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   Chapter 12 No.12

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 10254

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


De Forest loitered around Jenkintown, and found that a gentleman who owned beautifully laid out grounds allowed the public to frequent them at certain times, so long as they did no damage to the walks or the flowers. The garden was a charming place, and Mrs. Maroney and Flora would often pass the morning in strolling through it. De Forest discovered this, and made the grounds a place of constant resort. The first day or two, as he passed Mrs. Maroney and her daughter, he would politely raise his hat to them. Then he would meet Flora as she ran around the grounds, and by paying her little attentions, soon caused the mother's heart to warm toward him, and made the daughter the medium of forming the mother's acquaintance. At the end of three or four days Mrs. Maroney remarked to Mrs. Cox: "What a fine man Mr. De Forest is!" All worked well.

When she went to Philadelphia, Green, who was shadowing her, entirely unknown to De Forest, found that she frequented a famous restaurant on Eighth street, where she met Mr. Hastenbrook. In the evening, on her return to Jenkintown, she always met De Forest and strolled around with him. What with the gallant Hastenbrook, with his splendid mustache, on the one hand, and the sentimental De Forest, with his long hair and full beard, on the other, she had her hands full, and felt that her lot was cast in pleasant places. We will leave her to enjoy herself, and turn our attention to Chicago.

On my arrival, I selected Mr. Rivers as the best man to go to Jenkintown, and lie quietly in wait, keeping a sharp lookout on the movements of Mrs. Maroney. He was born and brought up in Philadelphia, and was well acquainted with it and the surrounding country. I gave him full, clear instructions as to the part he was to perform in this drama of real life, and he started the same day for Philadelphia, where he was to report to Mr. Bangs. I also saw Kate Warne, told her I wanted her to make a trip, and to get ready as soon as possible. She was also to get a Miss Johnson to be her companion.

In the morning she came to me for instructions. I gave her a full history of the case, and of all the steps that had been taken up to the time; described Mr. and Mrs. Maroney, stated that I thought they were not married, and, so far as pomp and splash made fine society, they frequented it. I then said: "You remember Jules Imbert, of Bills of Exchange notoriety?"

She answered, with a smile, that she remembered him well.

"Then," said I, "you had better assume to be his wife. Mrs. Maroney will most likely wish to remain in retirement for some time. She will probably remain in Jenkintown all summer and spend the winter in Philadelphia. You know all about Jules Imbert's operations, so you will arrange for a permanent stay in Jenkintown, get acquainted with Mrs. Maroney, and when you get thoroughly familiar with her, make her your confidante, and to show her how implicitly you rely on her friendship, disclose to her that you are the wife of a noted forger, who is serving a term in the penitentiary. As confidence begets confidence, Mrs. Maroney will, most certainly, in time unbosom herself to you."

I described the different persons engaged on the case: De Forest, the lover; Green, the "shadow," etc., and instructed her that not even De Forest was to know who she was or what her errand.

In a few days handsome toilets were ready for Kate Warne-whom we will hereafter know as Madam Imbert-and Miss Johnson. As soon as possible I started for Philadelphia accompanied by the two ladies, and on arriving in the city took rooms in the Merchants' Hotel. Kate Warne felt sure she was going to win. She always felt so, and I never knew her to be beaten.

Mr. Bangs reported that he had sent Rivers on to Jenkintown, where he obtained board in a private family. He pretended that he had a very sore arm, which prevented him from working and obliged him to go up to Philadelphia to get it dressed. As he was doing nothing he concluded he would live in Jenkintown, where board was much cheaper than in the city.

Green had been ordered to Philadelphia to take charge of Mrs. Maroney when she came up to the city, or to follow her if she started on another trip.

Madam Imbert and Miss Johnson drove out to Jenkintown and passed a couple of days at the tavern. They found that the rooms, though plain, were very neatly kept, and that the table was abundantly supplied with good, substantial food. Madam Imbert expressed herself well satisfied with the town, the purity of the air, and its beautiful drives and walks; and as her system had become rather debilitated by a long residence in the South, she thought she would spend the summer there and recuperate her failing health. She made an arrangement with the landlord to spend the summer at his house, drove into Philadelphia and reported to me. She had her baggage sent out, and the following day returned with Miss Johnson and they took up their abode in the tavern.

The reader will observe that Jenkintown is having a large increase made to its population, principally of male and female detectives.

Stemples, the landlord of the tavern, had seldom had so many distinguished guests, and visions of Jenkintown becoming a fashionable summer resort floated before him, and he felt that the day was not distant when his humble tavern would, in all likelihood, be turned into a huge caravansary, filled to overflowing with the élite of society.

All went smoothly with De Forest and Mrs. Maroney in their love-making. Every day they met and strolled through the shaded walks of the garden. He lavished a great deal of tenderness on Flora, which he would gladly have bestowed on the mother, and Flora was no more charmed with him than was Mrs. Maroney.

One day, as they strolled through the most secluded part of the grounds, De Forest, with a beating heart, presented a beautiful bouquet to her. Mrs. Maroney accepted it with a pleasant smile, held down her head a little and blushed most charmingly. De Forest was more than elated, he was fascinated. He met me in Philadelphia a day or two after and said with much feeling:

"Why, Pinkerton, why do you keep watch of such a woman? She is the most beautiful, most charming lady I ever encountered! By heavens! I am in love with her myself!"

I advised him to be careful, as the woman might be very beautiful, but still be a serpent! I found he made a truly devoted lover, and so I had nothing to complain of in that respect.

When Madam Imbert and Miss Johnson arrived at Stemples's, the inhabitants of Jenkintown were agog to know who they were and whence they came. They evidently belonged to a high class of society, and all sorts of stories were circulated about them. The taller of the two ladies was quiet, not given to conversing much, and was very kind and considerate with the servants at the hotel.

De Forest had managed to scrape up a slight acquaintance with them at the breakfast table, and when Mrs. Maroney, who, like everyone else, had heard of their arrival, casually remarked that she wondered who they were, he was enabled to inform her that the tall lady was from the South and that her name was Madam Imbert.

This was enough for Mrs. Maroney, she loved the South. Maroney was a Southerner, and her heart warmed toward any one from there, so she determined to avail herself of the first opportunity of getting an introduction to Madam Imbert.

She entered into a dissertation on Maroney and his virtues; did not exactly say that he owned any negroes, but hinted that he would soon do so. She spoke of Maroney as a man who had plenty of money. De Forest turned the conversation from Maroney as soon as possible, for, to tell the truth, he was as much in love with her as was the gallant Hastenbrook, and "my husband" was a term that grated harshly on his ear.

De Forest learned that she was going into Philadelphia on the following day, and determined to ask her to let him have the pleasure of driving her in. He had the proposition several times at his tongue's end, but held back from uttering it, for fear she should decline. At length he summoned up courage enough to disclose his wish. Mrs. Maroney had a habit of blushing. She blushed very sweetly, and accepted his kind offer with many thanks.

De Forest was now all animation. He went to the tavern, had his buggy and set of harness cleaned and scoured till they were bright as new, and gave orders to the groom to bring up his horses in the morning without a hair out of place. When a lady and gentleman go out for a drive they like to be by themselves, and generally find a child somewhat de trop. De Forest sincerely hoped that Flora would not be brought along, but, oh! deceitful man, he expressed a wish to Mrs. Maroney that the darling child accompany them. Mrs. Maroney very much relieved him by deciding that Flora had better remain at home and amuse her auntie, who would be so lonely without her!

Bright and early in the morning De Forest was up, and in the stable, seeing that everything was just as it should be about his turn-out. He then dressed himself carefully, ate a hurried breakfast, put on a stylish driving coat, and, jumping into his buggy, drove down to Cox's.

Mrs. Maroney looked perfectly bewitching as she appeared, dressed in a bright spring costume, and De Forest tingled in every vein, as he helped her into the carriage and took a seat beside her. He grasped the reins, and the handsome bays were off with a bound.

What would have been Maroney's feelings if he could have seen his wife and her gay cavalier?

It was a beautiful April morning; the breeze was fresh and exhilarating; the fields were clothed with verdure, and the trees loaded with buds. From every side the birds poured forth their song. It was the season of love, and who could be more completely "in season" than was De Forest? The roads were in splendid condition, and they bowled along rapidly, carrying on an animated conversation. When they arrived in Philadelphia, De Forest drove to Mitchell's restaurant, opposite Independence Hall, where Mrs. Maroney alighted, and he drove off to stable his horses, intending to return at once and order a hearty dinner.

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