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Page 207 text:
im m Clje 1911 Colonial (£ct)o so doiug, cut my aukles several times. Now that I was foot-free, escape seemed possible. But by this time I was so sleepy I could labor no more, and slept, I suppose, about twelve hours. When 1 awoke I immediately began to claw dirt with bauds and feet. I suppose another day was con- sumed in getting out of the pit, and when I at last emerged from my three days ' imprisonment, I was so weak that I despaired of ever again reaching the sound of human voice. " I soon found the road by which 1 was brought to my prison. Though now so nearly saved, delirium attacked me, and I knew no more until rescued by a peasant at the village of ilonaco, in which I am now staying. It seems quite strange, but one of my captors greatly resembled my cousin, Sam Proctor. " " Coincident with Sidney Proctor " s reappearance, a message was received from Calais that Sam Proctor — now commanding his own ship — had sailed for America. An eminent detective of this city has suggested that there may be some significance in the fact that Sam Proctor fled on the same day that Sidney ' s escape from almost certain death was made known. ' ' " I spent the next few days in London. Meanwhile Sidnej ' Proctor came over from France as soon as possible, and took possession of the Inglewood estate, but seemed somewhat nervous about staying in the house alone. Never- theless, he mastered his fears, and stayed in the room formerly occupied by his uncle, presumably because this was the most quiet and most out of the way part of the building, and more congenial with his present melancholy mood. He took daily walks at evening with his wife, and seemed to be living an ordi- nary, quiet life. I obtained my information from Gilder. Then, after about three days, I received a telegram to the effect that he would be in London im- mediately. I thought this rather a curious move, but Gilder was managing his own case, and 1 had not even taken the trouble to form a theory con- cerning it. " As we walked from the station, my companion seemed more reticent than ever. He refused to say anything about the ease, gi ng as his i-eason that he wasn ' t at all sure of its outcome. " The following afternoon he received a telegram from containing the following words: ' They have .just arrived, will spend uiglit here, go to- morrow. John M. ' " ' We must get out of this town immediately, ' said Gilder, giving his telephone a ring. " ' Hello; is this Scotland Yard? Send me up : lathews and Watkius; tell them to come to my office as soon as possil)le. " " Then turning to me, ' Get ready, ' he said, ' we must leave here by dark, and it is now almost dusk. We ' ll have to eat sui)per before we go, too. " In a few minutes tlie men from Scotland Yard arrived, and we were on 199
Page 206 text:
«s«®ms Clje 1911 Colonial CcJlo occupation whatever. 1 did not know whether this idleness was due to his having solved the mystery, or whether he was awaiting developments he never spoke of his business to any one. Of course we enjoyed being together, and the more so since we did not have any business cares. " Our period of ea.se and idleness luui lasted Ijut live days wlieu more news came. It was again through a newspaper that we were informed of Sidney Proctor ' s reappearance at a small village at the foot of the Avenues, on the outskirts of that forest of which we have already spoken. He was in a bad mental condition, haudeuffed, and almost starved. After a day of rest and good care, however, he was able to tell his story. Following is the newspaper account of Proctor ' s capture and escape: " I was returning to my home from a short walk last Thursday, alone — my wife who usiuiUy ace( mi)anies iiie was unwell — when 1 turned a bend in the road and saw a large touring ear just aheail of me. Three men were in it, the two on the rear seat being strangers. The man in front wore goggles and a heavy muttlei , and was of the same figure as a friend of mine. The car was exactly like one owned by this friend, and 1 was not surprised when the driver hailed me — my friend never employed a chauffeur. — " Come, let ' s take a ride, " he said, bringing the car to a standstill. " I want you to meet my two friends. " I accepted the invitation, and when I entered the car, extended my right hand for the usual handshake. My supposed friend grasped iu hand warmly and turned to the two strangers, " ilr. Proctor, this is my friend, ilr. , " but he got no farther, for, see- ing his opportunity, he seized my hands with lightning rapidity, and pinioned them behind my back. ' Quick, put on the handcuff ' s, ' he said to one of his companions. The fellow responded instantly by locking them on mj ' wrists. The ruffian on the seat with me pulled out a pistol, and placing the muzzle near my heart, said: " Cry out and you die, under- stand? ' lie drew his heavy laprope over his pistol hand, and with the other started the car at full speed. " On and on we sped, darting by several villages, always keeiung the direction of the Avenues forests. ly capture happened at five o ' clock; by ten P. M. we were slowing down in a lonely unfrequented road upon the thickly wooded slopes of the Avenues. The machine was stopped. One of the ruffians pulled me fi ' om my seat, and assisted by the other two, bore me away several hundred metres to a pit about three metres square. Into this I was dropi)ed. I heard them place a few boards over the top of the pit, scrape some leaves upon them, and depart. " This, then, was my doom, practically buried alive, bound hiind and foot, where one might walk directly over me and not discover my where- abouts. I had remained in the pit I suppose about twelve hours, when I remembered that my captors had not taken my knife from my hip pocket. My feet were bound with rope. Why, then, couldn ' t I think of a way of escape? Finally liy twisting myself ai-ound all sorts of ways, I managed to get my knife out of my pocket and to open it. Then by assuming a kneeling position, after about an hour ' s labor I severed the rope, and in 198
Page 208 text:
Ct)c 1911 Coionial Ccl)o isisi s!i our way to a hotel to ol)taiii siii ] i ' i-. ( )ui- nu-al was soon tiiiishcd, and led by Gilder. c were imt long in gettinfi: to a pawn sIkij) where he jjurehased some rather dilajjidated clothes. Then, leading us to the i)aek of the store, he told us to i)ut them on. This done, we started for the railroad station. When we arrived. Gilder held a whispered conversation with the agent. Turning around to us he said: ' l " ve gotten good aeeommodations for you fellows, we ' re going to hoho it ou the rods. ' " We were about to give vent to our surprise when Gilder, with a gesture, silenced us. " ' We ' ve got to keep our uioxcments secret, " he whispered, ' as my wiiole case depends upou our getting to Inglewood unnoticed. ' " Rememliering this i)recaution. we lined up in the shadow of the building to wait for the next train. In a short time it arrived, and we stole quietly un- der the cars taking our positions upou the rods for our long journey. We started at eight o ' clock; by eleveu we were nearing Inglewood. " ' When you get there, roll out of the cars uiton the side opposite to the station and keep walking away from it in the shadow of the train, ' said our leader. " The train stopi)ed long enough for us to make our escape unnoticed. ' Now for Inglewood, ' said Gilder, ' and to keep our movements secret as pos- sible, let ' s cut through this bit of forest. ' So saying, he led the way, bringing us soon to Inglewood. At the edge of the lawn he stopped, motioning us to hide behind a hedge. " In the house a lam]) was sending forth its beams of light; in a short time this was extinguished. " Veiled in the inky darkness. Gilder led us to that house in the yard which he and I had formerly occupied. As he had surmised, the house was vacant, the door unlocked. ' Walk in boys, " he said sarcastically, ' but jou can ' t remain here long. ' With this he pulled up some of the tloor boards which he had previo isly loosened, disclosing a sort of cellar room about ten feet square and eight deep. It was furnished with four chairs, a table, some canned foods and what seemed to me most curious, two telephones. " ' ] rake yourselves at home, ' said Gilder, ' we .stay here until some time tomorrow. ' ' ' Then we all lay down and slept. The next day, until about eleveu o ' clock, was spent in playing cards, etc. At this time we heard through the phones, in Proctor ' s voice (the receivers were left down purposely), ' Yes, show the gentlemen up. John, then you may go to work in the dining-room until dinner time, polishing the silver. ' Of course Gilder and I jumped to the phones, where we heard the following conversation : 200
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