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- The Midnight Passenger - 1/52 -


THE MIDNIGHT PASSENGER

A NOVEL

By RICHARD HENRY SAVAGE

THE MIDNIGHT PASSENGER

BOOK I

UNDER THE ARCH

I. The Danube Picture

II. Tidings of Great Joy

III. In Magdal's Pharmacy

IV. Under the Shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge

V. Breakers Ahead! Checkmate! Mr. Arthur Ferris Works in the Dark

BOOK II

AN INSIDE RING

VI. Dreaming by the Sea

VII. "This May Be My Last Bank Deposit"

VIII. The Strange Tug's Voyage

IX. The Lightning Stroke of Fate

X. A Cruel Legacy

BOOK III

THE MESSAGE FROM AMOY

XI. The Girl Bride's Rebellion

XII. The Lonely Pursuer

XIII. On the Yacht "Rambler"

XIV. Irma Gluyas

XV. Miss Worthington Shares Her Secret

BOOK I.

UNDER THE ARCH.

CHAPTER I.

THE DANUBE PICTURE.

There was no air of uncertainty upon the handsome countenance of Mr. Randall Clayton as he stepped out of the elevator of a sedate Fourteenth Street business building and approvingly sniffed the April morning breeze.

On this particular Saturday of ninety-seven, the shopping multitude was already pouring from the Scylla of Simpson, Crawford & Simpson's on Sixth Avenue--and its Charybdis of the Big Store--past the jungles of Altman's, Ehrich's and O'Neill's--to dash feebly upon the buttressed corner of Macy's, and then die away in refluent, diverted waves, lost in the fastnesses of McCreery's and Wanamaker's, far down Broadway.

The pulses of the young man were vaguely thrilled with the coming of spring, and so he complacently took in the never-ceasing tide of eager women, on the street's shady side, with one comprehensive and kindly glance.

For six long years he had cautiously studied that same sea of always anxious faces! He well knew all the types from the disdainful woman of fashion, the crafty daughter of sin, the vacuous country visitor, down to the argus-eyed mere de famille, sternly resolute in her set purpose of making three dollars take the place of five, by some heaven-sent bargain.

Countless times he had threaded this restless multitude, with an alert devotion to the interests of the Western Trading Company. He was, to the ordinary lounger, but the type of the average well-groomed New York business man.

And yet, his watchful eyes swept keenly to right and left, as he breasted the singularly inharmonious waves of the weaker sex.

His left hand firmly gripped a Russian leather portmanteau of substantial construction, while his right lay loosely in the pocket of his modish spring overcoat.

To one having the gift of Asmodeus, that well-gloved right hand would have been revealed as resting upon the handle of a heavy revolver, and the contents of the tourist-looking portmanteau been known as some thirty-eight thousand dollars in well-thumbed currency and greasy checks of polyglot signatures.

It was the "short day" of the week's business, and the usual route for making his bank deposit lay before him. Down University Place to Eighth Street he was bent, thus avoiding the Broadway crush, and over to the shaded counting rooms of the Astor Place Bank.

Clayton's mind was concentrated, as usual, upon his important business. Few of the neighbors in the great office building knew of the vast interests represented by the modest sign "Western Trading Company."

Certain gray-bearded bookkeepers, a couple of brisk correspondents, a stony-faced woman stenographer, with a couple of ferret-eyed office boys were the office force, besides the travelling manager and Mr. Randall Clayton, the cashier and personal representative of the absent "head," who rarely left his Detroit home to interfere with the well-oiled movements of the "New York end."

But daily, rain or shine, Mr. Randall Clayton himself took his way to the bank to deposit the funds to meet their never-ceasing outflow of Western exchange. There was an air of grave prosperity in the sober offices of the great cattle company which impressed even the casual wanderer.

Silence and decorum marked all the transactions of the weekly messengers, paying in the heavy accounts of the hundreds of New York butchers who drew their daily supplies from these great occidental cattle handlers. The various departments of the great business were always kept as sealed books to each other, and only Emil Einstein, Clayton's own office boy, knew how much treasure was daily packed away into that innocent looking portmanteau.

Mr. Somers, the head accountant, with a grave bow, always verified the sealed delivery slip of the funds, and compared it with the returned bank books, carefully filing away all these in his own private safe with Clayton's returned list of Western and Southern exchange.

On the sunny April morning, Randall Clayton was weary of the confining life of the silence haunted office rooms, where he patiently bore the strain of his grave duties, with a cautious avoidance of useless communication, fencing him even from his fellow employees.

As he strode along the crowded street, his jaded soul yearned for the wild majesty of the far off Montana mountains, and the untrammeled life of the Western frontier, given up perforce, when his father's death had left him, twelve years before, alone in the world.

"The same old daily grind," he murmured. "Oh! For one good long gallop on the lonely prairies--a day in the forest with the antlered elk, an afternoon among the gray boulders of the McCloud River."

He sighed as he recalled his drudging rise in business, since his father's old partner had set his life work out before him, when the lonely boy had finished with honor his course at Ann Arbor.

Four years at college, two with "the chief," under his own watchful eye, and then that six years of a dragging upward pull in the New York office had made a man of him; but, only a self-contained and prematurely jaded man.

"It's too much to lose," he muttered, as he thought of his hardly earned promotion, his four thousand a year, and--the future prospects. He was the envy of his limited coterie, even though his few intimates looked with a certain awe upon a man who was obliged to file a bond of fifty thousand dollars for his vast pecuniary handlings.

For the great association of Western cattle men were hard taskmasters and only the head lawyers in Detroit knew that Hugh Worthington had annually sent in his own personal check to the Fidelity Company to pay the dues of the bond of the son of a man to whom he had owed his own first rise.

"It's too hard," mused his patron, "to spy on the lad and then make him pay for it. But it has to be," he sighed. "There are the snares and pitfalls."

Many an eye approvingly followed the stalwart young man still in


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