Newspaper Page Text
by FRANCIS PI
COPY/?/G//r /?// BY BOSS3
CHAPTER I.?Richard Lightnut. an
^American with an affected English accent,
receives a presnt from a friend j
4 CHAPTER II.?The present proves
to be a pair of pajamas. A letter hints j
of surprises to the wearer.
CHAPTER TIL?Lightnut dons the pa- |
Jamas and late at night gets up for a I
smoke. His servant. Jenkins, comes in !
-and, failing to recognize L:ghtnut, at- j
tempts to put him out. Thinking the ser- j
vant crazy, Lightnut changes his clothes :
Intending to summon help. When he re- J
appears Jenkins falls on his neck with
joy, confirming Lightnut's belief that he
CHAPTER IV.?Jenkins tells Lightnut
of the encounter he had with a hideous
Chinaman dressed in pajamas.
^ CHAPTER V?In a message from his
friend. Jack Billings. Lightnut is asked
to put up "the kid" for the night on his I
way home from college. Later Lightnut
finds a beautiful girl in black pajamas ift !
CHAPTER VI.?Lightnut Js shocked by
the girl's drinking, smoking and slangy
CHAPTER VII?She tells Ir'm her name
la Francis and puzzles him with a story
of her love for her sister's room-mate,
named Frances. Next morning the girl
is missing and Lightnut hurries to the
boat to see her off. He is accosted by
.a husky college boy, who calls him
"Dicky." but he does not see the girl.
t /*UADTCD \/lll
V;nnr i bn ? ma
Her Brother Jack.
"Good night, Dicky!" came up the
" -elevator shaft. And then more "good
nights," growing fainter with their
laughter as the car shot down.
"Good night," I called after them.
"Devilish sorry you fellows won't stay
"Jolly good lie, Jenkins," I said,
yawning sleepily, as I dropped back
into my own apartment.
"Yes, sir," assented Jenkins demurely.
"It's sleeping on the divan the
vother night, sir. Eight hours there
ain't nothing like eight hours in bed
and in your pajamas."
"Pajamas!" I ejaculated, startled.
For all day I had been thinking of
her. I wondered if Billings would happen
to invite me up for the week end.
But he had so many times, and I had
- - ? -3- ~ " T CO
"?sy jove, mat remiuus mc, jl ea<u.
"Those red silk pajamas!"
L "Yes, sir." Jenkins' face hardened
^in an odd, wooden way.
"I was wondering, Jenkins, if those
pajamas were torn any in our little
row the other night."
Poor Jenkins winced a little. "I
think not, sir," he muttered humbly?
"leastwise, they were all right last
night when Mr.?" He seemed to catch
himself abruptly. "I mean when 1
-??j to r\ t?r. ina cit* "
iUUIIU LllCill lUlO luuiuiug, Uii .
4 He returned with the garments I
had received from Mastermann, and
again we spread them under the
lamp on the table. They looked singularly
smooth and unwrinkled. There
was not a single tear or break, not
-even with the delicate cords that
twisted to form the frogs of the seat.
"My, sir! But ain't they red!"
breathed Jenkins. "Them cords look
jito little rpri snakes."
I cut an anxious glance at Jenkins,
for I did not like yhis reference to
snakes. Seemed ominous, somehow.
( ^ut his appearance was composed and
reassuring. And, by Jove, come to
look, the cords did look just like tiny,
coiled serpents of glowing fire. Why,
they were so jolly red they Hurt your
eyes. Fact! And thin as the beautiful
stuff was, this brighter red ran
.all over the other, covering every inch
of it and forming tho closest, finest
-what-you-call-it embroidery. It was as
faint and dainty a pattern as that on a
soap bubble! Fact is, I could not;
trace it, even with my glass.
" The only part that wasn't covered
with this embroidery business was the
stuff used to cover the knots, or little
halls, over which the cords were
~ Tn Tr/vrlrirtp* with
JXiecUIl IU UUUIi. lu >. v? ?o
some of these cords, idly fastening
and unfastening them, I got a little
impatient with one that seemed tight,
you know, and I used my manicure
knife to pull the knot through.
"Careful, sir," warned Jenkins.
^Likely to cut something."
By Jove! No sooner said, than I
* did it!
The dashed blade slipped somehow
' a^d -cut into the threads that tied the
covers or caps or whatever-you-call'ems,
over the knots. And when I
pulled, the beastly piece of silk came
off in my fingers.
a 4-vizvn?oh hut T sav' T inst.
AUU lUtlA j _
gave a sort of yell and dropped the
Ever have some silly ass try to
scare you by poking a red hot cigar
at you in the dark? Know how you
jerk back? Well, there you are! For,
give you my word, when I peeled off
,the littlQ cloth cap, regular blazes of
crimson fire seemed to shoot from
the end of the knot.
Fact is, it wasn t a Knot ai an, uui
a button?a devilish glassy button,
something bigger than a dime, perhaps,
and thick as the end of your
little finger. And there it lay against
I the silk, burning its way through it
like a red coal of fire.
. And it was just then that Billings
^ say "rolled in," because it always
looks that way. That's the way -Billing^
is built, you knew.
n muff ?
"I say, Dicky," he panted "just
missed another infernal express!
Plenty more trains, but I had a great
inspiration strike me that I'd let you
put me up for the night. Hat, Jenkins!
Now, don't say a word, Dicky,
old chap. Cane, Jenkins! Great pleas
ure, assure you?won't inconvenience
at all. Gloves, Jenkins! Just give
me sometning to sleep in, and I'll be
as comfortable bere as I would be at
the club?so don't worry any about
me, old chap. By the way, want to
thank you for takuig care of the kid.
Got home aU'riglr;, I understand."
He plunked like a jolly elephant into
the largest and most comfortable
chair in the room and wheezed for
"And, Jenkins!" Me raised one iai
i finger while he took a gasp. "Don't
I mind if I do have a package of
[ Dicky's Koroskos and a sloe fizz?not
too sweet, you know; and you may?"
Billings broke off suddenly. Then
he climbed heavily to his feet, and
without warning, heaved himself
across the room and seized the button
I had just uncovered. Dashed if he
I didn't almost upset me.
"Here, I say!" I protested. "Don't
lose that cap." I picked it up from
' ?1J * - ?T- ? -3 ?54. 4-^v +Visv
| wnere ue ntiu. jens-eu it lu mc uuui "It's
the cover to hide that glass, you
Billings swung round, staring sft me
with the most curious expression.
"See here, Dicky," he exclaimed
rather excitsdly, but in a low tone, as
he cut a side glance at Jenkins siphoning
the fizz over at the cellarette.
"What in thunder have you been doing
By Jove, I turned cold for a minute,
' I was that startled. I thought he was
going to use the pajamas as an introduction
for reference to Jast night. But
in a minute I saw that he did not
"Where on earth did you get anything
like this?" And he held up the
button and the garment.
"Oh, I say now!" I remonstrated,
alarm changing to a mild dudgeon.
Billings' devilish rude manners are so
offensive at times. "What do you
mean? It's a present from a friend
I in China." v
* ore*' ATTflC! Vm 1 P'od
" freseiii; ^uuiigo tj vo ^
queerly. He stooped towa/d me, whispering:
"Did he know what this button
"Why, of course he didn't," I answered
indignantly. "Never dreamed
of it, of course. I tell you, it was all
r?r>irorarl W39 "What-VOU-CalMt
; JLllVs^lJ WT V* VVk) .. -- upholstered,
you know?with devilish
1 nice silk. I cut it off accidentally,
trying to force the thing through that
loop. That left the marble exposed."
Billings took the glass mechanically
| from the tray tendered by Jenkins and
, sipped it slowly, eying me curiously
over the top. Then he set it back,
very deliberately, wiped his mouth
with the bit of napery, and without
taking his glance from me, wraited until
Jenkins had left the room. Whereupon,
after another searching look at
the button, he dropped it with tne
garment upon the table, and with
hands jammed deep in his pockets,
: faced me with a long-drawn whistle.
"Well, I'll be hanged!" he exclaimed.
Just a coarse, vulgar outburst,
you know?no sense to it; nc
point at all, you know?that's Billings.
He caught up the coat again. "And
these others?four of them?are they
met +ha camp?" he demanded sharply.
"Dash it, how should I know? I
suppose so," I answered indifferently.
! And I closed my eyes and leaned back,
feeling a bit?just a bit?weary. Somehow,
Billings is always so exhausting
when he gets started on something.
"Oh, cut it out, old chap," I protested,
J "I will," I heard him say. Then J
guess I must have dropped off a bit,
for the next thing I knew he was
"Dicky! Dicky! Say, look here!
Look, I tell you!"
T ' ? ? ? "">11 T nroo -i/illt]
JL did XOUli, auu VYCU, X rr Cio jyu;
vexed, that's all.
"Oh, I say now!" I spoke severely?
j Just that way, you know. I went on
! remonstrating: "Devilish silly joke, il
you ask me. You've gone and ruined
the thing, Billings! Flashy buttons
like that, you know?too tawdry, toe
"Cheap!" He almost shouted it
Then he leaned over the back of the
! leather chair and pounded his fathead
j against the cushions, writhing his big
j bulk from side to side.
"Quite impossible," I said firmly
"Not en regie at all, you know!" And
J I fixed my glass and stared gloomily
at the things* The five shiny buttons
just lay there against the delicate
i silk like so many fiery crimson cher
He leered at me, cnuciiimg. juuu*
cheap to you. eh? What you mighl
call outre, so to speak?"
f "By Jove, of course," I answered
I ruefully. "I can't sleep in the things
now, you know. What would people
Billings stared at me disagreeably
a moment and said something uncle:
his breath. Then he caught up th<=
buttons and the silk, and crushing
them in his hands, buried his face ir
"Oh you beauties, you darlings!" I
; heard him murmur.
Then he looked at the buttons!
again, and dash it, he kissed me.
Maudlin?jolly maudlin, I say, if you
| ask me!
"I say, Dicky," h? said carelessly.:
; "You may not care for them, but I've 1
j taken rather a shine to these buttons.
Mind letting me have one, eh?"
He flashed a quick glance at me
and then away.
"Mind? Why, certainly not; take
'em all, old chap, and welcome." Yet
I responded gloomily enough, sGarpely
; polite, you know. And I felt too jolly
prostrated to be curious as to what
he could possibly want with the
things. Waistcoat butions, likely? i
Billings was given to loud dress and
other bounder stunts. But he just sat !
i there looking down after I spoke, and
presently stole a queer glance at me.
He suddenly held up the row of red
??t lmro vnn hloccor? dnrin." ha
UKJVIX ^ VU MAVWWVU -WV.W, ;
j exclaimed brusquely. "Have you real-!
; ly no idea what these are, these glass, j
j buttons you are yapping about? Of
course you haven't, you jolly chowder
j head, but I'm going to tell you."
He threw the coat into my lap.
"They are rubies, old man, that's
? n >> "Arinntc I rnhioS i
j an, lie aaiu quict-ij. wwt
: at that?flawless and perfect?the
rarest and most precious things in the
CHAPTER IX. '
I stared blankly at Billings. "Ru-.
I bies!" I gasped.
He nodded. "Genuine pigeon bloods,
! my son, no less."
"Oh, come now, Billings," I protest- \
: ed. I felt a little miffed, just a little ;
' On inllw T?0 TIT tA trv if fin 1
j you AUUVV. ovj JKJiiJ i a. TT cvy u;
; that way.
"By Jove, old chap, you must think
! me a common ass," I suggested dis;
Billings grinned at the very idea.
"You a. common ass, Dicky?" he
"Have You Really No Idea What
ejaculated. "Nobody who knows you
I would ever think that, old man."
! "But, I say?"
"See here, Dicky boy, I'm in dead
! earnest," he interrupted eagerly,
j "Don't you remember my one fad? j
! gems? Got enough tied up in them j
i to build two apartment houses as big j
! as this. Best amateur collection in I
i New York, if I do say it. But I haven't
anything like one of these rubies, and j
I neither has any one else?no one else
in this country, anyhow. There's j
! nothing like them in all New York, j
from Tiffany's down to Maiden Lane, :
I and never has been. I never saw any-,
j thing like?near like any of them?
except the one in the Russian crown;
of Anna Ivanovana. That's bigger/
but It hasn't the same fire."
I just laughed at him. "Why, Bill-J
ings, these pajamas were sent me by
; a friend in China, and I assure you?* :
"Assurfe? What can you assure--,
what do you know about it?" said j
i Billings rudely. "What did your friend
know, or the one he had these things
| from?or the one before him?or tha
.[ one still before that? Pshaw!" And
j he snapped his fingers.
'! With his hand he swept up the little
caps and the long, wirelike threads
i that held them and sniffed the handful
"H'm! Funky sort of aromatic smeH
? ?balsam, cedar oil or something like
ij that," he muttered half aloud. 'That
! accounts for the preservation. But
He crossed his legs and puffed
' | thoughtfully.
I "Tell you how I figure this out
| Dicky," he said finally. "These night/
. ies your friend has sent you are aw?
j fully rare and old; and for delicate,1
11 dainty elegance and that sort of thing
they've got everything else in the silk
? way shoved off the clothes-line. But
i as to these jewels, you can just bet
. all you've got that whoever passed
) them on was not wise to them being
i under these covers."
;! Here he got to looking at one of
j the buttons and murmuring his ad.
i miration?regular trance, you know.
lj "By Jove!" I remarked, just to stir
r him up a bit. And he unloaded a
> great funnel of smoke and continued:
!; "My theory is that during some
danger, some mandarins' war, likely,
i somebody got cold feet about these
^ jewels and roped them in with these
^ bits of silk?see how different they
are from the- rest cf the stuff! Then,
! -a-hpTi thp rniifrhhnnsp ramp, these Da
5 jamas were swept along in the sacki
j ing?sort of spoils of pillage, you
I know. It was a clever method of con'
cealment?clever because simple?a
: hiding place unlikely to be thought of
i because right under the eye. You re;
I call Poe's story of 'The Purloined Letl
I asked Biliings how much he
thought on? of thi! rubfes was worth.
I had in mind how devilish hungrily
he had looked at them. But he sighed,
*hen frowned and answered impatiently:
"That's it! That's the trouble about
all the rare and beautiful things of
thia lifof Alwavs some debasing:.
prohibitive sordid money value, dammit!"
He squinted at the stones again and
let the weight of one rest upon his j
finger. He shook his head, sighing. I
"Well, they're over twenty carats !
each, and therefore, of course, many j
times the value of first water diamonds.
After you get above five
carats with real Oriental rubies, diamonds
are not in it."
With an abrupt gesture he pushed i
the things away and rose. His pipe j
V.o^ cr,%no r>nt hnt T nntifPfl that hfi
did not relight it. I held the gems
full in the rays of the lamp, and Billings
paused, holding a hungry gaze
over his shoulder.
"I say, Billings, how much did you
say one was wortn?" 1 asked carelessly.
For a moment he did not reply,
but muttered to himself.
"I didn't say," he finally replied,
and rather cross-iy. Then he whirled
on me impulsively. "See here, Lightnut,"
he exclaimed, "if you'll let me
have one of those for my collection,
I'll give you twenty-five thousand for
He gulped and continued:
"I'll have to make some sacrifices,
but I don't mind that. I?"
But I shook my head. Really, I
could hardly keep from laughing in
"Sorry! Can't see it, old chap," I
said. "Wouldn't sell one of them at
Billirgs gulped again. "I suppose
not; don't blame you. Way you're
fixed, you don't have to." He walked
slowly to the window and back. "Take
my advice, Dicky, and get those fire
coals into your safe deposit vault first
thing in the morning. Hello, you're
counting them off! That's wise."
* 1?- /v if? Vv /% V?n/1 laff ah
X1 or WJLLil lae ft.un C ULC uau 1^11/ v/u
the table I was cutting away the
tough threads that held the rubies. I
cut off the second and fourth, leaving
the first ruby at the collar and
the other two alternates.
"Go on," said Billings, as I laid down
the knife. "You've only removed
"Don't believe I'll cut off any more,"
I said. "Want you to help me tie up
the others just as they were."
I insisted. And though Billings pro
tested ana argued uliu eveu caucu mo
names, we did as I said.
For, by Jove, you know it was perfectly
clear that if they had been safe
so long under the little covers, the
jewels couldn't find any better place.
Singular thing Billings couldn't see it.
Besides, the pajamas had to have fast
enings, you know.
I held one of the two rubies under
the light, and, by Jove, I almost dropped
it?did drop my glass. Seeing a
red-hot poker-point in your fingers
would, give you the same turn.
"Rippers, Billings! Simply rippers!"
I held the other ruby beside its fellow.
Then I waited, listening, and I
heard Billings' hand strike down on
the back of a chair.
"I guess I'" be going, old chap," he
said gruffly. "Think I'd better, after
all." He cleared his throat. "Sure
you can't sell me one, Dicky?" Dashed
if his voice didn't tremble.
"Quite sure, dear boy," I murmured,
without turning around. "Not mine,
you know?these two."1
Billings exploded Ahen. It seemed
an opportunity to relieve himself.
"Not yours! Why, you dodgasted idiot.
you nincompoop, you cuckoo, you
chicken head! What notion have you
got in that fool's noddle now? If those
rubies are not yours, whose do you
think they are?"
I whirled about quickly. "Yours," I
said, and laid them in his hand.
"My compliments, old chap," I added,
smiling. By Jove! One time, at
least, I put it all over old Billings!
"No!" he gasped, crouching over
? 1 J
and gripping my snouiuer.
I grinned cheerfully.
He fell into a chair and just sat
there mouthing at me and then at the
jewels in his hand. Old boy looked
devilish silly. Really acted like he
had some sort of stroke?that sort of
I laughed at him.
| "Don't you see?" I said, trying to
explain. "Wouldn't have known a
dashed thing about the buttons be
ing rubies but for you. So lucky tney
came to me so I can get a chance to
help out your collection. Awfully glad,
! old chap."
1 He clenched the jewels, and looked
"Dicky?" He coughed a little husj
kily as he paused. "Dicky." His voice
[ was so low I could hardly hear him.
"Dicky, you're off your trolley, and
I I'm a damned?"
j He raised his arm ahd dropped it.
"Well, never mind what," he finished
with a lift of the shoulders.
"But I want to say something. It's
about what I offered you ior mose
stones. The price?the amount I
named?wasn't even a decent gamble;
i but it was all I could go, and oh, I
wanted one so badly, Dicky! And
now you've made me feel like a dog.
And I can't take your gift, old chap,
i any more than I could afford to offer
you the real value of one of these
beautiful stones. Here." And he
passed them back to me.
- -t- - c AT nmrth
"I KllOW G3.CH Ol iu ucr nuuu
anywhere from forty to fifty thousand
dollars," he said quietly. "They're the
kind the crowned hrads scoop for
jewels cf state."
I nodded, and. getting up carelessly,
, I -stroliea to a window.
"I^rvllish lovely night," I said, poking
my head out. And It was. Stars
overhead and all that sort of thing,
and lots of them below, too?I could
hear them singing over on Broadway.
"All right, old chap; then here they
go into the street," I said. "If my
friend can't have 'em, then />o jolly
crowned heads shall. That's Mat!"
Billings started forward with a regular
I waved him back. "Don't come
any nearer, old chap." I said, holding
my arm out of the window, "or, dash
me, I'll drop them instantly. Six stories,
you know?stone flagging below."
"If you don't say you'll take 'em,
time I count three, I'll give 'em a
toss, "by Jove! One!"
"Here, Dicky! Don't be a?'*
"Two!" I counted. No bluff, you
know; I meant jolly well to do It.
"Just one word?one second,
Dicky!" lie yelled. "Let me off with
one, then. Dicky! Dicky, old chap I
Be a good sportsman f"
I hesitated. Dash It, one hate-3 to
take an advantage.
Billings stretched out his arm appealingly.
"Do, old chap!" he pleaded.
"Give me just one?one only!"
His hand shook like a quivering
I yielded reluctantly. "Oh, well,
then, call it off with one," I said. And
with a sigh I tossed him one of the
3 J J il,. X W ^
ruuies auu uruypeu me uiuei 111 uiw
j pocket of my smoking-jacket. Billings
1 wifced his forehead, and then he
| thanked me and wiped his eyes.
"So good of yo'u to give in, old
chap," he snuffled. "Never will forget
you for it!"
"Oh, I say, chuck It, you know!" I
"Whole family will thank you," he
went on in his handkerchief. "Princely
magnanimity and all that sort of
| thing?you'll just have to come up for
the week end with me this?"
! "I will!" I reached forward eagerly
j and insisted on shaking hands. By
I Jove, what luck!
j And Billings looked regularly over|
come. All he could do was just shake
his head and pump my arm. Why,
dash it, this seemed to affect him
j more even than giving in about the
| ruby. It was the first time I had ever
1 accepted his Invitation, you know.
"Tell you what, old chap," he said,
| as soon as he could speak. "I'm go|
ing to tell you what to do with that
j other stone. You save that for her."
! "Her!" By Jove, I was so startled
| I lost the grip on my monocle. Billings
' ' "Yes, sir?for her; she'll be along
! one of these days."
"By Jove, you know!" I was almost
dizzy with a sudden idea. I fished
out the jewel and hald it before my
glass, squinting doubtfully at it. I
wondered if it was good enough for
"I say, Billings," I murmured
thoughtfully. "Blondes or brunettes,
you know?which wear rubies?"
"Both!" He said it with a kind of
i jaw -snap. "They wear anything in
f-hp ipwel line thev can freeze on-to."
"The worst? Blondes, my boy?
| blondes, every time; especially those
going around in black." Biliings spoke
gloomily. "Let me tell you, my boy?
! and I know?don't you ever have any,
thing to do with a blonde if she's in
black, especially black silk?hear?"
By Jove, his uplifted finger and
fierce way of saying it gave me a reg!
ular turn, you knpw. But then there
was the ruby, and I was thinking
"Perhaps the four of them in a
bracelet," I muttered, "with something
else to help out. They might do."
"Thpv mie-ht." said Billings in a
tone of coarse sarcasm. "They might
do for a queen!"
I flashed a quick iook at him. "Just
what I was thinking," I answered
1 "Meantime," said Billings, yawning,
j "let's go to bed."
J And just as I rang for Jenkins I
1 suddenly was seized with a perfectly
ripping idea that checked a long
yawn right in th6 middle and almost
broke my jaw. For I saw how I could
! do something handsome that would
; even up with Billings in a way for
the ruby he wouldn't take.
* " -1 " T
"Tell you wnat, oia cuap, i saiu,
I slapping him on the shoulder, "you
are going to have them tonight!"
"Have?have what?" burst from
him. "Rubies? I tell you I won't
"Rubies!" I ejaculated contemptuously.
"Rubies nothing! Something
better?something worth while, dash
I saw he would never guess it.
"Why, you shall sleep in the pa"
" T A Tl(i
jamas iroui ^uma, a cav,iuh^vu. -?
i gathering them, I placed them in hia
| "By George, Dicky!" Billings' face
showed feeling. "How infernally
clever of you, old chap! How thuni
dering timely, too!"
He held them up singly, studying
their outlines critically
"And see here, Dicky?why, great
Thomas cats!" His eyes turned on
J me wonderingly. "Never noticed it he
fore?did you? But I do believe tney
are just my size!"
His size! By\Jove, I had forgotteD
all about the item of size! I just collapsed
into a chair as he said good
night, and sat there blinking in a
regular stupefaction of horror as his
! door closed behind him.
i For he was devilish sensitive about
' his bulk, and I dared not say a word,
A Nocturnal Intrusion.
"Oh, but I say, it's impossible, you
know!" And I stared at Jenkins in
He grinned foolishly. 'Tknow, sir;
"I Was So Startled I Lost the Grip on |
I Dut he's in 'em, just the same, ana 1 ;
must say they do fit lovely?just easy|
"By Jove!" I gasped neipiessiy.
i "Then the jolly things must be made
; of rubber, that's all! Why, look here,
he weighs over three hundred
! pounds, you know!"
Jenkins' head wagged sagaciously.
: "I think that's how it is, sir; it's won:
derful what they do with rubber now;
j my brother wears a rubber cloth band!
age that ain't no bigger 'round than
| my arm when it's off of him, and
"Dare say," I said sleepily as I fell
j back upon my pillow. "Good night, ,
' * 1-1? ^ /vnAiiflfh ol AATV
j J6HKlUb} UlUyC JUU li 5^^ |
! to make up for the other night."
Jenkins sighed as he punched out
the light. "Thank you, sir?and gcfcdi
night," he murmured.
How long I slepjt I cannot tell, ea|
they say in stories, you know; but t
was brought jolly wide awake by ai
light that shone through the bed- |
room's open door. For if there's on? j
thing will wake me quicker than j
everything else it's a light in the room;
j at night. Fact is, I always want It as; !
j black as the what's-its-name cave, or
| else I can't sleep. And this light
| came from the small electric stand on i
| the writing-desk. I could tell that by :
; the way it shone.
And just then the little silver gong 1
in there chimed three. Jolly rum j
hour for anybody to be up unless
they were having some fun or were j
! sick. So I raised my h^ad and called i
XTa ononror Poliirtantlv T SWUMf
|. HUC TT VI ? _ ^
| out and stepped within the next '
room. Not a soul there, by Jove!
| Then I moved over to Billings' door, j
which was wide open for coolness,
like my own. I could not see th'ei j
shadowed alcove in which the bed I
was placed, and so I stood there hesi- J;
tating, hating awfully to risk the pos- f
sibility of disturbing tyim, don't you r
know. And just then iny eyes, rang- *
ing sleepily across the room toward [.
the private hall, were startled by the *
apparition of an open doorway.
Startled, all right! And yet, by j
Jove, I was in such a jolly fog, I jr * f
l stood there, nodding and batting a!
! for a full minute before I could tak
I it in. ,
"What I call devilish queer," I de- i
I cided. I walked over and stuck my t
head out into the dark hall.
"Billings! Jenkins!" I whispered. , N
By Jove, not a word! Everything
as silent as the tomb!
' I didn't like it a bit?so mysterious, '
you know. Besides, dash it, the thing
was getting me all waked up! I just '
knew if once I got excited and thor
oygmy awaKe, n wouiu wac mc uc?;
ly ten minutes to get to sleep again.
And, by Jove, just then the excitej
ment came, for I got hold of the fact
after I had stared at it a while, that
! the door of my apartment opening
j into the outer corridor was standing
ajar. Why, dash it, it was not only ;
| standing, it wa3 moving. Then sud,:
demy the broad streak of light from
"? ? J 4-K ^ 4m.
the corridor wiaenea uuuer UIC uupulse
of a freshening breeze, and the
door swung open witn a bang.
And then I heard my name spoken.
By Jove, I had been standing there
with my mouth open, bobbing my head
like a silly dodo; but, give you my
word, I was suddenly wide awake as
< a jolly owl wagon!
Away down the corridor, by the
mail chute, a man was standing, read- j
, ing a framed placard. Nothing partic- j
. i nlarly remarkable in this, but as the ]
Zoor banged he turned his head
sharply and ejaculated:
"Dammit!. Now, that will wake
I was surprised, because I cruianc
| recall ever having seen Mm before;1
yet, standing as he did under the light,
, I had opportunity for a devilish good I
: i He was a heavy set old party, rather j
baldish, with snowy mutton chops and :
a beefy complexion that was jolly well \
, tanned below the hatband line, you j
know. The kind of old boy you size I
up as one of the prime feeder sort
and fond of looking on the wine when
I it is Oporto red. Had something of
the cut of the retired India colonels
one sees about the Service clubs in
! London?straight as a lamp posf still,
but out of training and in devilish j
! need of tapping?that sort of ducK,
i you know!
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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