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A Chariot of Fire by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

Produced by Al Haines

[Illustration: Cover art]

[Frontispiece: "I'VE GOT TO GET TO GLOUCESTER, SIR!"]

A CHARIOT OF FIRE

BY

ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS

ILLUSTRATED

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK AND LONDON

MCMX

Copyright, 1905, 1910, by HARPER & BROTHERS

Published October, 1910.

_Printed in the United States of America_

ILLUSTRATIONS

"I've Got to Get to Gloucester, Sir!" . . . _Frontispiece_

The Flowers in the Front Yard were Knee-Deep in Snow

_A CHARIOT OF FIRE_

When the White Mountain express to Boston stopped at Beverly, it slowed op reluctantly, crashed off the baggage, and dashed on with the nervousness of a train that is unmercifully and unpardonably late.

It was a September night, and the channel of home-bound summer travel was clogged and heaving.

A middle-aged man--a plain fellow, who was one of the Beverly passengers--stood for a moment staring at the tracks. The danger-light from the rear of the onrushing train wavered before his eyes, and looked like a splash of blood that was slowly wiped out by the night. It was foggy, and the atmosphere clung like a sponge.

"No," he muttered, "it's the other way. Batty's the other way."

He turned, facing towards the branch road which carries the great current of North Shore life.

"How soon can I get to Gloucester?" he demanded of one who brushed against him heavily. He who answered proved to be of the baggage staff, and was at that moment skilfully combining a frown and a whistle behind a towering truck; from this two trunks and a dress-suit case threatened to tumble on a bull-terrier leashed to something invisible, and yelping in the darkness behind.

"Lord! This makes 'leven dogs, cats to burn, twenty-one baby-carriages, and a guinea-pig travellin' over this blamed road since yesterday--What's that? _Gloucester?_--6.45 to-morrow morning."

"Oh, but look here!" cried the plain passenger, "that won't do. I have got to get to Gloucester _to-night_."

"So's this bull-terrier," groaned the baggage-handler. "He got switched off without his folks--and I've got a pet lamb in the baggage-room bleatin' at the corporation since dinner-time. Some galoot forgot the crittur. There's a lost parrot settin' alongside that swears in several foreign languages. I wish to Moses I could!"


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