The Drums of Jeopardy (Chapter 1, page 1 of 11)


 
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Chapter 1

A fast train drew into Albany, on the New York Central, from the West.
It was three-thirty of a chill March morning in the first year of peace.
A pall of fog lay over the world so heavy that it beaded the face and
hands and deposited a fairy diamond dust upon wool. The station
lights had the visibility of stars, and like the stars were without
refulgence--a pale golden aureola, perhaps three feet in diameter, and
beyond, nothing. The few passengers who alighted and the train itself
had the same nebulosity of drab fish in a dim aquarium.

Among the passengers to detrain was a man in a long black coat. The high
collar was up. The man wore a derby hat, well down upon his head, after
the English mode. An English kitbag, battered and scarred, swung heavily
from his hand. He immediately strode for the station wall and stood with
his back to it. He was almost invisible. He remained motionless until
the other detrained passengers swam past, until the red tail lights of
the last coach vanished into the deeps; then he rushed for the exit to
the street.

Away toward the far end of the platform there appeared a shadowy patch
in the fog. It grew and presently took upon itself the shape of a man.
For one so short and squat and thick his legs possessed remarkable
agility, for he reached the street just as the other man stopped at the
side of a taxicab.

 
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