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   Chapter 7 No.7

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 11129

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Roch walked around for some time, and then returned to his boarding-house. Finding no one but the landlord and the bar-keeper in the saloon, he bought a bottle of wine, and asked them to join him in drinking it. They gladly consented, and he entered into a conversation with them, in which he pretended to give them a history of his life, and his plans for the future.

He complimented the city very highly, saying that he was so much pleased with it that he had determined to buy some property there. He then informed them that he had been looking at some houses, and wished to get the landlord's opinion of them. He-the landlord-had been in the city for many years, and must be well acquainted with the value of property.

Roch now called for another bottle of wine, and proceeded to describe some of the houses at which he had been looking. He described several, but one in particular, he said, had taken his fancy; and he then described the house Maroney had entered, saying further that he thought there were several ladies there.

The landlord looked at his bar-keeper and winked, and then giving Roch a poke in the ribs, said, with a hearty laugh: "Oh! you have found them out, have you?" Then, with another poke: "You're a sly fellow, you are," and burst into a roar of laughter, in which he was heartily joined by the bar-keeper.

Roch pretended not to comprehend what they meant, and turned the conversation to other subjects. He felt very happy when he discovered the character-or rather want of character-of the house, as he now knew the business Maroney was engaged in.

Maroney did not make his appearance up to the time the train left, so Roch retired.

Early in the morning he arose, ate his breakfast, and was surprised to see Maroney, who must have returned in the night, just coming out of the hotel. Seeing Maroney's trunk just being placed on the baggage wagon, he hastily paid his bill at the boarding-house, and managed to reach the station some time in advance of Maroney.

In about half an hour Maroney came up and bought a first-class ticket for Nashville. Roch bought a second-class ticket to the same place, and took up his old position in the "nigger car."

Nothing of importance happened between Chattanooga and Nashville.

At Nashville Maroney put up at the City Hotel, while Roch obtained lodgings at a German saloon just around the corner.

Maroney met plenty of friends, who received him warmly. He amused himself by going to the livery stables, looking at the horses, and driving around the city. He met a gentleman and passed a good deal of time with him, but had no business transactions with him; merely using him as a companion to help kill time. The weather was all that could be desired, and Maroney was "gay as a lark."

The second day after his arrival in Nashville, he went into a jeweler's, and remained over three-quarters of an hour: came out, and at the end of three hours again went in, this time stopping over an hour. When he came out Roch discovered that he had a parcel in his hand, and concluded that he had made a purchase. He at once reported the incident to me.

The third day, at train time, the trunk was again brought down. Roch went to the depot, wondering what could be the meaning of this move, as the train about to start would take them back to Chattanooga.

His suspense was soon put at rest, by Maroney's coming down and buying a ticket to Chattanooga. Roch followed suit, and they were soon on their backward track.

Maroney passed through the cars, scrutinizing the passengers, neglecting those in the "nigger car," as heretofore, which was the only incident of the trip to Chattanooga.

Here he again put up at the Crutchfield House, while Roch went back to his German boarding-house. He made some excuses to account for his sudden return, but they were unnecessary, for, so long as he paid his bill regularly, the landlord was perfectly satisfied.

The next morning Maroney visited a livery stable owned by a man named Cook, who was a great favorite. He was said to have a horse which could out-trot anything in the city. Cook and Maroney drove out several times with this horse, and Maroney examined him critically. He was a good judge of horseflesh, and when he was excited would fairly carry a person away with his vivid description of the delights of "tooling" along behind a fast horse.

Roch could not certainly tell whether Maroney had bought the horse or not, but judged he had, as he heard Cook tell Maroney that he should expect to see him on his return to Chattanooga.

After leaving Cook, Maroney sauntered out to see his fair, but frail friends. Roch left him there and returned to have a good time with his countrymen. He had ordered up a bottle of wine, and the landlord and he were just about to have a game of euchre when he accidentally glanced up at the hotel.

It was fortunate he did so, as whom should he see going in at the main entrance but Maroney. He hastily excused himself from the game and walked out. He had gone hardly a block from his boarding-house before Maroney came down and got into a carriage. He had gone at once to his room, ordered his trunk down, paid his bill and was now being hurried to the depot.

Roch followed as fast as he could. Maroney had allowed himself barely enough time to check his trunk and step upon the train as it moved off, so that Roch had to start without his satchel and without buying a ticket. He did not think much of the loss of his baggage, that little loss being more than compensat

ed by the joy he felt at not having lost his man.

He had not the slightest idea where Maroney was going, but took up his old position in the "nigger car" and watched closely. When the conductor came around to Maroney, Roch noticed two things: first, that Maroney bought a through ticket to Memphis; and second, that the conductor did not know him. Wherever he had gone before, he had met friends, but now he had left them all behind. Roch followed Maroney's lead and bought a second class ticket to Memphis.

Maroney, though utterly unconscious of the fact, was as much in the power of Roch as was Sindbad the Sailor in the power of the little old man who clung to his neck with a grasp that could not be loosened. Although, literally, Roch did not touch him, figuratively he held him with a grasp of iron, and all Maroney's efforts to shake him off would have proved waste of time and strength.

A storm was impending when they left Chattanooga and it had now burst upon them in a perfect fury. Night had set in, but flash after flash of lightning lit up the sky. One moment, objects were rendered distinctly visible as they dashed by, the next they were lost in gloom. The sparks from the locomotive were quenched in the falling torrent and the roar of the train was silenced by the loud peals of thunder.

It was a wild night, but Roch got on the platform to make sure of Maroney. There were no sleeping-cars at the time and he had no trouble in getting a good view of him. Maroney was stretched out on his seat fast asleep. He watched him for some time, and then concluding that there was little danger of his attempting to leave the car on such a night, he went back to his seat in the "nigger car."

Ever since he had left Montgomery, Maroney had been executing a series of strategic movements, and now that he had undoubtedly thrown his pursuers, if there were any, off his track, why should he not ease his overwrought mind by sleep, that sweetest of all consolers?

The next morning they arrived in Memphis. The storm had passed away, but had left mementoes in the fresh and balmy air and in the muddy streets. Maroney stopped at the Gayosa House. Roch found it an easy matter to move his baggage, and walked off with his hands in his pockets, wondering where he could get a clean shirt. He put up at a saloon where he could keep an eye on Maroney, and having bought some new shirts and a second-hand satchel, he felt once more that he was a respectable man.

From Memphis Roch wrote to me, informing me "that all was well; that Maroney seemed perfectly at ease and confident that if any one had followed him, he had, by his retrograde movement, thrown him entirely off the scent." He had not the slightest idea what would be Maroney's next move, but was certain he could keep track of him.

Maroney appeared familiar with Memphis, but had no friends there, and amused himself loitering around, occasionally going into a saloon. The second day of his stay Roch observed him write and post a letter. Then he visited the livery stables, admired some of the fine horses and afterwards strolled down to the wharf, where the steamer "John Walsh" was being loaded with cotton and tobacco. He went on board and looked over the Walsh, saw the clerk and entered into conversation with him. Roch heard the clerk say that the steamer would leave in about two hours, and concluded that Maroney was going down the river on her.

Maroney returned to the Gayosa House and paid his bill, which caused Roch to hurry to his boarding-house, pay his bill, and with his newly acquired treasure, the old satchel, hasten to the river and take a steerage passage to New Orleans on the John Walsh. He was a little afraid that Maroney might begin to notice him and found it necessary to use the utmost caution. Before embarking on the Walsh he laid in a stock of "bolognas," a few pounds of the rankest "Sweitzer kase" and an abundance of "pretzels."

Coming down to the boat some time before Maroney, he filled his pipe and took a seat where he could watch all that went on. After some time Maroney drove up in a carriage, had his trunk carried up to his state-room, and, lighting his cigar, took a seat and watched the movements of the crew who were employed in taking on the cargo. It was a busy scene: the negroes toiled along under the burning sun, lightening their labors with a merry boatman's song. Their burdens were heavy, but their hearts were light.

Maroney, instead of looking down on them with the contempt he did, should have longed for their content and happiness. The meanest of them possessed what he never could possess-"a contented mind."

In less than half an hour the steamer's bell was rung, friends hurriedly bade each other good-bye, the gang-planks were hauled in, and the John Walsh was soon snorting down the river. The decks and cabins of the Walsh were crowded with passengers; ladies handsomely dressed, planters going to New Orleans on business or pleasure; tourists making a trip down the Mississippi for the first time, and being charmed with the variety of the scenes around them: all was life, gaiety and animation.

Although Maroney would have generally mingled with the passengers, "the gayest of the gay," he now kept entirely aloof from them. He was oppressed by the "weight of his secret," and sought "by solitary musings" to ease his mind. He read a little, glanced at the scenery along the river, landed and walked around at the different places where the steamer stopped, but kept entirely to himself.

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