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   Chapter 18 No.18

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 19700

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Nothing worthy of record occurred on the journey and they arrived at Montgomery in due time. Roch telegraphed to Porter from Augusta, Ga., that they were coming, and he, having been previously informed of the fact, was, of course, at the station to meet them. He was now Maroney's bosom friend, and as such paid much attention to Mrs. Maroney. He met her at the depot with a carriage when she arrived, and conducted Flora and her to the Exchange Hotel and gave them a room.

The difficulty with Mr. Floyd had been smoothed over and she soon felt at home. But something strange seemed to have taken place in Montgomery. Porter, of course, paid her great attention and gave her one of the best rooms the house afforded; but all the ladies she met during the day passed her very coolly. The gentlemen were all friendly, but not so cordial as usual. She could not understand it.

She did not go out much the first day, but called up the porter, and, going to the garret with him, pointed out the old trunk and had him take it down to her room. The following day she called at Charlie May's. Something unusual must have happened, as she left there in bitter anguish. The house was near the hotel and Porter had seen her go in and come out. She wore no veil and the traces of her grief were plainly visible. She returned to the hotel and went to her room. Porter, in a short time, stepped up, knocked at her door and enquired of Flora how her ma was. Flora said her ma was not well, that she had a bad headache. He was bound to get in, so he pushed past the child and saw Mrs. Maroney lying on the bed crying. Being the clerk of the hotel, his coming in would not be considered unusual.

He enquired if there was nothing he could do for her, and she said no. He surmised what had happened and concluded he could find out all about it at Patterson's. He went over to Patterson's and met Charlie May. Charlie said that Mrs. Maroney had called on his wife, but had been roughly handled-tongued would be the proper word. Mrs. May informed her of what she had read and otherwise heard about her getting married at this late date.

Mrs. Maroney denied the report and declared that they had been married in Savannah long before; that they had afterwards lived in New Orleans, Augusta, Ga., and finally had settled in Montgomery.

Mrs. May replied that it was useless for her to try and live the report down; that the ladies of Montgomery had determined not to recognize her, and that she had been tabooed from society. Mrs. May grew wrathful and warned Mrs. Maroney to beware how she conducted herself toward Mr. May.

Mrs. Maroney rose proudly from her chair, and giving Mrs. May a look that made her tremble, said:

"Mr. Maroney is as thoroughly a gentleman as Mr. May or any one in Montgomery, and he is capable of protecting himself and me."

She then flounced out of the house and returned to the hotel.

She remained in her room all day, but on the following morning went to the office of her husband's counsel, where she remained some time, and then returned to the hotel.

Porter was summoned to her room, and on going up she asked him if McGibony was around. Porter said he presumed he was at the Court House. Mrs. Maroney then said:

"I would like to see him! My poor husband is in trouble and I need the assistance of all his friends, not but that he will eventually prove himself innocent and make the company pay him heavy damages for their outrageous persecution! but he is, at present, in the hands of the enemy. If he were only in the South, it would be very different. Here he would have many kind friends to assist him; there he has not one who will turn a finger to help him. Mr. Maroney and I are aware of the scandal that has been spread about us, but we will soon put our timid friends to the blush. They think it will be hard for Maroney to fight a wealthy corporation like the Adams Express, and, instead of helping him, seem inclined to join the stronger party. With them 'might makes right,' and when Maroney gains the day, how they will come crawling back to congratulate him and say, 'We always felt that you were innocent.' O Mr. Porter, it is a shame. Why is Maroney held a prisoner in the North, when he should be tried before a jury of his fellow Southerners? What will not money do in this country? But I will show the Adams Express that they are not dealing with a weak, timid woman. I have just been to see my husband's counsel and have made arrangements to get a requisition from the Governor of Alabama on the Governor of New York to have my husband brought here. I want McGibony to go North and bring him down. Of course he would not attempt to escape, but it will be necessary to keep up the form of having him in the charge of an officer, and I think McGibony the proper man to send. If McGibony will not go I shall have to ask you, Mr. Porter, to execute the commission."

Porter, not having any orders how to act, said: "I will think the matter over, and have no doubt but that McGibony will be well pleased to go. There is only one difficulty, and that is, he may not have the necessary cash."

"That need not deter him," she replied, eagerly. "I have plenty of money, and will gladly pay him all he asks."

"I will find him and bring him to your room," said Porter, as he walked away.

He went down stairs and immediately telegraphed to Bangs, in cipher, informing him of all he had learned, and asking for instructions in regard to acting as Mrs. Maroney's agent in bringing Maroney to Montgomery.

Bangs held a consultation with the General Superintendent. The reasons for Mrs. Maroney's trip South were now plain, and it was necessary for the company's counsel at Montgomery to give the matter immediate attention. The General Superintendent telegraphed to Watts, Judd & Jackson of Mrs. Maroney's intended coup d'état, and ordered them to take the necessary steps to checkmate her, while Bangs ordered Porter to avoid acting as Mrs. Maroney's agent.

In the meantime Porter found McGibony, and conducted him to Mrs. Maroney's room. He learned that Charlie May and Patterson had come up during his absence. Mrs. Maroney made her desire known to McGibony, and he at once accepted the commission. She thanked him, and remarked that she hoped to have all in readiness in a few days.

Charlie May was very attentive to her, and she seemed to thoroughly appreciate him, although his wife had treated her so cavalierly the day before.

After dismissing the rest of the party she had a long, private conversation with Patterson. In an hour Patterson came down and went to a livery stable where "Yankee Mary" was known to be kept, and soon after Mrs. Maroney had an interview with the proprietor of the livery-stable. Porter had become one of the clique, and found that Maroney had a large interest in the stable. "Yankee Mary" was Maroney's own property, and his business with the livery-stables in Chattanooga and Nashville was to examine and buy horses for his stables in Montgomery. In a couple of days Maroney's interest in the stable was disposed of to Patterson, and the money paid over to Mrs. Maroney. "Yankee Mary" was not sold, and still remained the property of Maroney.

All these transactions Porter duly reported to Bangs, and Bangs to the Vice-President. They decided to secure "Yankee Mary" for the company, and Watts, Judd & Jackson were instructed to attach her. This they did, and she changed hands, being afterwards cared for in the stables of the Express Company.

Flora was much neglected, as Mrs. Maroney devoted all her time to business. She was continually out in the company of Charlie May, Patterson, the livery-stable keeper, Porter, or McGibony.

At last it was announced by her counsel that the "die was cast," and the requisition refused; so McGibony was spared the trouble of going North. The Governor of Alabama came to the conclusion that he could not ask the Governor of New York to deliver up a man who was a prisoner of the United States government, charged with feloniously holding money, until judgment was rendered against him. Mrs. Maroney found she could do nothing in Montgomery, so she packed up and, with Flora, started for Atlanta. Porter had Roch at the depot, and as soon as she started, she was again under the care of the Dutchman. At Atlanta she put up at the Atlanta House, while Roch took quarters in a low boarding-house. He watched closely, but was careful not to be seen, or to excite suspicion. Mrs. Maroney and Flora remained in the hotel, not coming down, for twenty-four hours. She was, no doubt arranging something, but what, was a mystery.

What she did will be eventually disclosed. The first notice Roch had of her movements, was when she came out of the hotel with Flora, and was driven to the depot. He had just time to get to his boarding-house, pay his bill, seize his satchel, and get upon the train as it moved off. Mrs. Maroney acted much as her husband did when he left Chattanooga so suddenly. "They are as alike as two peas," thought Roch; "both are secret in all their movements, and make no confidants."

But the eye of the detective never sleeps, and Maroney and his wife were always outwitted. While they greatly exulted over their shrewdness, the detective, whom they thought they had bewildered, was quietly gazing at them from the rear window of the "nigger car."

Roch found that Mrs. Maroney had bought a ticket to Augusta, Ga.; but before reaching that city, she suddenly left the train at Union Point. There was a train in waiting, which she immediately took, and went to Athens. Roch knew nothing about the country they were passing through, and was following blindly wherever she led. They had not gone far on their new route when Athens was announced. Roch saw Mrs. Maroney getting Flor

a and herself in readiness to leave the train. When the cars stopped at the station Flora and she got out, stepped into an omnibus, and were taken to the Lanier House. Roch followed, and when they entered the hotel, went to a restaurant and got some refreshments.

Athens was a thriving inland town. After Roch had finished his meal he strolled around, and finally arrived in front of the Lanier House. Puffing away at his pipe, he took a seat on the verandah. Here he mused for some time, apparently half asleep, when he was aroused by the clattering of hoofs and the rumbling of wheels, and looking up the street he saw a stage approaching. It drew up in front of the hotel, and a knot of people gathered around it. While the horses were being changed, the driver rushed into the bar-room to take a drink. Roch listlessly looked at the hurry and bustle, but suddenly sprang to his feet, and almost dropped his inseparable companion-his pipe-from his mouth, for whom should he see escorted from the hotel, and assisted into the stage, by the landlord, with many a bow and flourish, but Mrs. Maroney and Flora? Her baggage was not brought down, so that he was certain she would return. He had no time to think over the best plan to pursue, but determined to accompany her at all hazards.

The driver came out, mounted his seat and Roch got up beside him. It must be admitted that he was badly off for an excuse to account for his movements, as he knew nothing of the country, and did not know where the stage was going. The driver was a long, lank Southerner, burned as brown as a berry by the sun. He always had a huge "chaw" of tobacco stowed away in the side of his left cheek, and, as he drove along, would deposit its juice with unerring aim on any object that attracted his attention. He was very talkative, and at once entered into conversation with Roch. "Wal stranger, whar yar bound?" was his first salutation.

Roch looked at him in a bewildered way, and then said, "Nichts verstehe!"

"Wal stranger, whar yar bound," was his first salutation. Roch looked at him in a bewildered way, and then said, "Nichts verstehe!"-Page 158.

"Whar are yar gwine? Are yar a through passenger, or whar are yar gwine?"

"Vel, I vish to see de country. I vil go mit you till I see von ceety vot I likes, und den I vil get out mit it!"

"Oh!" said the driver, in a patronizing tone, "yar parspectin', are yar?" And so they kept up a conversation, from which Roch gleaned that the stage was bound for Anderson's Court House, S. C. Whenever the driver would ask a question he did not like to answer, he would say, "nichts verstehe," and so tided over all his difficulties. The passengers, one lady and three gentlemen besides Mrs. Maroney and Flora, amused themselves in various ways as they drove along. The gentlemen smoked and conversed, and the other lady seemed very agreeable; but Mrs. Maroney did not say a word to any one but Flora. Roch as he occasionally glanced over his shoulder at her, observed that she seemed to be suffering from much care and anxiety.

Eight miles out from Athens the driver stopped to change his horses, and Roch took advantage of this circumstance to get a little familiar with him. He found this an easy matter. A few drinks and some cigars to smoke on the road-which he treated him to-put him in such a good humor that he declared, as they drove off, that it was a pity his German friend was not a white man. Roch wondered if all the negroes spoke German, but said nothing.

They drove along through a rich agricultural country until they arrived at Danielsville, about sixteen miles from Athens. Here Mrs. Maroney touched the driver and asked him if he knew where Mrs. Maroney lived. Oh! thought Roch, now I see her object in coming here. The driver knew the place well, and drove up to a handsome mansion, evidently the dwelling of a wealthy planter.

Mrs. Maroney and Flora left the coach and walked up through a beautifully laid out garden to the house, a two story frame, with wide verandahs all around it, and buried in a mass of foliage. She was met at the door by a lady, who kissed both her and Flora, and, relieving her of the satchel, conducted them into the house.

Roch in his broken way told the driver that he liked the appearance of the town so much that he thought he would stop over. They drove up to the tavern and Roch asked the driver in to have a drink with him. As they went into the bar-room they met the clerk, and Roch politely asked him to join them. He informed the driver that he might go back with him in a day or two. The driver did not pay much attention to what he said, as all he really cared for was the drink. After the stage left, Roch entered into conversation with the clerk, and, under pretense of settling in the town, made enquiries about the owners of several places he passed on the road. Finally he asked who the handsome residence on the hill belonged to. "That is Mr. Maroney's place. He is one of the 'solid' men of the town; worth a great deal of money; has some niggers, and is held in high esteem by the community, as he is a perfect gentleman."

In the evening he dropped into a saloon, where he formed the acquaintance of several old saloon-loafers, who were perfectly familiar with everybody's business but their own, and from them gathered much useful information of the surrounding country, and had the clerk's opinion of Mr. Maroney fully endorsed.

Roch was up early in the morning and strolling around. He met an old negro who informed him that the stage for Athens would be along in three hours. He sauntered carelessly to Mr. Maroney's, and watched the house from a safe position, but, as the blinds were closed, could see no signs of preparation within. He therefore returned to the tavern, with the determination of keeping a watch on the stage. He had waited about an hour, when a gentleman walked up the steps to the stage office, which was in the tavern. He heard the clerk say, "Good morning, Mr. Maroney," which immediately put him on the alert.

"Good morning," responded Mr. Maroney. "I want to secure three seats in the stage for Athens; want them this morning." Securing his tickets, he went home, leaving Roch once more at his ease, as he now knew exactly what move to make. When the stage drove up, he called in the driver, stood treat, and again took a seat beside him. The clerk told the driver to call at Mr. Maroney's for some passengers, and they started off. Mr. Maroney, Mrs. Maroney and Flora were at the gate when they drove up, and all three entered the stage and went to Athens. At Athens they stopped a short time at the Lanier House; sent their baggage down to the depot, and took the train on the Washington Branch Railroad, which connects with the main line at Union Point. Mr. Maroney bid them good-bye, and returned to the Lanier House. The train consisted of only one car, and Roch had to take a seat in the same car with Mrs. Maroney, but he went in behind her, and took a seat in the rear of the car, so that he remained unnoticed.

Mrs. Maroney was very restless, and after they took the through train at Union Point, would carefully scan the features of all the well-dressed men who entered the car. She seemed to suspect every one around her, and acted in a most peculiar manner. In a short time they reached Augusta, Ga., where Mrs. Maroney and Flora left the train and put up at the principal hotel. It was late when they arrived, so that they immediately took supper and retired. Roch found a room in a restaurant, and after his supper strolled through the hotel, but discovered nothing, as Mrs. Maroney and Flora remained quiet in their room.

The following afternoon Mrs. Maroney and Flora left the hotel, accompanied by a gentleman, and once more started for the North. The gentleman accompanied them to Wilmington, N. C. During the whole of the journey, Mrs. Maroney acted, metaphorically, as if sitting on thorns. She did not seem at all pleased at the attention paid her by the gentleman. When he would ask her a question she would glance at him with a startled frightened look, and answer him very abruptly. She seemed much relieved when he bade them good-bye. Roch was sitting in the rear of the second-class car and could keep a strict watch on her movements. Not a person got on or off the train whom she did not carefully observe. Two or three times during the night she fell into a restless sleep, but always started up with a wild look of agony in her face. Day or night she seemed to have no peace, and by the time they reached Philadelphia she had become so haggard and worn as to appear fully ten years older than when she started.

Roch telegraphed to Bangs from Baltimore, informing him of the time he would arrive in Philadelphia, and Green and Rivers were at the station to relieve him-Green to "shadow" Mrs. Maroney and Rivers to see what disposition would be made of her baggage, and if he found it transferred to Jenkintown to follow it and be on hand there when Mrs. Maroney arrived. Roch went to the office and reported to Bangs. He said that he had never seen so strange a woman; she had acted on the whole journey as if troubled with a guilty conscience. He felt confident she had something concealed, but could take no steps in the matter until he was absolutely certain, beyond a doubt, that his suspicions were correct. My orders were clear on this point-never make a decisive move unless you are positive you are right. If you are watching a person, and know he has something concealed, arrest him and search his person; otherwise, no matter how strong your suspicions, do not act upon them, as a single misstep of this sort may lose the case, and is certain to put the parties on their guard, and in a few minutes to overthrow the labor of months.

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