Dick merriwell abroad; o.., p.5
Dick Merriwell Abroad; Or, The Ban of the Terrible Ten,
LIKE A BIRD OF EVIL OMEN.
Having seen the back of the departing stranger, Nadia fled up the stairsto the room of her brother, who was lying on a couch and seeking todivert his mind by reading. He did not note that she was pale andagitated as she came in, but he saw her hurriedly cross the room to awindow that commanded a view of the road which wound down toward the rimof Lochleven, where she drew aside the curtain and stood peering out.
"What is it, sis?" he yawned. "What do you see?"
She did not answer.
"Eh?" he exclaimed, putting down the book. "What are you staring at,Nadia?"
"Come here!" she whispered hoarsely.
Her manner and tone caused him to sit up at once.
"Is anything the matter?"
He hurried to the window.
"Look!" she urged, clutching at his arm with her trembling fingers. "Seethat man going down the road?"
The stranger who had lately departed from the inn was walking brisklyaway, the cape of his dark cloak flapping about him, his head bent tothe chill wind that was blowing. His figure, in spite of the folds ofthe cloak, seemed slender and graceful.
"I see him," said Dunbar.
"He was here a few moments ago--in this house!"
"Do you see nothing familiar about him?"
"Why, it seems as if I--I----By the Lord Harry! I believe----"
Budthorne checked himself.
"You believe what? Who is it?"
"Nadia, it looks like Bunol."
"Yes, it looks like him."
"But it can't be! Did you see his face?"
"No, nothing but his back as he passed out at the door."
"It can't be Bunol," repeated Budthorne.
"How could he trace us here?"
"How could he trace us to Edinburgh? How much easier to trace us fromEdinburgh here than from London to Edinburgh!"
"I think he appeared in Edinburgh by chance, without knowing we werethere."
"I do not," declared the girl decidedly. "I think he followed us in somemanner."
Budthorne did not like to believe this.
"You give him credit for the acumen of a Sherlock Holmes. Bunol is nodetective."
"He is a human bloodhound! You do not know how much I fear him, Dunbar."
"You say that man was here in this house a few minutes ago?"
"You have seen the landlady since?"
"And questioned her?"
"I asked her who he was."
"She said he gave his name as Henri Clairvaux, of Paris."
"Then it is not Bunol, sister. Why are you so agitated? It is merely aresemblance. Were we to see his face, I am sure it would prove to bethat of a perfect stranger."
Suddenly she shrank back, lowering the curtain until she had partlyconcealed herself behind it.
"Look!" she exclaimed. "He has stopped before entering the woods! He hasturned to look back! He has pushed the hat up from his forehead to get abetter view! Look, Dunbar! Even at this distance you cannot fail torecognize him!"
"By Jove, you're right, Nadia! It is Bunol, himself! Satan take thescoundrel! What is he trying to do?"
"He has located us here, and he will try to get you into his clutchesagain, Dunbar."
"Confound him! He wants to keep away from me! I've had enough of him!He'll find his day with me is past! He is wasting his time."
"I fear him more than any one else in all the world," confessed thegirl.
"Don't you be afraid, Nadia," said her brother. "I'll protect you."
"But that man's eyes--you cannot resist their evil power."
"Don't you believe it! I'm stronger now than I was. I have conquered myweakness for drink, and that was what enabled him to deceive me."
He truly thought he had conquered, but the girl realized that the battlehad only just begun, and that it was her influence and her watchfulnessthat had kept him from drinking since the night of the exposure inLondon.
Hidden behind the curtain, they peered forth and watched the man in thecloak. For a few minutes he remained gazing back at the lone inn, but atlast he turned once more and, with his cape flapping wing-like about hisshoulders, glided in the manner of a bird of evil omen into the bleakwoods, which swallowed him from view.
"He is gone!" said Budthorne.
"But he will return," declared Nadia. "What shall we do, brother--shallwe flee from here?"
"No!" cried the man, flourishing his fist. "I'm no criminal, and Irefuse to act like one any longer! Let him return! I am my own master,and a score of scoundrels like Miguel Bunol cannot make me hide in coverlike a frightened rabbit. This thing must come to an end, sister. Hebelieves we are afraid of him. I'll show him his error. That is the onlycourse to be pursued. It's ridiculous to think of us running away from acommon cur like that. If he annoys you or threatens you, I'll have himarrested and locked up."
Although his words were very bold, she had come to believe that he wouldweaken and fail when the critical moment arrived.
For a long time they sat in that room, talking of the matter, Nadiafeeling doubts concerning the best thing to be done. Finally sheexclaimed:
"If the friends we met in London were here they could advise us. I wouldfeel safer, too. It might have been better had we remained in Edinburgh.It's lonely here in the country, and I fear what may happen."
The afternoon wore away. Night was at hand when both were startled bythe sound of hoofs and wheels outside.
With her heart fluttering in her bosom, Nadia sprang up and rushed tothe front window. A closed carriage had stopped before the door.Budthorne joined his sister at the window.
The carriage door opened and from it sprang two boys, followed moreleisurely by a man past middle age.
A cry of delight burst from Nadia.
"Our friends have come at last!" she joyously exclaimed.
Dick Merriwell Abroad; Or, The Ban of the Terrible Ten by Burt L. Standish / Young Adult have rating 2.5 out of 5 / Based on15 votes