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The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 11025

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


On Saturday I removed to the Washington House, as Mrs. Maroney was still there. I found she did not go out much, seeming to prefer to remain in her room with Flora. Sunday morning I went to the breakfast room with the determination of seeing her, but although I waited and waited, she did not come, and I afterwards found that she had taken her breakfast in her room.

I loitered about the house till after twelve, noon, at which time I was standing near the main entrance when I noticed a carriage drive up and stop. A gentleman alighted and walked into the hotel. In about twenty minutes Mrs. Maroney appeared escorted by the gentleman-a tall, handsome man, about forty-five years old-entered the carriage with him and was driven rapidly off, unaccompanied by Flora.

I was completely nonplussed, as she was gone almost before I knew she was there. As it was mid-day and in the heart of the city, it would not do for me to run after them, as I would soon fall into the hands of the police by having the cry of stop thief raised after me. I felt very much like following and standing my chances, as at that time I was young and supple, but before I could come to a conclusion the carriage was whirled around the corner of Tenth street and lost to view.

I loitered around for some time and then started towards my room. As I reached the head of the stairs, I saw a little girl playing in the hall, and, from the description I had received, concluded that she must be Flora. As she came past me I patted her gently on the head and calling her a sweet little girl, had a few seconds conversation with her. Glancing down the stair-way, I saw a lady looking out from the door of the reception room:

"Oh, my dear!" said I, "there is your ma; she seems to be looking for you!"

"That ain't my ma!" she answered. "My ma has gone for a drive with Mr. Hastenbrook!"

"Oh, indeed! Where is she going?"

"She's gone to Manayunk! You can't catch me!"

And Flora, who was full of fun, darted down the hall.

I had gained a point and I hurried to the Merchants' Hotel, saw Bangs, posted him, and started him off in a carriage for Manayunk to note the actions of Mrs. Maroney and her escort. Bangs soon had them under his eye and was enabled to get a good, full look at her escort, Mr. Hastenbrook. He found, afterwards, that Mr. Hastenbrook was the head of one of the largest shirt manufactories in the city. He carried on an extensive business with the South, and, outside of his business, was known as a great ladies' man. He was very gallant to Mrs. Maroney, and Bangs concluded, from their actions, that they also "loved not wisely."

At five o'clock they returned and Hastenbrook took supper at the Washington House. At supper I had a good full view of them, but neither of them noticed me, as I was dressed in coarse, rough clothes-a common occurrence with me. She little thought how closely I held her fate in my hands. Mr. Hastenbrook remained in her room till after midnight, Flora having gone to bed long before he left.

On Monday morning I left her in charge of Green and went to talk over matters with the General Superintendent. Suddenly Green burst in upon us and said that Mrs. Maroney and Flora had gone to the North Pennsylvania station.

I was much annoyed at his having left her to report and ordered him to go as quickly as possible to the station. If she had gone he must follow her on the next train and get off at Jenkintown. I described Cox and his residence and told him to watch and see if he could not find her somewhere in the neighborhood.

I told the Vice-President that I did not doubt but that Mrs. Maroney knew the particulars of the robbery, and I had some idea that she had the money with her. Jenkintown was a small place, where she felt she could hide securely, and remain covered up for an indefinite time. There, almost directly under our noses, the money might be concealed.

I mentioned the necessity of having a "shadow" sent down to Jenkintown, to watch all her movements, and if she moved to follow her, as we must know all she did. I mentioned that it would be necessary to get into the good graces of the postmaster at Jenkintown, so that we could tell where all the letters she received were post marked, and to whom her letters were directed.

In regard to Mr. Hastenbrook, I thought his attentions were those of a "free lover," but that if he was seen with her again I would have him watched. I drew the Vice-President's attention to the benefits which would result from putting a female detective on, to become acquainted with Mrs. Maroney at Jenkintown, as she would undoubtedly be the best one to draw her out.

At that time I had in my employ, and at the head of my establishment, one of the greatest female detectives who ever carried a case to a successful conclusion. She had been in my employ for two years, and had worked up the cases given her in an astonishingly able manner, proving herself a woman of strong, clear discernment. As she takes a prominent part in bringing to light the facts which follow, and in clearing away the mystery that overhung the disappearance of the forty thousand dollars, a short description of her may not prove uninteresting.

Two years prior to the time of which I am now writing, I was seated one afternoon in my private office, pondering deeply over some matters, and arranging various plans, when a lady was shown in. She was above the medium height, slender, graceful in her movements, and per

fectly self-possessed in her manner. I invited her to take a seat, and then observed that her features, although not what would be called handsome, were of a decidedly intellectual cast. Her eyes were very attractive, being dark blue, and filled with fire. She had a broad, honest face, which would cause one in distress instinctively to select her as a confidante, in whom to confide in time of sorrow, or from whom to seek consolation. She seemed possessed of the masculine attributes of firmness and decision, but to have brought all her faculties under complete control.

In a very pleasant tone she introduced herself as Mrs. Kate Warne, stating that she was a widow, and that she had come to inquire whether I would not employ her as a detective.

At this time female detectives were unheard of. I told her it was not the custom to employ women as detectives, but asked her what she thought she could do.

She replied that she could go and worm out secrets in many places to which it was impossible for male detectives to gain access. She had evidently given the matter much study, and gave many excellent reasons why she could be of service.

I finally became convinced that it would be a good idea to employ her. True, it was the first experiment of the sort that had ever been tried; but we live in a progressive age, and in a progressive country. I therefore determined at least to try it, feeling that Mrs. Warne was a splendid subject with whom to begin.

I told her to call the next day, and I would consider the matter, and inform her of my decision. The more I thought of it, the more convinced I became that the idea was a good one, and I determined to employ her. At the time appointed she called. I entered into an agreement with her, and soon after gave a case into her charge. She succeeded far beyond my utmost expectations, and I soon found her an invaluable acquisition to my force.

The Vice-President placed such full reliance in me that I had no hesitation in giving him the above sketch of Kate Warne, and advising that she be sent to Jenkintown, accompanied by a young lady who should have no direct connection with the case, but simply act as Kate's companion and friend. I knew this would greatly increase the expenses, but, as he well knew, we were now dealing with an uncommonly smart man and woman, and in order to succeed, we must be sharp indeed!

As I had previously said, when a person has a secret, he must find some one in whom to confide, and talk the subject over with him. In this case Maroney had evidently confided the secret of the robbery to his wife, and now, while they were apart, was the time to draw it out. What was wanted was a person who could ingratiate herself into the confidence of Mrs. Maroney, become her bosom friend, and so, eventually, be sure of learning the secret of her overwrought mind, by becoming her special confidante.

I also suggested the propriety of placing a handsome, gentlemanly man at Jenkintown, who should be provided with a span of horses and a handsome carriage, and deport himself generally as a gentleman of leisure. His duties would be to get up a flirtation with Mrs. Maroney, prevail on her to drive out with him, and, if possible, entice her to quiet, little fish-suppers, where he could ply her with champagne, and, under its exhilarating influence, draw from her portions of her secret. A woman of Mrs. Maroney's stamp, while separated from her husband, would most likely desire gentlemen's company, and as she, like most of her class, would put up with none but the handsomest, it was necessary to select as fine a looking man to be her wooer as could be found. She seemed to have already provided herself with a lover, in the person of Hastenbrook, and it was necessary to get some one able to "cut him out."

The company had a gentleman in their employ, named De Forest, whom I thought admirably adapted for this purpose, and if the Vice-President would allow me, I would assign to him the task of becoming Mrs. Maroney's lover. The instructions I would give him would be few and simple, and he need know nothing of the case, further than that he was to go to Jenkintown with a carriage and span of horses, make himself acquainted with Mrs. Maroney, and report daily all that took place.

I had already given Mr. Bangs entire charge of the detectives employed in the case, so that he would remain in Philadelphia, while I would keep up a constant communication with him by telegraph and mail.

The Vice-President coincided with me in all my plans, and said the Adams Express were going to let me have my own way, and that they had unbounded confidence in me. I felt that their placing such entire confidence in a young man like me was indeed flattering, and I was determined to prove to them that their confidence was not misplaced. Having made all necessary arrangements in Philadelphia, I left for Chicago to prepare Mrs. Warne and her friend for the case.

De Forest was given the necessary instructions, and drove out to Jenkintown with his team. He was a man about thirty-five years old, five feet eleven inches in height, remarkably good looking, with long black hair, and full beard and mustache, and in Philadelphia he was known as a perfect "lady-killer."

On getting into Jenkintown he put up at the tavern, and made arrangements to spend the summer. He then drove back to Philadelphia, reported to the Vice-President and Bangs, got his trunk, and drove back to Jenkintown.

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