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The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 11669

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


De Forest, after stabling his horses, proceeded to the Adams Express Office and reported his success to the Vice-President and Mr. Bangs. He was highly elated, and they laughed heartily to see how well the play worked.

"By-the-by!" said De Forest, "I promised to go right back and meet her. Oh! I almost forgot! two ladies have lately arrived in Jenkintown; I think they are rich, at least the taller one is so reported. Her name is Madam Imbert, and she is from the South. They don't go out much; go to the gardens occasionally, and Mrs. Maroney is anxious to form their acquaintance; I think I will get thoroughly acquainted with them by-and-by."

The Vice-President and Bangs paid no attention to this, knowing that Madam Imbert could take care of herself. They instructed De Forest to attend to his own business, let other people alone, and with this admonition sent him off.

What was De Forest's astonishment on returning to the restaurant to find the lady gone! He did not like it, but concluded the only thing he could do was to wait. There are plenty of loafers around "Independence Hall" at any time, day or night, so drinking a mint julep and lighting a cigar, he joined the throng. He fumed and fretted for over an hour and a half, when he saw Mrs. Maroney coming down the street, looking very warm. He met her and she excused herself by saying that she had called on a lady friend who lived on Spruce street, just above Twentieth, and finding her sick had been unable to get away; that she had walked back very fast and felt completely exhausted.

De Forest felt very sorry, and tenderly said she must not over-exert herself. He then ordered dinner, which was served up regardless of cost, and which they washed down with a few bottles of champagne of the very best brand. They were soon the happiest of friends, and all thoughts of separation had vanished from De Forest's mind.

It is strange what a difference there will sometimes be in reports. About two hours after De Forest made his report, Green came in and reported that according to orders he had "shadowed" De Forest and Mrs. Maroney when they drove into the city.

De Forest had left Mrs. Maroney at Mitchell's and driven off while he remained and kept his eye upon her. She left Mitchell's, walked over to the Washington House and went into a room where she remained for over an hour and a half. She left the hotel with Mr. Hastenbrook, who politely bade her good-bye at the corner of Eighth street, while she went down to Mitchell's and met De Forest, poor De Forest! but, "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." After dinner De Forest ordered up his horses, and the happy pair, rendered extremely sentimental by the mellowing influence of the wine, started on their homeward journey. They stopped at a wayside inn a few miles out of the city, had a mint julep, and then proceeded on their way home, both very happy, and De Forest decidedly spooney.

Rivers had an easy time of it at Jenkintown. He got well in with Josh. Cox and his friends Horton and Barclay. In fact any one with a little money to spend on drinks could easily form their acquaintance. He became so thick with Josh. that Josh. would gladly have taken him into his house as a boarder had it not been for the fact that Mrs. Maroney and her daughter were boarding with him and had taken up all the spare room.

Rivers did not become acquainted with Mrs. Maroney, as she was proud and arrogant, and would disdain to form the acquaintance of any low "white trash" like him. Whenever Mrs. Maroney went to Philadelphia he followed her and excused his frequent absences to Josh. by stating that he went up to get his arm dressed. That arm was indeed a very sore one, and his physician must have made a small fortune out of him alone. When Rivers found that Mrs. Maroney was going into town with her escort, he would go in on the train and get to the outskirts of the city in time to meet them as they drove in. She was generally accompanied by De Forest, who had become her constant attendant. After they reached the city they had to drive slowly, and so he could follow them with ease. De Forest had been ordered to always drive to Mitchell's when he came in with Mrs. Maroney, and Green was there ready to take charge of her when they arrived, relieving Rivers, who would return by the evening train to Jenkintown.

Mrs. Maroney had a great desire to become acquainted with Madam Imbert and Miss Johnson. Madam Imbert appeared very sad, and it was currently reported that she had brought the lively Miss Johnson with her to console her and keep her in good spirits. The desired introduction was brought about by an accident. Mrs. Maroney was taking her accustomed stroll through the pleasure grounds, accompanied by De Forest and Flora. Flora, as usual, full of fun, was running far ahead of her, when she saw two ladies coming down a cross-path. As she turned her head to look at them, still running at full speed, she caught her foot in the grass borders of the walk and was thrown violently to the gravel pavement. The ladies, who proved to be Madam Imbert and Miss Johnson, rushed to her, and the Madam picked her up. Flora had scratched her hands badly, and Madam Imbert had partially bound them up before her mother and De Forest arrived. This led to an introduction, and Mrs. Maroney was not slow in following it up.

The next day Madam Imbert received a call from Mrs. Maroney, who wished to more fully return her thanks for her kindness to her daughter. The acquaintance progressed slowly, Mrs. Maroney making all the advances. There was something about Madam Imbert that seemed to draw one toward her. Mrs. Maroney felt that the Madam was a better woman than she, and that it did her good to pass an hour in her company. As she became more familiar wit

h her, she discovered that Madam Imbert received many letters through the post, and often found her crying over them. The Madam would put them hurriedly to one side, and greet her with a forced smile which showed the efforts she made to hide her grief. Mrs. Maroney deeply sympathized with her, as she compared her own gay and happy life, free from care, to Madam Imbert's, from which every ray of sunshine seemed to have been blotted out.

On one of the trips which Mrs. Maroney made to Philadelphia with De Forest, Rivers, who had headed them off, as usual, at the outskirts of the town, and was following them in, was observed by De Forest. De Forest had seen the man with the sore arm just before they left Jenkintown, and he now noticed him following them from block to block. He had no idea that the man could be following Mrs. Maroney, and supposed he must be following him. The idea flashed into his mind that it must be some inquisitive boor, who was following him merely out of prurient curiosity to see how he conducted himself with Mrs. Maroney. He did not mention the matter to her, but as he saw the man still following him his anger overflowed, and he determined that when he left Mrs. Maroney at Mitchell's, he would find out what the fellow wanted with him. When he arrived at Mitchell's Mrs. Maroney went in, and he drove to the stables with the horses. Rivers met Green here, and turning Mrs. Maroney over to him, came to the office of the Adams Express and reported to Bangs.

Bangs gave him his instructions and he went out of the office by the rear entrance. He saw De Forest in the alley, but as he had nothing to do with him, let him go. He went down Chestnut street, turned into Third, where the cars start from, and, as he had a few hours to spare, determined to see some of his old friends. He had been loafing around about an hour when one of the detectives of the city force stepped up to him, and, tapping him on the shoulder, said: "You are my prisoner."

"What have I done to deserve arrest?" demanded Rivers, completely dumbfounded.

"Never you mind that! you're my prisoner, and if you don't come along quietly, you'll pay for it!" was all the consolation he got from the detective.

"But I haven't done anything," pleaded Rivers.

"There, just shut up, now! I don't want any of your talk. I know my business, and you're my prisoner; so just you come along."

Rivers, finding resistance useless, went with him. At the same time he saw De Forest looking on, and seeming to rather enjoy his predicament. As the detective was taking him up Chestnut street toward his headquarters, they passed the Adams Express Office. Bangs happened to step out at this moment, and was much amazed to see Rivers under arrest. They said nothing, but Rivers looked steadily at Bangs, and Bangs at him. Without a moment's reflection, Bangs rushed off to report the arrest of Rivers to me. I was holding a consultation with Madam Imbert and Miss Johnson, at the Merchants' Hotel. Everything was working well, and I felt particularly happy, when Bangs rushed in and dispelled my happiness by stating that Rivers had been arrested. At the news, my heart fairly jumped into my mouth. I had felt success almost within my grasp, and now my plans had fallen through entirely.

The thought at once flashed through my mind that Hastenbrook was at the bottom of the trouble. He must be a friend of Maroney's in disguise. I left Madam Imbert and the rest of the party at the Merchants' and proceeded to the Adams Express Office, where I met the Vice-President. I informed him of Rivers's arrest, and my fears that Maroney had checkmated me. The Vice-President said that he thought he could entirely remove my fears; that De Forest had come in from Jenkintown with Mrs. Maroney, and had reported to him. He stated that he had fixed a fellow nicely. A fellow had been loafing around Jenkintown for three or four weeks. De Forest had observed him just before starting for the city, and when he reached the suburbs discovered him dogging his movements wherever he went. He drove to Mitchell's, and came over to report, and the impudent fellow still kept on his track. He thereupon went to the city detective's headquarters. The employés of the Adams Express were well known, so that he had no difficulty in getting a detective, and, walking out with him, he pointed out the man, and said he would like to have him arrested, as he had been following him all the morning. The detective kept watch of the man for over an hour, and then, finding that he continued to loaf around, arrested him on the charge of vagrancy and took him to the office, where he had him locked up until he could prefer charges against him.

As may be easily imagined, I felt greatly relieved when I heard this. The ridiculousness of the whole transaction crossed my mind, and as the Vice-President equally appreciated the joke with me, it was some time before we could control our risibles sufficiently to make arrangements for the release of Rivers. I asked the Vice-President if he knew some lawyer whom he could get to volunteer his services in behalf of Rivers. He suggested one, and soon afterward a lawyer called at the detective's office and demanded the charge on which Rivers was held. He found that it was only a nominal one, and effected his release without any one's being the wiser as to his business.

When De Forest returned to Jenkintown that evening, he was greatly surprised to find Rivers there, as large as life, and drinking with his friend Cox as if nothing had happened. De Forest could not tell how he got out, but supposed he must have been let off on paying a fine; all he knew was that the dirty loafer had completely spoiled his pleasure.

We will now leave Jenkintown for a time, and return to Montgomery.

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