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   Chapter 5 No.5

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 10150

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


On arriving in Chicago I selected Mr. Green to "shadow" Mrs. Maroney. Giving him the same full instructions I had given the other operatives, I despatched him for Montgomery. He arrived there none too soon.

Mrs. Maroney had grown rather commanding in her manners, and was very arrogant with the servants in the house. She also found great fault with the proprietor, Mr. Floyd, for not having some necessary repairs in her room attended to.

One of the lady boarders, the wife of a senator, treated her with marked coolness; and these various circumstances so worked on her high-strung temperament that she was thrown into an uncontrollable fit of passion, during which she broke the windows in her room.

The landlord insisted on her paying for them, but she indignantly refused to do so. On his pressing the matter, she determined to leave the house and make a trip to the North.

Porter had become quite intimate with the slave-servants in the Exchange, and easily managed to get from them considerable information, without attracting any special attention.

One of the servants, named Tom, was the bootblack of the hotel. He had a young negro under him as a sort of an apprentice. The duties of the apprentice, though apparently slight, were in reality arduous, as he had to supply all the spittle required to moisten the blacking; and for this purpose placed himself under a course of diet that rendered him as juicy as possible.

Early in the morning Tom and his assistant would pass from door to door. Stopping wherever they saw a pair of boots, they would at once proceed to business. The helper would seize a boot and give a tremendous "hawk," which would cause the sleeping inmate of the room to start up in his bed and rub his eyes. He would then apply the blacking and hand the boot to Tom, who stood ready to artistically apply the polishing brush. During the whole of this latter operation the little negro would dance a breakdown, while Tom, seated on the chair brought for his accommodation, would whistle or sing an accompaniment. By this time the inmate of the room would have sprung from his bed, and rushed to the door, with the intention of breaking their heads-not shins-but, on opening the door, the scene presented would be so ludicrous that his anger would be smothered in laughter, and Tom generally received a quarter, as he started for the next door.

Sleep was completely vanquished by the time they had made their rounds, and the greatest sluggard who ever reiterated "God bless the man who first invented sleep," would find himself drawn from his downy pillow at break of day, with never a murmur.

Tom was naturally of an enquiring turn of mind, and as he passed from door to door saw and heard a good deal. Porter, by giving him an occasional fee, had made Tom his fast friend, and he would often regale him with bits of scandal about different boarders in the house.

On the evening of the same day that Mrs. Maroney had given way to her temper, as Porter was passing through the hall of the hotel, he heard peals of laughter emanating from the room used by Tom as his blacking headquarters. Going in, he found Tom, perfectly convulsed with laughter, rolling around amongst the blacking brushes and old shoes, while the little negro, with his mouth wide open and eyes starting almost out of his head, looked at him in utter astonishment.

"Why! what's the matter, Tom?" inquired Porter.

It was some time before Tom could answer, but he finally burst out with:

"Oh! golly, Massa Porter, you ought to see de fun. Missus 'Roney done gone and smashed all de glass in de winder. I tell you she made tings hot. Massa Floyd say she must pay for de glass, and she tole him she's not gwine to stop in dis yer house a moment longer. Yah! yah! yah! Den Massa 'Roney come, and he fly right off de handle, and tole Massa Floyd he had consulted his wife. Massa Floyd tole dem dey could go somewhere else fur all he care. Massa 'Roney tole de missus to pack up and go to de North, de fust ting in de morning. So Missus 'Roney is gwine to go North. Wonder what she'll do thar, wid no niggers to confusticate? Yah! yah! yah!"

Porter drew from the darkey full particulars of the affair, and also that he had seen Maroney pass a large sum of money over to his wife.

Giving Tom a quarter, Porter hurried off after Green, and got him ready to start the first thing in the morning. Bright and early on the twelfth of March, Porter arose, and, quite accidentally, ran across Tom, who had just come down with Mrs. Maroney's shoes.

"She is gwine, sure," said Tom! "she tole me to hurry up wid dese shoes. Her and Massa 'Roney am habin a big confab, but dey talk so low, dis nigger can't hear a word dey say."

Porter hurried Green to the train, and came back in time to see Maroney get into a carriage, with his wife and her daughter Flora, and drive off toward the station. Maroney secured for them a comfortable seat in the ladies' car, and, bidding them good-bye, returned to the hotel.

Of course Green was on the same trai

n, but, as I had instructed him, not in the same car. He took a seat in the rear end of the car immediately in front of the ladies' car, whence he could keep a sharp lookout on all that went on.

Mrs. Maroney went directly to West Point, and from there to Charleston, where she put up at the best hotel, registering "Mrs. Maroney and daughter."

The next day, leaving Flora in the hotel, she made a few calls, and at two p. m. embarked on the steamer for New York, Green doing the same. They arrived at New York on the eighteenth and were met at the wharf by a gentleman named Moore, who conducted Mrs. Maroney and Flora to his residence. Green discovered afterwards that the gentleman was a partner in one of the heaviest wholesale clothing-houses in the city.

He knew nothing further about Mr. or Mrs. Maroney than that Maroney had treated him with a good deal of consideration at one time when he was in Montgomery selling goods, and he had then requested Maroney and his wife to stop at his house if they ever came to New York. Accordingly Maroney telegraphed to him when his wife left Montgomery, informing him how and when she would reach New York, and he was at the wharf to meet her.

Mrs. Maroney and Flora were cordially welcomed by Mr. Moore and remained at his house for some weeks. They were very hospitably entertained and seemed to devote their whole time to social pleasures. Green shadowed them closely and found that nothing of any importance was going on.

Porter remained in Montgomery, keeping in the good graces of Maroney and his friends, not that Maroney easily took any one into his confidence; on the contrary, although he was social with every one, he kept his affairs closely to himself.

Porter never forced himself on Maroney's company, but merely dropped in, apparently by accident, at Patterson's and other saloons frequented by Maroney, and by holding himself rather aloof, managed to draw Maroney towards him.

Maroney used to walk out of town towards the plantations, and Porter, by making himself acquainted with the planters and overseers of the surrounding country, discovered that Maroney's walks were caused by a young lady, the daughter of a wealthy planter; but no new developments were made in regard to the robbery.

I instructed Porter to "get in" with any slaves who might be employed as waiters at Patterson's, and worm from them all the information possible in regard to the habitués of the place.

There were several men with whom Maroney used to have private meetings at the saloon, and Porter learned from one of the negroes what took place at them. Maroney would take an occasional hand at euchre, but never played for large stakes. There was little doubt but that he had a share in the gambling bank. He frequented the stable where "Yankee Mary" was kept, and often himself drove her out. From the way the parties at Patterson's talked, the negro was positive that she belonged to Maroney.

He received several letters from his wife, which Green saw her post, and Porter found he received in due time. So far all my plans had worked well. The regular reports I received from my detectives showed that they were doing their duty and watching carefully all that occurred. Porter, about this time, learned that Maroney intended to make a business trip through Tennessee, and that he would, in all probability, go to Augusta, Ga., and New Orleans.

Everything tended to show that he was about to leave Montgomery, and I put Roch, my Dutchman, on the alert. I wrote out full instructions and sent them to Roch; ordered him to keep a strict watch on Maroney, as he might be going away to change the money, and told him to telegraph me immediately if anything happened. It was my intention to buy any money he might get changed, as the bankers in Montgomery stated that they would be able to identify some of the stolen bills. I warned Roch against coming in contact with Maroney on his journey, as I surmised that he was going away to see if he would be followed. This was certainly his intention.

For some time I had feared that Maroney had some idea of Porter's reasons for stopping in Montgomery, and felt that if he had, he would be completely disabused of it by discovering that Porter did not follow him. He was an uncommonly shrewd man and had formed a pretty good opinion of detectives and of his ability to outwit them.

He had seen the best detectives from New York, New Orleans and other places completely baffled. He expected to be followed by a gentlemanly appearing man, who would drink and smoke occasionally, wear a heavy gold watch chain, and have plenty of money to spend; but the idea of being followed by a poor old Dutchman never entered his head.

I charged Roch not to pay any attention to Maroney or to appear to do so until he started to leave Montgomery, and concluded by saying that I felt I could trust him to do all in his power for the agency and for my honor.

Maroney made his preparations for departure, all his movements being closely watched by Porter.

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