In getting home after his dismissal by Ned Kelly, Mr Curnow determined to execute a plan he had been nursing in his mind all day to save the train, if only he could gain his liberty in time. If possible he would make a dash for Benalla with his buggy to warn the police before they started and if too late endeavour to signal them upon the line. Mrs Curnow was almost hysterical with fear, declaring they were watched by the outlaws and that interference with their schemes would mean death to all the household. Her husband persuaded her to accompany him with his sister and the baby to her mother’s house, and, to explain their absence to the outlaws, should his home be searched, he left a note, saying that they had all gone to Mrs Mortimer’s to put his wife who was ill under her mother’s care. Scarcely, however, had they reached Mrs Mortimer’s house than Mrs Curnow’s fears broke out again, and her husband dared not leave her, lest in her distracted state she should rouse suspicion in the outlaws and come to harm, and he therefore took her home again. Still he could not stand idle and see the train go to destruction. His sister, who thought as he did, took Mrs Curnow to her room, assuring her that her husband was likewise going presently to bed, and he made all haste to harness up his horse for a race to Benalla. Suddenly he heard the train approaching. It was at some distance still. Sound travelled far on the clear frosty night, but there was need for desperate haste. Leaving his buggy, Mr Curnow snatched up a candle, a red scarf, and matches which he had in readiness, and, rushing away to the railway line, ran as fast as he could between the rails in the direction of the approaching train. Early in the day he had noticed his sister wearing a red scarf. It had flashed across his mind that, with a light behind it, the scarf might be used as a danger signal, and now the test of its usefulness had come. Trembling with anxiety lest the outlaws should shoot him down and frustrate his scheme, or that the engine driver would not heed his faint red light, he lit the candle and held the shawl in front of it. There was a long warning whistle, the engine which was bearing down upon him slowed and came to a stop a few yards from where he stood. The danger, to others at least, was over, and he had the exultation of knowing that his resource and courage had saved the occupants of the special from almost certain death.
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