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The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 12531

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


On the fifth of April Maroney, having completed his preparations, started by the first train for Atlanta, via West Point. The day was a very warm one, but Maroney was accompanied to the station by a great number of friends. With many a hearty shake of the hand they bade him farewell, some of them accompanying him to the first, and some even to the second station beyond Montgomery. No one could have started on a journey under more favorable auspices.

Before the train started a German might have been seen slowly wending his way to the depot. He had no slaves to follow, or wait upon him. No one knew him, and the poor fellow had not a friend to bid him good-bye. He went to the ticket office, and in broken English said: "I vants a teeket for Vest Point;" and stood puffing at his pipe until the clerk gave him his ticket, for which he paid, and took his seat in a car called, in the South, the "nigger car." He had a rather large satchel, and it must be confessed he was decidedly dirty, as he had been toiling along a dusty road, under the hot Southern sun.

In about ten minutes after, Maroney arrived, with his numerous friends, stepped on board, and the train slowly drew out of the station.

The German had taken a reversed seat in the rear of his car, and, apparently indifferent to the lively conversation of the negroes around him, slowly smoked his pipe. Maroney took a seat in the ladies' car, talked with his friends, among whom were several ladies, and then had a merry romp with a child. In about three-quarters of an hour he rose, and, walking to the front of the car, scrutinized the faces of all the passengers carefully. Our Dutchman gazed carelessly at him through the window of the car in which he sat. Maroney passed through the "nigger car," not thinking it worth while to take notice of its inmates, and looking on the poor immigrant as no better than a negro. Then he went into the express car, shook hands with the messenger, chatted with him a moment, and passed on to the baggage car. At the first station he stepped off, met several friends, and was well received by all. The conductor collected no fare from him, as he had been a conductor at one time, and that chalked his hat "O. K."

He left the train at every station, looked keenly around with an eye that showed plainly that he was fighting for liberty itself, and then returning, passed through it, carefully examining the faces of the passengers. By the time they reached West Point he had regained his old firmness-at least the German thought so.

If any one had watched, they might have seen the German go to the ticket office in West Point and, in broken language, inquire for a ticket to Atlanta. Having procured his ticket, he went immediately to the second-class car and continued his journey with Maroney.

At West Point Maroney met several friends, who all sympathized with him. After drinking with them he went to the train and into the express car, although it is strict rule of the company that no one but the messenger shall be allowed in it. The rule is often broken, especially in the South, where the polite messengers dislike to ask a gentleman to leave their car. The German took in all that was going on, but who cared for him? poor, stupid dolt! Maroney remained in the express car a short time, and then again passed through the train, but discovered nothing to cause him the slightest uneasiness.

On arriving at Atlanta he proceeded to the Atlanta House, and was given a room. The German arrived at the hotel soon after him, and throwing down his satchel, asked, in his broken English, for a room. The clerk scarcely deigning to notice him, sent him to the poorest room the house afforded.

Roch, finding that no train left until morning, amused himself with another smoke, at the same time noticing that Maroney was well received by the clerk, whom he knew, and by all the conductors and gentlemen who frequented the hotel. His journey had been almost an entire ovation, and he had become almost completely self-possessed.

At eleven he retired for the night. Roch, after waiting for some time, walked noiselessly down the hall to Maroney's room, and listened at the door. Finding all quiet, he walked down to the office, got the key to his room, and went to bed.

He got up early in the morning and, with Maroney, took an early breakfast. He kept a close watch on him, and learned from the conversation of some of Maroney's friends, to whom he had divulged his plans, where he was going, and by what route he intended to pursue his journey. He said that he should be gone some five weeks, but would return to Montgomery in time to prepare for his trial.

Some of his friends alluded to his arrest for the robbery. He smiled, and said they would soon find that he was not the guilty party; and moreover, that the Express Company would find that it would cost them a good deal before they got through with him, as, after his acquittal, he would certainly sue them for heavy damages. He knew the wealth of the company, and that they would "leave no stone unturned" to ruin him, but he had no fears as to the result, when the facts were laid before a jury of his countrymen.

He had many acquaintances at Atlanta, and gave himself up to enjoyment. Roch wrote to me that if he had started out with the expectation of being followed, he had no such fears now. In the evening Maroney complained to the clerk about his room, and Roch became uneasy when he found he had moved to another part of the house. He feared that Maroney might leave town by some private conveyance, and so kept a close watch on his movements. He staid up until a late hour, but finding that Maroney was safe in bed, finally retired. At a very early hour in the morning he was stirring and patiently waited for Maroney to get up. Maroney soon came down, apparently in the best of spirits, and ordered his trunk, a very large one, to be taken to the depot. Roch was seized with a desire to go through this trunk, and determined to do so if he possibly could. He had not seen it at Montgomery as it came down with the other baggage, and one of Maroney's friends had had it checked and handed the check to him when on the train. His desire was useless, as he was n

ot destined to see the inside of the trunk, at least not for the present. He wrote to me of Maroney's having the trunk, and said I might rely on his examining it if he possibly could.

Maroney took the train for Chattanooga, still paying no fare. Roch bought a second class ticket and they were soon under way. When about one hour out from Atlanta Maroney passed through the train eyeing all the well-dressed men on board, of whom there were a great many, but paying no attention to the inmates of the "nigger car." He saw no cause for uneasiness, and soon became the happiest man on board. He passed through the cars several times before the train reached Chattanooga, and his spirits seemed to rise after each inspection. When they arrived at Chattanooga. Maroney put up at the Crutchfield House, and being very tired did not go out that evening. He seemed well acquainted with the clerk and some of the guests, drank several times with his friends, and went to his room quite early. Roch wrote to me from the Crutchfield House, where he had also put up, giving me a detailed account of all that had happened, and in a postscript said "Maroney has not the slightest idea that he is being followed, and all is serene." In the morning Maroney sauntered around the city, apparently with no particular object in view, but dropping into some of the stores to visit his friends. Finally he went into a lawyer's office where he remained some time. Roch took up a position where he could watch the office without being observed. At last Maroney came out of the office with a gentleman, went into a saloon with him, where they drank together, and then returned to the hotel to dinner. After dinner he smoked until about two o'clock, and then walked out and started up the main street of the town, towards the suburbs. The day was intensely warm, and there were few people stirring in the streets. When Maroney reached the suburbs he stopped and looked suspiciously around. He took no notice of the German, who was walking along wrapped up in his pipe, his only consolation. Being satisfied that no one was following him, he turned around the corner and suddenly disappeared.

When Roch got to the corner he could not see Maroney in any direction. There were blocks of fine houses on both sides of the street, and he was certain Maroney was in one of them. But which one? That he could not tell. He did not like to leave the neighborhood, but it would not do to stay. There were few persons on the street, and if he lingered around the corner he would surely be noticed and suspected. He walked very slowly around the square, but discovering nothing, and fearing that he might alarm the quiet neighborhood, he went back to the hotel. He was now at the end of his rope. He was certain Maroney was in one of the houses, and feared that he was getting the money changed. He might have brought it with him, concealed it on his person, and taken it with him to the house he was now in. Terribly disappointed, he sat down and wrote to me for instructions, thinking that my letter in reply would most likely reach him in Chattanooga. At dusk he went out to the suburbs, but did not find a trace of Maroney. Returning to the hotel, he found that no train left till morning, and weary and worn he went to his room, and in a most despondent mood, soon retired. Early in the morning he came down but there was no sign of Maroney. He determined to peep into his room, and fortunately managed to do so without being discovered, finding his trunk and a bundle of soiled linen still there. Somewhat reassured, he took his breakfast and went down to see the train off. The train started, but Maroney not putting in an appearance, Roch began to feel that he must have been outwitted. As he retraced his steps to the hotel he was astonished to see Maroney on his way to the same place. Roch having once more got his eye on him, determined, if possible, to find out where he had passed the previous night. He thought the matter over, and concluded that for many reasons it would be best to change his boarding place. The people at the hotel did not think much of a poor German, and might conclude he could not pay his bill, and as he did not wish to guarantee payment, he went to his room, brought down his satchel, and going to the office, paid his bill. He had seen a German boarding-house down the street, so taking his satchel in his hand, he went in and enquired if they had a room to spare. He found they had, and on glancing around discovered that the change in many respects was for the better, as from the boarding-house he had a clear view of all that occurred in front of the hotel.

He did not see Maroney again until evening, when he came out, looking fresh and bright, having evidently refreshed himself by a bath and a shave.

Maroney went into a saloon, talked to several parties, strolled leisurely around, returned to the hotel, passed the evening till ten o'clock with a party of gentlemen, and then retired.

Roch rose early, and found that the landlord, who, like most of his countrymen, possessed the good habit of being an early riser, had breakfast ready. After breakfast he took a seat on the verandah, and watched Maroney as he loitered around. At two in the afternoon Maroney sauntered out, and started in the direction of the suburbs.

Roch concluded he was going to the place where he had lost him the day before, and now he had the coveted opportunity of finding his hiding place.

Walking slowly after him, smoking his pipe and gaping around, until he reached a cross-street, a block from where Maroney had disappeared before, he turned down this street, walked rapidly until he reached the next street running parallel to the one Maroney was on, and turning up it he ran to the corner above, where he got behind the fence, as if urged by a pressing necessity. From his position he could see down the street without being seen.

In a moment Maroney reached the corner, a block from him. Looking around, as before, he pulled his hat over his eyes, and, walking rapidly part way down the block, he entered a comfortable looking frame-building. It was painted a creamy white, and its windows were protected by the greenest of green blinds.

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