The Drums of Jeopardy by Harold MacGrath Page 1 of 299


A fast train drew into Albany, on the New York Central, from the West. It was three-thirty of a chill March morning in the first year of peace. A pall of fog lay over the world so heavy that it beaded the face and hands and deposited a fairy diamond dust upon wool.

The station lights had the visibility of stars, and like the stars were without refulgence - a pale golden aureola, perhaps three feet in diameter, and beyond, nothing. The few passengers who alighted and the train itself had the same nebulosity of drab fish in a dim aquarium.

Among the passengers to detrain was a man in a long black coat. The high collar was up. The man wore a derby hat, well down upon his head, after the English mode. An English kitbag, battered and scarred, swung heavily from his hand. He immediately strode for the station wall and stood with his back to it. He was almost invisible.

He remained motionless until the other detrained passengers swam past, until the red tail lights of the last coach vanished into the deeps; then he rushed for the exit to the street.

Away toward the far end of the platform there appeared a shadowy patch in the fog. It grew and presently took upon itself the shape of a man. For one so short and squat and thick his legs possessed remarkable agility, for he reached the street just as the other man stopped at the side of a taxicab.

The fool! As if such a movement had not been anticipated.

Sixteen thousand miles, always eastward, on horses, camels, donkeys, trains, and ships; down China to the sea, over that to San Francisco, thence across this bewildering stretch of cities and plains called the United States, always and ever toward New York - and the fool thought he could escape!

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