Page:Lippincotts Monthly Magazine-94.pdf/686

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36

THE TEN-THIRTY FOLKESTONE EXPRESS

bayonet and delivered the sentry a

came to my ears, and the place

left-handed blow placed with deadly accuracy upon the jaw ! The man pitched forward like a pole-axed bul lock and without a cry rolled heavily down the embankment and lay at my

seemed to shake. We were come to the end of the tunnel.

feet.

iron box about a foot in diameter,

Like a deer, Rider made off, and, with my heart thumping fiercely, I

and attached to it was a contrivance which reminded me of a taximeter.

followed.

Above the ever increasing roar, which, now, I recognized, I could

We covered the five hun

dred yards to Morley's Buildings as one traverses the ground of dream land. There was no light in Zah doff's window. Around an angle of the building raced Rider, and into the street.

At the door of number 3:

“The key!” he panted. I thrust the key into his hand, and in a moment he had the door open. Zahdoff's door was closed.

Rider

threw himself upon it. It was locked! “Stand back!” he rasped, huskily, I stood back against the wall, as,

pulling a Browning pistol from his hip pocket, he blew out the lock! There was a crash as he kicked the

door open. Then we were blunder ing down the steps and into the dark ened, cellar-like room.

A beam of

light shone out from Rider's pocket lamp; it shone upon the open door of the mysterious cupboard. Then I saw that this cupboard was different from other cupboards in that, where the back should have been there showed only a gaping cavity! Rider glanced all about the room and all about the cupboard. Then, for the last time, pulled out his watch. “Ten-forty-eight! We have one minute!”

He leapt into the cavity and went blundering forward. I followed and found my feet upon clay soil. Dim ly, in the reflected light of Rider's lamp, I saw that this was a crude passage cut through the damp earth and upheld at intervals by roughly placed timbers. Bent almost double, for the roof was low, Rider pressed on. A dull and distant rumbling

On a wooden ledge, placed across from side to side, stood a square

hear the tick-tick-tick of the clock

like thing. “Hold the lamp!” Rider's voice now was icily cool. He thrust the lamp into my hands, and as I directed the ray upon the machine on the plank, he set to work with deft fingers. Tick-tick-tick-tick 1

What he did, I do not know to

this day; I only know that it was well done, that it was executed as

though Rider were regulating a watch. My eyes, whilst they per ceived the fingers rapidly at work with the mechanism of the machine,

yet were fixed upon the clock face set in it . . . . and this registered:— 10.49. Tick-tick-tick-tick ||

I knew that 10.49 must be, almost

to a second, the exact time! Tick-tick l—and the ticking ceased. It was done!

-

Rider pulled out from a crevice in the contrivance

the

ends of

two

pieces of flex, which descended from the roof . . . and collapsed at my feet. “Gun - cotton l” he muttered. “Those wires connect to the electric main l’’ The muffled roar became deafen

ing. The place about me quivered and rocked. My ears seemed to ache with the sound. Then it grew faint er—more faint—and died away. I glanced down at Rider. Pallid, his face showed in the lamplight. “The ten-thirty Folkestone Ex