"Well, here I am, Lorry! Now tell me what on earth is the meaning of your mysterious message! Why, man, how serious you look! What's up? Anything wrong?" Thus spoke, or rather shouted, Ralph Playfair, a tall, muscular youth, with a bright, good-looking face, and merry eyes, as he came bursting in upon his chum. Even while speaking his eager eyes roved about scrutinising everything around, as if he thought he might gather some notion of what was "up" by scanning the furniture. The one addressed as Lorry was also tall and athletic-looking, with a handsome face and a splendid figure. The two young fellows had been at school together, where they had left behind them "records" in athletics, by the performance of feats which were likely to live as traditions in the school so long as it remained in existence.