The Mystery of Monastery Farm
By H. R. NAYLOR
A GREAT BANK ROBBERY
On the eleventh day of April, 18—, the officers of the Bank of England were greatly excited on receiving notice of a special meeting called for that night at ten o'clock, an unusual hour, and indicating, surely, something of great importance. Promptly at the hour appointed fifteen directors occupied their usual places in the council chamber. There were also present two paying tellers, which was not usual. Besides these two bank clerks was observed Major Andrews, the well-known chief of the Bow Street detective service, and by his side sat two of his assistants. As yet, there were only five persons present who knew the cause of this meeting—the president, cashier, and the chief and his assistants.
No time was permitted to waste. The president of the bank in a few nervous words asked the cashier to state the object of the call. Mr. Bone at once stated that there were strong indications that a robbery of the bank had been perpetrated; that a large amount of currency had been abstracted from the paying teller's room. Hence this sudden call for consultation; this, also, accounted for the unusual presence of Chief Andrews and his colleagues. He then called on Mr. Roe, the senior paying teller, to make a statement of what he knew of the matter.
Mr. Roe arose, and told that at nine o'clock that morning in his preparations for business he had brought from the vault a quantity of currency and placed it with other moneys on a side table conveniently situate for ready use. And that when, about two o'clock, he had occasion for its use, it was gone. Everything possible had been done to gain a clue, but there was not the slightest thing upon which to hang the faintest suspicion.
Major Andrews, stepping in front of the table, then requested permission to ask Mr. Roe a few questions simply for information. This permission was at once granted.
"Mr. Roe," asked the chief, "what was the general appearance of this money? Was it loose or in a package?"
"It was a neat package," replied Mr. Roe, "wrapped in brown paper, with its character and value marked distinctly on the wrapper."
"You say," said the chief, "'character and value distinctly marked on the wrapper.' Please to explain what you mean by these terms."
"I mean," replied the teller, "by 'character' that there were one hundred and fifty one-thousand-pound notes, and by 'value' the value of the package—one hundred and fifty thousand pounds."
"Mr. Roe," continued the major, "is it the custom of your department to have so large an amount of currency upon your side table?"
"No, sir," replied the teller, "but I had been notified that a large draft would be presented today, and this package came nearest to the amount spoken of; consequently, I selected and brought it to my table out of the vault to be in readiness to pay the draft when presented."
"You say you had been notified that a large draft would be presented. May I ask who notified you?"
"The cashier told me this morning when we were getting ready to open," was the prompt reply.
"Mr. Roe, when did you last see this money?"
"This morning about a quarter after nine, when it was placed upon my table; I counted the notes."
"Mr. Roe, do you feel free to tell the Board the name of the party who was expected to draw on you for this large amount?"
The teller's head dropped somewhat, and after a slight hesitation he replied: "Major, I cannot do this in accordance with the rules of the bank."
"Ah! that is all right, Mr. Roe; I forgot your rules. We can get at this in some other way. Mr. Roe, will you tell us if you did cash the large draft today which you say the cashier had indicated?"
"Yes, sir. I cashed a draft for one hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds."
"Mr. Roe, was anyone in your room during banking hours?"
"Yes, the president and cashier both visited my room; it is their custom and, I believe, duty to do so each day."
"When did you first miss the package?"
"When the large draft was presented about two o'clock."
"What did you do then?"
"I spoke through the 'phone to Mr. Bone, asking him to come in."
"Does not the porter come to your room occasionally?"
"He never comes into the room after nine o'clock."
"Cannot other clerks enter?"
"Not without permission. The door fastens with a spring lock."
"How about your lunch?"
"Our lunch is handed us at half-past twelve through the door which we open."
"Now, Mr. Roe, with your knowledge of the case, what is your conviction concerning this lost package of money?"
"Major, I am compelled to say that I have not the faintest suspicion as to how it was taken."
Moving suddenly around, the major looked at the cashier and said: "Mr. Bone, what was your business in the teller's room this morning?"
"It is one of my duties, morning and evening, to tally the cash taken from the vault and returned in the evening."
"How long were you there this morning?"
"Perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes."
"When were you there the next time?"
"About half-past two, when Mr. Roe 'phoned me to come to his room, and I again opened the vault, that the teller might get some money to cash the large draft of one hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds."
Much discussion followed this informal catechising, but the only thing evident was that the package was lost. How it had disappeared, or where it was, none could so much as guess. Here were twenty men—thorough business men—several of whom had had large and successful banking experience, among them a cashier than whom there was no brighter financier in the great city of London, and the chief of a peerless detective force, with two of his shrewdest colleagues. All were nonplussed, annoyed, humiliated, returning to their homes and leaving the great building in charge of half a score of sturdy watchmen, safer, it would seem, in the night than in the day.
Next day several city newspapers had the following:
"A reward of TEN THOUSAND POUNDS will be paid for the arrest of the party or parties who abstracted a valuable package of Bank of England notes April 11, 18—, from said bank. This currency can be of no value to the thieves, as the bank holds a list of the numbers, and their circulation has been ordered stopped. The receiver of any of these notes will be liable to arrest."
Nearly every important newspaper in the kingdom copied this item. Besides this, a list of the numbers of the lost notes was sent to every banking institution in England and America.
Billy Sparrow stood leaning against the gate post, looking down upon the river three hundred yards away. He and his two helpers had been cultivating corn and tobacco through a long June day; and now the sun was going down, and he was making his plans for tomorrow's work. Billy had just closed his fourth year as master of Monastery Farm. Billy was an Englishman from Durham County, having attended school in Barnard's Castle three years, with an additional two and a half years spent at the agricultural college in Darlington. He then married the girl of his choice and for four years superintended his father's farm; then, with their one child, three years old, set sail for America to seek his fortune, and four weeks later landed in New York.
Billy had letters of recommendation from the Wesleyan minister, Dr. Walsh, his father's physician, and old Squire Horner. But in vain did Billy present these credentials as he tramped the streets—nobody seemed to need his services in a city containing millions of people. Billy's capital was getting low and he was becoming discouraged. From one of those profitless tramps he was returning one evening when he observed the word "parsonage" on a door plate. He had always had a friend in a preacher in his native town; why not make the acquaintance of this one? Perhaps he might tell him of some sort of employment. Without stopping to think further he pulled the bell. In a moment or two he found himself in the presence of a young man, one but little older than himself, and the stranger was invited inside, feeling very much at home with the preacher.
After quite a lengthy conversation the preacher remarked: "You are a farmer; New York is no place for you. I would advise you to go out into the country; and, by the way, I believe I saw, a day or two since, an advertisement for a man to take charge of a farm."
After some search on the part of the minister the paper containing the announcement was found. Billy, having eagerly read the advertisement, thanked the minister, pushed the paper into his pocket, and speedily left the house. He returned to the humble apartment that he had secured, and as the little family partook of their frugal evening meal, his wife Nancy, addressing her husband, said: "I think we had better get out of this expensive city, somewhere into the country, where it is cheaper living, and where you may find something to do more to your liking."
"Well, Nancy," replied Billy, "this is the second time today that this advice has been given me, for," he added, pulling the newspaper from his pocket, "a minister gave me a paper in which there is an advertisement for a farmer, and advised me to look into it. Here it is," and he read as follows:
"WANTED—A FARMER. Wanted, competent man, not afraid of work, to take charge of a farm of two hundred acres in —— County, New York. A good house to live in, and good wages to the right man. References required. Apply by mail or in person to J. M. Quintin, Centerville Landing, —— County, New York."
"Why," exclaimed Nancy, "I believe that is providential."
After pondering the subject awhile Billy wrote to Mr. Quintin, enclosing his credentials, and mailed the letter immediately.
In less than a week he received the following reply:
"William Sparrow, Esq., New York.
"I have just received your application for the position on Monastery Farm in answer to my advertisement. In replying I want to be candid with you. In a word, unless you are an expert farmer your application cannot be considered. If, therefore, you have any doubts about being able to meet the requirements, there is no need for further correspondence. This is a first-class farm and must be worked by first-class methods. The opening is an especially good one for the right man. Perhaps you had better come up and see the place, and give us a chance to see you. Come by boat to Centerville Landing. Let me know the time of your arrival, should you decide to come, and someone will meet you.
"J.W. QUINTIN, Trustee."
Billy read this letter with somewhat mixed feelings. There was no mistaking its meaning. This man spoke out. Its very brusqueness disconcerted the unsophisticated young man. His experience was quite limited. He had managed his father's one-hundred-acre farm several years, and it had paid very well. But he had always had his father's advice; of which he would be deprived in this his greater work. He read the letter to Nancy, and she was similarly impressed.
Finally Billy remarked: "I will find the preacher and ask his advice," and without further words he started to Washington Square, where his newly-found friend lived.
He was ushered into the library. He had never seen so many books before in one place. While he was glancing around in his surprise, the preacher entered. "Good evening, Mr. Sparrow," he said. "How are you? Have you found any employment yet?"
Billy handed him the letter which had brought him there, saying: "I received this letter today, and, if you please, I should like to have your advice about it."
The preacher opened the letter, and as he did so gave a little start. Then he smiled as he glanced down at the signature. He finished reading with a decidedly happy expression on his face, and Billy asked: "Can you tell me about this place, and of the man?"
"O, yes," was the ready reply, "I know both the place and the man; the fact is, that is my county, and Quintin is my friend. I never had a better friend than Jerry Quintin. I always spend my vacation there. I lived there from the time I was ten years old until I was twenty-three, and always go there in summertime for a few weeks' rest—occupying my old room, eating with the boys, and roaming in the woods; I know every tree and bypath; yes, and many a swim have I had in the old river. Jerry Quintin," he continued, "as we used to call him. Why, I've known him since I was a child. Do you want to hear about him? Well, when he was a youth, not quite out of his teens, Mr. Thorndyke gave the land on which the Monastery stands, Quintin was made chairman of the board of trustees, and treasurer also. He has handled every dollar of the funds, superintended the erection of all the buildings, the laying off of the Monastery Park, and had charge of the farm; and through all the years no auditing committee had ever found an inaccuracy in his accounts. Foresight, sagacity, rectitude are synonymous terms with the name of Quintin. True as gold is Jerry Quintin. He always means what he says, and says just what he means. Let me assure you, there is no truer man in the Empire State than this same Quintin."
A few days later Sparrow found himself set ashore at Centerville Landing at an early hour in the morning. The first thing he saw was a plainly dressed man sitting in a buckboard who, as Sparrow approached, accosted him with the words: "Mr. Sparrow, good morning. Glad to see you. Expected to see an older man. Get in, we will go round and get some breakfast and afterward go out to the farm."
After breakfast they drove along the river road, behind an excellent team of bay horses, for a distance of about two miles, and drew up in front of a large brick house.
"This is our farm, Mr. Sparrow. We will drive on to the farm and come back to the house later."
Everything indicated thrift and prosperity. There was a great barn and stables, a capacious warehouse, out-buildings of all sorts, corn houses, hayricks, and a building for wheat, while nearby was a shed full of modern agricultural machinery. They walked through the stables; five fine horses occupied the stalls, while close at hand were not fewer than a dozen Jersey cows.
Mr. Quintin was busy describing everything—and he knew all about everything: buildings, their uses and cost; the horses, as he stroked the nose of each—breed, age, peculiarities. Each cow and heifer he knew by name and age. The machinery—he was familiar with its make and use as well as its cost. If his eyes had been bandaged, apparently he could have described everything on Monastery Farm.
They next drove back to the farmhouse. It was a substantial brick building, containing twelve spacious rooms, furnished with plain, rather old-fashioned furniture, and set back from the river road about three hundred yards; it was surrounded by a well-kept lawn, and in all respects, the place was inviting and homelike.
"Mr. Sparrow," said Quintin, "this farm contains two hundred and two acres of arable land, good land, no better, in fact, in the country. Besides, we have twenty acres of wooded land and a tenant house. This machinery is the best that we could find. We have two men—Giles and Ephraim; they are the best hands we know of, for Mr. Rixey trained them from their boyhood; there are no better. Mr. Rixey was our farmer twenty-six years. He died last November. Let us now have a look at the Monastery."
Half a mile away they came to it, a large five-story brick building in the midst of native oak trees; a wide driveway led up to the front door, while in front was a sparkling fountain. Another, a smaller building, occupied a site near by, and constituted the president's residence. The whole was inclosed with a tall iron fence.
Years before our story begins this land (three hundred acres) was donated by Richard Thorndyke, a wealthy Episcopalian, for a training school for clergymen, to which gift was added as an endowment fund one hundred thousand dollars on the condition that the church should erect suitable buildings. Thorndyke Theological Seminary was its original name; but, as the students as well as the teachers were all men, the people soon began to call it the Monastery, and in the course of years this became its common title; and the farm became known far and wide as Monastery Farm. This institution had from its inception found peculiar favor with the church as well as with the people, and the buildings were speedily erected. Two men at first were enough to do the teaching, as at the beginning there were only seventeen pupils, several of these students earning their tuition by working upon the farm. But at the time to which this story points one hundred and seventy-two students and nine professors composed the faculty besides the president, and the school was known as Monastery Classical and Theological College.
This inexperienced young Englishman as he saw all this became dismayed. This was too great an undertaking. He depreciated his own ability. This was altogether too big a job. He remembered that Nancy called it providential, but surely she was mistaken. What could he do with all that machinery? True, he had successfully managed his father's one-hundred-acre farm, but this farm was twice as large. There were likewise oxen on the place, and he had never handled a yoke of oxen. No; he would take the night boat home. Surely something more suitable would turn up.
He almost regretted having seen the advertisement. However, notwithstanding his lack of self-confidence, he presented to Mr. Quintin the letter which the preacher in New York had given him to be delivered to that gentleman.
"Ah!" exclaimed Mr. Quintin as he read, "this is from one of our best boys; you know him, eh?"
"Ah, Charlie is as true as steel, Charlie is."
"He says better words of you, Mr. Quintin," remarked Billy.
"Indeed! What does he say?"
"He says you are true as gold."
"Well, I doubt whether that is better. That is Charlie's way of showing his appreciation. But steel is better than gold. I don't know of any useful thing made of gold; but what could we do without steel?"
They drove away from the Monastery and stopped in front of the farmhouse. Then Mr. Quintin, in quiet tones, asked: "Well, Mr. Sparrow, what do you think of Monastery Farm? Would you not like to live in that good old house? I am authorized to pay the right man seven hundred dollars a year, besides house rent, garden, milk, etc. What do you think of such a chance?"
"Mr. Quintin," replied the other, slowly, "I am afraid that it is too much of an undertaking. I fear that my experience is too limited. It would perhaps be better for me to look for a lighter job. I am a farmer, Mr. Quintin, and love the work. For four years I have managed my father's small farm, and have succeeded in making some money. But this work needs a man of more experience. Everything is on a larger scale, and I fear I am not experienced enough for so large an undertaking."
Mr. Quintin was an astute reader of men and had formed a favorable opinion of this modest young man. "How old are you?" he asked.
"I am twenty-six years old next month," was the reply.
"I'm afraid you are in danger of making a mistake. You may never have an opportunity like this again. The crops for the season are all in, and the two men on the place understand everything, and during this year you can familiarize yourself with the machinery, cattle, and all other necessary details. My advice to you is to take hold and feel that you are master of the situation as you soon will be."
Quintin, in fact, was so favorably impressed with this young man of twenty-six that Billy was finally persuaded to take charge of Monastery Farm, and in two weeks the new farmer and his young wife and child were comfortably located in the old farmhouse. And time had proven that Quintin had made no mistake in this selection. Each year had enhanced his opinion of the character and ability of Sparrow; the great farm had never been so productive, the cattle had never been more thrifty, and the revenue had never been as large.
Four years had passed, and well might Billy feel quite satisfied as he stood there in his shirt sleeves at the close of a certain day looking out over the farm. While he was thus engaged a young man, tall and slight in appearance and apparently not much more than twenty years of age, approached. He was lithe and seemingly agile; a thin, brown beard covered his face, which was cheery indeed, as was the smile which shone through two big brown eyes. His clothing was well worn, and upon his shoulders or back was something resembling a soldier's knapsack, while in his hand he carried a knotty stick. Halting at the gate, where Sparrow and Nancy and the boy stood, the stranger saluted them with a courteous bow. "Good evening," he said, "may I inquire how far it is to the next village?"
"Not more than two miles," was the answer.
"Is there a tavern in the village?" was next asked.
"O, yes, two of them," was Billy's response.
"I'm looking for work," said the stranger. "Do you think I shall be able to find something to do in the village?"
"What sort of work do you want?" queried Billy with a smile.
"Anything that is honest," was the prompt reply. "What I don't know I can learn. I want to settle down, at least for a while."
"Well, now," replied Billy, "you don't look as if you could do much on a farm. If you could, I might give you a job, at least for a week or two; only farmers or carpenters are needed through this part of the country. Could you plow corn or saw wood?"
"Well," was the response, "I don't think that I could plow corn, but I could saw wood, hoe in the garden, do chores, or feed stock."
As they talked the stranger unbuckled his knapsack, and set it down on the horse block.
"Where are you from?" asked Sparrow in a somewhat abrupt tone.
"I'm from—from—well, from every place, from New York last."
"Where are you headed for?"
"Well, sir, to be honest with you, I suppose you might call me a tramp. I'm hunting for a place to settle down in, as I seem to be without friends, so one place is as good as another for me."
It was now nearly dark, and the kindly heart of Nancy prompted her to ask him if he were hungry, to which he replied that he had eaten nothing since morning. "I had a good breakfast," he added, "at a place called Tipton."
"Why," ejaculated Billy, "Tipton is twenty-two miles away."
The good wife had slipped away, and presently returned, inviting him to enter and have something to eat. As they entered the cozy dining room, turning to Mrs. Sparrow, the young man said: "My name is Edwards—Carl Edwards; I am an Englishman, and have been in this country only six weeks. I am trying to find some employment."
Billy, learning from Nancy that the stranger was a countryman of his, after he had eaten his supper, engaged him in conversation concerning the old country, during the course of which he learned that they were from the same county—he, Billy, from Barnard Castle, and Edwards from the city of Durham, which places were not more than forty miles apart. Of course Billy would not turn his countryman out to seek a lodging. So he was invited to remain for the night, which invitation the young man gladly accepted.
Next morning the stranger was found at the woodpile, busily engaged in cutting wood for the cook stove. Billy found him thus working as he returned from feeding the stock. It was a sultry morning in June and the perspiration was streaming freely down the young man's face. It was evident that this was harder work than he had been used to.
"You had better go slow for a while, Edwards, until you get toughened to it," remarked Sparrow.
Just then was heard the sound of the bell calling them to breakfast. Strange as it may seem, no more words about work passed between the two men.
Immediately after breakfast the newcomer found a hoe and spent the day in hoeing potatoes and corn in the garden. Cutting wood, bringing water to the house, feeding the poultry, assisting in feeding the horses, mules, and cows, until, before the end of a week, both Billy and Nancy wondered how they possibly got along before he came. An extensive bed of watercress had been discovered on the edge of a stream that ran through the farm and each morning the table was supplied, and a fine bouquet of wild roses and other woodland flowers was found in front of Nancy's plate, while their odor filled the breakfast room.
Another change had come in to this kind and simple-hearted family. Tom—little Tom, now seven years old and the sunbeam of the farm-house—had begged to have his cot put into the room occupied by the stranger. Up to this time Nancy had been compelled to wash and dress the lad; but now he arose when Edwards arose, washed and dressed himself, and went downstairs, remaining by the side of his new friend until called to breakfast, when he would bring in a dozen or more fresh eggs.
So the summer weeks passed by; no word had been spoken about wages. The young man was now known by the familiar name of Carl. He was recognized as the general utility man of the farm. Giles and Ephraim, the two helpers, hired by the year, went twice a month on Saturday evening to Centerville, where Mr. Quintin paid them their wages. But Carl had so far received nothing, and his clothes became very much worn and their renewal was becoming quite an apparent necessity. One Saturday afternoon Billy invited Carl to go with him to Centerville, and there he was fitted out with a good supply of everything he needed in the way of clothes. So great was the change on his return that at first the keen-eyed little Tom was not able to recognize him, but a moment later exclaimed: "Ah, Carl, I always knew you were a gentleman."
Rexford Mills was the manager of all temporal supplies of the Monastery—all food supplies, repairs, fuel, servants, etc. Three times a week his orders for vegetables, flour, corn meal, fowls, butter, eggs, milk, cheese, etc., as well as fruits in season, came to the farm. Hitherto to supply these demands devolved upon Sparrow himself, thus occupying much of his time. But during the seven months of his sojourn here, Carl had gradually and almost unconsciously become interested in the great warehouse and its contents and the triweekly demands of the family at the Monastery. Often the little wagon stood already filled with the order before Billy arrived, and Carl was found in the office crediting the farm with the morning's order on the books. This was a great relief to the farmer, as it allowed him to spend the time with the men upon the farm. So satisfactorily was this work done that Carl had really become the manager of this part of the farm's obligations. Once a month, Mr. Mills and Carl met to compare and adjust accounts, thus greatly assisting Mr. Mills in bringing an accurate report to the board of trustees. Mr. Quintin highly appreciated this accuracy, and spoke of it at every opportunity. Everything in the warehouse as well as upon the farm was in perfect order. This pleasant state of things could not long exist without becoming known in the family of students and faculty, and all soon began to be interested in the young man, the result being that invitations began to arrive for him to attend their entertainments and other functions. He was especially invited to the exercise grounds and games.
A literary and musical entertainment was to be given. It was to be a sort of Thanksgiving festival; the best speakers and singers had been engaged and they had spent much time in rehearsal. The bishop was to preside. The hour had arrived, but alas, where was the organist? No word as to the cause of his absence had been received, and a substitute must be found. Who, then, could be organist? John Keyes was the only man among them that was acquainted with the numbers; he had rehearsed them. But yesterday he had rushed away to visit his mother, who was ill, expecting to be able to return in time, and Professor Cummings was greatly disturbed because unsuccessful in finding someone to take his place. The president and faculty were approaching. They should now be singing the welcoming "Gloria." Instead, the great organ was silent. But listen! Someone had touched the keys. The audience arose simultaneously and sounded forth the grand old chorus, "Glory to God in the Highest." Few in the audience suspected that John Keyes was not at the organ. No one dreamed that the fingers pressing those keys had not during the last year and a half touched a musical instrument. But the festival went on with artistic smoothness to the finish. None was more surprised than the bishop, who at the close turned to thank the young man; but Carl had slipped away and was not to be seen. During the entire entertainment Tom sat on a stool as if he were petrified. This was the astonishment of his young life.
Next morning the stalwart voices of the students were heard as usual in their early devotions, but there were no notes of the organ accompanying them. Word had been received that Keyes himself was ill, and, strange as it may seem, of all the one hundred and seventy-four students none felt sufficiently proficient to assume his place at the organ.
"Who played the organ last night?" asked the bishop. "Why can he not play?"
"O, he is not a student. He is a young Englishman from the farm, a relative of Sparrow's," replied the professor.
"Well, why don't you secure his services until Keyes returns? I wanted to thank him last night but could not find him. That young man is a musician, whoever he is. I will go over with you and we will see Sparrow."
But they did not find the farmer; instead, they fell in with Carl in the office of the warehouse. Tom stood on a box taking a lesson in penmanship. The copy was, "Honesty is the best policy." The writing lesson was being accompanied by a lesson in honesty. The visitors listened on the other side of the thin partition to what Carl was saying to Tom.
"Honesty is telling the truth," were his words. "Honesty means not keeping back anything. Honesty means telling a thing as it is. Telling the truth—not more, not less."
The grave bishop tapped at the door which was immediately opened by Carl.
"Is Mr. Sparrow here?" asked the professor.
"No, sir," was the reply. "He has gone to Centerville, but will return by noon."
"Well," said the bishop, "we really came to see you. You play the organ, and we are minus an organist at our chapel services. Mr. Keyes, our organist, we have just learned, has been taken suddenly ill and is in the hospital. Can you serve us until he returns?"
"I hardly know how to answer you, Bishop," replied Carl, hesitatingly. "I am working for Mr. Sparrow; and, besides, I have had no practice, with the exception of last evening, for a long time, which is, of course, a serious disadvantage. But if Mr. Sparrow does not object, I will do the best I can for you."
The end of the matter was that that evening Carl conducted all the musical services in the chapel.
The news soon spread abroad that remarkable music could be heard in the Monastery, and the people flocked there from outside to hear it, and the spacious chapel became crowded at even the everyday services. This new organist improvised such harmonies as they had never heard before. And this inspiration seemed to touch the faculty as each member of it took his turn in conducting the services. Bishop Albertson preached as never before. He seemed to almost ignore his notes as he talked to the people, and the people in turn manifested a devoutness never witnessed before by a Monastery congregation. Dr. Ezra Day had ever been a favorite, but the present hour brought him a far greater degree of popularity. The veteran Dr. Peregrine Worth also preached as never before. Indeed, everything seemed to receive new life; the old monotony had departed; something new had come. What was it? Was this what the Methodists called a revival?
So marked and intense was this feeling that a meeting of the faculty and trustees was called. Was this a modern Pentecost? So Worth said; so Cummings thought. A great meeting was held for consultation and the people were publicly invited. Everyone declared a church should be organized. The bishop was in favor of this, and at the proper time one hundred and eighteen persons presented themselves as candidates for confirmation. Up to this time what was known as Monastery was simply a scientific and theological seminary. Its faculty was composed of educated clergymen. It was a college with a bishop as president, supported by the church at large and the products of the farm, having a board of trustees to hold and manage the estate according to the laws of the commonwealth. Now it was to become an organized parish church and, in addition, the center of a diocese. The bishop was to assume the duties of the rector, with the members of the faculty as his assistants, and the trustees were incorporated as the "Board of Trustees of Monastery Church and College," according to law. This was a new regime for Bishop Albertson, who, years before, had been rector of a small parish in Virginia. Even at that time he was a rigid churchman and a profound scholar, and because of these and other qualifications he had unexpectedly been elevated to the episcopal office. Soon after this well-merited promotion he had been earnestly requested to take this young seminary under his care and superintendence, and had cheerfully accepted this added responsibility. From that time he had made Monastery his home and the headquarters of his diocese. It continued to be "a school of the prophets" during ten years, when it was granted a university charter and it became a school of classics as well as theology. No one ever felt disappointed at this appointment of Bishop Albertson to the presidency of the institution, which under his care had grown from a small seminary with seventeen students to its present proportions and standing in the state. Now there were seventy-two theological students and two hundred and forty-five in the classical and scientific courses. This had been done under the fostering care and superintendency of the present incumbent. This institution had been simply a high-grade school of classics and theology, principally the latter. Experimental religion had but a small place in its curriculum or life. "Thou shalt not" of the Old Testament was strictly taught and demanded of all. But "Thou shalt" of the New Testament was rarely thought of, much less practiced. So apparent was this that critical observers used to say of it: "Here is where they have neither religion nor politics." And this local adage was literally true. The highest morality was practiced and demanded, but the dogmas which insisted upon the regeneration of the heart and life were very sparingly taught. Morality in its highest life was demanded of all, but the inner life was left to take care of itself.
But now, something had happened; here was a change. Even the organ spoke with a new voice; the prayer book meant more than it had in the past—everything spoke with a new tongue. Here was an amount of emotion that was new and strange, and the responses in the services were more prompt and fervent. The bishop ceased to read his sermons and talked as one who had authority. His voice was more distinct. The audiences heard him as never before. Several of the professors who had always been spoken of as unattractive and uninteresting became exactly the reverse. Young men were found praying in their rooms. In one of them the bishop was heard leading a score of young men in prayer. Old-fashioned and old-time hymns were sung, fervent responses were heard, and scores of persons from roundabout professed to have found Christ. During six weeks this wonderful influence was felt. It extended for miles throughout the country. During that time four hundred persons took upon themselves the obligations of the Christian profession and Monastery Church became a great power through the county.
Mr. Keyes, the organist, had died in the hospital, and Carl had been appointed in his place as organist and musical director. He very soon organized a choir of forty persons. And this was not all that added responsibility to this young man's life. The bishop, realizing the growing responsibilities of his work, appointed him his private secretary, which necessarily took him away from all the work on the farm; but even this did not separate him from the farmhouse. He continued to sleep there in "Carl and Tom's room," and, excepting during school hours, wherever you found Carl Tom was not far away.
The grand old man, Dr. George Thorndyke, who gave three hundred acres of land for a "school for prophets," little dreamed that his gift was to develop to such proportions, and become, also, a great influential church, a great center of religious influence, whose power would be felt miles around.
But the college chapel was neither fit nor large enough for the demands which were now pressing upon it. They must have a building capacious and suitable in which to worship. And now the true character of the great revival was seen in the prompt responses of the people; more generous were they than the ancient people who built the temple, and in the course of a few months a large and beautiful church was erected capable of seating twelve hundred people. As this building neared completion the building committee began to prepare for its dedication. The chief clergyman to be invited was an old friend and classmate of Bishop Albertson—Bishop McLaren, of Durham, England. There was to be, of course, select music; the singing must not be inferior to that which Bishop McLaren listened to in his cathedral home. Carl was told that the Durham singers were known throughout the kingdom as superb, and he must do his best in drilling his choir.
But there seemed to be, if not a lack of interest, at least a lack of energy. For many weeks before the time Carl assembled the choir for special rehearsal at least twice a week. And while progress was made, yet there seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm in both singers and organist. The cause of this was soon apparent. Carl was ill; and the day that the president went to New York to meet his friend, Carl was attacked with a raging fever. It was seen very quickly that the young man ought to have given up much sooner and the best medical aid was hastily summoned. Of course a substitute must be provided, and the committee succeeded in securing the services of Professor Schuets, from New York, to have charge of the organ and music during the dedicatory services. When the day (the Sabbath) for the great service came Carl lay in his bed delirious with typhoid fever. Nancy Sparrow was his faithful nurse, while Tom was hands and feet to his mother. It was really pathetic to see the little fellow as he sat near the bed so vigilant and anxious in his desire to be of service. And when the doctor came, how his great blue eyes watched his every movement! Then he would waylay the doctor as he left the house, asking if Carl were not improving, and if he would not be up in a few days. But the physician did not dare encourage the boy. It was soon observed that every morning and evening, immediately after the doctor's visits, Tom walked over to the office in the warehouse, where Giles more than once found him engaged in earnest prayer for Carl's recovery.
"I tell you, Mrs. Sparrow," said Giles on one of these occasions, "Carl will get well. Tom talked to God today, and I don't believe that God will refuse the little fellow what he wants."
It was on one of those visits that Billy, who was in the root cellar under the warehouse, heard the lad's footsteps and, slipping upstairs, listened to the prayer of his boy. These were his words: "Dear Father in heaven, maybe you are tired of hearing me ask you for the same thing so many times, but there is nothing else that I want; but I do want Carl. I would not have to ask my earthly father so often, if he could possibly do it; but he isn't able. You are able and, somehow, I can't understand why you don't. Father and mother and I all love Carl; he is one of us; and what would the bishop do without him? And now, dear Father, I'm going back to the house to see if he isn't better. I know you will do it. Amen."
The two prelates sat in the resident bishop's study. "There is a sample of my secretary's work," said Bishop Albertson, as he handed an account book to his friend, "and it is as accurate as it is beautiful."
Bishop McLaren started when his eyes fell upon the ledger. After a moment's hesitancy he remarked: "Never but in one instance have I seen as fine work. That was the writing of my own dear boy; those capitals are just like his. Ah, well."
On the afternoon of the Sabbath the two bishops strolled across the park, and almost unconsciously found themselves in front of the farmhouse. Little Tom sat on the front steps with a sad countenance; looking up he recognized Bishop Albertson standing before him.
"Well, Tom, how is Carl today?" asked the bishop.
"O, Bishop, he is very bad. He talks and talks, and they don't know what he means. He talks about his father and mother, and nobody knows where they live. He never told anybody. But I'm praying for him, Bishop, and I know he won't die."
"Can we go up and see him?" asked Bishop Albertson, and without waiting for an answer, he proceeded up the back stairs, but the English visitor remained below.
When Bishop Albertson entered the room he found Nancy bathing the sick youth's brow. She saluted the visitor with great respect. Carl lay quite still with his face toward the wall. Laying her hand upon his brow, Nancy said: "Carl, dear, here's the bishop come over to see you."
The sick man murmured: "No, no, he will never come to see me, but mother would if she knew."
The bishop in low, quiet tones said: "Carl, where is your father? We will let him know how ill you are, and I know he will come to you."
In still weaker accents the delirious youth went on: "No, no, don't tell him; he thinks I'm dead; better so."
At this moment Dr. King, making his second call for the day, stepped into the room, and at once in low but emphatic tones remarked: "Mrs. Sparrow, this will not do. Our patient must be kept quiet; otherwise more harm can be done in a half hour than can be overcome in a week. I will send a nurse tonight, and with skillful nursing we will, if possible, save the patient."
The bishop took the hint and quietly descended to the parlor, where he found his colleague awaiting him with his head resting upon both hands. Silently they wended their way to the bishop's study. It lacked about an hour to the time of evening service.
The visiting clergyman, addressing his host said: "Bishop Albertson, I think I have never told you the particulars of my great affliction. The illness of your secretary, and seeing the specimen of his penmanship, brings back to my recollection the darkest providence that has ever come into my life."
"No, Bishop," said his brother minister, kindly, "you have not. But sorrow passes few of us by in this world. We all suffer, some grievously. I did not suspect, however, that such had been your lot."
"Yes," was the reply, after a moment's silence, "mine has been a heavy cross. A little more than a year ago my son, just entering upon the summer vacation, went off with two friends on a yachting trip. They were near Land's End when a hurricane struck and wrecked the boat; they were all lost, the yacht never having been seen again; and once this afternoon, when the door of your secretary's room was opened for a moment, I heard his delirious cry, and his voice sounded strangely like that of my own lost boy. Possibly, I, too, should have gone up to see him, but after that I could not—I could not." He paused and then added: "O, it was my profoundest wish that Eddie might some day take my place, and be the comfort of my old age."
That evening's sermon will never be forgotten by the large congregation which came to hear the eminent English divine. "Thou destroyest the hopes of man" was the text.
Two days later the Bishop of Durham returned to his home, and although he had enjoyed seeing the classmate of his early years, the affliction in Bishop Albertson's home had reminded him of his own sad loss, so that when he arrived at Durham he felt prostrated by the renewal of his bitter bereavement.
The new nurse would not permit even Tom to enter the sick man's room, so he waylaid the doctor at every visit, and, stern as he was, that professional gentleman was compelled through sheer sympathy to speak as encouragingly as possible to the lad.
Every morning Tom brought from the garden a handful of flowers and, tapping gently at the sick man's door, handed them to the nurse, who, giving him a more hopeful word concerning the patient, would send him with light heart downstairs to his mother to report the good news. One morning the boy brought a bunch of roses and violets, and gave them to Enoch, the nurse, who received them with greater cordiality than usual, remarking as he accepted the flowers: "Mr. Carl is much better. You shall see him tomorrow."
The joyous-hearted boy bounded downstairs and, throwing his arms around his mother's neck, repeated the words of the nurse. Enoch met Tom in the hall next day. The lad was dressed in his best clothes and was nervously impatient. "Now Tom," said Enoch, "promise me that you will not talk, and you must not cry, and, remember, you can only stay ten minutes."
"All right! I'll promise anything, only let me see my Carl."
But Enoch's patience was tried at the very start. Tom tiptoed into the room, and as he saw the pale smiling face of Carl and heard his welcome he threw his arms around the sick man's neck, and sobbed through his tears: "Carl, my Carl, you're nearly well, aren't you?"
Enoch, standing near the bed, placed his finger upon his lips, but Tom did not recognize his admonition, and kept on giving expression to his happiness. "Carl," said he, "God has given you back to us. I told mother that he would, and he has."
The pleasure of Bishop McLaren's visit was plainly lessened by the illness of the young secretary. The family of his host were all anxious, and the members of the faculty were visibly affected. Even the servants about the place felt concern for the young secretary and whispered many exaggerated stories concerning the case. But the crisis had been passed, and Carl began to improve. After a slow recovery he took up his accustomed duties, and church and school work fell back into its old routine. But six weeks of typhoid fever had greatly emaciated the young secretary. The buoyancy and brightness seemed to have left him. He had been fond of athletic sports, but now he apparently cared nothing for them. With Tom he would walk over to the exercise grounds and, seated in a chair, would watch the students in their games, seldom speaking and never elated.
The kindly bishop watched the young man closely and, after much serious thought, wrote to his personal friend, Dr. Marmion, of New York, inviting him to the Monastery to take a day or two of rest. Nancy exhausted her ingenuity to tempt and increase his appetite, but nothing served to help him, and what made matters worse, he seemed to have no desire to improve. True, he was just as exact and faithful in the discharge of his official duties, and in the correspondence, which was without dictation, there was quite as much courtesy, but it all lacked that freshness that had marked the past. The organ gave forth notes just as harmonious and perfect, but the music lacked the brilliancy and uplifting power that had hitherto characterized it. Indeed, his youthfulness seemed to have departed, and maturity, if not old age, taken its place. Previously Carl's full and joyous laugh had attracted scores toward him; now, however, a quiet smile was frequently the only indication that he was pleased, and even a sprinkling of gray hair was here and there seen among the curly brown locks. Once it had been a trick of his to leap from the ground to the back of Allick, Sparrow's tallest horse, but he now declined mounting a horse at all. The strong and springy step was gone and his feet shuffled like those of a very old man.
One day the bishop entered the office where Carl was at work, accompanied by a plain-looking man, possibly forty years of age. He was of medium stature, with broad and prominent brow, great brown eyes, and prominent nose. But the most significant and impressive feature of the man's face was his eyes—large, brown, and possessed of that peculiar quality which made them grow luminous when he was much interested and almost frightful when excited. He was introduced to Carl as Mr. Marmion, from New York. As Carl had no particular interest in the New York gentleman, after a few words of commonplaces he turned away and resumed his work; but the bishop having slipped out, the stranger seemed to call for the courtesy of the secretary.
"Take that easy chair, Mr. Marmion," said Carl. "Bishop Albertson will no doubt return presently."
"Bishop Albertson tells me that you are just recovering from a severe illness, Mr. Edwards," said Mr. Marmion, as he sat down in the comfortable chair.
"Yes, I have been quite ill with typhoid fever," was the reply.
"Are you sleeping and eating well?"
"No, not by any means. If I am gaining at all, it is a very slow gain. I have almost an aversion to food, and every exertion is a task."
"Ah, that ought not to be," said the gentleman. "You are surely not gaining if you can neither eat nor sleep. Perhaps your liver is not right. What is the doctor giving you?" Carl handed him the bottle containing the medicine, which he uncorked and after touching the liquid to his tongue remarked: "It seems to be the right stuff. I'm something of a doctor, myself, and I must help to shake up that liver. Who is your doctor?"
"Ah, yes—Hiram King. I know him."
The seemingly mere friendly interest of the doctor aroused in Carl no suspicion that he was the direct object of his visit, and that the conversation really constituted a diagnosis of his case.
After a short silence, Dr. Marmion incidentally, seemingly, asked: "You have no financial difficulties have you?"
"No, doctor," was the prompt reply. "Bishop Albertson allows me a very generous salary, and I have few demands."
"You have never been in the habit of dissipating, I am sure?"
"No, indeed; this is no place for dissipation, and before coming here, I was in school, where such a practice would have been impossible. I am as regular in my habits as when a boy in my father's house in England."
"Oh! Ah! You are an Englishman. From what part of England are you?"
"The north of England," was the short reply.
"Mr. Edwards, excuse me, but have you any great trouble upon your heart? That sometimes causes trouble, an actual physical disturbance, you know."
The young man, who up to this time had evinced no particular interest in the conversation, now hesitated, so much so, in fact, that the doctor repeated his question, adding: "There is but little prospect of helping the body, if there is a secret enemy affecting the heart and mind. This will always create trouble in the digestive organs."
To these words Carl replied somewhat nervously: "I suppose that, like most young men, I have regrets concerning my earlier life. There are some things that I am sorry for having done, and other duties that I have neglected, for which delinquencies I am sorry."
So entirely informal had been the discussion that Carl still did not suspect that he had been under examination. And the sagacious doctor having gained some information, quite as much, indeed, as he had expected in the first interview, abstained from pushing the matter for the present, and adroitly changed the subject; but while he continued to converse easily with the young man, he felt assured that he was on the right track. And when, later, he was telling the bishop about it, he declared that he felt sure it was a disturbed mind and uneasy conscience, more than any particular functional disorder, that was robbing the young man of his vitality. But after two days had passed, and he had taken advantage of every opportunity, he concluded that he would take the midnight boat for New York, his mission having been fruitless.
Two men sat in a secluded room on a quiet street in London. To look at the building from the street it would have been taken for a modest dwelling house. The room they occupied was spacious, furnished with several desks and tables and lounge and easy chairs. One of the men was large and white-haired, upon whose vest a golden star sparkled. But for this badge of authority he would have passed merely for a well-dressed business man. The other was a younger man, possibly not more than thirty years old. There was nothing remarkable in his appearance; he was tall and well proportioned with every indication of strength and vigor. He looked through large brown and sparkling eyes, a full brown beard covered his face and his head was covered with a heavy suit of hair somewhat darker than his beard.
"Lucas," said the older man to a stalwart colored attendant, "you can go now, and be sure to admit no one until I ring."
The speaker was the chief of the Bow Street detective service; the other was his youngest colleague. His name was Job Worth. He had belonged to the force three years, and in several instances had achieved more than ordinary success. He was known as Number 11. Job had graduated four years ago from Burrough Road Institute, and soon after received an appointment of secretary of the Legation at Washington, United States. In this honorable office he had spent one year, but the work did not suit his strenuous nature, and he returned home and soon afterward received an appointment in this detective service. Job was known in the force as quiet, self-contained, observant, patient, and was possessed of an extraordinarily retentive memory. Rarely was it necessary for him to say, "I have forgotten."
"Major," said Worth, as soon as they were alone, "I asked this private interview to talk to you about the bank robbery which occurred on the eleventh of last April."
"Well," replied the chief, "do you know anything new?"
"No, nothing certain, but I have a new suspicion."
"Suspicion," said the other, "suspicion doesn't amount to much. But what do you suspect?"
"Well, I suspect that certain parties got that money, and I want to submit the matter to you before I go any further."
"That is all right, Job. If there is enough in your suspicions, you shall not lack the authority to act. Proceed."
"Well," said Worth, "if the bank people will grant me permission, I can show them how that package of money was extracted."
"That," replied the chief, "might interest them somewhat; at the same time what they want is not to be given an exhibition of expertness in bank robbing, but to be shown how the money can be restored. In short, how it was taken is secondary to the matter of how to get it back. Anything else?"
"Of course, but I propose to show not only how it was taken but also to get on to the track of the fellows that took it."
"That is more like it," said the chief, quietly. "If you can do that, your reputation as a detective will climb pretty high. And there will be money in it for you besides. Go ahead."
"You remember," continued Job, "that just at that time, almost the same date—it was only two or three days later—three young men from Burrough Road (my old school) were drowned from a yacht in the channel off Land's End."
"Yes, I remember that incident," said the chief. "Judge Thurston's son, Bishop McLaren's boy, and another by the name of Blair."
"Well," said Job, "I don't believe they were drowned. I believe that the so-called yacht was nothing but an old tub that they bought for a trifle and burned, and then in disguise they left for foreign parts; in fact, I believe I know where one of them is."
"Just a moment, Job," said Andrews, interrupting, "has it occurred to you that every passenger's name is recorded on the ship's passenger list?"
"Exactly," admitted Job, "but who has ever examined any particular passenger list? And who, having robbed a bank, would give his true name? Then there are other ways of crossing the ocean besides a regular ocean steamer."
"Well," replied the chief, doubtfully, "ambition can construct many theories, but, really, you know, theories are worthless unless supported by something more than suspicion, and I fear your case is more of suspicion than of evidence."
"All I want," replied Job, earnestly, "is that you will allow me to follow my suspicions for the next three months."
"Very well," was the reply, "but let me advise you to go slowly. Be discreet. Remember there are other men also at work on this case."
"Thank you," replied Job with pleased emphasis, "I will remember. Please prepare my credentials and arrange for my expenses; and," he added, "I desire a warrant for the arrest of James Thurston."
That evening, Job visited his club, where he was quite popular, and was received with customary good will. One man in particular seemed much pleased to see him. He was sitting alone at a small table, sipping coffee and at intervals emitting a cloud of smoke from a half-smoked cigar. Shaking hands with Worth, he said, as he offered his cigar case: "Mr. Worth, I'm glad to meet you again. I haven't seen you for more than a year. Won't you join me in a cup of this delightful beverage?"
"Thank you, Captain," responded Worth. "I shall be delighted. We haven't met, I believe, since we crossed the water together three years ago."
"That is so," replied the captain, as Worth sat down.
Captain Johnson was the captain and part owner of a large merchant ship, and had arrived the day before from New Orleans.
"How does it happen, Captain," asked Job, as he lighted his cigar, "that you come from New Orleans? Your trip used to be New York and London."
"Yes," replied the captain, "that was my trip up to about three years ago. I now make alternate trips to New York and New Orleans. There is more money in it for the company."
"I think you still carry a few passengers?"
"Yes; a little more than a year ago three young fellows prevailed upon me to carry them across. About that time I enlarged my cabin, and since then I have been carrying from four to twenty passengers each trip."
When the captain spoke of carrying to New York three passengers a year before Worth became quietly interested. Accordingly, he inquired who the three young fellows were that were his first passengers.
"O, they were three young chaps going to America to seek their fortunes. Their names I've forgotten. The most I remember of that trip is that it was the stormiest passage I've ever made. It was a six weeks' voyage, and the worst of it was we could not have a fire, and, consequently, could not cook anything, and had to live on hard tack and raw pork, or beef. I tell you, those young fellows were unanimous in declaring that they had their fill of the seafaring life."
"Have you ever met them since?"
"No." was the reply. "We parted at the dock. I have sometimes wondered what success they had. They were quite young."
About three weeks later Job Worth landed in New York City, and, guided by an advertisement in the newspaper, he found a select boarding house on Clinton Place and engaged a convenient room with board for an indefinite term. Job represented himself as a gentleman traveling for pleasure—and information, he might have added, for his quest for the latter certainly took him nearly everywhere. Thus he visited the theatres, concert halls, casinos, and other places of amusement. He called at the private office of the Pinkerton Detective Agency several times, but nothing was accomplished. He mingled with the congregations of the more popular churches, with his mind and eyes upon the people more than upon the preacher, but without results.
One morning he sat in the reception room of his boarding place feeling somewhat discouraged. He was reading a morning paper, when a young girl, the daughter of the lady of the house, tripped along the hall holding several letters which the postman had just handed in.
"O, Mr. Worth," she exclaimed, "I want to show you the picture of my last beau. He is a countryman of yours. He promised to send me his photograph, and here it is. He is good looking, isn't he?" And she handed the card to Worth. "I didn't expect him to keep his promise," she concluded.
As Worth glanced at the picture, he was startled, for his eyes fell upon a face he had seen in the junior class a year ago at Burrough Road commencement. Turning the card over, he read on the back: "From your ever true friend and well-wisher, J.G. Markham, Evansville, Indiana."
"What is your friend's name?" asked Worth.
"James Thorne," answered the girl. "Did you ever see him?"
In an indifferent tone Worth replied: "Don't know anybody of that name."
In thirty-six hours the young detective found himself domiciled in a quiet little hotel, the Mount Vernon, on the wharf of the Ohio River, at Evansville, Indiana. He selected this house because of its retired location. He knew that it was just as necessary for him to keep out of the sight of the man he sought as it was for the thief to keep outside the pale of his vision. He easily found the photograph gallery of Markham, but nothing of a satisfactory nature developed. True, the negative was at last found with a number 1,761 upon it, but no name, and the artist didn't so much as remember the face.
The hotel registers were next inspected without giving any clue. Now the young detective quietly took account of the evidence in his possession. What did he have to justify the arrest of James Thurston even in case he found him? And should he effect his arrest, the difficulty of extradition was still to be met and overcome. Could that be accomplished with the amount of evidence in hand?
He determined, in his uncertainty, to seek the advice of the British Consul, Mr. Harris, residing at Louisville, Kentucky, and accordingly he repaired to that city on the following day. The Consul recognized Worth's credentials and treated him with cordiality. When the detective had stated the case he said: "Mr. Worth, you can't arrest a man because he was not drowned, although rumor said that he was. What has such an incident to do with a bank robbery? It is hardly fair to connect a man's name with a crime merely because he happened to disappear about the time the crime was committed. Suppose a young man did leave England suddenly and secretly, and come to America? Maybe it was not that kind of a case at all. Could not even some unsuccessful love affair on the Continent have caused his abrupt departure, rather than the robbery of a bank? Mere suspicion is not sufficient to secure a man's extradition. No doubt your own good judgment will guard you against any hasty action, which could," he concluded, significantly, "prove a rather costly proceeding in the end."
Worth left the Consul's office somewhat cast down. He asked himself what next? Should he give it up? If he quietly returned, none but the Major would be any wiser.
Next day was Sunday and, back in Evansville, he wended his way to a popular church—Trinity—where the most fashionable people were said to attend. The structure was modern and capacious, seating about twelve hundred. The weather was fine and the audience filled the room. The music was good and the service pleasing, but the sermon was too long for Worth. He had slipped into a seat near the door, from which position he could secure a better general view of the people. Job at this time had a not overly vivid recollection of the man he sought, nor a precise idea of what his course would be should he find him. It was more than a year now since he had seen him, and then it was in a crowded hall in the midst of commencement exercises.
As the congregation dispersed Job also passed out, and took a position on the sidewalk, where, without attracting attention, he could observe the retiring crowd. The bulk of the congregation had left the church; a few ladies in pairs, still lingered, when the minister, accompanied by a young man of athletic build, came out through what seemed to be a vestry door, and would have gone by without especially attracting Worth's attention, but for the words of the clergyman as they stopped directly in front of the detective.
"Well, good-by, Thorne," he said, "I'll be around to chat a while with you in a couple of hours at the Commercial."
They parted, the preacher going in one direction in company with several ladies, and the man he called Thorne in the opposite.
Worth instantly recalled the photograph owned by the girl at his boarding place and followed the man whom he heard addressed as Thorne. There was nothing remarkable in his appearance, however, nor was there anything to remind him that he had before seen him. He was a good looking man, perhaps twenty-five years of age, of medium size, broad shoulders, and elastic step. He seemed to be in no haste, for he moved leisurely along his way. Every person he met seemed to recognize him, and he in most affable manner returned their greetings.
Soon a dignified old gentleman approached, and holding out both hands said: "Good morning, George. How is your father today?"
"Good morning, Judge," responded the young man. "I saw father just before I came to church; he is much better, thank you."
"Ah! that is good," said the old gentleman, as he passed on. "Give my love to him."
"Surely, I'm off scent this time," muttered Job to himself, as he slowly followed in the steps of the young man.
Entering the Commercial Hotel, he stepped up to the desk, and turned over the pages of the register. Presently he found the name of George Thornly, room 104. Ah! this was the man he had followed. He had missed the last syllable of the name. It was Thornly instead of Thorne. He was now certainly at sea. Moving away, disgusted with himself, he walked through the spacious office, and almost ran into a man as he reached the door. Both men exclaimed in mutual surprise, "Hello!" Neither pronounced the name of the other, and yet both spoke it mentally.
Worth was the first to recover, and said: "Pardon me, I thought I recognized a friend; possibly I'm mistaken; my name is Worth. May I ask yours?"
"O," replied the other, "I have heard of you. You are connected with the Legation in Washington."
"Well," replied Worth, "I was secretary, but have resigned. Where have I met you—somewhere, I'm pretty certain. Was it in Washington? One is apt to forget names, when meeting so many."
With a slight hesitancy the other answered: "My name is Thorne. I'm a stranger here. Are you stopping here?" The young man was evidently nervous, and spoke in an uneasy manner.
Job, pointing to a chair, said, quietly: "Shall we sit down? We are both strangers." The invitation to be seated was rather reluctantly accepted, and there was a shade of suspicion seen by Worth on Thorne's face.
"Where have we met, Mr. Thorne?" asked Worth again, as if still debating that question. "Wherever it was, it must have been several years ago, if it wasn't in Washington, as I was there three years ago."
The young man seemed to recover himself on hearing this, thinking at once that Worth's residence in Washington had doubtless hindered him from hearing of any occurrences near Land's End or in London, and replied: "I'm an Englishman, like yourself. You may possibly have seen me, if you have been much in London. I spent several years in Burrough Road School."
"Indeed!" interrupted Worth, "why, that is my old school; but I must have left there before you entered, and I have only visited the institute once since I graduated. It is really a pleasure to meet in this country one of the boys of old Burrough Road. How long have you been in America?"
"I have been here about a year. I am looking around for an opportunity to invest some money with which I have been intrusted, but am making haste slowly in that respect," replied the other with a faint smile.
"Well," remarked Job, "your business is just the opposite of mine. I am looking around to find some money. Do you know of anything that I could get to do, in order to make some cash?"
"I'm afraid I don't know enough to advise you on that line," was the answer, adding: "Where are you stopping?"
"At the Mount Vernon Hotel, down on the wharf," was the reply. "It suits my pocket."
Just then the dining room doors were opened, and Thorne cordially invited Job to stay to dinner. The invitation was accepted, and they entered the dining room together.
This was a strange fellowship. Each knew the other, and knowing him was intent on outwitting him; consequently the conversation was abstract, abstruse, and uninteresting.
It was a strange phase of hospitality. When the meal was ended neither of the men could have told what he had eaten, or what he had said.
OUT HERODING HEROD
While eating dinner the younger man assumed the lead in the matter of conversation, and it became general in its character.
"Mr. Worth," remarked Thorne, "you say that economy took you to the Mount Vernon. Now, I happen to have two beds in my room. What do you say to sharing one of them with me? It will cost you no more than you are paying, and I judge that the service here is much better than in your present hotel."
This proposition rather pleased Job, and the arrangement was accordingly perfected, and the evening found the two men genially smoking their cigars quite like two old friends.
This proposition of Thorne was not as generous as Worth might have supposed. There lurked in the former's mind an indistinct suspicion. Nay, it was more than a suspicion, and he reasoned that if this man was what he feared he was, he could parry the danger better by having him under his eye, for even now he was concocting a scheme of escape. On the other hand, Worth had no doubt in his mind that this was the man he was after; but how to proceed was the question that was troubling him. The words of the Consul still gave him no little concern. He had plainly intimated that extradition would not be possible as the case stood, and he knew that he could not secure them without the Consul's recommendation.
That Sunday night was an important point of time in the lives of both these young men. Some light wine was partaken of in addition to cigars, and each was thinking his own thoughts and forming his own plans even while the conversation was on other subjects. The bank robbery in London was spoken of, and in the course of the conversation the wreck of the yacht and the drowning of the three young men also were mentioned yet neither subject seemed of much interest, although Thorne remarked that he was well acquainted with them all.
Worth allowed the younger man to lead, and really direct the conversation, being all the while convinced that Thorne was trying to draw him out, trying to find out how much or how little he knew.
It was near midnight when Job undressed and laid down on his bed, with his mind made up that in the morning at breakfast he would arrest Thorne. The latter continued to sit at a table writing after the detective had retired.
Worth soon slept, and slept soundly. This was a new experience of late; but when he awoke, to his surprise, it was broad daylight, and yet the gas was still burning brightly. His head ached, and he raised up and looked in the direction of Thorne's bed. It was unoccupied. The instant thought that something was wrong, that something unusual had transpired aroused him, and he sprang out of bed. Just then a tap on the door startled him. "Hello!" he said, "come in."
A voice replied: "Can't come in—door is locked. Do you want breakfast?"
Job sprang to his vest, which hung on a chair, to find, by his watch, what time it was; but his watch was not there. As quickly as possible he dressed himself, and in doing so, he put his hand into a secret pocket where he carried his valuable papers, and pocketbook. It was empty. Every paper, even the warrant which the London authorities had issued, authorizing Worth to arrest James Thurston, and his pocket book, containing over a hundred pounds, had disappeared and he was locked in his room. In the midst of his humiliating astonishment, his eyes rested on a paper neatly folded and addressed to Job Worth, Esq., Bow Street Detective, London, England. Opening it, he read as follows:
"You will doubtless be surprised on perusing this affectionate note. I know you, of course. I also know why you are here. When I met you today I at once knew it was all up with me unless I could outgeneral you—and I think I have. Part of the money you seek you will find in the bureau drawer. You are welcome to it. I have carried it around a year, and have not been able to buy so much as a cigar with it. Possibly you may be able to convince the bank that you are not one of the men who stole it. But, in return for making you so liberal a bequest, I have possessed myself of your watch and pocketbook. I trust that this will not distress you. My financial condition made it a necessity. I kindly fixed your wine last night in order to give you a good night's rest. When you arrest me be sure you have the needed papers. Good-by.
"JAMES THURSTON, alias THORNE."
Worth at once drew out the drawer of the bureau and found at its further end a package securely wrapped in brown paper; but fearing there still might be deception, opened it, and sure enough, he counted fifty one-thousand-pound Bank of England notes. Securely tying them together, he placed them in the secret pocket which had been so recently rifled, and started to go downstairs, but found that the porter was right, he was locked in his room. After thumping at the door, without success, he remembered seeing a bell, which he rang lustily. After a few minutes a youth came to the door and turned the key. Worth, thus released, hastened down to discover that it was eleven o'clock in the forenoon. Within two hours a warrant for the arrest of James Thurston, alias James Thorne, was issued with a description of the watch and the amount of money stolen. A notice of reward was also issued and appeared at once in the newspapers. A general alarm was sent out by the Police Department, the railroad stations and steamboat landings were vigilantly watched, but without any results. Thorne had gotten away while Worth was asleep.
Fortunately, before leaving home Worth had sewed in the lining of his coat a sum of money as a reserve fund. This had not been discovered, but for which fact he would have found himself penniless in a strange land, with only his silver star as the insignia of his identity.
"MICE AND MEN GANG AFT A-GLEY"
The return of Job Worth to London was not at all joyous. He sat upon the deck in his ship chair or lay in his bunk drawing darkest pictures of his defeat, as he called it. Nor was there any elation in his feelings when, upon his arrival at the bank, the cashier handed him a check for three thousand pounds, as a reward for the restoration of the fifty thousand pounds. Yes, it was something to be sure; yet not much. There was chagrin in it all, and he continually felt this, as he mingled with his colleagues. To him it was—well—failure. At this time, there was another meeting of the bank directors. Nearly all were present. The cashier presided. Something had happened again. Was it another robbery? But no, the atmosphere was different. Mr. Bone presented the case in a nutshell: A package had been received from New York containing fifty thousand pounds, and a letter had accompanied the money. It ran thus:
"MR. STEPHEN BONE, Cashier, Bank of England:
"Inclosed find a receipt from Express Company, which will be delivered to you, for the sum of fifty thousand pounds, which is one third of the amount borrowed from you a little over a year ago. Please to acknowledge its receipt to Express Company, and oblige,
"Yours penitently, ANDREW COURTENAY."
"This money," said the cashier, "was received yesterday and is now in the vault. Permit me to congratulate the Board upon having now received two thirds of the stolen money."
"Does anyone know who Andrew Courtenay is?" asked one of the directors.
"No," replied Mr. Bone, as the others sat silent, "I presume not. It is not vital, however, since the name is most likely fictitious."
Job Worth was given a vote of thanks for his services in restoring the fifty thousand pounds, and it was resolved that in each case where the money was refunded further prosecution would cease.
One day, soon after Job's return, he sat in his bachelor quarters, brooding over his ill luck, as he called it. So intense was his disappointment that he began to doubt his fitness for the calling he had entered, and to think seriously of resigning. True, he had been credited with two or three successful investigations, but this last undertaking could hardly be called a success. He had spent four hundred dollars in recovering one third of the stolen money, and had suffered the thief to outgeneral him. He concluded that he was stupid. Why had he not arrested him while he had a chance? But he had allowed Thurston to put him to sleep, and then possess himself of his watch and a hundred pounds of his money, slipping away while he slept, leaving him a prisoner in his own room. Surely Thurston, instead of himself, had played the detective. While in this despondent mood one of his brother officers made his appearance and was greeted with a decidedly doleful "Good morning, Nick."
But the other's response was more cheerful. "Job," he said, "I'm glad to see you again after your trip. I understand that the bank people honored you with a vote of thanks. That was a great thing you did in getting that pile of the bank's money."
Nick Hanson and Job Worth were of the same class in the department, and had been admitted on the same date. Nick was every inch an athlete, fearless and enduring. He was anything but good looking with his broad face, short limbs, and heavy body. He had made pugilism and wrestling his study, because they were his delight. Every man in the service respected his prowess. They all knew that Nick had never been out-classed in athletic sports. Yet, better than any or all of these qualifications, were his character and disposition. He was the soul of honor and gentle as a little child. He had a gentle and musical voice. Men used to say that Nick Hanson's laugh was worth fifty dollars a month. They called him "Old Nick," but no man among them was further away from that august personage in character and personality.
"Yes, Job," Nick continued as the two shook hands, "I came in to congratulate you on your successful trip and to welcome you home again. I think the bank has done the right thing by you."
It did not take many minutes for Nick to discover that his congratulations, while appreciated, were not entirely acceptable, and he went on to say: "Job, there was not a man among us that as much as suspected those kids of having done that slick job at the bank."
And, sure enough, this was true, and Worth unquestionably deserved credit for the original thought as well as for the ends accomplished. And although he had not succeeded in capturing the thief, he had restored one third of the stolen money. Surely, this merited the congratulations of all honest men.
Worth could not withstand the cheery words and more cheery laugh of his friend. Indeed no one could. None had ever heard Nick speak an angry word. He brought sunshine with him everywhere, even when engaged in the most serious work of his profession. He was the hardest man in the department to comprehend, and yet he was without a peer in frankness and good nature. Nick's genial spirit had somewhat restored job to his usual equanimity, and Nick knew it.
"It seems, Job," remarked Hanson, "that there were three of those rascals, and they divided the spoils equally. Let me see—Thurston, McLaren, and Blair. There is only one left. Is there no way to find out which it is? Two have been exempted from further prosecution, and I suppose the third one will be, if the money is given up."
"Would you know the third one if you could come across him, Nick?"
"Yes," replied Hanson, "I would know them all anywhere. And I think I could find McLaren, but since I believe he is one of the men forgiven—having given up the money—I don't want him. Blair is the fellow we want. Good-by, Job, I'm going away."
And it was four months before these two friends met again during which interval one of them, at least, had an eventful experience.
Doctor Marmion, of New York, was greatly drawn toward his young patient at the Monastery, and as he saw him daily wasting away, he concluded that something more than medicine was needed to save his life. The secretary still dragged himself through each day's work, spending the evening in his room with Tom. The day after the doctor's arrival the second time, Tom being in school and Bishop Albertson away, he found himself in the office alone with Carl. He had hardly hoped for so early an opportunity to interview his interesting patient. But taking advantage of the opportunity, exclaimed:
"Well, Carl, you have improved, I hope, since I was here?"
"I fear there has not been much improvement in my physical condition; nor do I much expect any; and, really, to tell you the truth, Doctor, I am almost wishing for the end," was the young man's reply.
"Carl," said Dr. Marmion in earnest tones, "if you would give me your confidence, I feel sure that I could help you, and I will be candid with you. If you don't give that confidence to someone, it will only be the worse for you. Disease is not the only thing that kills."
"Doctor," was the quiet reply, "I sincerely thank you for the interest you take in me, but really your words give me pleasure instead of anxiety. Truly, it is not unpleasant to be warned that I have no assurance of life. I have nothing to live for. My life is wrecked, and I have not a friend in the world. Why should I desire to prolong my life?"
"Carl," said the doctor, "listen. Everything you say springs from mistaken and blind selfishness. Yours is the spirit of the suicide and coward; surely, this is unworthy of you. And, besides, what you say is not true. Your life is not wrecked, only as you determine to wreck it. You say you have nothing to live for. I know of no young man that has more to live for. You foolishly and ungratefully say you haven't a friend in the world. You certainly know the contrary is true. Everyone who knows you is your friend. Is Bishop Albertson not your friend? Is Tom not your friend? Is that sweet young girl in the other part of the house, whom you have caused to give her innocent heart to you, not your friend? By some mistake you have crippled your life. But the good Lord, who pities his erring child, will help you to redeem and make it both useful and happy. Bear with me, Carl, when I say, if you know that there is a way by which the usefulness and happiness of your life may be restored and redeemed, and you refuse to adopt it, you will be guilty of self-murder. Forgive me for these seemingly harsh words. God knows they are true, and my only plea for thus speaking them to you is my love for you. I cannot refrain."
Carl sat with drooping head and with tears coursing down his pale cheeks. For a moment or two he sat silently sobbing; his whole frame was shaking, and looking up with a woebegone countenance, said: "Doctor, let me come to your room tonight after chapel prayers."
"Very well; I shall be glad to see you," said Doctor Marmion, kindly, and rising, he went out, leaving Carl alone.
At the close of the evening service the doctor and Carl found themselves alone in the vestry. The younger man took from the pocket of his top coat a package, and, handing it to the doctor, said: "I want you to take this package and open it; it will tell its own tale."
Somewhat surprised, the doctor went to a stand close by and did as he was requested. The next moment he stood speechless with astonishment, for he held in his hands money, English bank notes, more than he had ever before seen. What did it all mean?
"There, Doctor," sobbed Carl, who had approached him, tremblingly, "is my crime; and growing out of it is my other and greater crime. I have been and still am a living lie. My father and mother think me dead. They have suffered—how much, I cannot tell. And my father was here. His expected coming made me ill; nor did he see me. Are you surprised that I do not desire to live? Father's belief in my death is easier for him to bear than it would be to know that I am alive and a criminal."
Then it was for the first time that the doctor grasped the full story—that this gifted, promising young man, lovable and genial, so attractive as to appeal to him as no other had ever done, should, of all men, prove a thief, one who had stolen a large amount of money from the great bank. The doctor was dumfounded! He knew not what to say.
Silence prevailed for a few moments; then the doctor's good judgment inspired him to say in emphatic tones: "Carl, our first step in righting this great wrong is to get the money back to where it belongs. I will see to it. You may rely on me, and the sooner it is done, the better. I will take the next boat and tomorrow forward the money by express to London. This will not be difficult," added the doctor. "But you have before you another duty equally as great. You must next enlighten your parents concerning your existence and whereabouts."
This was truly the most difficult as well as delicate, and Carl shrank back from it. "Is it not sufficient to return the money?" he pleaded.
"No, my dear boy, the return of the money is only a part of your obligation. No part of your debt must be left unpaid. To fail here would mean utter failure. Everything in this matter must be made clear, and then you will be enabled to begin life anew."
But Carl, with anguish in his tones as well as in his countenance, exclaimed: "Must my father and mother be told everything concerning my criminality? That he has a son who deserves a prison sentence? No! no! Better to let me die; better for both mother and father as well as myself."
"Carl," sternly replied the doctor, "you know not what you ask. Would you die with a lie on your soul? You said a moment ago that you are a living lie. Would you die thus? You are willing to pay your debt to the bank, but you are not willing to be just to those who love you with a love which none but a parent can experience. I am a parent and know all about it."
"Well, Doctor," said Carl, when he had grown more composed, "can we not do one thing at a time? Can we not take the money and send it to the owners, and suffer the other matter to rest at least for the present, until we conclude how to manage it?"
"Carl," replied the doctor, as he pushed the package toward the young man, "there is only one right way, and that is to become truly sorry for wrongdoing, and cheerfully and bravely make retribution to all parties you have injured. Anything short of this is not fair, and will do you no good. If I take any hand in this matter, it must be to right the whole. But, Carl, don't you see, you make no sacrifice in sending back the money—money you have been unable to use? Had you been able to use it, it might have been very different; it doubtless would have been. Its return is not necessarily an evidence of either penitence or reform. It is simply a confession of defeat. A coward can give up that which he cannot use to his convenience. And is it possible, after all you have said about being a living lie, is it possible that you are unwilling to pay any part of the price of your unfortunate actions? Penitence is like charity. It never counts cost. It is a godly sorrow for sin, and is willing to accept results, be they ever so bitter."
"Doctor," said Carl, in complete surrender, "Let it be so. I am willing to pay the price, even to death. I plead no more for my own sake, but I would, if possible, save those who love me from humiliation and agony, which to them would be more terrible than death."
"Here you mistake again," replied the doctor. "You imagine that your father's pride is stronger than his love."
"So I do," stammered Carl. "I believe that my father would much rather believe that his son is dead than to know that he is a criminal. There has never been a stain on my father or mother's name until—until I brought this one upon it and the holy office he occupies. Then, they have lived through the anguish of believing me to be dead, and it is terrible to think of bringing into their declining years a deeper sorrow. Ah, believe me, Doctor, it is not my happiness I desire, but to save them from deeper pain. If I am acting wrongly, I pray God, whom I now ask for pardon, may direct me aright."
"I greatly fear," replied the doctor, "that you are only willing to be directed in your own way. But I must leave you. The boat passes Centerville in an hour. I will take the money and send it by express on tomorrow's steamer."
As has been told, the money was duly received by the cashier of the Bank of England.
As Mr. Bone opened the package, he discovered that the notes had been first wrapped in a sheet of substantial letter paper, and sealed at both ends. As he was about to drop this wrapper into the waste basket his eye caught sight of a water mark; the letters were "C.A. Marmion, N.Y., U.S.A." Thinking that this might prove important, he preserved it for future reference. He laid it upon his desk and a few days later he wrote and mailed the following letter:
"London, May 25, 18—.
"MR. C.A. MARMION, New York, U.S.A:
"Dear Sir: A few days since I received an express package containing fifty thousand pounds. The signature was to us unimportant, as we felt sure it was not the name of the writer, but your paper bears the imprint (water mark) of your name, and I concluded that you are interested in the matter, so I take the liberty of addressing you.