Melody Lane #6 The Dragon of the Hills

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Melody Lane Mystery series #6 of 9 by Lilian Garis.

Transcript of Melody Lane #6 The Dragon of the Hills

  • 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

    HILLS

    BY

    LILIAN GARIS

    ILLUSTRATED BY

    PELAGIE DOANE

    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

  • CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    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

  • 1

    DRAGON OF THE HILLS

    CHAPTER I

    GRAY EYES

    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

    by reputation.

    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

  • 2

    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

    was off.

    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

  • 3

    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.

  • 4

    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

  • 5

    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

  • 6

    barking.

    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

    really, appeared.

    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