The Lost Special

MAN IN BLACK: ... The producer of "Suspense" asks you to ALMOST believe that 
the following is true. Very well. Standing beside me, surrounded by two 
guards, is a man who in a few short hours is to be put to death in the 
electric chair. His last request to the warden was that he be allowed to speak 
on this program and reveal what he calls some "startling" information. The 
warden naturally turned to us and we at once complied, anxious at all times to 
do anything -- however strange -- that will hold our listeners in ... 

MUSIC: ACCENT

MAN IN BLACK: ... suspense!

MUSIC: CONTINUES FOR AN INTRODUCTION, THEN OUT

ASSISTANT: All right, all right. Go ahead.

DE LERNAC: (CLEARS THROAT, GRANDLY) Ladies and gentlemen-- (SUDDENLY UNSURE, 
TO SOMEONE NEAR) I'm speaking correctly?

ASSISTANT: Yes, right here, sir.

DE LERNAC: Thank you. (GRANDLY) Ladies and gentlemen, this broadcast will 
never be completed. I'm going to tell you a story. The story involves a number 
of famous and influential people here as well as abroad. These people have 
received warning from me and I am sure all of them are making it a point to 
listen to me now. I shall not name these great, these rich, these influential 
gentlemen until my story's over. They will recognize the story. They will 
remember me. They will take the necessary steps for my reprieve. I shall 
expect a full pardon and safe conduct to a neutral country. These are my 
terms. I shall expect word of this to be brought to this studio during this 
broadcast. But, as I have warned you, this broadcast will never be finished. 
You will never hear those names. It is certain my price will be paid.

I am presently under sentence of death for my activities in the matter of 
refueling German submarines in the Caribbean. My full confession has been 
reproduced in the popular press. You have read it and you know the details. It 
is the least ingenious of my exploits and my first failure. So much for it. 
The story I shall tell you tonight occurred many years ago but concerns, as I 
have said, many now living. It will interest you, I hope. ... I know it will 
interest them.

Very well, then.

On the 3rd of June, 1925, in Liverpool, a man, who gave his name as Monsieur 
Louis Caratal, asked to see Mr. James Bland, the superintendent of the London 
and West Coast Railway. He was a small man, this character, middle-aged, dark, 
and with a stoop so pronounced that it suggested some deformity of the spine. 
He was accompanied by a friend, a man of imposing physique, who from his 
swarthy complexion, was probably either a Spaniard or a South American. Turned 
out later that his name was Gomez.

MUSIC: IN AND UNDER

DE LERNAC: One peculiarity was observed in him. He carried in his left hand, 
fastened to his wrist by a strap, a small leather dispatch case. No importance 
was attached to this fact at the time, but later events endowed it with much 
significance. Monsieur Caratal was shown to Mr. Bland's office, while his 
companion remained outside.

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, A BRIEF BRIDGE, THEN OUT

SOUND: DOOR SHUTS ... FOOTSTEPS

CARATAL: How do you do, Monsieur? My name is Louis Caratal.

BLAND: Yes, sir? What can I do for you?

CARATAL: I have just arrived from Central America this afternoon. It is 
extremely urgent that I reach Paris without a moment's delay.  

BLAND: Paris, eh? Hm, that's too bad. You just missed the London express.  

CARATAL: I am not interested in the London express. Could you provide me with 
a special train?

BLAND: (RELUCTANT) Yes, I think that could be arranged. 

CARATAL: Oh?

BLAND: It's quite an expensive proposition.

CARATAL: Ah, money is of a small importance, Monsieur. Time is everything. If 
you can arrange a special for me in a hurry, you may make your own terms.

BLAND: Very well. Mr. Hood, will you step over here a moment please?

HOOD: Yes, Mr. Bland.

SOUND: HOOD'S FOOTSTEPS

BLAND: Ah, Mr. Hood here's our traffic manager, Mr. Caratal.

HOOD: Mm.

BLAND: Hood, I want you to arrange a special for him. He's going to Paris. 
How's the line? Can you fix him up in a hurry?

HOOD: Why, yes, I believe so, Mr. Bland. The line is clear through Manchester. 
And Engine Two-Forty-Seven, the Rochdale, is on the tracks now. It could be 
ready, say, in fifteen minutes.

BLAND: Good. Who's available for the trip?

HOOD: Uh, engineer? Smith, sir. And I can put James McPherson on as conductor.

BLAND: Well, there you are, Mr. Caratal. Simple as that. Attend to everything 
right away, will you, Hood?

HOOD: Yes, sir.

SOUND: HOOD'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR ... DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

CARATAL: Er, these men -- er, Monsieur Smith and er, er, ah--

BLAND: McPherson?

CARATAL: McPherson. Are they trustworthy?

BLAND: Oh, yes. Of course. McPherson's been with the company for years and I'm 
sure Smith, although new, is an expert engineer.

CARATAL: Bien. Thank you, Monsieur. I am deeply indebted. You have been most 
considerate.

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, THEN FADES OUT DURING FOLLOWING

DE LERNAC: At four thirty-one exactly by the station clock the special train, 
with Caratal and Gomez, steamed out of the Liverpool station. The line at that 
time was clear, and there should have been no stoppage before Manchester. At a 
quarter after six considerable surprise and some consternation was caused 
among the officials at Liverpool by the receipt of a wire from Manchester to 
say that the special had not yet arrived. An inquiry directed at once to St. 
Helens, which is a third of the way between the two cities, elicited the 
following reply--

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

MUSIC: IN BG

VOICE 1: "To James Bland, Superintendent, Liverpool.--Special passed here 
at 4:52, well up to time.--Dowster, St. Helens."

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

DE LERNAC: The wire was received at six-forty. At six-fifty a second message 
was received from Manchester--

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

VOICE 2: "No sign of special as advised by you."

DE LERNAC: And then ten minutes later a third, more bewildering--

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

VOICE 2: "Presume some mistake as to proposed running of special. Local train 
from St. Helens timed to follow it has just arrived and has seen nothing of 
it. Kindly wire advices.--Manchester."

MUSIC: OUT

DE LERNAC: The matter was assuming a most amazing aspect, although in some 
respects the last telegram was a relief to the authorities at Liverpool. If an 
accident had occurred to the special, it seemed hardly possible that the local 
train could have passed down the same line without observing it. And yet, what 
was the alternative? Where could the train be? A telegram was dispatched to 
each of the stations between St. Helens and Manchester, and the superintendent 
and his traffic manager waited in the utmost suspense at the instrument for 
the series of replies. The answers came back in the order of questions, which 
was the order of the stations beginning at St. Helens--

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS CONTINUOUSLY IN BG

MUSIC: IN BG, UP A NOTCH WITH EACH MESSAGE

VOICE 3: "Special passed here five o'clock.--Collins Green."

VOICE 4: "Special passed here six past five.--Earlstown."

VOICE 5: "Special passed here 5:10.--Newton."

VOICE 6: "Special passed here 5:20.--Kenyon Junction."

VOICE 7: (SLIGHT PAUSE) "No special train has passed here.--Barton Moss."

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, THEN OUT

BLAND: Hood, this is unique in my thirty years of experience.

HOOD: I can't understand it, Mr. Bland. The special has gone wrong between 
Kenyon Junction and Barton Moss.

BLAND: And yet there's no siding between the two stations. The special must 
have run off the rails. Jumped the track.

HOOD: But how could the four-fifty parliamentary pass over the same line 
without seeing it?

BLAND: There's no alternative, Hood. Absolutely must be so. Possibly the local 
may have observed something which may throw some light on the matter. We'll 
wire to Manchester for more information, and to Kenyon Junction with 
instructions that the line be examined intently as far as Barton Moss.

MUSIC: AN ACCENT

DE LERNAC: The answer from Manchester came within a few minutes.

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

VOICE 2: "No news of missing special. Driver and guard of local train positive 
no accident between Kenyon Junction and Barton Moss. Line quite clear, and no 
sign of anything unusual.--Manchester."

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, THEN OUT

BLAND: This is lunacy, Hood. Does a train vanish into thin air in England in 
broad daylight? The thing's preposterous. An engine, a tender, car, five human 
beings--and all lost on a straight line of railway! It's impossible!

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, THEN OUT

DE LERNAC: A month elapsed, during which both the police and the company 
prosecuted their inquiries without the slightest success. Mr. Bland, at the 
end of this period, offered his resignation. It was accepted. The affair 
remained unsolved. A reward was offered and a pardon promised in case of 
crime, but they were both unclaimed. Every day the public opened their papers 
with the conviction that so grotesque a mystery would at last be solved, but 
week after week passed by, and a solution remained as far off as ever.

Then a new and most unexpected incident occurred. This was nothing less than 
the receipt by Mrs. McPherson of a letter from her husband, James McPherson, 
who had been conductor of the missing train. The letter, which was dated July 
5th, 1925, was posted from Mozambique, Portuguese East Africa and came to hand 
upon July 14th. 

MUSIC: IN BG

McPHERSON: "My dear wife, I've been thinkin' a great deal, and I find it very 
hard to give ye up. I try to fight against it, for it will always come back to 
me. I send ye some money which will change into twenty English pounds. This 
should be enough to bring ye here. Things are very difficult with me at 
present, and I'm not very happy, finding it so hard to give ye up. So no more 
at present. From your lovin' husband, James McPherson."

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, THEN OUT

DE LERNAC: For a time it was confidently anticipated that the letter would 
lead to the clearing up of the whole incident. As directed, Mrs. McPherson 
sailed to Portuguese East Africa. She stayed in Mozambique for some time but 
heard nothing from the missing man. Finally, she returned to Liverpool, and so 
the matter stood. And has continued to stand right up to the present moment.

Incredible as it may seem, nothing has transpired during those eighteen years 
which has shed the least light upon the extraordinary disappearance of the 
special train which contained Monsieur Caratal and his companion, Mr. Gomez -- 
and McPherson the conductor, Smith the engineer, the fireman named Slater.

And now, after all this time ... I shall clear up the entire affair. And 
unless I hear from those so highly respectable gentlemen -- who were my 
employers, and who are completely implicated in the crime -- unless I hear 
from them before I'm finished, their names will be revealed on this broadcast. 
Take final warning, gentlemen. You know I mean what I say. If you are smart, 
you are at this moment arranging my reprieve. I must remind you, time is 
short. You have just, er, sixteen minutes.

(CHUCKLES) Now, for the interest of my other listeners, I shall resume the 
story of "The Lost Special." In a word, there was a famous trial in Paris in 
the year 1925 -- perhaps you recall it -- in connection with a monstrous 
scandal, a scandal in politics and finance. How monstrous that scandal was can 
never be known except by such confidential agents as myself. At stake were the 
honor and careers of many of the chief men of Europe and the United States. 

A secret committee was formed to manage the business. Some subscribed to the 
committee who hardly understood what were its objects. But others understood 
very well, and they can rely upon it that I have not forgotten their names. Do 
you think I could forget your names, gentlemen? You pillars of the community 
-- great rich, respected, honorable men? Hm? Do you remember that day in May, 
1925? The fashionable country club, remember? And the golf game that was 
played there that spring morning?

Ladies and gentlemen, that was the strangest golf game ever played in the 
history of this world. (FADES)

SOUND: FADE IN WHISTLING BIRDS ... A GOLF CLUB SWINGS AND WHACKS A BALL ... 
(MUCH OVERLAPPING DIALOGUE IN THIS SCENE)

SENATOR: Oh, drat. Look at that drive. I've been playing badly all morning.

DE LERNAC: (APPROACHES, LAUGHS) You topped it, Senator. Perhaps you're a 
little nervous?

SENATOR: I beg your pardon?

DE LERNAC: May I join your game?

SENATOR: (UNCOMFORTABLE) Well, I'm not sure that we--

DE LERNAC: Not sure of what? Of me? (CHUCKLES) I promise you, gentlemen, you 
can be very sure of me. I'm the man you're supposed to meet. The distinguished 
Congressman here can vouch for me.

CONGRESSMAN: Yeah, he's the one all right. This is de Lernac.

DE LERNAC: Yes.

CONGRESSMAN: Ah, Mr. de Lernac, may I present--?

DE LERNAC: Er, my name is not really de Lernac, gentlemen. But I am sure that 
bothers you no less than it does me. Besides, there is no need for 
introductions. I know everyone present by sight and, er, by reputation. 
(CLEARS THROAT GENTLY, BENDS DOWN TO TEE UP GOLF BALL) My drive, I believe? 
(RISES) Thank you.

SOUND: A GOLF CLUB SWINGS AND WHACKS A BALL

DE LERNAC: Not so good. Two hundred and a -- what? -- about fifty yards. Heh. 
I hope I am not going to continue in this way!

CONGRESSMAN: You're - you're sure we can talk safely here, Frank? How do we 
know that--?

DE LERNAC: Ah, please set your mind at ease. We shan't be overheard in the 
middle of a golf course.

CONGRESSMAN: (UNCONVINCED EXHALATION)

DE LERNAC: There is no convenient hiding place here for Dictaphones, even in 
the rough, where I notice you're playing a great part of your game, Senator. 
You must be nervous this morning.

SENATOR: I know but I don't like it. I don't like it at all.

DE LERNAC: Here, here. It's not the superlative course you are accustomed to 
on your own enormous California estate, sir, but it's going to have to serve 
our particular purpose. Oh, by the way, let me compliment you on the way 
you've had your syndicate of newspapers handle the recent strike situation and 
the editorial which appeared under your own signature this morning. It's well-
calculated to stir up trouble with the labor--

SENATOR: Please, please, let's get on with our business.

FRANK: Yes, I, er, Mr. de Lernac--

DE LERNAC: At your service, sir. And may I suggest we continue our game? I 
know the absence of caddies is an inconvenience--

FRANK: Er, Mr. de Lernac--?

DE LERNAC: Certainly.

FRANK: In June, a month from now in Paris, there will be a most important 
trial.

DE LERNAC: Ah, yes.

FRANK: During it's progress--

DE LERNAC: Pardon me, are you referring to the Sarinsky trial?

SENATOR: (EXHALES IN DISBELIEF)

FRANK: Yes. You know about it, then?

DE LERNAC: Well, certain interesting details I know something of. It's my 
business, after all, to keep myself informed about these matters. It is not 
for nothing that I am known as the most [?] provocateur [in the West.]

FRANK: Then let me continue, please. This trial-- I'm speaking in the utmost 
confidence, you understand. Er, this trial could -- if certain evidence were 
introduced -- could have a very serious effect upon the prestige and standing 
of some most important men.

DE LERNAC: (LAUGHS) I'm sure of it.

FRANK: In fact, it could even-- 

DE LERNAC: You're shivering, Senator. You find it cold out here?

SENATOR: No. No, no. Get on with it, Frank. Get to the point. For heaven's 
sake, please.

FRANK: The evidence which one man could bring to the trial could ruin these 
men. Without it, the trial will collapse for want of facts.

DE LERNAC: Mm hm.

FRANK: But if this one man arrives in Paris, I--

DE LERNAC: Quite evidently, you do not wish him to arrive in Paris.

FRANK: No.

DE LERNAC: Gentlemen, you have come to the man-- This sounds indeed like the 
sort of thing which no one in the world can manage with such skill and success 
as myself. I must admit, however, that my services come rather high.

MAGNATE: Well, the--

DE LERNAC: It's only natural since there is only one--

MAGNATE: The money makes no difference. We have formed a group, a committee, 
and we have the command of an unlimited amount of money -- absolutely 
unlimited, you hear?

DE LERNAC: Ah, good. Then, you will name people and places now. Who is the 
gentlemen whose appearance in Paris would cause such regrettable 
embarrassment?

FRANK: His name is Caratal, Louis Caratal. 

DE LERNAC: Caratal.

FRANK: He knows everything! He has paper documents, all the evidence--!

DE LERNAC: Yes, yes, I understand. Where is this Monsieur Caratal at present?

FRANK: Well, he's sailing from somewhere in Central America. 

DE LERNAC: Central America.

FRANK: Within the next few days. Er, that much we know.

DE LERNAC: Good, good. Central America, I have an excellent man down there in 
Central America. This Caratal, you know anything about him? His personal 
habits?

CONGRESSMAN: Well, we know very little. He's a small man, dark.

DE LERNAC: Ah, yes.
 
CONGRESSMAN: He has a bodyguard, a great big bruiser named, uh, Lopez or Gomez 
or something.

DE LERNAC: Let me see, from Central America, that would be the Americano, 
Tropicana, or the Ritz--

MAGNATE: Oh, but those are MY ships you've just--!

DE LERNAC: All commence at Liverpool, I believe. That's where the ships dock. 
And our famous trial is to begin in three weeks, eh? That would mean that 
Monsieur Caratal would go directly to London. And I imagine that once there he 
will be heavily guarded since it can be no surprise to him that you gentlemen 
are not without, er, "connections" in the British capital?

SENATOR: (IMPRESSED) Ha! That's good clean thinking! (CHUCKLES)

DE LERNAC: You see, this is not so simple as some of my other exploits. A 
simple assassination--

SENATOR: (ASTONISHED) Eh?

DE LERNAC: There's your ball, sir. You're playing a Dunlop thirty-eight, 
aren't you?

SENATOR: (FLUSTERED) What? Oh. Oh. Yes. Yes, to be sure. Yes.

DE LERNAC: Quite. As I said, a simple assassination, the usual clumsy job, 
will not do here. The documents might, after all, be found; the bodyguard 
might survive somehow, and then-- we'll have accomplished nothing, that's so?

OTHERS: (MURMUR AGREEMENT) Yes. Right. Of course.

DE LERNAC: Now, are you going to play?

SENATOR: Yes. Yes, of course, of course.

SOUND: A GOLF CLUB SWINGS AND WHACKS A BALL

DE LERNAC: Topped it again, I'm afraid. Shall we proceed? I already have two 
plans in my head, gentlemen. I have a plan for nailing him at the Central 
American port from which he embarks. I have a plan for his disposal aboard the 
ship. But, in each of these cases, I, de Lernac, will be unable to be present, 
so there is the chance of failure. I will think of a third plan, gentlemen. I 
shall sail immediately to Liverpool. On my way there, sitting on the deck in 
the May sunshine, I shall conceive my third plan. It must be something 
special. Something very special. Ha ha! There I am! Is this your famous water 
hazard? Well, I think a Number Seven Iron will do it. (FADES)

MUSIC: AN ACCENT, A BRIEF BRIDGE, THEN OUT

DE LERNAC: And thus I undertook to bring about the complete destruction of 
Monsieur Caratal, his bodyguard companion Gomez, and his documents. Plan One 
was already out the window, as I found out the next day.

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS

RUSSIAN MALE: "De Lernac, White Sulfur Springs, Virginia. Baby Lou unable 
sleep last few nights; have sent him to visit Aunt Henriette. Will rejoin him 
on twenty-first. Love, Jenny."

SOUND: TELEGRAPH KEY CLICKS OUT

DE LERNAC: This telegram from Matagalpa conveyed to me the information that 
Caratal, possibly sensing danger, had moved from his hotel and gone to stay 
with friends until his ship sailed. So it was impossible to carry out the idea 
of the fire in the hotel. His ship leaving on the twenty-first was the 
Henriette. On my fourth day at sea, I heard from her.

SOUND: RADIO MORSE CODE BEEPS

AMERICAN: "De Lernac, Berengaria. Ship-to-ship communication from Henriette, 
Tropicana line. Presented Grace your box of chocolates. Louise has given up 
candy for Lent. Grace still wants us all together for twenty-ninth birthday 
party. Will be really special. Ref."

SOUND: RADIO MORSE CODE BEEPS OUT

DE LERNAC: This meant that poison had been given to Gomez the bodyguard in an 
effort to get him, at least, out of the way. He had been unable to succumb to 
it. He'd thrown off the effects, as was evidenced by the report that we would 
all be together on the twenty-ninth. Now, Caratal had refused to eat the food 
containing the poison. So much for Plan Two, which was not worthy of me 
anyway, since there was always the possibility of the bodies being found in 
the ocean.

The man Gomez was carrying the documents in a dispatch case strapped to his 
wrist. (AMUSED) And - I must tell you something now. I was glad -- glad, mind 
you -- that we had failed so far. For the plan I had conceived on the night I 
arrived in Liverpool was so magnificent, so absolutely unprecedented in the 
annals of crime, that I owed it to myself, to my employers, and to history, to 
carry it through.

The inspiration came from the words in the code telegram which indicated that 
Caratal would arrive in Liverpool and hire a special train there to convey him 
to London. My British agent Mr. Moore and I contrived to buy over several 
officials of the railway. Now, here begins the story:

First, the division head who helped us employ James McPherson, whom we 
contrived to be the conductor of any special train we designated. Then, 
further, at a sum that would make them independent for life, we bought over an 
engine-driver named Oswal Smith and the fireman John Slater. These men, we 
arranged with the division head, would be assigned to whatever special train 
was hired by Caratal.

On the afternoon of June 3rd, as I was sitting in my room at the inn at Barton 
Moss, the call I had been awaiting came through. It was McPherson reporting.

McPHERSON: (FILTER) Hello, Mr. de Lernac. We should be leavin' in a few 
minutes.

DE LERNAC: Mm.

McPHERSON: (FILTER) He's hired a special.

DE LERNAC: Good.

McPHERSON: (FILTER) Smith will be engine-driver and Slater, fireman. And, of 
course, I'll be in charge.

DE LERNAC: What about Moore? Will he be aboard?

McPHERSON: (FILTER) Afraid not, sir. He even tried the story about havin' to 
reach his sick wife and all. But Caratal would have none of it. He said, 
though, sir, that it didn't matter.

DE LERNAC: It does not matter. What time will you pass Kenyon Junction?

McPHERSON: (FILTER) Mm, let me see, sir. If we leave the next few minutes, we 
should be there at five-ten.

DE LERNAC: Five-ten.

McPHERSON: (FILTER) It's a forty-nine minute run, sir.

DE LERNAC: Forty-nine minutes. I can make it but delay all you can before you 
start.

McPHERSON: (FILTER) Yes, sir. I guess it's all up to you from now on. Best of 
luck, sir. (LOWERS VOICE) Oh, uh, here they come, sir. Goodbye.

MUSIC: A BRIDGE, THEN OUT

DE LERNAC: And now I went to work. Everything had been prepared for days 
before, and only the finishing touches were needed. The side track, just 
before Barton Moss, leading to the abandoned Heartsease mine, had once joined 
the main line, but it had been disconnected when the mine had been worked out 
some years before. We had only to replace a few rails to connect it once more. 
With my small but competent band of workers, we had everything ready well 
before the special arrived. When it did arrive, it ran off upon the small side 
line so easily that the jolting of the switch points appears to have been 
entirely unnoticed by the two travelers.

So now I had our special train upon the small line, which leads, or rather 
used to lead, to the abandoned mine. You will ask how it is that no one saw 
the train upon this unused line. I answer that along its entire length it runs 
through a deep cutting, and that, unless someone had been on the edge of that 
cutting, he could not have seen it. There WAS someone on the edge of that 
cutting. I was there. And now I will tell you what I saw.

MUSIC: IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING

SOUND: FADE IN TRAIN NOISE, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING

DE LERNAC: The moment the train was fairly on the side line, Smith slowed down 
the engine, and then, having turned it on full speed ahead, he and McPherson, 
with Slater the fireman, sprang off before it was too late. It may be that it 
was this slowing-down which first attracted the attention of the travelers, 
but the train was running at top speed before their heads appeared at the open 
window. It makes me smile to think how bewildered they must have been. What a 
catch must have come to their breath as it flashed upon them that it was not 
Manchester that was awaiting them -- but Death.

SOUND: WHEELS CLACKING AND SCREECHING LOUDLY IN BG

DE LERNAC: The train was now running at frantic speed, rolling and rocking 
over the rotten, rusty line, while the wheels made a frightful screaming sound 
upon the corroded surface. I was close to them, and could see their faces.  
Caratal was praying, I think -- there was something like a rosary dangling out 
of his hand. The other, Gomez, roared like a bull but was drowned out by the 
incredible noise of the train. He saw me standing on the bank and when he 
realized he couldn't be heard, he beckoned to me like a madman, tearing at his 
wrist and hurling the dispatch-box out of the window in my direction. Of 
course, his meaning was obvious. Here was the evidence that they would promise 
to be silent if their lives were spared. It would have been very agreeable if 
it could have been done so, but business is business. Besides, the train was 
now as much beyond our control as it was theirs.

SOUND: TRAIN RATTLES PAST LOUDLY

DE LERNAC: He ceased his howling and gesturing when the train rattled around 
the curve and they saw the black mouth of the mine yawning before them. They 
were struck silent by what they saw. And yet they could not withdraw their 
heads. The sight seemed to have paralyzed them.

I had wondered how the train running at a great speed would take the pit, and 
I was much interested in watching it. One of my colleagues, who had joined me 
there, thought it actually would jump it, and indeed it was not very far from 
doing so. 

SOUND: TRAIN NOISE ABRUPTLY OUT

MUSIC: SUSTAINED, TO MATCH THE AIRBORNE TRAIN

DE LERNAC: It leaped into the air and seemed to hang suspended for a moment. 
The funnel flew off into the air, and then the van, the car and the engine 
were all smashed up into one jumble, which choked the mouth of the great pit; 
then something gave way in the middle, and the whole mass of iron, coal, 
fittings, wheels, wood-work, and cushions crumbled together - and crashed into 
the mine!

SOUND: TRAIN CRASH! IN A MINE TUNNEL! FULL OF WATER!

MUSIC: BIG ACCENT, THEN IN BG

DE LERNAC: It was perfect. The deep muddy water standing in the bottom of the 
pit two hundred feet below responded to the intense heat of the engine 
boilers.

SOUND: LOUD HISSING STEAM

DE LERNAC: It hissed loudly and blew great bubbles of black mire into the air. 
At the same time, the walls of the pit, loosened by the impact of the train as 
it struck the opposite side ...

MUSIC: OUT

SOUND: AVALANCHE OF ROCK AND DIRT FALLS ON WRECKED TRAIN

DE LERNAC: ... gave way, and a mighty avalanche of rock and dirt thundered 
down upon the wreckage of the train as it settled with a low hissing sigh. And 
was covered forever by the mud and mire. The vapor hanging in the air shredded 
off into thin, small wisps.

SOUND: SUBSIDES TO SILENCE

DE LERNAC: And all was quiet again in the Heartsease mine. Heh.

And now, having carried out our plans so successfully, it remained only to 
leave no trace behind us. Our little band of workers at the other end had 
already ripped up the rails and disconnected the side line, replacing 
everything as it had been before. We were equally busy at the mine. The lines 
which led to it were torn up and taken away. Then, without flurry, but without 
delay, we all made our way out of the country, most of us to Paris, my English 
agent to Manchester, and McPherson to East Africa.

A word in passing about McPherson, who was foolish enough to write to his wife 
and tell her to meet him in Mozambique. Naturally, we took steps to insure 
that this meeting would never come about. I have sometimes thought it would be 
a kindness to write to Mrs. McPherson and to assure her that there is no 
impediment to her marrying again.

But of the "Lost Special," let the English papers of that date tell how 
thoroughly we had done our work, and how completely we had thrown the 
cleverest of their detectives off our track. You will remember that Gomez 
threw his bag of papers out of the window, and I need not say that I secured 
that bag and brought them to my employers. 

It may interest my employers now, however, to learn that out of that bag I 
took one or two little papers as a souvenir of that occasion. I had no wish to 
read the information obtained by these papers; but it is now-- Oh, it's less 
than a minute before my broadcast is over. (CLEARS THROAT NERVOUSLY) And I - 
have received no word.

It is the final hour.

I see, at the other end of the studio, the engineer - waving his hands at me 
that my time is almost up.

(PHILOSOPHICAL) Well. 

I gave you warning. 

You had your chance, gentlemen.

Very well. Now I reveal your names.

And the first name I reveal is that of Charles Foster--

SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS A STRUGGLE, A SCUFFLE, CONTINUES IN BG

VOICES: (OVER A CHAOTIC WALLA) Stop that man! What is it? Stop him! He's got a 
gun! 

DE LERNAC: (PANICS) Ladies and gentlemen! Ladies and gentlemen, they're trying 
murder! I want you to hear these names quickly! I know you will avenge me! The 
names are--!

SOUND: GUNSHOT

DE LERNAC: (HOARSE WHISPER) ... names ... (COUGHS, DYING)

SOUND: BODY COLLAPSES TO FLOOR ... MANY RUNNING FOOTSTEPS IN BG

VOICES: (OVER WALLA) He shot him! After him! There he goes!

ASSISTANT: De Lernac?! De Lernac?! Can you hear me? Are you, all right? Hey, 
Bill! Play something quick, will ya? Theme, curtain music, anything!

MUSIC: CURTAIN MUSIC ... FOR A BIG FINISH

MAN IN BLACK: And so closes "The Lost Special" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
starring Orson Welles -- tonight's tale of ...

MUSIC: SUSPENSE ACCENT

MAN IN BLACK: ... "Suspense!"

MUSIC: SUSPENSE THEME

_________________________________
Originally broadcast: 30 September 1943



1