Melody Lane #6 The Dragon of the Hills
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THE DRAGON OF THE HILLS
MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES
The Ghost of Melody Lane
The Forbidden Trail
The Tower Secret
The Wild Warning
Terror at Moaning Cliff
The Dragon of the Hills
The Mystery of Stingymans Alley The Secret of the Kashmir Shawl
The Hermit of Proud Hill
MELODY LANE MYSTERY STORIES
DRAGON OF THE
GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Copyright, 1936 by
GROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.
The Dragon of the Hills
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
I GREY EYES 1
II LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS 8
III PERFUME OF MYSTERY 17
IV THE NIGHT PROWLER 29
V THE FLEETING BREATH 36
VI CONFUSION 44
VII EVEN AT MELODY LANE 52
VIII BACK TO BRAMBLE HILL 59
IX STRANGE AROMA 69
X AN UNEXPECTED CALLER 79
XI SUSPICIONS 89
XII SEARCHING 98
XIII GETTING AT IT 107
XIV THE PROBLEM OF JEANETTE 115
XV VANISHED 123
XVI PRISCILLAS SECRET 133 XVII DETECTIVE CAROL 141
XVIII UNDER FIRE 149
XIX THE DESERTED CAMP 160
XX BOB WHITE 169
XXI DANGER 178
XXII CAPTIVE 184
XXIII TO THE RESCUE 196
XXIV THE DRAGON DISCOVERED 204 XXV THE OLD SCARF 215
XXVI WHAT REALLY HAPPENED 223
DRAGON OF THE HILLS
With a sense of real disappointment Carol
Duncan turned her little green roadster toward the
hills of Millford, the territory so isolated from
Melody Lane and other active villages, that the spot,
although beautiful by nature, was considered sinister
Carol was disappointed because Isabel Bennet,
her friend out at Brighton Rock whom she had been
visiting, could not drive in to Melody Lane with her.
At the very last minute Isabel received a message
that obliged her to change her plans and certainly
she was quite as disappointed as was Carol.
Cant you possibly wait another day, Carol? Isabel urged. Cecy may be glad to run her party without the big sister, Isabel joked, in trying to hold Carol from taking that solitary trip.
She might be, Carol answered, but she isnt. No, Belle, Ive got to be there to ring the curfew. Cecy is pretty young, you know, and she has some
very lively friends even younger. They might take a
notion to make bonfires, or something. So Ill be going.
Facing the long lonely drive so near nightfall,
when the very best time her car could make would
take all of two hours, Carol waved to her friend and
Being the older sister of Cecy, and having no
mother for so many years (although a fond father
had brought up his two girls a credit to all
concerned), Carol Duncan did not alter a decision
without real cause. And what if Belle couldnt drive in with her? There were no bandits nor mountain
lions in the hills, so why shouldnt she dash on home to be there to superintend Cecys party?
But it would have been such fun to have Belle she could not help thinking. Besides, we really needed her for the party. Why do city relatives
always feel that country folks summers are especially mapped out for their own impulsive
visits? As if that old uncle of Belles thought his visit would bring joy to the whole countryside. But
Belle knows her Uncle Ben best, of course, so she
just had to be there when he arrived. Guiding her car cautiously over the heavy dirt
surface, where taxes had not yet been applied for the
general highway improvements, Carol tried not to
see the heavy shadows settling so suddenly on the
evergreen trees that shrouded the uncertain strip of
road. Cheerful and happy as any girl in her teens
might hope to be, Carol had already proved herself
capable of handling dangerous situations, and what
was a lonely ride on a late summer afternoon if not
the promise of adventure?
A snarling rumble from far away, unmistakably
thunder, brought the first real threat of danger. It had
been unseasonably hot for days, and the heavy air
could do most anything reckless if touched off by a
sudden change with tornado-like winds. Carol
stopped her car instantly to put up the summer top,
and fasten the curtains which offered some
protection although they were not waterproof.
No longer even thinking of what might happen
along that road, where no gas stations cheered the
way, the girl at the wheel bent every effort to get
over the hills and into the farm house section before
the storm should break.
Shooting past better looking side-roads she did
not dare venture to turn in one, as that would make
her so much later; besides there was no telling how
long the big storm might last. Thunder now crashed
and cracked and lightning flashed through the trees
like spurts of fire, and even Carol, not really afraid
of most storms, could not have denied that she was
afraid of this one.
If only I can get over to Bramble Hill, she was thinking, I know there are a few houses there.
Then the rain came in blinding sheets, completely
wiping out the last remnant of daylight, and Carol
quickly switched on her car lights, just as another
car shot past her, too near and going too fast to make
her feel better for the momentary company of
another person also trying to beat the storm. I wish I hadnt phoned Cecy I was coming.
They will be worried to death, she was thinking. A blinding flash of lightning and a crackling of
nearby thunder caused Carol to push on the brake.
Oh! she screamed. Then a tree, with a few warning snaps, fell almost in her very path.
How she dragged that tree from the road, and
how she managed to edge her car past it without
going headlong into the deep country ditch Carol did
not want to know. But again she was on her way
with a sigh of relief that the tree had not been very
large and that she had not been drenched to the skin
in dragging it away.
And theres Bramble Hill, she was telling herself. At least I can stop there some place until this blinding rain lets up.
A sudden shift in the wind, coming straight from
the North with a drop in the temperature that felt
like a cold blast, gave Carol assurance that the torrid
spell was broken. But the rain continued to pour
down and now the wind drove it in cold sheets
through her car curtains and in at the sides where the
roadster was not exactly storm proof.
In a few moments she was not only soaking wet
but very cold. She had a coat under the rumble seat
but to get that would mean a thorough drenching.
Theres a house! she breathed gratefully. Ill go up there and mend my sails. Theres always a driving-in shed around country houses; one good
thing. Intent upon her hoped-for relief, Carol Duncan
drove into the lane that led to a queer old house
quite hidden amid the trees. As she expected, there
was a shed, but also, what she could not have hoped
for, there was built out from this shed at the front
steps an arched covering, almost the porte-cochre
of better days.
Swell! Carol was saying almost aloud. And actually a little run-board up to the porch. I dont even have to climb steps.
Quickly as she could slip from the wet car up to
the door, where, in spite of the porch, the rain was
being lashed by the strong wind, she found herself
facing a printed sign:
No Admittance. No admittance, she repeated vaguely. But that
must be for trades people. Ill just knockno theres a bell.
Giving the old-fashioned handle a twist, she
heard a heavy bell answer and then sounded a fierce
Oh, a dog! I might better have gone on But before she had time to regret, the door was
opened on a chain and the face of a girl, a child
Oh! the girl gasped. Im sorry but I cant askyou in! The great gray eyes looked out kindly at Carol who felt something must be wrong, very
wrong behind the chained door, to make that girl
refuse her admittance.
Someone sick? Carol asked. Oh no, not exactly, but Wait, youre soaking
wet! Wait a minute, please, and the door was closed, chain and all.
Carol couldnt turn away: she felt obliged to wait as the girl had asked, but now she was more soaking
wet than ever. After all, she might have gone on
driving, she realized. Just to get her coat out of the
back of the car did not necessitate this much trouble.
But how could she have driven to a persons door without saying why she had come?
The chain rattled harshly as the door was again
opened, and Gray Eyes appeared. Come inin here, invited the timid voice.
Theres a little seat. She had opened an outer door and Carol was now standing in a small enclosure
like a shed with a bench along the side. The storm is not over yet, said Gray Eyes. You had better