IN the gray dawn of the winter morning, Mamie Welsh started wide awake
from the restless doze into which she had fallen. She sat up in bed, her
head to one side as though listening for some faint and distant sound.
Then, with a quick movement, she threw back the bed-clothes, slipped to
the floor, pulled a shawl about her, thrust her feet into a pair of
slippers, and ran to the door of the room where her father and mother

Mary Welsh, a light sleeper at all times, was awake at the first tap of
Mamie’s fingers.

“Who’s there?” she called.

“It’s me, Mamie.”

“What’s the matter, dearie?” cried Mrs. Welsh, jumping out of bed and
hastening to open the door. “What’s the matter?” she repeated, her arms
about her daughter. “Not sick?” For Mamie’s face in the dim light was
positively ghastly, so livid and drawn it was.

“No, I—I’m not sick,” sobbed Mamie, suddenly giving way and clinging
desperately to her mother. “I—I don’t know what it is, only I’m so
worried about Allan.”

And Mrs. Welsh, with a sudden tightening of the heart, understood.

“There, there,” she said, and she drew her daughter’s head down upon her
shoulder and patted her soothingly. “There, there; he’ll be back safe
an’ sound, dearie, never fear!”

“But oh! mother! I dreamed such a terrible dream. He was in some awful
danger, hurt and bleeding, in the dark, and a horrible man was torturing
him, and he called to me and held out his hands. I heard his voice,
mother, as plainly as I hear yours—it woke me up,” and Mamie shivered
convulsively at the remembrance.

Mrs. Welsh was no more superstitious than the ordinary Irish woman, but
there was something in the words—something in the voice which uttered
them—which somehow struck a responsive chord in her, and she shivered in
sympathy with the trembling figure she held in her arms.

Jack, meanwhile, disturbed by all this talking, suddenly awakened to
find his wife missing, and sat up in bed rubbing his eyes and staring at
the ghostly figures near the door.

“Who’s that?” he asked, but a convulsive sob from Mamie told who it was,
and thoroughly awakened at last, he was out of bed in an instant.
“What’s wrong?” he demanded. “What’s the matter with you women?”

“Mamie’s worried about Allan,” answered Mrs. Welsh, hugging tight the
shivering figure in her arms.

“Oh, dad!” sobbed Mamie. “I dreamed about him and he—he was calling me!”

“Calling you? What d’ye mean, Mamie?”

“He was calling me to come to him. Oh, dad, we must go!”

“Go?” repeated Jack, in amazement. “Go where?”

“Out to Schooley’s—or wherever it is—you will, won’t you, dad?”

She had her arms around her father, now, and there was a pathos, an
entreaty in her voice that wrung his heart.

“I was goin’ out this mornin’, anyway,” he said, smoothing her hair
gently, “an’ I guess I might as well start now.”

“And I’m going with you, dad.”

“No, no,” he protested. “What good would that do, Mamie?”

“Good!” she cried. “Why, dad, you don’t know where to find him!”

“And do you?”

Her face changed—seemed to whiten and harden—and her eyes stared past
them into the gloom.

“Yes!” she whispered, her hands clasped tight against her heart.

Mrs. Welsh, her hand grasping Jack’s arm, nodded to him to consent.

“All right,” he agreed, his voice not wholly steady. “All right, Mamie.
Jump into your clothes. Maybe we kin ketch first ninety-eight.”

Neither Jack Welsh nor his wife could ever explain the spirit of
desperate haste which suddenly possessed them. Mamie, apparently in a
sort of trance, returned to her room and dressed herself deliberately
and calmly, but with a wonderful celerity, as surely as she could have
done in broad daylight; while Jack, in the semi-darkness, bungled into
his clothes somehow, his fingers all thumbs.

Mrs. Welsh, meanwhile, throwing a wrapper around her, hastened
downstairs, and when the other two came down five minutes later—Mamie
having assisted her father in the last stages of his toilet—she had a
cup of hot coffee for each of them, and a lunch done up in a napkin for
them to take along. She kissed them both at the front door and stood
watching them until they were out of sight. Then she turned slowly back
into the house, blew out the lamp in the kitchen, and mounted to her
bedroom. But not to sleep. In the cold light of the dawn, she sank on
her knees beside the bed and buried her face in her hands.

* * * * *

Jack and Mamie reached the yards just as Bill Grimes, the conductor of
first ninety-eight, was raising his hand to give the signal to start. He
was charmed to have them as his guests, and hustled them into the
caboose, much to the embarrassment of an impressionable young brakeman,
who was just changing his shoes. He thought he had never seen anything
so lovely as Mamie, and stammered profuse apologies, which Mamie
acknowledged with an absent-minded nod. Poor fellow! her thoughts were
far away from him.

He cheerfully undertook to climb forward over the long train and to ask
the engineer to slow up at the spot where the abandoned train had been
discovered, and fifteen minutes later, at some risk to life and limb, he
was at the caboose steps to assist Mamie to alight.

As the train gathered speed again, conductor and brakeman shouted back
good wishes; then the rumble died away in the distance, and the train
disappeared in the morning mist.

“Well, and now what?” asked Jack Welsh, looking down at his daughter.

Something in her face arrested his gaze, a certain strained and fixed
expression, as though she were gazing inward instead of outward, as
though she were stretching every sense to catch the sound of some inward
voice, faint and far-away.

Jack felt a little shiver creep along his spine and up over his scalp,
as he noted that fixed gaze.

“Well, and now what?” he asked again. “What is it you’re listenin’ for,

“His voice,” she answered, almost in a whisper. “‘Twill guide us.”

“Surely,” protested Jack, “you don’t expect—”

But without waiting for him to finish, Mamie turned abruptly away from
the railroad, and plunged into the strip of woodland which stretched
beside it. There was no semblance of a path, but she hurried forward
without pausing, and at the end of a few minutes they came to a road.
Without an instant’s hesitation, Mamie turned eastward along it.

“Toward Schooley’s,” Jack muttered to himself. “That’s all right. But
how the dickens did she know it was here?”

Mamie, meanwhile, looking neither to the right nor left, hurried along
the road as fast as her feet would carry her. It was hard and rutted and
anything but easy walking, yet the girl seemed to take no account of the
roughness of the way, and Jack, panting and stumbling along behind,
marvelled at the ease with which she hastened on. The sun had not yet
risen, and gray cold mist of the morning still lingered among the trees.
To the superstitious Irishman there seemed to be something ghostly and
supernatural in the air; he felt that some mysterious and unseen
influence was at work, and the thought brought a cold sweat out across
his forehead. Yet never for an instant did he think of trying to stop
her or of turning back himself.

Then suddenly, from afar off, Jack’s ears caught the sound of a faint
singing or crying, that rose and fell in a sort of weird cadence,
impossible to describe.

“What’s that?” he cried, and stopped short; but instead of pausing,
Mamie broke into a run, and would have been out of sight in a moment had
not Jack followed at top speed. In the end, his strength and agility
told even against the strange spirit that possessed her, and he gained
her side just as they reached the edge of a clearing, in the midst of
which stood an old stone house.

“Good God! It’s afire!” gasped Jack, and, indeed, a black swirl of smoke
was pouring from the broken windows at the front of the house, lighted
redly here and there from instant to instant by a tongue of flame.
“Wait, Mamie,” he added, grasping her arm as she started forward. “What
’r you goin’ t’ do?”

“He’s there!” Mamie cried, shaking him away, and without another word,
she started toward the house.

Jack, gritting his teeth tight together, followed her. There was need of
courage, for that weird sing-song chanting still persisted, and as they
neared the house, a strange figure appeared around the corner—a squat,
deformed figure, surmounted by a hideous face and great shock of dirty
hair. It was dancing in a clumsy and ungainly fashion and was emitting
from time to time the hoarse shouting which had set Jack’s nerves on


For an instant, the fellow did not perceive them; then, as his bloodshot
eyes rested upon them, he stood for a breath as though carved in stone,
and then, with a hoarse yell of rage, hurled himself upon them.

How Mamie escaped that savage onrush, she never knew. Jack had a
confused recollection of seeing her spring aside to escape the madman’s
swinging arms, and in the next instant he found himself grappling with
him, hurled backward off his feet, with great, hairy hands tearing at
his throat. He felt himself helpless as a child in this powerful and
cruel grasp, and his heart turned faint within him as he stared upward
into the convulsed and hideous face glaring down at him. He dashed his
fists against it, with almost as little effect as though he had dashed
them against a rock, and ever those hands at his throat tightened and
tightened. The world danced red before him—it was no use—no use—

Then, suddenly, a thought flashed lightning-like into his brain—if he
failed her now, Mamie would be left alone with this monster—at his

Mad with rage, fairly foaming at the mouth, fired with a strength almost
superhuman, Jack twisted his assailant to one side and tore his hands
from his throat. One full breath of the cold air—it was all he had time
for, before those hands closed upon him again. This was no human being,
he told himself despairingly; it was a monster against which he could
not hope to prevail; it wasn’t fair to put a man up against a thing like
this; nobody could blame him if he failed—but Mamie—there was Mamie—

His hand, flung out convulsively, touched something hard and round;
mechanically he grasped it—mechanically he struck with it at the face
above him—once—twice—thrice. And he felt the hands at his throat relax,
saw dimly the savage countenance running red with blood, felt the great
body lurch heavily forward across him—and lay gasping for breath, too
weak, for the moment, to throw it off.

But only for a moment; then, twisting the body to one side, he staggered
to his feet and stared first at it and then at the boulder he still
grasped in his hand; and not till then did he understand what had
happened—by what a slender chance he had been saved—and not he alone,
but Mamie—

Mamie! He turned to look for her. She was nowhere in sight, and
forgetting all else, he staggered forward toward the burning house. He
tried the front door and found it fastened, shook at it savagely without
effect, and then hastened around the house to the rear.

The back door was open, a flood of smoke pouring from it. And as he
stared stupidly at it, he saw a nebulous figure struggling through it.

The sight brought his senses back, brought his strength back. He sprang
forward, and in another moment, he and Mamie, between them, had dragged
Allan West out into the open air, bleeding, bound, unconscious.

“What they been doin’ to the boy?” cried Jack, a white-hot rage almost
choking him. “Have they kilt him—have the cowards kilt him?”

“Oh, no; oh, no!” sobbed Mamie, dropping on her knees beside him. “Oh,
look, dad, they’ve tied his hands and feet.”

“The scoundrels!” and Jack, whipping out his knife, had the bonds
severed in an instant. “His head’s all bloody,” he added, “an’ look how
that rope’s cut his wrists! Good God! What kind o’ fiends—”

But Mamie, with more self-control than he, laid a restraining hand upon
his arm.

“Don’t, dad,” she said. “Don’t think of that now. Time enough

“You’re right,” and Jack mastered himself by a mighty effort.

“We must get some water,” said Mamie, and then as she looked down at the
white, bruised, unconscious face, a wave of misery swept over her, a
suffocating sense of her own helplessness. “We must do something!” she
cried wringing her hands in anguish. “We must—oh!—”

She stopped suddenly, and pressed her hands against her wildly-beating
heart, for Allan’s eyes slowly unclosed and he lay looking up at her.
Then his face brightened into a smile, and an instant later twitched
with the agony the slight movement cost him. His eyes were caught by the
cloud of smoke drifting upward from the house, and his expression
changed from agony to horror.

“We must get the others,” he gasped, and tried to rise.

“No, no,” protested Mamie, her arms about him. “Lie still—you must—”

But Allan had fainted dead away.

THEY tell the story yet on the P. & O., and, indeed, everywhere that
railroad men foregather—they tell it with shining eyes and fast-beating
hearts—how Jack Welsh, grasping in an instant the meaning of Allan’s
words, tied his handkerchief over mouth and nose, and fought his way
inch by inch into that burning house, crawling on hands and knees with
his face close to the floor where the smoke was thinnest—fought his way
up the stairs and from room to room, until he found the one where five
men lay, bound and senseless, on the floor; and they tell how he dragged
them one by one to the open air, feeling the hot floor tremble under him
toward the end, and himself falling unconscious beside the last man as
he dropped him to the ground.

They tell the story with the proud consciousness that this man was one
of themselves, and that what he did was done in the way of duty, with no
thought of fame or reward, without pausing to count the risk.

But even this heroism might have been of small avail, had not Reddy
Magraw at that instant come upon the scene. Let him tell the story, as
he told it next day to Mrs. Welsh.

“You know, whin I come down to your house the first thing in the mornin’
an’ found Jack had gone out to Schooley’s, I was purty mad, fer we had
kind of arranged t’ go out there togither, if Allan didn’t show up; an’
it didn’t seem t’ me that he was playin’ just fair, though o’ course I
understand now that he didn’t have time t’ call me. Well, I made up my
mind I’d git out there as quick as I could, so I hopped the first train
I could ketch, which was second ninety-eight, and I reckon I must have
jumped off not more’n half an hour after Jack an’ Mamie did—though mind
you, you hadn’t said anything about Mamie goin’ along, an’ I reckon I
know why,” and here he stopped for a long look deep into Mrs. Welsh’s

“Go ahead with the story,” she said. “Though I don’t say you ain’t

“O’ course I’m right,” said Reddy, confidently. “Well, as I was sayin’,
I got off the train an’ wandered around fer some time, an’ then struck
the road an’ started t’ foller it; an’ purty soon I seed smoke over the
tree-tops an’ after that I didn’t loiter none, I tell you.

“Well, sir, when I run around the corner o’ that house, I purty nigh
dropped dead in my tracks. There on the ground lay about a dozen men, as
it seemed to me; there was the lunatic, an’ a sight he was, with his
face all covered with blood; an’ there was Jack, an’ his face was
covered with blood, too, but not his own, the lunatic’s; and there was
Allan West, lookin’ deader ’n a salt mackerel; there was five other
fellys, some a-layin’ nice an’ still, an’ some kind o’ squirmin’ around
an’ moanin’; an’ there was Mamie, with Allan’s head in her lap a-lookin’
most dead herself; an’ when I see her settin’ there, I tell you my heart
jest seemed to swell up inside me like it was a-goin’ t’ bust.

“Well, I didn’t know no more what to do than a rabbit. There was eight
men whose lives depended on me, more or less; not that I’d ’a’ cared
about the lunatic, but even without him there was seven, an’ me no
doctor, neither. But Mamie certainly did show what was in her. Where she
learned it I don’t know, but she set me t’ pumpin’ them fellers’ arms up
an’ down n’ blowin’ down their throats—Jack an’ Allan first—an’ it
wasn’t a great while till Jack came around. He was kind o’ weak an’
giddy, but not fer long; an’ in ten or fifteen minutes, we had three
others all right; an’ jest about then, the lunatic began to come to, so
we tied his hands an’ feet t’ make sure he didn’t git away, or sneak up
on any of us from behind an’ cave our heads in. An’ when he did come to,
he laid there an’ cussed somethin’ frightful. I wanted t’ hit him with
the rock ag’in, but Mamie said no, to gag him, an’ we stuffed his mouth
full of his own dirty clothes, an’ I guess he wished he’d kept ’em

“But what worried us most of all was Allan. He jest laid there limp as a
rag, an’ Mamie workin’ with him, purty nigh as white as he was.”

“He can’t die!” she kept saying to herself, over and over. “He can’t
die! It was God brought me here to save him, and he can’t die now!”

The smoke and flames had burst up from the burning house, a beacon to
all the country-side, and assistance was at hand ere long; strong hands
and tender hearts; and presently two great wagons, bedded with straw to
take conscious and unconscious alike to Schooley’s, whither already a
swift rider had been dispatched to summon aid from Wadsworth. And at
Wadsworth, too, it may well be believed that no time was lost. A special
was got ready in a hurry; doctors and nurses summoned; and when the
little cavalcade reached Schooley’s, the special was waiting there for
it; and trained hands took over the work of relief.

Trained hands which worked swiftly and surely, and presently Allan
opened his eyes and looked up at Mamie and smiled at her.

“Dear Mamie!” he murmured and closed his eyes and slept.

And the overwrought girl, conscious for the first time of her utter
fatigue, reeled and would have fallen had not a strong arm caught her
and carried her to a cot.

I have wondered often what force it was drew Mamie from her bed, that
morning, with sure knowledge of Allan’s danger, and guided her to him
along that rutted country road. The human mind is a strange and
wonderful thing, with the seeming power of projecting itself through
space, at times, and summoning loved ones or conveying a message to

Science seems to admit so much—or, at least, hesitates to deny it, in
face of the evidence. And I have sometimes thought that, as Allan fell
through the swirling smoke down that flight of stairs in the old stone
house, his last conscious thought of Mamie, that thought somehow flashed
to her across the miles that lay between them—a C. Q. D. signal of
distress, as it were, from him to her, on the wonderful wireless of the

At least, I have no other explanation—I only know it really happened
just as I have told it here.

* * * * *

A great crowd was waiting when that special pulled in to Wadsworth—a
crowd which cheered and cheered as Allan and Jack Welsh and Mamie were
borne to the carriages which were in waiting; a crowd from which three
women threw themselves upon the conductor and brakemen, weak but
smiling; a crowd which cursed the idiot and would have torn him from his
cot and committed I know not what violence but for the platoon of
police, assisted by Stanley’s specials, with Stanley himself, saturnine
yet smiling, at the head of them.

For Stanley had returned and with him three prisoners and a wagon load
of the richest silks ever shipped over an American railroad.

For the whole thing had been a case of robbery, after all, just as
Stanley had suspected.

It had been carefully planned. The conspirators—old hands at the
game—had learned that a shipment of silks of unusual richness had been
made by a New York house to its jobbers in Saint Louis—had even received
from some traitorous clerk the number of the car in which they were
carried—had flagged the train, took conductor and brakemen prisoners, as
they hurried forward to find out what the red light meant; had
afterwards secured the engineer and fireman at the point of a revolver,
extinguished the headlight, and looted the car at their leisure.

Then, after carefully sealing it up again so that the robbery would not
be discovered until the car arrived at its destination, they had
convoyed the prisoners to the old stone house, and committed them to the
care of the half-witted monster they had brought with them from the city
slums, with instructions that they be released in forty-eight hours, in
which time they fancied they would be able to get well beyond reach of

But they had not fully appreciated their confederate’s crazed condition;
they had not foreseen in what a horrible way he would carry out their
instructions—give them credit for that. Nor had they foreseen that,
within a very few hours, one of the keenest detectives in the middle
west would be after them. They had thought such search as would be made
would be for the missing men, and had hoped that, in the disorganized
condition of the road, no very effective search could be made at all.

How Stanley followed them, like the bloodhound that he was, and finally
ran them down need not be related in detail here. Stanley himself has
told the story in the book of memoirs which he published after he had
retired from active service. Once he had got his clue to them, the rest
was a question of only a few hours; for a wagon heavily laden cannot
proceed at any great rate of speed, nor can it pass along the roads
unseen. He had sworn in two deputies at a farm house, and with their
assistance, had no difficulty in surprising the robbers, as they jogged
along a country road, thinking themselves quite secure. It was merely
the matter of a levelled revolver and a stern command, and the
application of certain lengths of rope to wrists and ankles. Then,
turning the wagon about, he had driven in triumph back to Wadsworth,
reaching there just at dawn.

And the first news he had heard was of Allan’s disappearance. Puzzled
and worried, he had seen his prisoners lodged safely in the county jail,
and was just preparing to join the search himself, when news of the
rescue flashed in from Schooley’s.

Oh, but there were crazy people on Wadsworth’s streets that day—people
wild with excitement, telling the story over and over to each other,
shaking each other’s hands, repeating this detail or that as though they
would never tire of hearing it. And the reporters! Well, the wildest
stretch of their imaginations had conceived no such story as this! And
they flashed it forth to the four points of the compass, so that, next
morning, the whole country read the tale of the heroism of Jack Welsh
and his daughter, Mamie.

* * * * *

It was perhaps, a year afterwards that the postman, one morning, brought
a little registered package for John Welsh. Jack chanced to be at home
that morning, and opened the package in considerable surprise, for
registered packages were not of common occurrence with him.

“Why, what’s this?” he said, and held up what appeared to be a medal of

“Let’s see it,” said Mary, quickly, and examined it with eager eyes.
“Why, look!” she cried. “On one side is a woman holdin’ a wreath, an’ on
the other it says ‘To John Welsh, for valour, February 2, 1906.’ It’s
from the hayro fund!” she cried. “Jack—”

But Jack, looking very red and uncomfortable, had bolted from the house.

“I does my work,” he muttered angrily to himself, as he strode up the
street, “but I ain’t no hayro, an’ what’s more, I won’t be one! What do
they mean by sendin’ me a medal? Confound their impudence, anyway. Why
can’t they leave a feller alone? I don’t want their old medal!”

But Mary put it carefully away, and it is to this day her dearest
treasure, to be shown proudly whenever the story of Jack’s exploit is
told—provided, always, that Jack isn’t there!

* * * * *

And the robbers? Conviction followed, as a matter of course. There could
be no doubt of their guilt, and in the end they saw the wisdom of
confessing and throwing themselves upon the mercy of the court. The
madman was consigned to an asylum for the criminally insane, where he
remains to this day, occupying for the most part a straitjacket and a
padded cell, for he has never recovered from his lust of blood and
instinct to murder.