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The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 19831

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


I now determined to strike a blow at Maroney. Some idea of its power may be gained by imagining how a prisoner would feel upon receiving the news that, while he is languishing in prison, his faithless wife is receiving the unlawful attentions of a young gallant, and that everything indicates that they are about to leave for parts unknown, intending to take all his money and leave him in the lurch. This was exactly the rod I had in pickle for Maroney. I applied it through the following letter:

"Nathan Maroney, Eldridge Street Jail, New York:

"Ha! ha! ha! * * * * Your wife and the fellow with the long mustache and whiskers are having a glorious time, driving around in his buggy.

"You have heard of Sanford? He loves you well. He is the one who moves the automaton with the whiskers and long mustache, and gives your wife a lover in Jenkintown.

"You should feel happy, and so do I. The garden at night; honeyed words; the parting kiss! She loves him well! I know you are happy!

"Good-bye! * * * *

Revenge!"

Having written the document, I had it mailed from Jenkintown, through the assistance of friend Rivers.

At Jenkintown all was going smoothly. De Forest was more loving than ever, and Madam Imbert found it almost impossible to have a private conversation with Mrs. Maroney, as she seemed always with him. When De Forest came to Philadelphia I had it suggested to him that it would be advisable to get Mrs. Maroney to walk or drive out with him in the evening. He immediately acted on the suggestion, and before long could be found almost every evening with her.

Mrs. Maroney did not again allude to her valuables, and evidently felt perfectly easy in regard to them, considering that she had them safely secreted. One day, while Mrs. Maroney was in the cellar, Madam Imbert called. Mrs. Cox met her and said:

"Sister is in the cellar; I will call her up."

"Never mind," remarked the Madam, "I'll just run down to her," and stepped towards the cellar door.

Mrs. Cox quickly interposed and said:

"Oh! no; I will call her!"

This little incident showed Madam Imbert that something was going on which they did not want her to know.

Mrs. Maroney soon came up, said she was delighted to see her, and did not look at all confused.

Rivers, Cox, Horton and Barclay had formed themselves into a quartette club and were nearly always together.

Rivers's arm had not healed as yet, and he still wore it in a sling. Cox and he were on the best of terms, and the Jenkintowners regarded him, as well as the other detectives, as permanent residents.

De Forest was happy beyond expression, and Mrs. Maroney seemed equally so. She wrote letters daily to her husband and often spoke of Madam Imbert and how deeply she felt for her, bowed down with care and alone in the world. She very seldom alluded to De Forest and never spoke of his being her constant companion.

While all was passing so pleasantly in Jenkintown, a terrible scene was being enacted in Eldridge street jail. I had not posted White as to my intention of sending the anonymous letter to Maroney, as I wished to find what effect Maroney's conduct would have on him. The day after Rivers had posted the letter, Shanks brought it to Maroney when he came with the morning's mail. Besides my letter there was also one from Mrs. Maroney. Maroney looked at the letters and opened the one from his wife first. He read it, a pleased smile passing over his face, and then laid it down and picked up my letter. He scanned the envelope carefully and then broke the seal. White was watching him and wondered why he examined the letter so closely. As he read, White was astonished to see a look of deep anguish settle on his face. He seemed to be sinking from some terrible blow. He recovered himself, read the letter over and over again, then crushed it in his hand and threw it on the floor.

He sprang to his feet and walked rapidly up and down the hall; but returned and picked up the letter before the wily White could manage to secure it. White wondered what it was that troubled Maroney. He whispered to Shanks:

"What the d--l is the matter with Maroney? He has received bad news. I should like, in some way, to find out what it is. The old man will be wondering what is in that note, and when I report, will blame me for not finding out."

Maroney appeared almost crazed. He forced the letter into his pocket and went into his cell without a word; but his face was a terrible index of what was passing in his mind.

After a little, White and Shanks walked by his cell and saw him lying on the bed, with his face hidden in the clothes. He did not come out for over an hour; but when he did, he seemed perfectly calm. He was very pale, and it was astonishing to see the change wrought in him in so short a time.

White met him as he came out, but did not appear to notice any difference in him.

"Here, Maroney, have a cigar; they are a new brand. Shanks is a superior judge of cigars. I think these are the best I have yet had, and I believe I will get a box; I can get them for eleven dollars, and they are as good as those they retail at twenty cents a piece."

Maroney held out his hand mechanically and took one. He put it into his mouth, and without lighting it, commenced to chew it.

White, in one of his reports to me, says: "A man often shows his desperation by his desire to get more nicotine than usual." Maroney did not converse with White, and only said he wanted to write. He sat down and wrote a note, but immediately tore it up. He wrote and tore up several in this way, but finally wrote one to suit him. White quietly told Shanks that when Maroney gave him the letter he was writing, he must be sure and see its contents. Of course Shanks always obeyed orders, and never neglected anything his uncle told him to do, even if it was to forget something that had happened. In this way he was extremely useful. It was getting late, and the jailer had told him two or three times that he must go, but he did not take his departure until Maroney had sealed the letter and handed it to him.

Maroney was in a terrible condition, and White found that it would be impossible to get anything out of him that night, as the whole affair was too fresh in his mind; so he got some brandy he had in his cell, and asked him to take a drink. Maroney eagerly swallowed a brimming glassfull, and took four or five drinks in rapid succession. He seemed to suffer terrible anguish, and his whole frame trembled like a leaf. In a few minutes he retired to his cell, evidently determined to seek oblivion in sleep.

We will now follow Shanks to his hotel, where he is engaged in opening Maroney's letter. Although the letter was very securely sealed, he accomplished the task without much difficulty, and read as follows:

"Madam: I have received a strange letter. What does it mean? Are you playing false to me? Who is this man you have with you? where does he come from? Are you such a fool as not to know he is a tool of the Adams, and that you are acting with him? I cannot be with you. If I had my liberty I would hurry to your side, snatch you from this villain, and plunge my knife so deep into him that he would never know he had received a blow!!! Why are you so foolish? Do you love me? You have often said you did. You know I have done all in my power to make you happy, and have placed entire confidence in you. Why have you never told me about this man? Listen to me, and love me as before, and all will go well. Tell me all, 'and tell me it is not so bad as it is told to me!' Spurn this scoundrel, and have confidence in me forever!!!"

Nat.

Shanks hurriedly copied this letter, and mailed it after making another copy, which he forwarded to me at the same time. In the morning he gave White a copy of the letter, which revealed to him the cause of Maroney's anguish.

Maroney came to White in the morning, and found him moody, and not inclined to talk. Still he clung to him as his only hope. It was a strange fascination which White had acquired over Maroney. Maroney appeared to feel better, although he was still very pale, and seemed to be comforted by White's presence, although he did not say a word about his trouble.

We will now make a trip which Maroney would like to make, and return to Jenkintown.

Maroney's letter arrived by the five p. m. mail, at Jenkintown, the day following the one on which Shanks mailed it. In the morning Mrs. Maroney had spent some time with Madam Imbert, and then had gone for a drive with De Forest. They went to Manayunk, had a fish dinner washed down with a bottle of champagne, and drove back as happy and free from care as two children. Mrs. Maroney left the buggy at Cox's at half-past four, and found Madam Imbert waiting for her. The Madam noticed that she was a little exhilarated. After they had conversed for some time she asked Mrs. Maroney out for a walk, and they strolled leisurely down to the station. The train from Philadelphia had just passed through, and Mrs. Maroney said: "Let us walk up to Stemples's and see if any letters have come for us."

When they reached Stemples's, Mrs. Maroney went in and received a letter. Madam Imbert was not so fortunate. "Oh!" laughed Mrs. Maroney, "I have seen the time, when I was single, that I would receive half a dozen letters a day; but this is more valuable than them all, as it is from my husband. Heigh ho! I wonder what my darling Nat. has to say." At the same time she broke the seal, and then proceeded to read the letter.

Madam Imbert walked a little way behind her, as was her habit. She was a very tall, commanding woman, and made this her habit so that she could glance at anything that Mrs. Maroney might read as they walked along. It was a part of her business, and so she was not to be blamed for it. Mrs. Maroney flushed at the first word she

read, but as she went on her color heightened, until she was red as a coal of fire. "Why," she muttered, "Nat., you're a d--d fool!" When angered she always used language she had acquired in her former life.

Madam Imbert heard her, and was anxious to see the contents of the letter, but could only catch a word here and there as she looked over Mrs. Maroney's shoulder.

Mrs. Maroney glanced over the letter hurriedly, and then read it again. She muttered to herself, and the Madam hoped she was going to tell her what it was that caused her hard words; but she did not, and soon folded the letter up and put it away. As they neared Cox's she said: "Please excuse me; I feel unwell, and fear I have been too much in the sun to-day."

At this moment De Forest walked out of Josh.'s. "Mrs. Maroney," said he, "will you come to the garden this evening?"

Madam Imbert turned to leave.

Mrs. Maroney looked him full in the face with flashing eyes, clenched her little hand, and in a voice hoarse from passion, exclaimed: "What do you want here, you scoundrel?"

"Mrs. Maroney looked him full in the face with flashing eyes, clenched her little hand, and in a voice hoarse from passion, exclaimed: 'What do you want here, you scoundrel?'"-Page 190.

If a thunderbolt had fallen at his feet, De Forest could not have been more astonished; he was struck speechless; his powers of articulation were gone. She said not one word more, but stalked into the house and closed the door with a bang that made him jump.

Madam Imbert wended her way to the tavern, but De Forest stood for fully two minutes, seemingly deprived of the power of motion. He then darted eagerly toward the door, determined to have an explanation, but was met by Josh., who said: "You have done something that has raised the d--l in Mrs. Maroney, and she will play the deuce with you if you don't clear out. If you try to speak to her, she will pistol you, sure!"

"But what have I done?" asked De Forest. "It is only an hour since I left her, and we were then on the best of terms. I have always treated her well!"

"Come, come!" said Josh., "don't stand talking here. People will see we are having a fuss." And he took De Forest by the arm and led him toward Stemples's.

Madam Imbert had met Rivers on her way, and sent him to find out how affairs were progressing. He arrived at this moment. "Hello," said he to Josh., "I was just coming to see you."

"Yes! You have come at the wrong time. Mrs. Maroney is as mad as blazes, and would have shot De Forest if it had not been for me. I can't tell what for, but, by the Eternal, she would have done it!"

De Forest was all in a maze. He could not imagine what he had done to cause the woman he loved to become so excited as to desire to kill him.

They all three went to the hotel, and De Forest, although generally not a drinking man, called them all up and treated. The fun of the whole thing was that De Forest had not the slightest idea what it was that had caused the trouble. Only an hour before she was by his side in the buggy, and they were so happy and so loving! She had been cooing like a turtle dove, and now, "Oh, wondrous change," she wished to shoot him. He could not remember having uttered a single word that would wound the most sensitive nature.

After tea, Madam Imbert walked down to Cox's, first seeing Rivers and directing him to keep a close guard on the house that night, and especially to watch the cellar-window, so as to know if anything took place in the cellar. On arriving at Cox's she was shown into Mrs. Maroney's room. Mrs. Maroney was in bed, but did not have her clothes off. She had not been crying, but fairly quivered with suppressed excitement. She rose and closed the door, and then burst out with, "Why, Madam Imbert, have you ever heard of so foolish a man as my husband? Who knows where De Forest comes from? Do you?"

"No," answered the Madam; "he was here when I came. Don't you know?"

"No. All I know is that I became acquainted with him here, when I first came, and I found him so serviceable that I kept up the acquaintance; But," she broke out in a wild, excited manner, "D-n him! I'll put a ball through him if he dares to injure me."

"Keep cool, keep cool! What does it matter? You are excited; it is a bad time to talk," urged Madam Imbert.

"But I must talk: I shall suffocate if I don't. Madam Imbert, I must tell you all."

"No! You must not talk now. Calm yourself! You must keep cool! Think of your poor husband languishing in prison, and remember that any false move of yours may prove to his disadvantage."

"But what makes him charge me with receiving improper attentions from De Forest? I know I have sometimes been foolish with him, but he is soft and I have moulded him to my purpose. He has been my errand-boy, nothing more; and now my husband thinks me untrue to him, when I would gladly die for him, if it would help him. It is too hard to bear, too hard!!"

Madam Imbert had had the forethought to bring a bottle of brandy with her, so she advised: "Don't make things worse than they are; you had better say no more until morning. Here, have a little brandy; I saw you were nervous, and so brought a bottle with me; take some, and then go to bed. After a good sound sleep you will be able to see your way much clearer than now."

"Oh, thank you," said Mrs. Maroney, as she eagerly seized the glass and gulped down a large quantity.

Madam Imbert started to leave.

"Please don't go yet; I must tell you all," pleaded Mrs. Maroney.

"Wait till to-morrow," said Madam Imbert, "it is a bad time to talk."

"Madam Imbert, you are now my only friend, and I would like to have your opinion as to who it is that is writing these letters about me to my husband. If I knew the dirty dog, I would put a ball through him. I am not fairly treated. I am Maroney's wife, and he should not believe such slanders against me. As long as I live I will do all I can for him."

"Mrs. Maroney," said Madam Imbert, getting up, "I must not listen to you; I will go."

"Please don't! Who can it be that is writing these reports from Jenkintown?" again enquired Mrs. Maroney.

"That is a point upon which it is hard for me to enlighten you," replied the Madam; "it might be Barclay or some of Josh.'s friends. Josh. is a good clever fellow, for a brother-in-law, but I would not trust him too much; he is a little inclined to talk, and Barclay may have drawn something from him and written to your husband; I know De Forest don't like him."

"I will see Josh. at once, and find out about this Barclay," said Mrs. Maroney.

"You had better wait till morning," said Madam Imbert, as she rose to leave the room; "I must go to bed, and you had better follow my example."

Mrs. Maroney began to show the effects of the brandy she had been drinking, but she took Madam Imbert's arm and went to the door with her. It was now ten o'clock, but she requested the Madam to take a turn in the garden with her. They had hardly taken two steps before Mrs. Maroney stumbled over a man concealed at the side of the house. It was Rivers, but he was up and off before the frightened ladies had a chance to see him. Madam Imbert screamed lustily, although she well knew who it was.

"D--n him," said Mrs. Maroney, "that's that De Forest; I will kill him, sure! What was he doing here?"

Madam Imbert remarked that it was either he or Barclay.

"I know what he is looking after," said Mrs. Maroney; "I see through the whole thing! De Forest is a tool of the Vice-President; he thinks he has got my secrets, but I'll be after him yet." Her voice was hoarse and dry, and plainly showed the effects of the brandy. Madam Imbert walked out of the garden and went to the tavern, while Mrs. Maroney went into the house.

Rivers, when he was disturbed in his watching of the cellar window, rushed straight to Stemples's, where he found Barclay, Horton and Cox. "How do you do, boys?" said he, "come and have a drink; I have just come in from seeing my girl; she is a good one, and I think will make me happy; had a long walk, though; over two miles, and I think I deserve a glass."

Josh. was telling about Mrs. Maroney's quarrel. Rivers heard him patiently through, and they had two or three drinks, when Mrs. Cox stalked into the room. All the women in Jenkintown seemed on the rampage, at least all those we are dealing with.

"Josh., you lazy, good for nothing fellow, I have been looking all over the village for you!"

"Why, you ought to know you could find me here," said Josh.

"Come home at once; sister wants you to watch the house to-night! some one has been lurking around there, and she wants you to find out who it is."

"Well," said Josh., carelessly, "I'll come."

Rivers now spoke up: "I am not very busy just now, and I will watch with you."

"Will you?" said Mrs. Cox, in a pleased tone; "would be much obliged to you if you would; Josh. has been drinking so much that I can't place much reliance on him."

"Certainly," said Rivers, and the trio started for the scene of action.

Mrs. Maroney was in bed when they arrived, but she hastily rose and came to the door in her night dress.

"Now, Josh.," she commanded, "I want you to keep a close watch, and if De Forest, or any one else comes by the cellar-window, just you think they are coming to rob your house, and fire! Here is my revolver."

"I will take care of that," said Rivers, "I am going to stay up and watch with Josh."

"Oh, thank you! Josh., you had better let Mr. Rivers have the revolver."

She went in, and Josh. turned the revolver over to Rivers. They then secreted themselves where they could see any one coming into the yard. In less than an hour Josh. was snoring. At three in the morning Rivers roused him up, got him into the house, and then, thoroughly tired out, started for home.

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