THE GREAT ADAMS EXPRESS ROBBERY
With a portrait of the notorious Jim Cummings and illustrations of scenes connected with the great robbery
By Frank Pinkerton
Vol. I, March 1887. The Pinkerton Detective Series, issued monthly, by subscription, $3.00 per annum.
THE CONSPIRATORS—THE FORGED LETTER—THE PLAN.
In the rear room of a small frame building, the front of which was occupied as a coal office, located on West Lake street, Chicago, three men were seated around a square pine table. The curtains of the window were not only drawn inside, but the heavy shutters were closed on the outside. A blanket was nailed over the only door of the room, and every thing and every action showed that great secrecy was a most important factor of the assembly.
The large argand burner of a student's lamp filled the small room with its white, strong light, The table was covered with railroad time- tables, maps, bits of paper, on which were written two names a great number of times, and pens of different makes and widths of point were scattered amidst the papers,
One man, a large, powerfully-built fellow, deep-chested, and long- limbed, was occupied in writing, again and again, the name of "J.B. Barrett." He had covered sheet after sheet with the name, looking first at a letter before him, but was still far from satisfied. "Damn a man who will make his 'J's' in such a heathenish way."
"Try it again, Wittrock," said one of his companions.
"Curse you," shouted the man called Wittrock. "How often must I tell you not to call me that name. By God, I'll bore a hole through you yet, d'ye mind, now."
"Oh, no harm been done, Cummings; no need of your flying in such a stew for nothing. We're all in the same box here, eh?"
"Well, you be more careful hereafter," said "Cummings," and again he bent to his laborious task of forging the name of "J.B. Barrett."
Nothing was heard for half an hour but the scratching of the pen, or the muttered curses of Cummings (as he was called).
Suddenly he threw down his pen with a laugh of triumph, and holding a piece of paper before him, exclaimed: "There, lads, there it is; there's the key that will unlock a little mint for us."
Throwing himself back in his chair, he drew a cigar from his pocket, and, lighting it, listened with great satisfaction to the words of praise uttered by his companions as they compared the forged with the genuine signature.
These three men were on the eve of a desperate enterprise. For months they had been planning and working together, and the time for action was rapidly approaching.
The one called "Cummings," the leader, was apparently, the youngest one of the three. There was nothing in his face to denote the criminal. A stranger looking at him, would imagine him to be a good-natured, jovial chap, a little shrewd perhaps, but fond of a good dinner, a good drink, a good cigar, and nothing else.
One of his colleagues, whom he called "Roe," evidently an alias, was smaller in size, but had a determined expression on his face, that showed him to be a man who would take a desperate chance if necessary.
The third man, called sometimes Weaver, and sometimes Williams, was the smallest one of the conspirators, and also the eldest. His frame, though small, was compact and muscular, but his face lacked both the determination of Roe and the frank, open expression of Cummings.
After scrutinizing the forgery for a time, Roe returned it to Cummings and said, "Jim, who has the run out on the Frisco when you make the plant?"
"A fellow named Fotheringham, a big chap, too. I was going to lay for the other messenger, Hart, who is a small man, and could be easily handled, but he has the day run now."
"This Fotheringham will have to be a dandy if he can tell whether Barrett has written this or not, eh, Jim?"
"Aye, that he will. Let me once get in that car, and if the letter don't work, I'll give him a taste of the barker."
"No shooting, Jim, no shooting, I swear to God I'll back out if you spill a drop of blood."
Jim's eyes glittered, and he hissed between his teeth:
"You back out, Roe, and you'll see some shooting."
Roe laughed a nervous laugh, and said, as he pushed some blank letter- heads toward Cummings, "Who's goin' to back out, only I don't like the idea of shooting a man, even to get the plunder. Here's the Adam's Express letter-heads I got to-day. Try your hand on the letter."
Cummings, somewhat pacified, with careful and laborious strokes of the pen, wrote as follows:
"SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 24th, '86.
MESSENGER, TRAIN No. 3, ST. L & ST. F. RTE:
DR. SIR: You will let the bearer, John Broson, Ride in your car to Peirce, and give him all the Instructions that you can. Yours,
J.B. Barrett, R.A."
"Hit it the first time. Look at that Roe; cast your eye on that elegant bit of literature, Weaver," and Cummings, greatly excited, paced up and down the room, whistling, and indulging in other signs of huge gratification.
"Well done, Jim, well done. Now write the other one, and we'll go and licker up."
Again Cummings picked up his facile pen, and was soon successful in writing the following letter, purporting to be from this same J. B. Barrett.
"SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 21, '86.
"JOHN BRONSON, Esq., St. Louis, Mo.
"DR. SIR: Come at once to Peirce City by train No. 3, leaving St. Louis 8:25 p.m. Inclosed find note to messenger on the train, which you can use for a pass in case you see Mr. Damsel in time. Agent at Peirce City will instruct you further.
"Respectfully, J. B. BARRETT, R. A."
Jim drew a long, deep sigh of relief as he muttered:
"Half the work is done; half the work is done."
Drawing the railroad map of the Chicago & Alton road toward him, he put the pen point on St. Louis, and slowing following the St. L. & S. F. Division, paused at Kirkwood.
"Roe, here's the place I shall tackle this messenger. It is rather close to St. Louis, but it's down grade and the train will be making fast time. She stops at Pacific—here, and we will jump the train there, strike for the river, and paddle down to the K. & S. W. You must jump on at the crossing near the limits, plug the bell cord so the damned messenger can't pull the rope on me, and I will have him foul."
Roe listened attentively to these instructions, nodding his head slowly several times to express his approval, and said:
"When will we go down?"
Jim Cummings, looking at the time-table, answered:
"This is—what date is this, Weaver?"
"Two weeks from to-day will be the 25th. That is on—let's see, that is Tuesday."
"Two weeks from to-day, Roe, you will have to take the train at St. Louis; get your ticket to Kirkwood. I see by this time-table that No. 3 does stop there. When you get off, run ahead, plug the bell-cord, and I will wait till she gets up speed after leaving Kirkwood before I draw my deposit."
Thus did these three men plan a robbery that was to mulet the Adams Express Company of $100,000, baffle the renowned Pinkertons for weeks and excite universal admiration for its boldness, skill, and completeness.
The papers upon which Cummings had exercised his skill, were torn into little bits, the time-tables and maps were folded and placed in coat pockets, the lamp extinguished, and three men were soon strolling down Lake street as calmly as if they had no other object than to saunter into their favorite bar-room, and toss off a social drink or two.
THE SUCCESS OF THE LETTERS—THE ATTACK—THE ROBBERS—THE ESCAPE.
The Union depot at St. Louis was ablaze with lights. The long Kansas City train was standing, all made up, the engine coupled on, and almost ready to pull out. Belated passengers were rushing frantically from the ticket window to the baggage-room, and then to the train, when a man, wearing side whiskers, and carrying a small valise, parted from his companion at the entrance to the depot, and, after buying a ticket to Kirkwood, entered the smoking car. His companion, a tall, well-built man, having a smooth face, and a very erect carriage, walked with a business-like step down the platform until he reached the express car. Tossing the valise which he carried into the car, he climbed in himself with the aid of the hand-rail on the side of the door, and, as the messenger came toward him, he held out his hand, saying:
"Is this Mr. Fotheringham?"
"Yes, that's my name."
"I have a letter from Mr. Bassett for you," and, taking it from his pocket, he handed it to the messenger.
Fotheringham read the letter carefully, and placing it in his pocket, said:
"Going to get a job, eh?"
"Yes, the old man said he would give me a show, and as soon as there was a regular run open, he would let me have it."
"Well, I'm pretty busy now; make yourself comfortable until we pull out, and then I'll post you up as best I can, Mr. Bronson."
Mr. "Bronson" pulled off his overcoat, and, seating himself in a chair, glanced around the car.
In one end packages, crates, butter, egg-cases, and parts of machinery were piled up. At the other end a small iron safe was lying. As it caught Bronson's eye an expression came over his face, which, if Fotheringham had seen, would have saved him a vast amount of trouble. But the messenger, too busy to notice his visitor, paid him no attention, and in a moment Bronson was puffing his cigar with a nonchalant air, that would disarm any suspicions which the messenger might have entertained, but he had none, as it was a common practice to send new men over his run, that he might "break them in."
The train had pulled out, and after passing the city limits, was flying through the suburbs at full speed.
Fotheringham, seated in front of his safe, with his way bills on his lap, was checking them off as Bronson called off each item of freight in the car.
The long shriek of the whistle and the jerking of the car caused by the tightening of the air brake on the wheels, showed the train to be approaching a station.
"This is Kirkwood," said Fotheringham, "nothing for them to-night."
The train was almost at a standstill, when Bronson, saying "What sort of a place is it?" threw back the door and peered out into the dark.
As he did so, a man passed swiftly by, and in passing glanced into the car. As Bronson looked, he saw it was the same man that had bought a ticket for Kirkwood and had ridden in the smoker.
The train moved on. Bronson shut the door and buttoned his coat. Fotheringham, still busy on his way bills, was whistling softly to himself, and sitting with his back to his fellow passenger.
Some unusual noise in the front end of the car caught his ear, and raising his head, he exclaimed:
The answer came, not from the front of the car but from behind.
A strong muscular hand was placed on his neck. A brawny arm was thrown around his chest, and lifted from the chair, he was thrown violently to the floor of the car.
In a flash he realized his position. With an almost superhuman effort, he threw Bronson from him, and reaching around felt for his revolver. It was gone, and thrown to the other end of the car.
Little did the passengers on the train know of the stirring drama which was being enacted in the car before them. Little did they think as they leaned back in their comfortable seats, of the terrific struggle which was then taking place. On one hand it was a struggle for $100,000; on the other, for reputation, for honor, perhaps for life.
Fotheringham, strong as he vas (for he was large of frame, and muscular) was no match for his assailant. He struggled manfully, but was hurled again to the floor, and as he looked up, saw the cold barrel of a 32- calibre pointed at his head. Bronson's face, distorted with passion and stern with the fight, glared down at him, as he hissed through his teeth:
"Make a sound, and you are a dead man."
The messenger, seeing all was lost, lay passive upon the floor. The robber, whipping out a long, strong, silk handkerchief, tied his hands behind his back, and making a double-knotted gag of Fotheringham's handkerchief, gagged him. Searching the car he discovered a shawl-strap with which he tied the messenger's feet, and thus had him powerless as a log. Then, and not till then, did he speak aloud.
"Done, and well done, too."
The flush faded from his face, his eye became sullen, and drawing the messenger's chair to him he sat down. As he gazed at his discomfited prisoner an expression of intense relief came over his features. His forged letters had proved successful, his only formidable obstacle between himself and his anticipated booty lay stretched at his feet, helpless and harmless. The nature of the car prevented any interruption from the ends, as the only entrance was through the side doors, and he had all night before him to escape.
Now for the plunder. The key to the safe was in Fotheringham's pocket. It took but a second to secure it, and but another second to use it in unlocking the strong-box. The messenger, unable to prevent this in any way, looked on in intense mental agony. He saw that he would be suspected as an accomplice. The mere fact that one man could disarm, bind and gag him, would be used as a suspicious circumstance against him. Although he did not know the exact sum of money in the safe he was aware that it was of a very considerable amount, and he fairly writhed in his agony of mind. In an instant Cummings (or, as he had been called by the messenger, Bronson) was on his feet, revolver in hand, and again the cruel, murderous expression dwelt on his face, as he exclaimed:
"Lie still, damn you, lie still. If you attempt to create an alarm, I'll fill you so full of lead that some tenderfoot will locate you for a mineral claim. D'ye understand?"
After this facetious threat he paid no further attention to the messenger.
Emptying his valise of its contents of underclothing and linen, he stuffed it full of the packages of currency which the safe contained.
One package, containing $30,000, from the Continental Bank of St. Louis, was consigned to the American National Bank of Kansas City. Another large package held $12,000, from the Merchants National Bank of St. Louis for the Merchants Bank of Forth Smith, Arkansas, and various other packages, amounting altogether to $53,000.
With wonderful sang froid, Cummings stuffed this valuable booty in his valise, and then proceeded to open the bags containing coin. His keen knife-blade ripped bag after bag, but finding it all silver, he desisted, and turning to Fotheringham, demanded:
"Any gold aboard?"
Fotheringham shook his head in reply.
"Does that mean there is none, or you don't know?"
Again the messenger shook his head.
"Well, I reckon your right, all silver, too heavy and don't amount to much."
As he was talking, the whistle of the engine suddenly sound two short notes, and the air-brakes were applied.
The train stopped, and the noise of men walking on the gravel was heard.
As Fotheringham lay there, his ears strained to catch every sound, and hoping for the help that never came, his heart gave a joyful throb, as some one pounded noisily on the door. Almost at the same instant he felt the cold muzzle of a revolver against his head, and the ominous "click, click" was more eloquent than threats or words could be.
The pounding ceased, and in a short time the train moved on again.
Apparently not satisfied that the messenger was bound safe and fast, Cummings took the companion strap to the one which pinioned the feet of his victim, and passing it around his neck, fastened it to the handle of the safe in such a way that any extra exertion on Fotheringham's part would pull the safe over and choke him.
Opening the car door, he threw away the clothing which he had taken from his valise.
Returning to the messenger, he stooped over him, and took from his pocket the forged letter with which he gained entrance to the car.
Fotheringham tried to speak, but the gag permitted nothing but a rattling sound to escape.
"I know what you want, young fellow. You want this letter to prove that you had some sort of authority to let me ride. Sorry I can't accommodate you, my son, but those devilish Pinkertons will be after me in twenty- four hours, and this letter would be just meat to them. I'll fix you all right, though. My name's Cummings, Jim Cummings, and I'll write a letter to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that will clear you Honest to God, I will. You've been pretty generous to-night; given me lots of swag, and I'll never go back on you.
"Give my love to Billy Pinkerton when you see him. Tell him Jim Cummings did this job."
As he uttered these words, the train commenced slacking up, and as it stopped, Cummings, opening the door, with his valuable valise, leaped to the ground, closed the door behind him, the darkness closed around him and he was gone.
Inside the car, a rifled safe, a bound and gagged messenger, and the Adams Express Company was poorer by $100,000 than it was when the 'Frisco train pulled out of the depot the evening before.
PINKERTON TO THE RESCUE.
The next day the country knew of the robbery. Newspapers in every city had huge head lines, telling the story in the most graphic style.
JESSE JAMES OUTDONE! The Adams Express Company ROBBED OF $100,000!
THE EXPRESS MESSENGER FOUND GAGGED AND BOUND TO HIS OWN SAFE—THE ROBBER ESCAPES—ABSOLUTELY NO CLEWS—PINKERTON TO THE RESCUE!
Mr. Damsel, the superintendent of the St. Louis branch of the Adams Express Company, was pacing anxiously up and down his private office. Fotheringham was relating his exciting experience, which a stenographer immediately took down in shorthand. At frequent intervals Mr. Damsel would ask a searching question, to which the messenger replied in a straightforward manner and without hesitation. It was a trying ordeal to him. Innocent as he was, his own testimony was against him. He knew it and felt it, but nothing that he could do or say would lighten the weight of the damaging evidence. He could but tell the facts and await developments. When he was through Mr. Damsel left him in the office, and immediately telegraphed to every station between Pacific and St. Louis to look for the linen and underclothing which the robbers had thrown from the car. The wires were working in all directions, giving a full description of Cummings and such other information as would lead to his discovery.
Local detectives were closeted with Mr. Damsel all day, but so shrewdly and cunningly had the express robber covered his tracks, that nothing but the bare description of the man could be used as a clew.
Fotheringham was put through the "sweating process" time and again, but, though he gave the most minute and detailed account of the affair, the detectives could find nothing to help them.
That Fotheringham "stood in" with the robber was the universal theory. The story of the letter and order from Mr. Barrett was received with derision and suspicion.
Mr. Damsel himself was almost confident that his employee had a hand in the robbery. It was a long and anxious day, and as it wore along and no new developments turned up, Mr. Damsel became more anxious and troubled: $100,000 is a large sum and the Adams Express Company had a reputation at stake. What was to be done?
Almost instantly the answer came: telegraph for Pinkerton.
The telegram was sent, and when William Pinkerton wired back that he would come at once. Mr. Damsel felt his load of responsibility begin to grow lighter, and he waited impatiently for the morning to come.
The next morning about 10 o'clock Mr. Damsel received a note, signed "Pinkerton," requesting him to call at room 84 of the Southern Hotel. He went at once. A pleasant-faced gentleman, with a heavy mustache and keen eyes, greeted him, and Mr. Damsel was shaking hands with the famous detective, on whose shoulders had fallen the mantle of his father, Allan Pinkerton, probably the finest detective the world has ever seen.
Mr. Damsel had his stenographer's notes, which had been transcribed on the type-writer, and Mr. Pinkerton carefully and slowly read every word.
"What sort of a man is this Fotheringham?"
"He is a large, well built, and I should say, muscular young fellow. Has always been reliable before, and has been with us some years."
"Has he ever been arrested before?"
"He says twice. Once for shooting off a gun on Sunday, and again for knocking a man down for insulting a lady."
"You think he is guilty—that is, you think he had a hand in the robbery?"
"Mr. Pinkerton, I regret to say I do. It doesn't seem probable that a strong, hearty man would allow another man to disarm him, gag him, tie him hand and foot, get away with $100,000, and all that without a desperate struggle, and he hasn't the sign of a scratch or bruise on him."
"N-n-no, it doesn't. Still it could be done. You have him under arrest, then."
"Not exactly. He is in my office now, and apparently has no thought of trying to escape."
"Well, Mr. Damsel, I am inclined to think that this man Fotheringham knows no more of this robbery than he has told you. If he is in collusion with the robber, or robbers—for I think that more than one had to do with it—he would have made up a story in which two or more had attacked him. He would have had a cut in the arm, a bruised head or some such corroborating testimony to show. The fact that he was held up by a single man goes a good way, in my judgment, to prove him innocent of any criminal connection with the robbery. We must look elsewhere for the culprits."
"Had you not better see Fotheringham?"
"Of course I intend doing that. Did you secure the clothing which this so-called Cummings threw out of the train?"
"Telegrams have been sent out, and I hope to have it sent in by to- morrow."
"That is good—we may find something which we can grasp. The public generally have an idea that a detective can make something out of nothing that the merest film of a clew is all that is necessary with which to build up a strong substantial edifice of facts. It is only the Messieurs La Coqs and 'Old Sleuths' of books and illustrated weeklies that are possessed with the second sight, and can hunt down the shrewdest criminals, without being bound to such petty things as clews, circumstantial evidence or witnesses. We American detectives can generally make 4 by putting 2 and 2 together, but we must have a starting point, and an old shirt or a pair of stockings, such as this robber threw away, may contain just what we need."
A knock on the door, and an employee of the office entered.
"Mr. Damsel, the entire road has been carefully searched, and no trace of the clothing can be found."
"That's bad," said Mr. Pinkerton, "we should have found that."
Mr. Damsel bade the employee to return to the office, and turning to Mr. Pinkerton, said:
"The case is in your hands. Do what you want, if any man can run that Cummings down, you can."
"Well, I'll take it. I should advise you first to have Fotheringham arrested as an accomplice. While I do not think he is one, he may be; at any rate it will lead the principals in the case to believe we are on the wrong track, but I must confess there don't seem to be any track at all, wrong or right."
"I will do that. I will swear out a warrant to-day against him."
Mr. Damsel took his leave, and that night Fotheringham slept behind iron bars.
THE DETECTIVE AND THE MESSENGER.
After Mr. Damsel had left the hotel, Mr. Pinkerton sat in deep thought. He had carefully re-read Fotheringham's statement, but could find nothing that could be put out as a tracer; no little straw to tell which way the wind was blowing.
"Cummings, Cummings, Jim Cummings. By George, that can't be the Jim Cummings that used to flock with the Jesse James gang. That Cummings was a gray-haired man, while this Cummings is young, about 26 years old. Besides he is a much larger than Jesse James' Jim Cummings. That name is evidently assumed.
"This statement says he was dressed in a good suit of clothes, and wore a very flashy cravat. Furthermore, he bragged a good deal about what he would do with the money. Also that he would write a letter to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat exonerating the messenger. Well, a man who will brag like that, and wears flashy articles of neck-wear, is just the man that will talk too much, or make some bad break. If he writes that letter, he's a goner. There will be something in it that will give me a hold. The paper, the ink, the hand-writing, the place and time it was mailed—something that will give him away,"
"I must see this messenger, and I must see him here; alone. He may be able to give me a little glimmer of light."
To think with "Billy" Pinkerton was to act.
He pressed the annunciator button, and sitting down, wrote a short note to Mr. Damsel, requesting him to bring Fotheringham with him to his room.
The bell-boy who answered the call bore the note away with him, and in a short time, Mr. Pinkerton, looking out of his window, saw Mr. Damsel in his buggy drive up to the hotel accompanied by a young man, whom Mr. Pinkerton recognized from the description given him, as the unfortunate Fotheringham, who had evidently, as yet, not been arrested.
It took but a few moments for Mr. Damsel to reach Room 84, and after introducing Fotheringham to the detective, left him there.
Fotheringham wore a worried and hunted look. The black rings under his eyes told of loss of sleep, and his whole demeanor was that of a discouraged person. Still he bore the keen scrutiny of the detective without flinching, and looking him squarely in the eye, said:
"Mr. Pinkerton, don't ask me to repeat my story again. I have told it time after time. I have been cross-questioned, and turned and twisted until I almost believe I committed the robbery myself, tied my own hands and feet, put the gag in my own mouth, and hid the money some place."
Mr. Pinkerton did not answer him, but gazing at him with those sharp, far-seeing eyes, which had ferreted out so many crimes, and had made so many criminals tremble, took in every detail of Fotheringham's features, as if reading his very soul. Fotheringham leaned back, closed his eyes wearily, as if it were a matter of the smallest consequence what might occur, and remained in that position until Mr. Pinkerton spoke.
"Mr. Fotheringham, I don't believe you had anything to do with the robbery, except being robbed."
"Thank God for those words, Mr. Pinkerton," exclaimed the messenger in broken tones, the tears welling to his eyes. "That's the first bit of comfort I've had since the dastardly villain first knocked me down."
"Can you not give me some peculiarity which you noticed about this Cummings? How did he talk?"
"Slowly, with a very pleasant voice."
"Did he have any marks about him—any scars?"
Fotheringham sat in deep thought for a while.
"He had a triangular gold filling on one of his front teeth, and he had a way of hanging his head a little to one side, as if he were deaf, but I did not see any scars, excepting a bit of court-plaster on one of the fingers of his right hand."
"Was he disguised at all?"
"Not a bit, at least I could see no disguise on him."
"How did he walk?"
"Very erect, and, yes, I noticed he limped a little, as if he had a sore foot."
"I see by this report," taking up the papers Mr. Damsel had left, "that you have given a very close and full description of his appearance, but that amounts to little. Disguises are easy, and the mere changing of clothing will effect a great difference."
"I am positive, from his features, that he was a hard drinker. He had been drinking before he came to the car, as I smelled it on his breath."
"Well, Mr. Fotheringham, I will not detain you any longer. If you are innocent, you know you have nothing to fear."
"Except the disgrace of being arrested."
"Possibly," said Mr. Pinkerton, shortly, and bowing his visitor out, he pondered long and deeply over the case; but he felt he was groping in the dark, for the robber had apparently left no trace behind him. He had appeared on the scene, done his work, and the dark shadows of the night had swallowed him up, and Mr. Pinkerton, for the time, was completely baffled.
"If he would only write that letter," he muttered, "and I believe he will—"
A tap at the door followed these words, and two men entered—both Pinkerton detectives.
One of them carried a bundle in his arms.
As Mr. Pinkerton caught sight of it, his face lightened up.
"Ah! You did get it?"
"Yes; found them in a ditch the other side of Kirkwood."
Mr. Pinkerton laughed, and taking the bundle, said:
"Mr. Damsel said they could not be found; but I knew you, Chip. It was a good move on your part to go after these clothes without waiting for orders. You are starting in well, my boy, and if you have the making of a detective in you, this case will bring it out."
Chip blushed. Such words of praise from his superior were worth working for. The youngest man on the force, he had his spurs to win, and the approbation of his chief was reward enough.
The bundle was untied, and disclosed a shirt, a pair of drawers, socks and a dirty handkerchief. As the clothing fell on the floor, the odor of some sort of liniment filled the room, and on the leg of the drawers, below the knee, a stain was seen. Examining it more closely, a little clotted blood was seen. The stain extended half way around the leg, and showed that the cut or bruise was quite an extensive one.
"No wonder he limped," said Mr. Pinkerton, as he dropped the drawers and picked up the handkerchief.
The handkerchief, a common linen one, had evidently been used as a bandage, for it was stained with the liniment, and covered with blood clots. In one corner had been written a name, but the only letters now readable were "W—r—k."
This was placed on the table and the shirt carefully examined.
Nothing, not even the maker's name, could be seen. It was a cheap shirt, such as could be bought at any store which labels everything belonging to a man as "Gents' Furnishing." The socks were common, and like thousands of similar socks.
"Not much of a find, Chip—the letters on the handkerchief can be found in a hundred different names—a sore knee is covered by a pair of trousers, and one out of every ten men you meet, limps."
The other detective, who had all this time been silent, now laid some Adams Express letter-heads on the table. On these were written "J. B. Barrett," in all forms of chirography—several sheets were covered with the name.
"Where did you get these?"
"Out of Fotheringham's trunk, in his room."
"By Jove, what a consummate actor that man is. Do you know, boys, up to this minute, I firmly believed that messenger was innocent—I have been sold like an ordinary fool," and Mr. Pinkerton looked at the tell-tale papers admiringly, for, although he felt a trifle chagrined at being taken in so nicely, he could not but pay tribute to the man who did it, for the man that could get the better of "Billy" Pinkerton, must be one of extraordinary ability.
"If you please," said Chip, "I do not see that the mere finding of this paper in Fotheringham's trunk should fasten suspicion on him. If he was shrewd enough to capture the money, he would certainly not leave such damaging evidence as this paper would be. It seems to me that it would be a very plausible theory to advance, that the real robbers placed this in his trunk to direct suspicion against him. In fact, it was the first thing to be seen when the lid was lifted, for I was with Barney when he searched the room."
Barney said nothing to his companion's remarks, but nodded his head to show that he acquiesced.
Mr. Pinkerton listened carefully, and merely saying, "we'll look at this later," gave a very careful and complete description of Cummings, which he directed Chip and Barney to take to the St. Louis branch of this firm, and from there send it through all the divisions and sub-divisions of this vast detective cob-web.
After issuing further and more orders relating to the case in hand, he put on his hat, and descended to the hotel office, followed by his two subordinates.
After the exciting episode in the express car had been brought to a close by Jim Cummings leaping from the car, the train moved on, and left him alone, the possessor of nearly $100,000. The game had been a desperate one, and well played, and nervy and cool as he was, the desperado was forced to seat himself on a pile of railroad ties, until he could regain possession of himself, for he trembled in every limb, and shook as with a chill. He pulled himself together, however, and picking up his valise, with its valuable contents, turned toward the river.
He stepped from tie to tie, feeling his way in the darkness, every sense on the alert, and straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of some landmark. He had walked nearly a mile when, from behind a pile of brush heaped up near the track, a man stepped forth. The double click of a revolver was heard, and in an imperative tone, the unknown man called out:
"Halt! Put your hands above your head. I've got the drop on you!"
Startled as he was by the sudden appearance of the man, and hardly recovered from his hard fight with the messenger, Cummings was too brave and too daring to yield so tamely. Dropping his valise, he sprang upon the audacious stranger so suddenly that he was taken completely by surprise. The sharp report of the revolver rang out upon the quiet night, and the two men, Cummings uppermost, fell upon the grading of the road. The men were very evenly matched, and the fortunes of war wavered from one to the other. The hoarse breathing, the muttered curses, and savage blows told that a desperate conflict was taking place. Clasped in each other's embrace, the men lay, side by side, neither able to gain the mastery. Far around the curve the rumbling of an approaching freight train was heard. Nearer and nearer it came, and still the men fought on. With a grip of iron Cummings held the stranger's throat to the rail, and with arms of steel clasped around Cummings, his assailant pressed him to the ground.
It was an even thing, a fair field and no favor, when the sudden flash of the headlight of the approaching engine, as it shot around the curve, caused both men to lose their hold and spring from the track. The strong, clear light flooded both with its brilliancy, and in that instant mutual recognition took place.
The train swept by, and the darkness again settled around the late combatants.
Cummings was the first to speak.
"How the devil did you get here, Dan?"
"Just what I was going to ask you, Fred."
"Then you didn't get my letter?"
"I wrote you from Chicago, to be on hand at the 'plant' to-night."
"Did you send it to Leavenworth?"
"I am on my way there now. Got busted in St, Louis, couldn't make a raise, and I commenced to count ties for Leavenworth."
"Yes, then you took me for some jay, and tried to hold me up. It's lucky I met you, I need you."
"Any money in it?"
"Slathers of it."
"What's your lay?"
Cummings hesitated a minute before replying, and then said:
"Dan! you went back on me once, I don't know that I can trust you, you are too—"
"Trust me! You give Dan Moriarity a chance to cover some tin, and he's yours, body and soul."
"What's your price to help me, and keep your mouth shut?"
"It's a go," and Cummings held out his hand.
The compact was thus sealed, and lighting a match, Cummings commenced to look for his valise.
It had, fortunately, fallen outside the rails, and picking it up, Cummings led the way, followed by the somewhat surprised and still more curious Moriarity.
At this point on the Missouri river, the bluffs rise abruptly from the banks. The railroad, winding around the curves, was literally hewn from the solid rock. Deep gullies and ravines, starting from the water, Intersected all portions of the country, and the thick underbrush made this place a safe and secure hiding-place for fugitives from justice, river pirates and moonshiners.
Cummings, at a point where one of these gullies branched off from the railroad, turned into it, and with confident steps, followed closely by Moriarity, scaled the rocky precipice. Half way up the toilsome ascent, he halted, and placing his fingers in his mouth, gave three shrill whistles. Two short, and one long drawn sounds.
It was immediately answered; and in an instant, a flaming torch sprang into view, and almost as quickly was extinguished.
A short climb, and turning sharply to the right, Cummings again stopped. The signal, repeated softly, was answered by a voice asking:
"Who comes there?"
To which Cummings replied:
"It is I, be not afraid," at the same time poking Moriarity in the ribs, and chuckling:
"I haven't forgotten my Bible yet, eh, Dan?"
A blanket was lifted to one side, and disclosed to view the entrance to a natural cave, into the wall of which was stuck a naming, pitch-pine knot. Entering, the blanket was dropped, and preceded by a man, whose features the fitful glare of the torch failed to reveal, the two adventurers were ushered into the main portion of the cavern.
In one corner the copper kettle and coiled worm of a whisky still told it was the abode of an illicit distiller, or a "moonshiner."
A large fire cast a ruddy glow over the cave, and blankets and cooking utensils were scattered about. As the guide stepped into the light, he turned around, his eyes first falling on the well-stuffed valise and then upon Cummings' face, which wore such an expression of success and satisfaction that he exclaimed, as he held out his hand:
"By the ghost of Jesse James, you did it, old man."
"This looks like it, don't it?" said the successful express-car robber, holding his valise to the light. "Don't you know this man, Haight?"
"Damme, if it isn't Dan Moriarity."
"The same old penny—Haight," and Moriarity clasped his hand.
Haight, as host, did the honors. An empty flour barrel, covered by a square board, made an acceptable table. Small whisky barrels did duty as chairs, and a substantial repast of boiled fish, partridges and gray squirrels, supplemented with steaming glasses of hot toddy, satisfied the inner man, and, for a time, caused them to forget the exciting train of events through which they had just passed.
After their hunger had been appeased pipes were lit, and the fragrant glass of spirits, filled to the brim, were placed conveniently and seductively near at hand.
Cummings then related, in detail, his night's exploit and ended by opening the valise and taking out the packages of currency which it contained. It was a strange picture to gaze upon. The fire-lit cave, shrouded outside with mystery and darkness, but its heart alive with light and warmth; the rude appliances and paraphernalia for distilling the contraband "mountain dew"; the floor strewn with blankets, cooking- tins, a rifle or two, and provisions, while, bathed in the warm glow of the cheerful fire, secure from pursuit and comfortably housed from the weather, the three men, with greedy eyes, drank in the enchanting vision of luxurious wealth, which lay, bound in its neat wrappers, upon the floor of the cave.
Not one of these men could be classed with professional criminals, Moriarity, perhaps, had several times done some "fine work," but was unknown in the strata of crime, and was never seen in the society of "experts."
His attack upon Cummings could be called his debut, just as Cummings' late success could be looked on as his first definite step within the portals of outlawry and crime. Haight, as an accessory to the robbery, had hardly taken his first plunge. Some time before this these same men, with others, had planned an extensive robbery on the same line, but Moriarity weakened at the last moment and the whole thing fell through. It was this incident which caused Cummings to doubt his trustworthiness. Still Moriarity had a certain amount of bull courage, of which Cummings was aware, and if his palm was but crossed by the almighty dollar he would be a valuable ally. For this reason Cummings had taken him again into his confidence.
For some moments the three men sat silently puffing their pipes and picturing the delight of spending their ill-gotten booty, when Cummings, rising from his seat, placed the money on the table and cut the strings which bound it together.
A hasty count revealed $53,000 in currency and about $40,000 in bonds, mortgage deeds, and other unconvertible valuables.
He had evidently fully considered his plans, and without any previous beating around the bush, proceeded to execute them.
Opening a package of smaller bills he divided it into three parts, giving Haight and Moriarity each a share. The remainder of the plunder he again divided into three portions, and taking the larger one for himself, proceeded to wrap it and tie it securely; his companions, taking their cue from him, doing likewise.
"Boys," he then said, "as soon as the robbery is discovered the company will turn hell itself upside down to find it. Pinkerton will be on our trail in forty-eight hours. The first thing they will do will be to suspect the messenger. He will be arrested, and while they are monkeying with him we must get out of the way. I told the poor devil I would write a letter to some paper, I think I said the Globe-Democrat, which would clear him, but we must make ourselves safe first.
"Dan, you must get to Leavenworth, find Cook, and have him plant what you have. Haight will go to Chicago and know what to do, while I—well- -I am going south for my health."
Stopping abruptly he drew his revolver, and stepping up to Moriarity, placed the cold muzzle to his temple. His eyes, cold as steel and sharp as an arrow, were fastened upon Dan's very heart, and speaking with terrible earnestness, he said:
"Dan Moriarity, if ever you break faith with me, I'll kill you like a cur, so help me God!"
Moriarity stood the ordeal without flinching, and holding his right hand above his head, took a solemn oath never to betray, by word or deed, the trust which had been placed in him.
Without another word each man carefully placed his particular charge securely about his person. Every scrap of paper was gathered up, and, after extinguishing the fire, the three men left the cave, and in the dawn of the early morning descended to the railroad track.
Hands were shaken, the last words of advice given, and Cummings plunged into the labyrinth of gullies and underbrush, leaving his companions each to pursue his own way, Moriarity going west, while Haight, going east, sprang the fence, and entering a thick patch of bushes, brought out a horse, saddled and bridled. Mounting this he struck into a quick canter across the country toward St. Louis.
THE FIRST CLEW FOUND.
Mr. Pinkerton had passed an anxious week, Never before had he been so completely baffled. The finding of the letter-heads with Bartlett's name written on them in Fotheringham's trunk had quite upset his theories. Yet the most searching examination could find nothing in the suspected messenger's previous movements, upon which to fasten any connection with the robbery.
The vast machinery of Pinkerton's Detective Agency was at work all over the country. His brightest and keenest operatives had been brought together in St. Louis, Kansas City, Leavenworth and Chicago. False clews were sprung every day, and run down to a disappointed termination. But all to no purpose. Outwitted and baffled, Mr. Pinkerton was treading his apartment at the Southern Hotel with impatient steps; his brow was wrinkled with thought and his eyes heavy with loss of sleep. In his vast and varied experience with criminals he had never yet met one who had so completely covered his tracks as this same Jim Cummings. Of one thing he was satisfied, however, and that was, that no professional criminal had committed the robbery, and again that two or more men were concerned in it.
In Fotheringham's description of the robbery, he had mentioned hearing an unusual noise in the fore part of the car, as if some one were tapping on the partition, and on examining the car, the bell-cord was found to be plugged. This showed an accomplice, or perhaps more than one.
That it was not done by a professional was clear, because Mr. Pinkerton, having the entire directory and encyclopedia of crime and criminals at his fingers' end, knew of no one that would have gone about the affair as this man Cummings had done.
As everything else has its system, and each system has its followers, so robbery has its method, and each method its advocates and practitioners. This is so assuredly the fact that the detective almost instantly recognizes the hand which did the work by the manner in which the work was done.
This particular robbery was unique. An express car had never been looted in this manner before. "Therefore," said Mr. Pinkerton, "it was done by a new man, and although this new man had the nerve, brains and shrewdness necessary to successfully terminate his plans, yet he will lack the cunning and experience of an old hand in keeping clear of the detectives and the law, and will do some one thing which will put us upon his track."
He had just arrived at this comforting conclusion, when an impatient rap was heard on the door, followed almost instantly by Mr. Damsel opening it and entering the room.
In his hand he held a letter, and, full of excitement, he waved it over his head, as he said:
"He has written a letter."
A gleam of satisfaction was in Mr. Pinkerton's eye as he took the paper from Mr. Damsel, but his manner was entirely void of excitement, and his voice was calm and even, as he replied:
"I expected he would do something of that sort."
Mr. Damsel—his excitement somewhat allayed by the nonchalant manner with which the detective had received the news—seated himself on the sofa.
Mr. Pinkerton read the letter carefully.
It was headed "St. Joe, Missouri," and addressed to the editor of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and a large number of sheets, closely written in a backhand, was signed "Yours truly, Jim Cummings." It stated, in substance, that the robbery had been carefully planned some time before the occurrence. That entrance had been gained to the express car by the presentation of a forged order from Route Agent Bartlett, and that Fotheringham was entirely innocent of the entire affair.
The letter related, minutely, all that occurred from the time the train left St. Louis until it reached Pacific.
It told how the messenger was attacked, gagged and bound, and, in fact, was such a complete expose of the robbery that Mr. Pinkerton laid it down with an incredulous smile, saying:
"Nothing to that, Mr. Damsel. That letter was not written by the robber, but is a practical joke, played by some one who gleaned all his information from the newspapers."
"Indeed," responded Mr. Damsel, "then what do you say to this?" and he handed Mr. Pinkerton two pieces of calendered white wrapping paper, showing the seals of the Adams Express Company upon it, the strings cut, but the paper still retaining the form of an oblong package.
Surprised and puzzled, Mr. Pinkerton saw they were the original wrappings of the $30,000 and $12,000 packages which had been taken from the safe by the robber. The addresses were still on the paper, and Mr. Damsel, in a most emphatic tone, said:
"I'm prepared to swear that they are genuine."
Mr. Pinkerton, still silent, re-read the letter, carefully weighing each word, and this time finishing it.
He came to one paragraph, which read:
"Now to prove these facts * * * * I took my gun, a Smith we had practiced on, and checked the package in the St. Louis Union Depot, under the initials J. M. Now if you want a good little gun and billy, go and get out the packages checked to J. M. in the Union Depot October 25th; there are probably seventy-five or eighty cents charges on it by this time, but the gun alone is worth $10. Also, if you want a double- barreled shot-gun, muzzle-loader, go along the bank of the Missouri River, on the north side, about a mile below St. Charles bridge, and about twenty feet along the bank, just east of that dike that runs out into the river, and you will find in a little gully a shot-gun and a musket. Be careful. I left them both loaded with buckshot and caps on the tubes. They were laying, wrapped up in an oil-cloth, with some weeds thrown over them. Also, down on the river just below the guns, I left my skiff and a lot of stuff, coffee-pot, skillet, and partially concealed, just west of the skiff, you will find a box of grub, coffee, bacon, etc. I came down the river in a skiff Tuesday night, October 26-27, from a point opposite Labodie. It is a run of thirty-five or thirty-six miles. They should all be there unless some one found them before you got there." * * * *
Mr. Pinkerton, in a brown study, tapping the table with his fingers, sat for some moments. Rising abruptly, he placed his hat on his head, and requesting Mr. Damsel to follow, left the room. In a short time he was in the Union Depot, and stepping up to the clerk of the parcel-room, asked for a package which had been left there October 25th, marked "J. M.," stating that he had lost his ticket. After some search, the clerk brought forward a parcel tied in a newspaper.
"This is marked J. M., and was left here October 25th."
"That is the one," said Mr. Pinkerton, and paying the charges, hastened back to the hotel,
In spite of his habitual calmness and sang froid, Mr. Pinkerton's hand trembled as he cut the string. As the paper was unwrapped, both men gave an exclamation of surprise and joy, for disclosed to view was a revolver, a billy, some shirts and papers.
"At last," cried Mr. Pinkerton, and he eagerly scanned the various articles. The revolver was an ordinary, self-cocking Smith & Wesson. The billy was the sort called "life-preservers." The Adams Express letter- heads were covered with the names "J. B. Barrett" and "W. H. Damsel." Mr. Pinkerton passed these to his companions.
"They are pretty fair forgeries. Hang me, if it don't look as though I had written that name myself."
The detective, all this time, was scrutinizing each article, hoping to find something new.
With the papers he took out a printed ballad-sheet of the kind sold on the streets by newsboys and fakirs. Turning it over, he saw something written on it, and looking closely, read, "——, Chestnut street,"
The handwriting was the same as the handwriting of the letter. The first clew had been found.
George Bingham, or as he was familiarly called, "Chip" Bingham, was the youngest operative in Mr. Pinkerton's service. His talents, in the detective line, ranged considerably higher than did the general run of his associates. Possessing an analytical mind, he could take the effect, and, by logical conclusions, retrace its path to the fundamental cause, and following this principle, he had made many valuable discoveries in mystery-shrouded cases, and had, many times, picked the end of a clew from a seemingly hopeless snarl, and raveled the entire mesh of circumstantial evidence, and made from it a strong cord of substantiated facts. Mr. Pinkerton had early recognized this talent, and having, besides, a peculiar attachment to the handsome young fellow, he frequently placed delicate and intricate cases into his hands, always with good results. It was for Chip, then, he sent, when he had finished his examination of the valuable package.
Mr. Damsel, his mind somewhat freed from the trouble and worry it had carried since the robbery, had left Mr. Pinkerton alone and returned to his office.
Chip, on receipt of his superior's message, immediately repaired to Room 84. His downcast countenance and disappointed air told of fruitless endeavors to catch even the slightest real clew. He said nothing as he entered the room, but with a gesture of hopeless failure he sank into a chair and awaited his chief's pleasure.
"Chip, I've got a starter."
With an indulgent smile Chip nodded his head, but failed to exhibit any extraordinary interest.
Mr. Pinkerton's eyes twinkled. He understood the situation, but time was valuable and he could not waste any in humorous by-play. So without further parleying he handed Chip the tell-tale letter.
The young detective, almost from the first word, put the letter down as a practical joke, perpetrated on the newspaper, but as the missive progressed he became interested, and when he had reached that portion which told of the package every fiber of his detective instinct was alive, and Mr. Pinkerton had no need of pointing to the precious parcel as corroborative evidence that the letter was genuine.
In an instant Chip was examining the contents. Every portion of the revolver, billy and letterheads was searched with deepest scrutiny. The printed sheet of ballad music was picked up, the verses read and the sheet turned.
An exclamation burst from his lips, as his eye caught the words, written in lead pencil, "——Chestnut Street," and placing it beside the letter, he saw it was written by the same hand. "The devil! Here is a starter!"
His face glowed with animation, his eyes had the alert look of a hound on a hot scent, and carefully noting the number in his memorandum book, without waiting instructions from Mr. Pinkerton, he picked up his hat and hurriedly left the room.
Mr. Pinkerton, in full sympathy with his subordinate, lit a cigar, and settled back for a comfortable smoke until Chip made his report.
Chip, regaining the street, engaged a hack standing near the hotel, and stopping it a short distance from the number he wanted on Chestnut street, walked the remaining distance to the house.
A sign "Board by the week or day," and another one, "Furnished rooms to let," showed it to be an ordinary boarding-house. Chip had fully decided within himself, during the ride, that the men who had left the parcel had also left St. Louis. While it was not so much an improbability that the men would still be in the city, it was far more probable that they would put some distance between themselves and the scene of their exploit. For this reason, Chip decided that a plain course would result in no unfortunate mishap or premature flushing of the game.
Ascending the steps, he rang the bell.
The landlady of the house herself opened the door.
Before Chip could speak, she said:
"You're a detective, aren't you?"
"Yes," said Chip, somewhat surprised, and regretting immediately that he had not made his entrance in a more detective-like manner.
"I've been expecting some of you. You want to know about those two men that stopped with me a short time before the 'Frisco express robbery?"
Seeing at once that he was conversing with a more than ordinary shrewd individual, Chip replied, "That's just what I'm here for. But why do you ask that question?"
"Well, I suspicioned something was wrong with them two men. They came here on the fifteenth of October, and paid me a week's board in advance. They kept their room almost all the time, and when I went in to clean it, I saw a lot of railroad time-tables and maps scattered around. One of them was always in the room. It was never left alone. A week before the robbery, the smaller man left, he said for Kansas City, and the larger man told me if a letter came to the house, directed to Williams, that is for him. Well, on the Friday before the robbery, such a letter did come, and the big man, after reading it, said he had to go to Kansas City at once, but he didn't leave the house until Monday, and the next day the robbery occurred."
"Can you give me a description of the men?"
The landlady thereupon gave a full description of the larger man, which Chip carefully inserted in his note book, and recognized as the same given by Fotheringham of his assailant on that memorable night. But her description of the smaller of the two was somewhat vague, as she said he was only in the house a short time, and she saw very little of him.
"May I go up to the room?"
"Yes; come this way."
Entering the room, the first thing which met the detective's eye was a bottle containing some sort of liniment, having on it a label of a neighboring druggist, In a closet a pair of drawers were found, and with the dark brown stain below the knee was almost identical to that which Chip had found on the railroad track, and which the robber had thrown from the express car. Not satisfied with this, Chip ripped up the carpet, and as a reward for his labor found an express tag, or rather a portion of one, for the tag was torn in two pieces. On the tag Chip read the portion of an address, "——ority," and below, "——worth, Kansas." Further questioning of the garrulous landlady gained a description of the valise which the larger man carried away with him. It tallied with the description given by Fotheringham of the valise into which Jim Cummings had put the stolen money.
Gathering his trophies together, Chip bid his talkative lady friend good-day, and immediately bent his steps toward the drug store, from which had come the bottle of liniment.
No, the druggist could not recollect what particular person had bought that bottle, but if the young man would call on Doctor B——, he could probably ascertain the fact from him, as the liniment was put up from the Doctor's prescription. Chip, in a short time, was ushered into the Doctor's presence.
Yes, the Doctor not only recollected the man, but gave a very close description of him. The man had come to him, suffering from a bad bruise or cut on the leg below the knee. Nothing serious, but so painful that it caused him to limp. He had made out the prescription of the unguent which the bottle had contained, and the man had paid for it. But he gave no name, nor in what manner he had received the injury.
Chip, satisfied with his work, left the physician, and whistling for his jehu, drove back to the hotel.
That the large man who had boarded with the landlady at —— Chestnut street, and had bought and used the ointment, was identical with Jim Cummings, the express robber, Chip had not the shadow of a doubt. The smaller man was, of course, his accomplice. He had seen where the men had secreted themselves a week before the robbery, he vas even pretty certain of their movements during that time, but the question was where had they gone AFTER the deed was committed. Who and where was the accomplice? What other men had aided and abetted them in the scheme? With his mind full of these perplexing queries, he sought Mr. Pinkerton's room, and laid before him the result of his search.
Mr. Pinkerton listened attentively and picking up the torn express tag, examined it carefully.
It was a portion of an ordinary tag, such as is used by the Adams Express Company.
It had been torn about the middle. The strings were still on it. From its appearance it had been addressed, and the person, not satisfied with his work, had torn it in two and thrown it on the floor, from which it had probably been swept in a corner, and eventually got under the edge of the carpet, where Chip had found it. It read.
On the reverse side in faint penciled characters were the words: "it to Cook," From the blurred appearance of the words it was evident that a rubber had been used to erase them. These words had escaped Chip's notice, but as soon as Mr. Pinkerton saw them, he said:
"I see it all, Chip. I see it all. A message was written on the tag, probably giving some instructions, such as 'Send it to Cook,' or 'Give it to Cook,' and the person sending it changing his mind about writing his instructions so openly tried to erase the words with a rubber, but failing to do it tore the tag up and addressed another one.
"The package to which this was to have been tied was sent to some man whose name ends in 'ority and who was in Leavenworth, Kansas. We can find that out to-morrow, Chip, so turn in and get some sleep."
The next morning the books of the company were overhauled, and after a long, patient and careful search it was found that on October 23d, two days before the robbery, a valise had been expressed to a Daniel Moriarity, Leavenworth, Kansas, charges prepaid, by a man named John Williams.
That evening Chip left St, Louis for Leavenworth and Mr. Pinkerton returned to Chicago.
About the middle of November, after the now famous express robbery had taken place, a man, roughly dressed in a coarse suit of blue, wearing a woolen shirt open at the neck, and, knotted around his throat, a gaudy silk handkerchief, was strolling leisurely along the east bottoms near Kansas City. His face was tanned by exposure to the sun, and his shoes had the flattened and battered condition which is the natural consequence of a long and weary tramp. He walked as if he had no particular objective point, and looked like one of those peripatetic gentry who toil not neither do they spin, the genus "tramp." He complacently puffed a short clay nose-warmer, with his hands in his pockets, and taking first one side and then the other of the road, as his fancy dictated, found himself near the old distillery at the outskirts of the city.
A saloon near at hand, with its front door invitingly open, attracted his attention, and the cheering sounds of a violin, scraping out some popular air, gave a further impetus to inclination, and the tramp turned to the open door and entered. Seated on an empty barrel, his foot executing vigorous time to his own music, sat the magician of the horse- hair bow.
Leaning against the bar, or seated at the small tables scattered around, the tramp saw a goodly number of the disciples of Bacchus, while from an inner room the clicking of ivory chips and half suppressed expressions of "I'll see you an' go you tenner better." "A full house pat, what 'er ye got," designated the altar at which the worshipers of "draw poker" were offering sacrifices.
The saloon consisted of one long, low room, on one side of which was located the conventional bar, with its background of glittering decanters and dazzling glasses and its "choice assortment of liquors"— to quote the sign which called attention to these necessary luxuries.
A large stove stood in the center of the room, and a number of small tables were placed around promiscuously, The bar-tender, a smooth-faced, beetle-browed rascal, was engaged in shaking dice for the drinks with a customer, and, to the music of the violin, a light-footed Irishman was executing his national jig, to the great delight and no small edification of his enthusiastic audience.
The wide sombreroes, perched back on the head, pointed out the cowboys who were making up for the lonesome days and nights on the plains.
It was a motley crowd, a fair specimen of the heterogeneous mass of humanity which floats hither and there all over our western States, and contained some villainous-looking fellows.
As the tramp entered, the interest in the jig was developing into enthusiasm. Hands were clapped, and fingers snapped to the time of the nimble heels and toes of the jaunty Corkonian. The violinist was settling down to vigorous work, and Pat, having the incentive of anticipated free drinks as a reward for his efforts, was executing the most intricate of steps.
The tramp lounged to the bar, followed by the suspicious glance of the bar-keeper, who assumed a more respectful demeanor as the object of his suspicions threw down a silver quarter and named his drink. It was quickly furnished, and as quickly disposed of. The dancer had finished his jig and accepted with alacrity the proffered offers to wet his whistle. As he stepped to the bar his glance fell upon the tramp.
"Are ye drinkin' this aivenin'?"
"I am that," responded the tramp,
"Faith, an' its not at yer own expinse, then," with a glance at the ragged clothing and "hard-up" appearance of the wanderer.
"An' a divil sight less at yours," retorted the tramp. "But by the same token, we both get our rosy by manes of our heels."
"Shure fir ye, lad. Its hard up I've been myself before the now, but its a cold day when Barney O'Hara will let a bog-trotter go dry—name your poison."
"Its the rale ould stuff I'll be a takin' straight," and the tramp spread his elbows on the counter and soon demonstrated his ability to gulp down the fiery fluid without any such effeminate trimmings as water in it. After the first glass had been emptied the tramp said:
"I've had a bit of luck to-day; what's your medicine?"
"The same," responded Barney.
The liquor was poured into the glasses, and the tramp, diving deep in his pockets, drew out some small silver currency, and, with a movement expressive of untold wealth, threw it on the counter.
As he did so, the bar-keeper uttered an oath of astonishment, several of the roysterers sprang forward, and Barney, with an exclamation of amazement, put his hand on a Pinkerton detective star, with its terrible eye in the center, which had fallen on the counter with the nickles and dimes the tramp had thrown down.
Dark looks and murderous eyes were turned on the tramp, and more than one hand was placed on a revolver, The bar-keeper with an ugly look, and bullying swagger, stepped from behind the bar and advanced on the tramp, his face distorted with rage, and his fists doubled in a most aggressive manner.
The tramp, without moving, and apparently ignorant of the sensation he had created, raised his glass to his lips, and with a hearty "Here's to ye, lads," tossed off the whisky.
As he replaced his glass, he became aware that he was the center of attention, and facing the bar-keeper, said:
"What's the row with ye? I paid fer the drinks,"
"What are you doin' with a detective's star?" said the bar-keeper,
"Haven't I a right to one; I dunno—finders keepers, losers weepers—I picked the bit of brass up on the road not over an hour ago,"
The bar-keeper was not to be pacified by such a story, and in a threatening voice, he asked:
"Are you a man-hunter or not?"
The tramp threw a pitying glance of scorn at the pugilistic whisky- seller, as he replied:
"Be gorra, ye damned fool, do you think that I'd be after givin' myself away like this if I WAS one?"
"In course ye wouldn't," broke in Barney. "Don't be a fool, Jerry, this man is no detective," and Barney fastened the star to the vest which encircled the portly form of the bar-keeper.
"Now ye're one yerself, an' will be after runnin' us all in fer not detectin' enough of the elegant liquor ye handle."
To this the man could make no reply, save a deep, hoarse laugh, and resuming his professional position, was shortly engaged in alleviating the thirst of his patrons.
This little episode had just occurred, when the door of the inner room was thrown violently open and a man, his coat off, rushed up to the bar.
"Here, Jerry, break this fifty for me," at the same time throwing down a fifty-dollar bill, crisp and fresh.
"Your playin' in bad luck to-day, Cook?"
"Yes, damn it," said Cook. "Give me a drink for good luck."
As the bar-keeper uttered the name of Cook a quick, but hardly perceptible glance of intelligence passed between Barney and the tramp.
Cook hastily swallowed his whisky, rushed back to the poker table with a handful of five dollar bills, and quiet reigned over the place. The bar- keeper, who spied a possible good customer in the tramp, had entered into a little conversation at the end of the counter, on which the tramp leaned, the embodiment of solid comfort, puffing his cigar vigorously, or allowing it to burn itself out in little rings of smoke.
"You're a stranger to these parts?"
With an expressive wink, the tramp replied:
"Not so much as ye think, I've spint many a noight around here."
"Night hawk, eh? an' I took you for a man-trailer."
"I've had the spalpeens after myself afore now," spoke the tramp, in a low, confidential whisper.
"You keep yourself devilish low, then, for I know all the lads, and it's the first time I've clapped these two eyes on you."
"Do ye think I mane to let the fly cops put their darbies on me, that I should be nosin' around in the broad day?"
"You're too fly for them, I see," said the bar-keeper, with a sagacious shake of his head. "You an' Barney are a pair."
"Barney? Ye mane the Irish lad that was just here a bit ago?"
"The same. He's square. He's one of you."
The tramp leaned forward, his eyes fastened on the bloodshot eyes of the drink-compounder, and in an earnest tone, asked:
"Is he a bye that could crack a plant with the loikes o' me?"
Impressed with the tone and manner of the tramp, the bar-keeper gazed quickly around the room, and in a still lower tone, replied:
"He's on a lay himself. Would you like to go his pal?" The tramp slowly nodded his head, and after receiving the whispered invitation to come around later, strolled out of the saloon; and so on up the road.
Turning a corner he nearly ran against Barney himself, who was sitting on a horse-block, enjoying a pipe and the sun.
Not a soul was in sight. Satisfying himself of that fact, Barney gazed at the tramp and said:
"By Jove, Chip, I thought you were a goner when that confounded star fell out."
Chip gave a deep sigh of relief, and taking off his hat, pointed to the perspiration which moistened the band:
"Don't that look as though I thought so, too, Sam?"
"How in the name of all that's lovely, did you happen to be so careless?"
"That's what it was, sheer carelessness. I suffered, though, for it. It would have been all up with me if the gang had not been so deucedly stupid. That Jerry is a villain, and no mistake. I told him that I was a profesh, and he told me that you were another, and had a plan to do some fine work without asking permission of the owners. So I am to meet him again to-night, and see if you will not take me as your pal. You have your cue, and will know how to act."
"Chip, did you notice that man Cook?"
"You mean, did I notice the fifty-dollar bill he threw down?"
"Seems to me he didn't look like a man that ought to be carrying fifty- dollar bills around so recklessly."
"He's a cooper, runs that little shop over there, and hasn't done a stroke of work for a month."
The cooper-shop pointed out by Sam was a small frame building, having the sign, "Oscar Cook—Barrels and Kegs," painted over the door. It was a tumbled-down, rickety affair, evidently having seen its best days.
Chip surveyed it intently, then turned to Sam, inquired:
"That express tag had on it something about a man named Cook, didn't it?"
"Yes, the words, 'it to Cook.'"
"Supposing that Dan Moriarity, whom we now know had some connection with the robbery, had taken the valise, which was sent from St. Louis to Leavenworth, had obeyed the order, for it was evidently an order which was written on the tag, and given 'it to Cook,' it would be fair to infer that the Cook mentioned had some hand in the pudding, too, and ought to be pretty flush about this time."
"No, I don't mean that the Cook over in the saloon playing poker and the Cook mentioned on the tag are the same person, but we found no Dan Moriarity or Cook in Leavenworth but what was above suspicion, and I think that the men who were smart enough to plan and carry out a robbery such as this was would be shrewd enough to take every possible precaution against discovery. I mean that neither Moriarity or Cook are Leavenworth people, and for all we know to the contrary, may live here in Kansas City."
As Chip finished speaking, a man appeared in front of the cooper shop, and unlocking the door, entered.
"There is Cook, now," said Sam, making a movement as if to rise.
With a motion of the hand Chip cautioned him to remain where he was, and with lazy steps, lounged toward the shop.
CAPTURE AND RESCUE.
The White Elephant was a large gambling hall in Kansas City, situated on one of the principal thoroughfares. It was centrally located, and night after night the brilliant lights and crowded tables bore witness to its rushing business.
On this evening the tiger was out with all its claws. Rouge et noir, roulette, faro, keno, and stud-poker were going in full blast. The proprietor, his elegant diamonds flashing in the light, was seated on a raised platform from whence he could survey the entire company—his face, impassive as marble and unreadable as the sphinx, was turned toward the faro lay-out, which this evening appeared to be the center of attraction.
Among the players sat one whose tall form and athletic frame would have been noticeable under any circumstances, but was now more so, as it towered above his fellow-gamesters who crowded around the table.
Before him lay a high pile of chips. He played with the nonchalant air of one who was there merely to pass away a vacant hour, but his stakes were high and he played every shot. His calm, impassioned countenance bore the unmistakable stamp of the professional gambler, and, serene as a quiet mill-pond, he bore his losses or pocketed his winnings with the enviable sang froid which results from a long and intimate acquaintance with the green-baized table.
Every night for a week had this man occupied the same seat, and with careless imperturbability had mulcted the bank of several thousands.
Rieley, the proprietor, himself one of the coolest dare-devil gamblers in the West, had recognized a kindred spirit, but to all advances and efforts to make his acquaintance the stranger had turned a cool shoulder, and his identity was still a matter of conjecture.
Rieley was watching him closely this evening, so intently, indeed, that the stranger, with a look of annoyance, swept the chips into his hat and stepping up to the banker cashed them in and walked out of the room. As he emerged from the door he came in violent contact with a man just entering.
"I beg your pardon."
"Not at—by Jove! Moriarity, you here too?"
"Blest if it isn't Jim!"
"Hush! you fool, speak lower."
"Been up bucking the tiger?"
"I've been making a damned fool of myself. Rieley watched me too close for comfort, and I am going to vamoose."
"None of your business. I want you to come with me to-night. I must see Cook."
"Don't do it, Jim. Pinkerton's men are as thick as blackberries. You will run into one of them if you don't lay low.
"No danger for me. One of them has a room next to mine at the hotel, and I played billiards with him this afternoon."
"You're a cool one, Jim. Too cool. It will get you into trouble yet."
"Damn your croaking, man. Do you show the white feather now?"
"Not I. I only warned you."
"Well, put a clapper to your jaw, and come along."
Boarding a street car, the men stood on the front platform smoking during the long ride to the terminus of the road.
Leaving the car, they plunged through the darkness over the same path trod by the tramp earlier in the afternoon.
The dark form of the distillery loomed up ahead of them, gloomy and lonesome.
Overhead not a star was to be seen, and save an occasional drunkard staggering home, the two men were alone on the road.
A short distance beyond the distillery the cooper-shop squatted beside the street, and the dim flicker of a candle cast its pitiful light through the dirt-encrusted window.
As Moriarity and Cummings stepped from the shadow of the distillery, an indistinct form stole behind them, and keeping just within sight, followed the two men as they wended their lonely way to Cook's shop.
Disdaining all attempts at concealment, Cummings rapped loudly on the door.
The sound of clinking glasses was heard, and a voice, heavy and thick, growled out, "Come in."
A vigorous shove opened the door, and Cummings was about to step inside, but at the sight of another man, a ragged tramp, drinking with Cook, he stopped short.
"Come in, b'hoy, come in; d-d-don't keep the d-d-door open; come right in," stuttered Cook, too drunk to speak intelligibly.
The tramp, elevating his glass above his head, with an inviting gesture, shouted the words of the old drinking song:
"Drink, puppy, drink, let every puppy drink That's old enough to stand and to swallow. For we'll pass the bottle round, when we've become a hound, And merrily we'll drink and we'll hallo."
Cook attempted to join in the chorus, but his voice failed him, his head sank down upon his breast, and, in a drunken stupor, he rolled from his seat, prone upon the ground.
The tramp, rising to his feet, staggered to the side of his companion, and steadying himself with the aid of a chair, made futile attempts to raise his comrade to a perpendicular position. His knees bent under him, the chair fell from his unsteady grasp, and murmuring, "We'll pass the bottle round," he lurched forward, and falling across the recumbent Cook, passed from the worship of Bacchus to the arms of Morpheus, seemingly dead drunk.
With a bitter curse of rage Cummings stepped forward, and, with rough hands, separated the boon companions, thrusting the tramp without ceremony under the table, Moriarity in the meantime shaking Cook in vain attempts to rouse him from his maudlin stupor. Cook, however, was too far "under the influence" to be aroused, and to the vigorous shakings and punchings would respond only with a hiccough and part of the refrain "puppies drink."
Cummings, in a towering rage at finding Cook in such a helpless condition, paced the small shop with impatient tread, all the time pouring imprecations upon Cook's devoted head. A sudden turn in his short beat brought him facing the window, and flattened against the dirty pane was the face of a man gazing intently into the room.
Another second and the face had disappeared.
Cummings stopped abruptly at the sight of the apparition, his face became livid, and a shade of terror flashed across his countenance. It was but an instant, though, that he stood thus, and calling to Moriarity to follow, he dashed through the door, drawing his ready revolver from his side coat-pocket at the same time, and catching a fleeting glimpse of a flying shadow, sped after it.
Moriarity, somewhat dazed at the unexpected turn of affairs, had risen to his feet, and stood blankly gazing at the open door, not comprehending what had occurred. A movement made by the pseudo tramp, caused him to turn around, and he was gazing straight into the open barrel of a dangerous-looking revolver, held by a steady hand, and cool daring eyes were glancing over the shining barrel, as a voice, decided and commanding, said:
"Hands out, Dan Moriarity, I want you."
Chip, as he was stretched on the floor feigning drunkenness, had kept his ears open, although obliged to keep his eyes closed.
The single candle which lit the room, furnished light too indistinct for him to see the faces of the two visitors, and as he acted his character of the drunken man, he cudgeled his brains to account for their visit.
The sudden disappearance of Cummings, and his calling out, "Moriarity, follow me," cleared the mystery.
He comprehended the situation at once.
While he did not know it was Jim Cummings that had been in the room, his mind with lightning speed grouped the torn express tag, the words "it to Cook," the man Cook, who lay beside him drunk, the fifty-dollar bill which he had changed at the bar-room, together with Dan Moriarity, and quick to reach his conclusions, he saw that it was the Moriarity he wanted, accompanied by some one who had come to see Cook.
Half opening his eyes he saw that Moriarity was standing up, nonplussed at something, and instantly he drew his revolver, and as Moriarity turned around covered him and ordered him to hold out his hands.
Staggered again the second time by seeing a ragged tramp, who a few seconds before was stretched at his feet in a drunken slumber, now erect, perfectly sober, and having the drop on him, Moriarity became more bewildered, and passively held out his hands.
The sharp click of steel handcuffs brought the dazed man to his senses, but too late.
He opened his mouth to cry for aid, but a strong hand was laid on his wind-pipe and the cry died before it was born.
The cold barrel of the revolver against his ear, and the detective's "shut up or I'll shoot," was too strong an argument to combat, and Moriarity submitted to being pushed hurriedly from the room into the open air and dark night.
Chip was beginning to congratulate himself on the important capture he had made, and with his hand on his captive's collar, and his revolver to his ear, was moving towards the center of the street, when a whistling "swish" was heard, the dull thud of a slung shot on the detective's head followed, and, every muscle relaxed, he sank a senseless man in the dust of the road.
"Help me pick him up," said Cummings, "and be quick about it, there's another beak around."
"I can't. I've got his darbies on."
Cummings stooped down, and lifting Chip in his arms, walked rapidly down the road toward the river.
"What are you going to do with him, Jim?"
"Chuck him through the ice. He knows too much."
With the senseless man in his arms, Cummings hurried forward, nor paused until he reached the river bank.
The weather had been piercingly cold for a week, although no snow had fallen, and the river was frozen solid from bank to bank.
To this fact Chip owed his life. When the train robber came to the ice, he sounded it with his heel. It was solid and firm, not even an air hole to be seen.
Baffled in his murderous designs, he debated for a second whether it would not be the best thing to leave the detective on the ice, and let him freeze to death, but the publicity of the place, its proximity to the city, and the risk of having been shadowed by the man whom he had caught gazing through the window, caused him to think of some secure place wherein to put the senseless Chip. He first searched the wounded man's pockets, and, finding the key, released the handcuffs from Moriarity.
The latter, seeing Cummings hesitate, and divining the cause, said in a questioning voice:
"Why not take him to the widow's, Jim?"
"I would a damned sight rather put him through the ice, but its too thick for me. Do you think we can carry him between us?"
"It would never do to let people see us two with a dead man between us."
"Then you must go up town and get a hack."
Moriarity turned back to the shore, and climbing the bank, hurried in the direction of the city.
Left alone with his victim, the desperado bent over him, placing his hand on Chip's heart. It beat steadily, though not strongly, and Cummings experienced a feeling of relief when he felt the regular pulsations,
He had never yet shed blood, and his first passion having died out, he was glad that the thick ice had defeated his first purpose.
The stunned detective stirred, the cold, crisp air was reviving him, and Cummings, his better nature asserting itself, hastily doffed his overcoat and threw it over the recumbent form of his captive.
It was not very long before the noise of carriage wheels were heard, and Moriarity running out on the ice assisted Cummings in carrying Chip to the land and placed him in the carriage, which he had caught on the way to town.
The driver, who had been told that "one of the boys had got more than he could carry," did not concern himself to investigate too closely, and having received his order, drove briskly from the scene.
The darkness and open country gave way to gas-lights and paved streets, over which the carriage rattled at a lively pace. Turning into a side street, Dan pulled the check-strap, and the carriage turned to the curb and stopped.
The detective, still unconscious, was lifted out, the driver paid and dismissed, and the two men, bearing Chip between them, entered a dark, narrow alley.
Proceeding up this for some distance, they entered the low door of a basement and placed their still insensible burden on the floor.
The damp, moldy smell of an underground room filled the air, and but for a slender beam of light which flashed beneath an adjoining door the place was dark as night.
Softly stealing to the door, Moriarity applied his ear to the key-hole, and hearing no sounds within, gave a peculiar double rap on the panel.
Receiving no answer, he cautiously opened the door and disclosed a small, square room, having a low ceiling, and lighted by a single low- burning gas jet.
On the walls hung a large astronomical map, showing the solar system, and divided with the girdle of the zodiac into its various constellations.
A grinning skull, mounted on a black pedestal, stood on a small table in the center of the room, and on shelves against the wall were ranged a number of curiously-shaped bottles.
It was, in fact, the divining-room of a professional fortune-teller.
The room was vacant when Moriarity opened the door, but as he threw it back, a small bell was sounded.
Almost instantly heavy curtains which hung opposite the door were pushed aside, and the fortune-teller appeared.
Advancing with stately strides, her tall form erect and her hands clasped before her, she fastened a pair of cruel, glittering eyes on Moriarity and in a deep voice asked:
"Why this intrusion at this late hour?"
"Oh! drop that stuff, Nance; it won't go down with us; we're no gulls to have pretty things told us by giving you a dollar."
Recognizing her visitor, Nance, in her natural tone, inquired sharply:
"What do you want at this time of night?"
"In the first place we want you to keep your mouth shut. In the next place you must find a place for a man we've got here, and keep him for a while."
"You're a loving nephew, you are, Dan Moriarity, Oh! you come around and see your old aunt when you're up to some devilment, I'm bound."
Moriarity, not deigning to reply to this speech, had gone back to his companion, and now returned with the form of the detective between them.
"My God! you haven't killed him, Dan?"
"He has a pretty sore head, I reckon, but nothing worse. Take us up- stairs."
Following Nance, the men carried Chip behind the curtain, through another room, and ascended a flight of stairs.
Nance threw open a door and Chip was placed upon a bed. The room was sumptuously, even elegantly, furnished. Pictures adorned the walls, a heavy carpet deadened the sound of the feet, and rich curtains kept back the too-inquisitive light.
Chip, wounded and insensible, was in the house of the "widow," the rendezvous of a daring band of robbers and the birth-place of many a dashing raid or successful bank robbery.
IN THE TOILS.
The dark shadow that had followed Cummings and Moriarity from the distillery to Cook's cooper-shop was none other than the assumed Barney O'Hara, who had aired his heels so jauntily in the saloon that afternoon.
Watching on the outside while Chip was working Cook, he had spotted and shadowed the two men as they came down the road.
The careless exposure of his face to Cummings through the window was the cause of the latter's sudden attempt to catch him.
His nimble heels again stood him in good stead, and in the darkness he easily eluded his pursuer.
Cummings gave up the chase, and returning just in time, had stopped Chip's success by knocking him down with a slungshot and carrying him off.
When Barney, or, rather, Sam, returned to renew his investigation, he found the shop empty, save the intoxicated Cook.
Thinking his late pursuer and his companion had taken the alarm, and that Chip was now doubtless shadowing them, he walked into the shop, and, true to his detective instincts and education, began a diligent search of the place.
He was actively engaged in this work when the sound of hasty footsteps reached his ears. Throwing himself flat on the floor, behind a pile of barrel staves, he drew his revolver and waited. The steps passed by, however, and Sam quickly but quietly left the shop.
He could barely see the form of a man walking rapidly down the street to the horse-car track.
As he passed the window of the saloon the light fell on him, and Sam saw it was one of the two men who had just left the cooper-shop.
Following closely, using all his skill as a successful shadow, he trailed the man to the car, and boarding the front platform rode into town.
Passing a livery stable the man left the car, still followed by Sam.
When Moriarity, for it was he whom Sam was trailing, rode back to the river, Sam was perched on behind the hack.
He saw the wounded Chip placed inside, thanks to the darkness, and still hanging on the back of the carriage was carried back to town.
When the two train robbers turned into the alley Sam was right behind them, so close that he could hear their labored breathing. Suddenly, as if they had been swallowed by the earth, he was left alone in the dark, nonplussed and outwitted.
Not a point of light was visible, and settling himself against the wall of a building, Sam started in for an all-night watch.
He understood the case at once. Chip had been knocked down by the renegades, and, probably still insensible, had been carried to their haunt. Knocked down, either because they had discovered his disguise, or had suspected him.
He was now firmly convinced that if Cook was not an accomplice in the train robbery, he was involved in something criminal, and Sam regretted that he had not been more thorough in his investigations. Now that Chip was in the hands of his enemies, all others sank into insignificance; so with keen eyes and sharp ears, Sam kept his solitary vigil.
The gray dawn of the morning had taken the place of the night, and Sam, under the shadow of a convenient shed door had heard or seen nothing pass his post. The day grew stronger, and, chilled to the bone, the disappointed detective left the alley and wended his way to his boarding-house.
The cause of the sudden disappearance of the two robbers the reader is acquainted with, and the reason Sam failed to see them again was because they had left the house by another exit.
The widow, acting as a go-between and a fence for the light-fingered gentry who patronized her establishment, hid her real calling with the guise of a fortune-teller, and her house, poorly furnished, damp and moldy when entered from the alley, was well furnished in the upper stories.
The room in which Chip was confined was the sybil's chief pride. Every article of furniture, every bit of painting, the carpets, and even the base-burning stove, were the trophies of successful robberies.
The very sheets and towels had been deftly purloined by the widow herself.
It was this stronghold of the "gang," to which Chip, battered and insensible, had been brought by his captors.
Cummings, who from his actions was no stranger to the house, in brief authoritative tones, bade the witch to take charge of this prisoner until further disposition could be made of him.
The widow listened to his words, and with the submission which all his associates rendered to him, promised to do all he commanded.
The first gleam of the morning warned the two men that they must seek their cover, for despite Jim's natural boldness and daring, he was cautious and careful. Instead of descending to the room which had its entrance from the alley, they mounted another flight of stairs, and gaining the roof by means of the scuttle, walked the flat mansard until another hatch-door was reached, and through it they entered a quiet, unassuming appearing house, which stood on the side street from which the alley branched.
The house, though completely furnished, was vacant, and the men reached the street without meeting any one.
Cummings and Moriarity having left, the widow, for the first time ventured to look at her new charge. Her keen eyes noted the disguise which Chip had adopted. The wicked blow which had brought him to this plight had moved the red wig to one side and disclosed the dark clustering hair, now bathed and soaked in his blood.
He was still unconscious, but his strong constitution was regaining its sway, and he moved uneasily on his soft couch.
The widow, now remembering the commands which Cummings had laid upon her, hastened to bring water, and washed the wound. The slung shot had struck squarely across the crown of the head, but the cut was not very large or deep, and the widow, with ready skill, bound it neatly with bandages, and holding a brandy flask to his mouth forced some of its contents down his throat.
The color came back to the detective's face, and in a few moments his eyes opened, and with a dazed expression wandered over the room.
The widow, as she noticed the first signs of returning consciousness had retired from the room, now, with consummate skill, put a kindly, even tender, look toward the sufferer as she reappeared through the door.
Chip, still very much bewildered, his head feeling as though it was whirling off his shoulders, heard a pleasant voice asking: "And how is my poor boy, now?"
Chip gazed vacantly at her, as he responded:
"Who are you? Where am I—my head—"
"Come, come, don't talk. Take this medicine like a good boy, and go to sleep."
With childlike obedience the detective swallowed the draught, which soon took possession of his senses, and he fell asleep.
The widow quietly sat beside him until the opiate had taken full effect. Then muttering "You are safe for four and twenty hours," she descended to her divining-room, leaving the detective deep in slumber, and in complete ignorance of his surroundings.
ON THE WATCH.
Sam Slade and Chip had been comrades at arms for almost two years. Many a dashing capture had they made Adventures and hair-breadth escapes were of frequent occurrence with the two "dare-devils," as the force had dubbed them, and before now each had saved the other's life by some bold stroke or skillful strategy.
Satisfied that Chip was in danger, if not of his life at least of his liberty, Sam hastened to his room, and with the aid of soap and water resumed his natural appearance. The jaunty-looking Irish lad, Barney O'Hara, would never be recognized in the young gentleman who looked at you through gold-rimmed spectacles, with soft gray eyes, and whose sober demeanor and grave countenance bore the stamp of the student or minister.
It was this metamorphized individual that walked languidly to the breakfast table and responded in gentle tones to the woman's salutations which greeted him. Breakfast served and over, Sam again sought his room. His boarding-house had been selected entirely on account of this room. The room had once been occupied by a physician as his office, and, standing on the corner of two streets, had a side entrance to it besides the entrance from the main portion of the house.