Fred Fearnot's Day, or The Great Reunion at Avon



"She'll be killed!"

From more than a hundred throats came this cry, and it looked as if it would be so.

Belle Scott was lying right in front of the wheels which, at the time when she was thrown forward by the cutting of the rope, were only a few yards off.

Ned Wood and Nick Nelson were almost neck and neck, riding parallel to each other. It was possible for Nick Nelson to avoid the girl by turning swiftly to the right, and if he did so he would have made his way in safety, Passing by the two or three other people who were lying on the track.

There was no time to consider whether he would do so. Ned Wood was absolutely obliged to dash to the right or run over the girl.

He saw what had happened with horror, but he never hesitated.

Swift as lightning he turned to the right. As he did so he found that Nick Nelson held on his way. The result was that the two wheels dashed into each other. There was an awful crash, some angry cries, and then Ned and Nick went headlong on to the track.

Dick Porter's design had been thwarted, for Nick was now completely out of the race.

"Fool!" hissed Dick through his clenched teeth; "the way was open and he would not take it, Murray, it's his own fault."

"Keep quiet," muttered Dean, Dick's chum who was at his elbow, "or we'll be noticed. Somebody will hear you."

On the track now was a confused mass of wheels and people, but of the officials had rushed to the rescue, and were helping to clear the way.

Ned was badly bruised, but he was on his feet in a jiffy. As he did so he saw Jack King coming along at a great pace.

"You'll win yet, Jack," shouted Ned, loudly, as he took Belle by the arms and dragged her off the track. "Ride as you never rode before, Jack, and you'll beat those crooks! "

Amid a wild shout of, "King wins!" the boy flew by, and as he did so Nick Nelson who had been helped on to his wheel, dashed off at a tremendous pace.

The great amateur rider had no chance, Jack turned round and looked at his rival with a triumphant smile on his face, which infuriated the others and made him ride as he never rode before. He reached the hind wheel of the boy. Then amidst a hurricane of cheering, Jack King left him literally as if he was standing still, and with a terrific burst of speed passed the post a winner, twenty yards ahead.

"What was the time?" asked Jack, as he slowed down and rode back.


"Quite slow," he muttered. "I'll do better than that next time."

Nick Nelson was livid with passion, and a nasty cut on his lip did not improve his appearance.

"Do better," he growled, as he heard what Jack said. "Great Scott! it's your dying effort my young friend. You'll never beat me again, and you wouldn't this time if I'd had fair play."

"We shall see," answered Jack quietly.

"Who's talking about fair play?" asked Ned, who came up at this moment.

"I was," a answered Nick Nelson, looking hard at him; "have you any objection?"

"Why, no; but they're strange words to hear in your mouth, Nelson, that's all."

"And may I ask you why?" inquired the defeated wheelman, savagely.

"Certainly, and you shall have answer. You tried to prevent either of us winning, when you found you could not win yourself."

"You're crazy," answered Nick Nelson, contemptuously.

"Oh, no, I'm not, You'd arranged everything before with your friend, Dick Porter."

"Who's talking about me?" asked Dick, pushing his way to the front and glaring furiously at Ned. "Say what you have to say then. Don't be afraid."

"Afraid of you, Dick Porter, not much. Listen, this cur," he pointed to Dick, "finding that I was beating his friend-"

"Finding I was beating his friend," continued Ned, taking no further notice of the remark, "out the rope and threw Miss Scott and the others onto the track at the peril of their lives."

"It's a lie!" shouted Dick in a hoarse voice, thick with passion. "You hound, how dare you bring such a dastardly charge against me!"

"Faith, an' it's the gospel truth, I'm after thinking," said a voice.

The speaker was Tim Molloy, the janitor at the school. His interest in Jack and Ned had brought him to Boston.

"Search me!" cried Dick, furiously. "I have no knife on me, and I couldn't very well cut a thick rope with my fingers, could I?"

"You've had time to get rid of it," cried several people.

"Still, he'd better be searched," said one of the officials, "as he is willing to allow us to do so."

Dick submitted to the ordeal with perfect composure, as well he might, for his faithful chum, Murray Dean, had stolen away with the knife, and had carefully secreted it.

"Have I the knife?" asked Dick triumphantly, as the search was concluded.

Murray Dean looked on with a smile on his lips, and a twinkle in his small, beady eyes.

"Look here!" cried Ned, seizing the two ends of the severed rope in his hands, and addressing those around him. "Is this a breakage or a cut?"

"A cut! A clean cut," answered the referee, who was close by. "There's no mistake about it, this rope was cut, so we know there's been foul play. I can promise on the part of everybody connected with this meeting that a strict investigation shall be made. I can say no more."

Slowly the crowd dispersed; there were other races to be run, but the extraordinary incident that had endangered several lives dwarfed all other topics, and caused little attention to be paid to the concluding events.

Jack and Ned were with Doctor Flint and his niece.

"And you're not hurt?" said Jack to Belle.

"Not a bit, but I was terribly frightened."

"Ned Wood saved your life," exclaimed the doctor. "I saw it all, and I'll never forget it, Ned -- never!"

"It's a bad business, doctor," replied Ned Wood, "and I'm sure as I stand here that Dick Porter cut the rope."

"Don't say that," answered Doctor Flint, reprovingly. "The rope was cut, that's clear, but we've no right to charge Dick with committing such an awful crime. What d'you think, Jack?"

"I agree with you, doctor. I'm afraid Ned's prejudiced against Dick."

"You bet I am!" answered Ned, hotly, walking away, "and all your talk won't change my mind an atom."

Belle ran after him.

"Don't go away in a temper, Ned, because we're all only too glad to have you with us."

"I can't stay and hear Dick Porter defended."

"You cross boy! Don't you know," said Belle, with a merry laugh, "that Dick professes to be in love with me?"

"The boys say that's why he hates Jack."

"Never mind about Jack," said Belle, blushing slightly. "But can't you see if Dick thinks a great deal of me, it's showing it in a poor way by trying to kill me."

Ned's face was a study. He did not wish to admit himself convinced, yet the girl's reasoning was sound.

"Have your way, Belle," he said, laughingly. "You're too clever for me. I'll see you again before I go. Good-by for the present."

When Jack and Ned had changed their clothes, the races were all over, and most of the spectators had left the track. The Doctor and Belle had gone.

"Hulloa! there's one old friend left," said Jack, "and he's beckoning to us."

"Why, it's Tim Molloy! Well, Tim, what is it?"

"Begorra, an' it's murther and everything else, or I'm a Dutchman."

"And if you are," laughed Jack, "it's from Cork you come."

"Arrah! be aisy now. It's serious talk I'm wantin' to have wid ye. What's that, I'm afther askin'?"

Jack and Ned gave a start. Tim held in his hand a pocket-knife with one large blade which was open.

The two boys looked at each other.

"Whose is it?" gasped Jack.

"Faith, an' it's all illigant guess I could give. See them letters," said Tim. "D. P. They don't stand for Tim Molloy, but shure, my lads, it's meself's thinking they'd spell Dick Porter. Yes, it's Dick Porter's knife."

Tim had fairly astounded the two boys.


"That's Dick Porter's knife," said Ned Wood. "I've often seen him using it."

"But how did you come to have it, Tim?"

"Masther Jack, Misther Molloy, that's meself, wasn't born yesterday."

"If you were, it's a case of remarkable growth."

"It's just like this, lads: Whin all that row was going on just now, an' a mighty foine divarsion it was, I kept my eye on Murray Dean's red head. Oh, it's him's the boy for a bit of knavery. Thinks I, whin I see him coming back you've been up to no good, an' faith he hadn't!"

"Hurry up, Tim."

"Yes, get on with your story," exclaimed Ned; "we're both of us starving."

"Shure, there's not much more to tell," went on Tim, with exasperating slowness. "I saw where Murray Dean had been, an' whin ye'd all gone over there I went."


"Behind the Club House, over there. Begorra, I didn't look far; there was the knife. That's all, an' faith it's a mighty pretty story, Masther Jack, an' would look well in the papers."

"What did I tell you!" cried Ned, triumphantly.

"It looks pretty black against Porter."

"It's a clear case. There's no escape for him. We'll expose him."

(To be continued)

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