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Golden Stories A Selection of the Best Fiction by the Foremost Writers   By:

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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

Following each author's name was a notice: "All rights reserved." This book is currently in the public domain, and the notices have been removed, but are mentioned here in the interest of completeness.

Many inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation have been normalized. Others remain as in the original. Any deviation from the author's intent is solely the responsibility of the transcriber.

This book seems to have been bound in two sections, each with stories numbered I XII.

Golden Stories

A SELECTION OF THE BEST FICTION BY THE FOREMOST WRITERS

[Illustration]

NEW YORK THE SHORT STORIES COMPANY 1909

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

COPYRIGHT, 1908 1909, BY THE SHORT STORIES COMPANY

I

THE NIGHT EXPRESS

The Story of a Bank Robbery

By FRED M. WHITE

A PELTING rain volleyed against the great glass dome of the terminus, a roaring wind boomed in the roof. Passengers, hurrying along the platform, glistened in big coats and tweed caps pulled close over their ears. By the platform the night express was drawn up a glittering mass of green and gold, shimmering with electric lights, warm, inviting, and cozy.

Most of the corridor carriages and sleeping berths were full, for it was early in October still, and the Scotch exodus was not just yet. A few late comers were looking anxiously out for the guard. He came presently, an alert figure in blue and silver. Really, he was very sorry. But the train was unusually crowded, and he was doing the best he could. He was perfectly aware of the fact that his questioners represented a Cabinet Minister on his way to Balmoral and a prominent Lothian baronet, but there are limits even to the power of an express guard, on the Grand Coast Railway.

"Well, what's the matter with this?" the Minister demanded. "Here is an ordinary first class coach that will do very well for us. Now, Catesby, unlock one of these doors and turn the lights on."

"Very sorry, my lord," the guard explained, "but it can't be done. Two of the carriages in the coach are quite full, as you see, and the other two are reserved. As a matter of fact, my lord, we are taking a body down to Lydmouth. Gentleman who is going to be buried there. And the other carriage is for the Imperial Bank of Scotland. Cashier going up north with specie, you understand."

It was all plain enough, and disgustingly logical. To intrude upon the presence of a body was perfectly impossible; to try and force the hand of the bank cashier equally out of the question. As head of a great financial house, the Minister knew that. A platform inspector bustled along presently, with his hand to his gold laced cap.

"Saloon carriage being coupled up behind, my lord," he said.

The problem was solved. The guard glanced at his watch. It seemed to him that both the bank messenger and the undertaker were cutting it fine. The coffin came presently on a hand truck a black velvet pall lay over it, and on the sombre cloth a wreath or two of white lilies. The door of the carriage was closed presently, and the blinds drawn discreetly close. Following behind this came a barrow in charge of a couple of platform police. On the barrow were two square deal boxes, heavy out of all proportion to their size. These were deposited presently to the satisfaction of a little nervous looking man in gold rimmed glasses. Mr. George Skidmore, of the Imperial Bank, had his share of ordinary courage, but he had an imagination, too, and he particularly disliked these periodical trips to branch banks, in convoy, so to speak. He took no risks.

"Awful night, sir," the guard observed. "Rather lucky to get a carriage to yourself, sir. Don't suppose you would have done so only we're taking a corpse as far as Lydmouth, which is our first stop."

"Really?" Skidmore said carelessly. "Ill wind that blows nobody good, Catesby. I may be overcautious, but I much prefer a carriage to myself... Continue reading book >>




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