from the city. She would
never forget that face. She had seen
it that dreadful night when the note
had lured her Into the hands of her
enemies. The face belonged to the '
man who had impersonated her father.
It occurred to her that she might
just as well do a little detective work
on her own hook. She had passed
j through so many terrifying episodes
i that she was beginning to crave for
the excitement, strange as this may
seem. Like a gambler who has once
played for high stakes, she no longer
found pleasure in thimbles and needles
and pins. She followed the man with
no little skill and at length saw him
approach a knoll, stoop, apparently
press a spring, and a hole suddenly
yawned. The man vanished quickly, j
and the spot took on again its vlr- !
ginal appearance. A cave. Florence '
had the patience to wait By and by '
the man appeared again and slunk
away.
When she was sure that he was be- I
yond range, "he came out from the
nlace of concealment crept up the .
knoll, and searched about tor the ruagio
l.uidle of this strange door. Diligence
r-uaidfi her, and she soon tound
liiTself in a large, musty, earth-smelling
cave Loot was scattered about,
ind there wore boxes and chairs and
i large chest. Men evidently met
here, possibly after sorao desperate
adventure against society. She found
nothing to rewaid her hardihood, and
as bhe was in the act of moving to-
i ward the cave's door she beheld with
,terror that ll "ils moving!
Slle was near tlle cllest at tIlat mo
munt The cave was not a deeP one-
'"cio " "" luiiuei, oniy a wan.
Resolutely she raised the lid of the
no more,
Very deftly Florence raised the lid
just enough to peep out. The man
who had been talking was putting the
note in his hip pocket. Ab he turned
toward the chest he sat down on the
soapbox immediately In front of the
chest. An inspiration came to the girl,
an exceedingly daring one. She took
her liberty in her hands as she ex
ecuted the deed. But the dimness of
the eve aided her. When she crouch
ed down again the magic paper was
hers.
It seemed hours to her before the
men left the cave. As she heard the
hidden door jar in closing she raised
the lid and stepped 'out, breathing
deeply. The paper she had purloined '
was indeed blank, but Jones or Jim
, would know what to do with it. And
wouldn't they be surprised when she
told them what she had accomplished
all alone? Her exultation was of short
duration She heard the whine of the
door on its hinges. The men were re-
turning. Why?
They were returning because they
had discovered a woman's shoeprint
outstrip. Tt nolnfprl tntrnrd ihn onvp.
freshly, and there was none coming
away. To reenter the chest would be
foolhardy. It would be the first place
the men would look. She glanced
about desperately. She saw but one
chance, the well. And even while the
door was swinging inward, letting the
brilliant sunshine enter, she sum
moned.up the courage and let herself
down Into the well, which proved to
be nothing more nor less than an un
derground river!
The men came in with a rush. They
upset boxes, looked into the chest, and
the man who was evidently in com
mand gazed down the well, shaking
his head. Their search was thorough,
but they found no one. And at length
they began to reason that perhaps a
woman had got as far as the door and '
then turned away, walking on the I
turf. I
Meantime Florence wob borne along
by the swift current of the river, which
gained In swiftness every moment.
From time to time she bumped along
the rocky walls, but she clung to life
valiantly, In ten minutes she was.
swept, to the other side of the hill, In
to the rapids; but the blue sky was
overhead, she was out in the familiar
For a Moment the Countess Suspected
a Trap.
world again. On, on Bhe was carried.
Even though she was half dead, she
could hear the roar of a falls some
where In advance.
Bralne thought he really had a clue
to the treasure, and with his usual
promptness he set about to learn if it
was worth anything. He procured a
launch and began to prowl about, us
ing a pole as a feeler. All the while
he was being closely watched by Nor
ton, 'who had concluded to hang onto
Braine's trail till he found something
worthy of note. Bralne was disguised,
but this time Jim was not to be fooled
But what was he looking for, wondered
tho reporter? Bralne continued to
pole along, sometimes pausing to look
over the gunwale down Into the wa
ter. In raising his head after the last
investigation he discerned something
struggling in the water, about three
hundred yards awa The current
leisurely brought the object into full
view. It was a young woman with
Just power enough to keep herself
afloat. The golden head roused some
thing in him stronger than curiosity.
It might be!
Braine proceeded to move the launch
la the direction of the girl. It was
this movement that turned the report
er's gaze. He, too, now saw tho wom
an in the water and wondered how
she had come there. When Braine
reached tho girl and pulled her into
the launch Jim saw her face plainly.
He flew from his vantage point,
found a skift, and started after Braine.
"By the Lord Harry!" murmured
the rogue. "Well, they can talk of
manna from heaven, but this is what
I call luck. Florence Hargreave, out
of nowhere, into my arms! The god
of luck has cast another horseshoe
and it's mine."
He had r. flask in his pocket, and
he forced some of the biting spirits
Found Herself In a Large, Musty Cave
down the girl's throat She opened
her eyes.
"Well, my beauty?"
Florence eyed him wildly, not quite
understanding where he had come
from.
"1 don't know how you got here,"
he said; "and I don't care. But here,
we are together at last. Where la
your father?"
"I I don't know," dazedly.
"Better think quickly," he warned.
"I want lucid answers to ray ques
tions, or back you go lrito the water,
I'm about at the end of my rope. I've
been beaten too many times, my girl,
to have any particular love for you.
Now, where Is your father?"
"I don't know; I have never seoD
him."
Bralne laughed.
And Jim's boat ran afoul some rocks
and into the water he went. He had
not attracted Braine's attention, for
tunately. He began to swim toward
the drifting launch.
"Where have they hidden that
V?-" i&zy, y.,' i - ir " Amltl
moneyr"
"I don't know."
I "Well, well; I've given you your
chance. You'll have to try your luck
1 with tho water again."
Florence, weak as she was, set her
lips
"You don't nsk for mercy?' he said
banteringly.
"I should bo wasting my brenth to
ask for mercy from such a monster as
you are," she answered quickly
"That damned Hargreave nerve!"
he snarled.
He rolled up his sleeves and stepped
toward her. Clhe braced herself but
did not turn her eyes from his Sud
denly, from nowhere nt all, came a
pair of hands One clutched the gun
wale and tho other laid hold of Braine.
A quick pull followed, and Bralne be
gan to topple But evon as ne tell
he managed to iling himself atop his
assailant: and it was only when tho
struggle began in the water that no
recognized the reporter. All tho devil
in him came to the urfaco and lie
fought with the fierceness of a tiger
to kill, kill, kill In nearly every in
stance this meddling repdrter had
checkmated him. This tirao one or the
other of them should stay in tho
water.
Norton recognized that be had a
large order before him to disable
Bralne. The recognition between
them was now frank and absolute;
there could never again be any diplo
matic sidestepping.
"You're a dead man Norton!"
panted Braine, as he reached for the
reporter's throat
Norton said nothing, but struck the
hand aside. For a moment they both
went under. They came up sputter
ing, each trying for a hold II was a
terribly enervating struggle
Florence could do nothing The
boat in which she sat continued to
drift away from the fighting men
Once she tried to reach Braine with
the pole he had been using, but tailed.
From the shore came another Doat
For awhile she could not tell whether
it contained friends or enemies It
was terrible to be forced to wait, ab
solutely helpless. When she heard the
newcomers call encouragingly to
Bralne she know then that the orave
fight of her sweetheart was going to
come to naught Hie knew a little
about motors. She threw on the
power and headed straight toward the
rowboat The men shouted at her,
but she did not alter her course. The
rowboat had Its sides crushed in and
the men went piling into the water.
"Jim," she cried.
Norton suddenly flung oft Bralne and
began to swim madly for the motor
boat which Florence had brought
about. Even then it was only by the
barest luck in the world that Norton
managed to catch the gunwale. The
rest of It was simple. When they
finally reached a haven, Florence, odd
ly enough, thought of the horse she ,
had left tethered nino miles from the ,
stables. She laughed hysterically.
"I guess he won't die. We can send
someone out for him. Now, for heav
en's sake, how did you get into this?
The Magic Paper Was Hers.
Where were you? What have you
been up to?" with tender brusqueness.
"I wanted to do a little detective
work of my own," she faltered.
"It .looks as If you had done it
You Infant! Will you never learn to
keep outside this muddle? It's a
man's work."
Florence, thoroughly weakened by
her long immersion in the water, be
gan to weep silently.
"You poor child. I'm a brute!" And
he comforted her.
Later that day, at home, she re
membered the blank paper. j
"I stole this from one of the men
in the cave. He said this blank pa
per would probably save father." I
Jim took It. "Hm! Invisible Ink,
and it's had a fine washing." i
"But maybe it Is waterproof."
"Maybe it is. Anyhow, Miss Sher
lock, we'll show it to Jones and see
what he says."
CHAPTER XX.
Bralne Tries Another Weapon.
"What I want now," said Bralne,
as he paced the living room of the
apartment of the countess, "is re
venge. I've been checkmated enough,
Olga; theyre playing with us."
"That is nothing new," she replied,
shrugging. "At the beginning . I
warned you. I never liked this affair
after the first two or three failures.
But you would have your way. You
wanted revenge at that early date;
but I cannot see that you've gone for
ward. Has It ever occurred to you
that the organization may bo getting
tired, too? They depend solely upon
1 your invention, ana eacn time your
invention has resulted in touching
nothing but zero."
"Thanks I"
"O, I'm not chiding you. I've failed,
too."
"Are you turning against mo?" he
demanded bitterly.
"Do my actions point that way?"
she countered. "No. But the more I
viow what has passed, tho more dls
heartrnod I grow. U has been a series
of blind alleys, ond all we have suc
ceeded in doing Is knocking our heads.
I can se.e now that all our failures
nro due to one mistake."
"And what the devil Is that?" he
asked, irritably.
"Wo were in too much of a hurry
at the beginning. Hargreave prepared
himself for quick action on your part."
"And lf I had not acted quickly he
would have started successfully on one
of his world tours again, and that
would have been the last of him, and
we should never have learned of the
girl's existence. So there's your argu
ment" "Perhaps you are right. But for
all that wo have not played the game
with any degree of finesse."
"Bah!" Bralne lit a cigarette and
smoked nervously. "I can't even get
rid of that meddling reporter. He has
been as much to blame for our fail
ures is either Jones or Hargreave.
I admit that in his case I judged
hastily. I believed him to be just an
ordinary newspaper man, and he was
clever enough to lull' my suspicions.
But I'm going to get him, Olga, even
if I have to resort to ordinary gun
man tricks. If there's any final reck
oning, by the Lord Harry, he shan't ,,
get a chance in the witness stand."
"And I begin to think that that lit
tle chit of a girl bab been hoodwink
ing me all along. By the way, did
you find out what that letter said?"
she asked after a pause.
"Letter? What letter?"
She sprang from her chair. "Do you
mean to say that they have not told
you about that?" Olga became great
ly excited.
"Explain," he sold.
"Why, I was at the garden day be
fore yesterday, and a man approached ft
ana asued if I was Miss Hargreave
Becoming at once suspicious that
something very Important was about
to happen, I signified that 1 was Miss
Hargreave. The man slipped a paper
Into my hand and hurried off. I took
a quick glance at it and was dum
foundedto find it utterly blank or
writing. At first I thought some joke
had been played on me, then I
chanced to remember the invisible ink
letters you always wrote me. Under
standing that you were to visit the
cave in the morning, I had one man
ot the garden take the uota. And
you ne.ver got It!"
"Some one shall pay for this care
lessness. I'll -call up Vroon and Jack
Bon at once. Walt just a moment."
He went to the telephone. A low
muttering conversation took place
Olga could hear little or none of it
When Bralne put the receiver back
on the hook his face was not pleas
ant to see.
"That girl!"
"What now?" "
"It seems she had been out horse
back riding that morning. She had
seen one of the boys cross the field
and suddenly disappear; and she was
curious to learn what had become of
him. With ner UBual luck she stum
bled on the method of opening the
door of the cave and went in. She
must have been nosing about She
didn't have much time, though, as the
boys came up to await me. Evidently
she crawled into that old chest and in
some inexplicable manner purloined
the letter from Jackson's pocket. They
left to reconnolter; and it was then
that Jackson discovered his loss.
When Florence heard them returning
she jumped into the well. And lived
through that tunnel! The devil is in
it!"
"Or out of It, since we consider him
our friend."
"And I had her in my hands, note
and alll"
"But with all that water there will
not be any writing left on the letter."
"Invisible ink is generally indelible
and Impervious to the action of wat
er; at least the kind I use is. I'd
give a thousand for a sight of that
letter." ,
"And it might be worth a million,"
Olga suggested.
"Not the least doubt of it In my
mind. Olga, old girl, it does look as if
my star was growing dim. We'll never
get our hands on that million. I feel
it In my bones. So let's settle down
to a campaign of revenge, without any
furbelows. I want to twist Har
greave's heart before the game winds
up."
"You wish really to injure her?"
"I do not wish to Injure her. Far
from it," he replied, smiling evilly.
"You want her . . . dead?"
whispered Olga, paling.
"Exactly. I want her dead. And
so lf all my efforts hero come to noth
ing, so shall Hargreave's. His mil
lions will become waste paper to him.
That's revenge. The Persian poach
method."
"Poison? You shall notl You shall
not kill her!" vehemently,
"Tender hearted?"
"No. If I must in the end go tp
prison, so be it; but I refuse to dleTn
the chair",.
(Continued on Page Seven)
Sick Two Years Witli Indiestfon.
"Two yoars apro.1 waa greatly bane
flted through using two or three bot
ties of Chamberlain's Tablets," writes
Mrs. S. A. Keller, E'llda, Ohio "lie.
fore taking thern I was sick for two
ears wlth'.lndlgestion." Sold by Al
Dealers. adv
s
If.
. I.
'
ti

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