“I know all about that,” the station-master grumbled. “I have three locals on my hands already,—been held up for half an hour. Old Glynn, the director’s, in one of them too. Might be General Manager to hear him swear.”
“Is she signalled yet?” Liverpool asked.
“Just gone through at sixty miles an hour,” was the reply. “She made our old wooden sheds shake, I can tell you. Who’s driving her?”
“Jim Poynton,” Liverpool answered. “The guvnor took him off the mail specially.”
“What’s the fellow’s name on board, anyhow?” Crewe asked. “Is it a millionaire from the other side, trying to make records, or a member of our bloated aristocracy?”
“The name’s Fynes, or something like it,” was the reply. “He didn’t look much like a millionaire. Came into the office carrying a small handbag and asked for a special to London. Guvnor told him it would take two hours and cost a hundred and eighty pounds. Told him he’d better wait for the mail. He produced a note from some one or other, and you should have seen the old man bustle round. We started him off in twenty minutes.”
The station-master at Crewe was interested. He knew very well that it is not the easiest thing in the world to bring influence to bear upon a great railway company.
“Seems as though he was some one out of the common, anyway,” he remarked. “The guvnor didn’t let on who the note was from, I suppose?”
“Not he,” Liverpool answered. “The first thing he did when he came back into the office was to tear it into small pieces and throw them on the fire. Young Jenkins did ask him a question, and he shut him up pretty quick.”
“Well, I suppose we shall read all about it in the papers tomorrow,” Crewe remarked. “There isn’t much that these reporters don’t get hold of. He must be some one out of the common—some one with a pull, I mean,—or the captain of the Lusitania would never have let him off before the other passengers. When are the rest of them coming through?”
“Three specials leave here at nine o’clock tomorrow morning,” was the reply. “Good night.”
The station-master at Crewe hung up his receiver and went about his duties. Twenty miles southward by now, the special was still tearing its way into the darkness. Its solitary passenger had suddenly developed a fit of restlessness. He left his seat and walked once or twice up and down the saloon. Then he opened the rear door, crossed the little open space between, and looked into the guard’s brake. The guard was sitting upon a stool, reading a newspaper. He was quite alone, and so absorbed that he did not notice the intruder. Mr. Hamilton Fynes quietly retreated, closing the door behind him. He made his way once more through the saloon, passed the attendant, who was fast asleep in his pantry, and was met by a locked door. He let down the window and looked out. He was within a few feet of the engine, which