|Newspaper Title||Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)|
|Trove Title||Mystery of the Red House: An American Story of Thrilling Interest|
II jster y of the Bed House
I £$ AMERICAN STORY OF THEIL ? LING INTEREST.
? By Mast E. Bryan.
I (Coninenced in the Evening News of Sep I tember 20J
CHAPTER XXXIX. Contimied; ' Honor, iny darling !' he cried, aa his eye fell upon her. His voics partly aroused her ; she turned her eyes upon him ; her look dazed and semi-conscious. I ' We will die together,' she nmr mured. I .- '1 will save vou.' ha answered. He
I pauglit her in his arms, hurriedly _ lie drew I her shawl about her face and body to protect I them from the flames. I ' Come/ he cried to Kildce ' Wrap the I fclankefc around your head. Come.' I He looked around when at the door. She I jyas not beside him. I ' Kildee,' he besonght- ' Come, for I heaven's sake We shall be too late.' [ ' Gro on,' she cried. * I will follow you.'
I There was not a second to lose. He I pushed on, carrying hi3 half conecious bur I den. He reached the head of the stairs ; I below seemed a fiery gnlf. The staircase I was a ladder of fire. He plunged on ; I through the scorching blistering flames. I He felt the half-burned stairs giving 'way I beneath his feet, ami with one desperate I leap, he cleared them and reached the hind. I ' insr below- At the same instant, the stairs I fell in with a doll crash, and the flames I dft-nned hisrh in their mad elee
I Honor was safe. But Kildee! I ' There is escape by way of the windows ' I was the hope that flashed into Heathcliff's I mind as he bore Honor Montcalm down the I second-floor flight of stairs and pave her . in I charge of some women A glance at the I burning house told him the fire had made ? fearful progress. The wind was blowing I fiercely, the timbers were dry as tinder from I the protracted drought ; the quantities of ? inflammable material contained in the I grocery store — bacon, lard, oil, turpentine ? had fed the voracious flame3. The ground I story was already consumed, a, portion of the ? upper had fallen in, the walls outside -were I a mass of fire, and the flames were greedily I licking the windows of the third story. Tes I but a few minutes had elapsed since the fire I 'had been discovered. No enermes or ladders I had arrived. Messengers had been sent to ? bring; them but the firemen were all at work ? amid intense excitement at the scene of the
? earlier fire, which, -was spreading despite I tieir efforts. H 'A ladder, a hundred dollars to tie man H v)sj- will brinw me a ladder,' -a voice was H, shouting in strong ringing tones. B Beathclifi turned and saw Carleon. Bare M .ieaded, death-white, his face shone in the I strong red light of the flames. He had just ? ' reached the scene oi the fire, to which he iiad ? harried at the first alarm, remembering that I he had seen. Kildee entering the house two ? .hours before. She was still within .its ? blazing walls, so he gathered from the ex I iclamations of the crowd. He must save her
? or die in the effort. I Close beside Carleon HeathclifE saw the I livid face of Max Rubin and the dazed, I pitiably woeful countenance and streaming ? vrhite hair of St. Peter. ? A ladder was brought , it was placed I against the burning wall ; alas ! it was I greatly too short It reached scarcely to the ? eecond story I Carleon sent a glance upward at the flame I Wreathed windows of the room which held ? the girl — a glance of despair . No face ap I peared there. Had she been already suffo ? cated by the smoke and heat of was she dead ? of terror ? ? H 'Bring on the ladder. Come,' he suddenly I cried. He pushed his way through the I crowd in the direction of the rear of the H building, followed by Max and the two men ? Who bore the ladder. H There was a cry : ' The engines are ? coming !' H The crowd pave a joyful shout, but it ? proved a false report. . JSTeither engines nor H ?Udders came, though, many messensers had H been sent for them. When they did come H it would be too late The people realized ? this with sickening horror, it was probable I tbe girl inside wa3 already dead She gave H So sign. In vain the crowd shouted and ? threw stones at the windows. Nothing of I her was seen, and no sound came from the ? burning house but the roar of destroying ? flames.
I CHAPTER XL. ? Madge Wilde, the ex- factory girl, stili lay ? flpon. the floor of .tho ' dark rcom * attached ? to No. 27. The tumult in the street, the ? roar of the fast approaching death had not H loused her from hpr dranken stupor. No H one knew she was there but Kildee In the ? taoment when tlie girl knew the extremity ? of her peril and wa3. about to folllow the ? Instincts of self-preservation, the thought of I Madge had flashed across her mind. ? * I cannot leave her to be burned to death.
^m I must try to save her,' was ELildee's im. H }-ulse. She ran to the prostrate figure on H the floor and shook her roughly, without H effect. She dashed wafer in the fair, bloated H ij^ce, bub the jjjrj only started, opened her H Prown eyes in a dull stare, and muttering a ^M few words, sack back on the floor. ^J The smoke had helped to increase her ^fl stupor. She breathed etertorously, like one H jn an apoplectic fit. Kildeo looked at her ^M in despair. At last she grasped her beneath H the shonldere, and half lifting her, dragged ^1 her into the front room, whereat least there ^m Yrere -windows, and the air might 'help to ^m tonne her In the*. effort to drag the dead
H *re%htKildee'fi strength wMeihaustecL She H remained for a Jminate gasping for breath in H ioe thick, hot atmosphere. H Suddenly the]dru»ken girl half started ? from her Btnpe* * She seemed' partially to S realize what .was going on. She tried to ?H rise, but she could not move her limbs. J n |M 'terrified hali-conscioasnesg ishe clung to the jS girl who . was losing her small chance to 9 escape in her efforts to save this unforfcjinate. S ^ladge had ^ «latehed her ; was liolding her B inth vicO'Hke graep; - jaidee could hear jjer
name ahonted below, could hear the rattle of stones thrown to attract her to the window, but she con Id not go ; she was held in that spasmodic grasp. She tried to cry out, but her voice failed after a- husky utterance. Her throat was parched, her strength was gone The heat, the smoke, were suffocat ing. - She felt herself swooninsr, She tried to utter a prayer. She struggled once more to free herself, to rouse her from nerveless ness . Life seemed suddenly very sweet. A little while ago, when she saw her doubts confirmed, and knew that Honor Montcalm and not herself was loved by Heatheliff, she mil envioi} rl-cinor Tsfoii Ttarnen Vint; nnw
youDg life and hope asserted their strengtn She saw the flames reaching their red arms in at the window, close to the bed where the dead still sat upright and stared with glazed awful eyes. A flume, more daring than the rest, caught a fold of the mosquito-bar ; in a second the bed wss in a blaze. Once more a shriek rose to Kildee's burning throat, but died there in a feeble croak. Her brain swam, thought, pulse failed, and she sank upon the breast of Madge, who still held her with convulsed fingers. ' Kildee !' The strong, clear voice touched he? failing
senseB, vmz its seemea xm ciaricn-eau ot a spirit in some other world. ' Kildee, where are you ? I have come to savo you.' She did not recognise the voice. She was too nearlf lifeless, but she tried to answer it, to make some sign, but in vain. ' Ah, thank God !' cried the voice close at her side. Strong arms encircled her, tore her from the clutch of the factory girl, lifted her tenderly, bore her out of the room, down the smoke -filled passage, into which flames were
leaping from the hall below, down to the rear end of the passage, which terminated in a large double window open to the floor. On the sill of this window resied one end of the ladder ; the other end was held by two men on the flat roof of a building just across the street or rather across the narrow alley that ran along the rear of the itoost. It was the same ladder which had proved too short to reach Nell Barnes's room. The men at Carleon's command, tad caught it up, ran with it around to the rear alley, carried it up to the roof of the store-house opposite the burning Roost, and succeeded in projecting it across the space — not twenty feet — and lodging it on. the sill of the large passage -window. Along this frail bridge, vibrating in tho wind, and at a dizzy height from the ground, Carleon had crossed, three minutes before, walking with light quick tread, and steadily
carried head, while the spectators watched him with breathless anxiety. Upon this swaying bridge he now stepped again, bear ing the unconscious girJ. A hush of sus pense fell upon all who beheld the feat. He could no longer balance himself with his arms, he must trust to the steadiness of: his eye and his never- lie moved cautiously, yet lightly, for the ladder creaked warningiy under his feet, and quivered when there came a gust of wind. The spectators watched each step with bated breath When the hist was taken, and rescuer and rescued were safe upon the roof, a Ion 1 huzza of relief and' applause barst from their lips Carleon deposited his burden in the wait ing arms of Max. * She has only swooned from heat and terror ; take her at once to a place where it is cool and quiet,' he said
' But you — what are you about to do ?' cried Max, as Carleon turned and again put his foot on the ladder. ' I am going back. There is another woman in ;he burning house.' Once more he began the perilous passage. This time the eyes of the spectators followed him with more conSdenco. He reached, the middle of the ladder — passed it, was almost ready to step upon the window sill, when a round gave way ; be lost his balance, tried to regain it, failed, wavered an instant, and fell. The body struck the earth with a heavy thud. It moved convulsively an instant and then lay still. A groan of horror burst from the lookers-on. They pressed around the prostrate form, so lately proudly erect and full of daring grace. They gazed at the white face, and the awe-struck whisper ran from one to another : * He is dead !' . . : r (to be continued.)