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   Chapter 22 No.22

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 20811

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


In the morning Jenkintown enjoyed the calm that always follows the storm. Madam Imbert called on Mrs. Maroney, and found her suffering from a severe headache. She said she feared she had taken too much champagne the day before, and believed that De Forest had attempted to get her drunk. She could not imagine why he watched the house. She was bound to have nothing more to do with him, as she was certain he was a tool of the Express Company. "And yet," she said, "I thought he was a man above that sort of business! I thought he would disdain to sell himself for such a purpose."

Madam Imbert advised her to be patient, and to be careful not to do De Forest an injustice by judging him wrongfully. "You don't know," she remarked, "but that he really loves you, and was only trying to see if you were receiving other company." They conversed for some time on the subject, and Madam Imbert finally found that Mrs. Maroney was very much inclined to take her view of the subject. She said she really thought De Forest loved her, and perhaps she had been too hasty with him. It was Madam Imbert's best plan to take this course, as it would show what a disinterested friend she was. She wanted to keep watch on Cox's house, but in such a manner as not to excite suspicion.

Mrs. Maroney said she would write to Nat. and explain the matter, but said she would like to find out who had written to her husband. Madam Imbert and she cogitated over the subject for some time, but could not decide upon any particular person. Finally Mrs. Maroney concluded she would take a nap, as she thought she would feel much brighter afterwards. She said she would write to her husband the first thing after dinner, and asked the Madam to call a little later and take a walk with her.

De Forest remained in the hotel all the morning. He did not call on Mrs. Maroney, and vainly puzzled his brain to determine the cause of her excitement. He came into the bar-room, where he found Rivers, as serene as ever, and willing to console any one. In a few minutes Josh., Horton and Barclay arrived. The posse talked over the trouble of the preceding night, and De Forest hoped that, as Josh. had come from the scene of action, he would be able to enlighten him as to the cause of Mrs. Maroney's strange conduct. But Cox was as much at a loss to account for her passion as he. Said he: "All I know is that she is a regular tartar, and no mistake! Whew! Didn't she rave though?"

The Vice-President and I received the reports in Philadelphia, and had a quiet laugh over them. All was working to suit us.

In the afternoon Madam Imbert walked out with Mrs. Maroney, who had just finished her letter to her husband. As they walked along she said, "I told my husband that I knew nothing about the man with the long mustache further than that he was living in Jenkintown before I left the South; that when I first arrived here he did several kind things for me, and had driven me into Philadelphia a few times when I could not get the train, but that you, Madam Imbert, had always accompanied me. I spoke of you as a perfect lady, and as being a true friend of mine, and that you often cautioned me against talking too much. I said that if it was De Forest he alluded to, I was perfectly safe in his company. I asked him if he thought it likely that I, whose interests were identical with his, would be likely to prove untrue to him, and told him he might rest perfectly assured that I would do nothing without his knowledge and consent."

They walked to Stemples's and posted the letter. On the way they met De Forest, but Mrs. Maroney took no notice of him. After mailing the letter, they strolled through the pleasure grounds for some time. At last they separated, each taking their respective way home.

At the tavern Madam Imbert was met by De Forest, who requested a private interview. She readily consented, and, after tea, met him in the sitting-room. De Forest related his sorrowful story, and asked her if she knew what had caused Mrs. Maroney to treat him so harshly.

She said, "these things will happen once in a while; it is part of a woman's nature to take sudden and unaccountable freaks; but all will be right by-and-by." She quoted Scott's beautiful lines:

"O Woman! in our hours of ease

Uncertain, coy and hard to please,

And variable as the shade

By the light quivering aspen made:

When pain and anguish wring the brow,

A ministering Angel thou-"

De Forest fervently hoped that, as she had brought "pain and anguish" to his brow, she would now become his "ministering angel," and went off somewhat comforted. Madam Imbert saw Mrs. Maroney in the evening and told her of the interview with De Forest. This made her feel quite happy, and she even remarked: "I think I have been too hard on the poor fellow."

White and Maroney were together when Mrs. Maroney's letter arrived. Maroney read it carefully through and then went to his cell. In the afternoon, White observed him writing and directed Shanks to open the letter when he received it. Shanks did so and found it was to his wife.

He wrote that he was happy to hear that she was still true to him, and to find that he had been deceived. He felt assured that the blow must have been aimed by some of his enemies. If he were at liberty he would find the man, but as he was not he would have to wait. He directed her to endeavor to find out who had sent the letter. As she assured him she would do nothing without his approval, he was contented.

When I received a copy of his letter, I was convinced that he was trying to make the best of a bad bargain. He could not be spared from Eldridge street jail just at that time and had to trust his wife whether he would or not.

White and he lived quietly together. He told White that he was confined at the instigation of the Adams Express, who accused him of stealing fifty thousand dollars from them.

"But, of course," said he, "I am innocent!"

Still, as I have before mentioned, he was anxious to break jail-an unusual inclination for an innocent man.

About this time he happened to read in the papers an account of a robbery in Tennessee, in which a description of the stolen money and bills was given. As he and White were walking in the hall, he said to White:

"White, I wonder if it would not be a good move to try some game in my case? Of course, I am innocent! I think the messenger, Chase, the guilty party, and I want to arrange some plan to throw suspicion on him or some one else; but (in an amusing tone) there is no one else. Chase received the money from me and put it into the pouch! Still, I can't prove this, as there were no witnesses. It will be my oath against his, and as the company have taken his part, he will have the best of it. It is a strange affair. Chase was at the counter checking off the packages as I put them in the pouch. He now says that he did not see all the packages, as they went in so quickly that he had all he could do to check them off. Strange, indeed! If I were checking off packages of such large amounts I think I should be likely to look at them, don't you? I wish in some way to prove Chase dishonest. At present it is even between us, but the company support him and leave me in the lurch."

"Yes," said White, "it is just about as you say, an even thing between you; but the company have undoubtedly sided with Chase because you have the most money, and they think they can recover the amount from you or from your friends! But I don't see how you can clear yourself. If Chase only swears he did not receive the money, it will go hard with you."

White thought that now Maroney would propose to him to get Shanks to have some duplicate keys of the company's pouch made; but apparently he did not yet feel fully certain that he could trust White. He broached the subject several times, but finally dropped it altogether.

A few days after, Maroney had another talk with White and treated him with much more confidence than before. White said little, and was a good man to talk to. Maroney made no admissions, but all his expressions and manners showed guilt. White at least did not accept them as showing his innocence. He always pointed to Chase as the guilty party. Maroney frequently brought up his troubles as a topic of conversation with White; but White was professedly so employed with his own business that he said but little. All that Maroney said to him seemed to go in at one ear and out at the other. When he made a remark it was a casual one and had no bearing on the subject. This caused Maroney to talk still more, devising plans for throwing suspicion on Chase. White casually said:

"What sort of a man is Chase? A smart, shrewd fellow who would pick up a money package if he saw it lying handy, and dispose of it?"

"No," replied Maroney, slowly weighing every word. "I don't think he would. He is a pretty fair man; but the company have no right to make him a witness against me!"

"Who are his friends?" enquired White.

"His father lives in Georgia; he is a whole-souled old planter; has a good many slaves; but his property is much encumbered. Chase is a good fellow after all!"

"By-the-by," asked White, "does he ever go to see the fancy girls?"

"Yes, he does, occasionally," answered Maroney.

"Would it not be a good plan to take four or five thousand dollars and get the girls to stuff it into his pants pocket; then get him drunk, and as he started away have some detective arrest him?"

"Yes," answered Maroney, "it might be done, and Gus McGibony is the man to do it. He is a good friend of mine. If I were only out, I might do something. White, your idea is a good one, you are a splendid contriver; but I must find some one to carry out the plan. I have friends in Montgomery, and I think Charlie May would help me. No, he is too much under the influence of his wife! Patterson would help me some; but I think Porter is the best man for me!"

"Porter? who is he?"

"He is the clerk of the Exchange Hotel," said Maroney.

"He would be a good man for you if you can trust him."

"I know I can do that! he would do anything in the world for me."

"He is just the man to be familiar with the girls. Clerks at hotels always are. Girls must often stop at the hotel, and he might arrange to get Chase into a room with one of them, and then the rest cou

ld be easily accomplished. Does Chase board at the Exchange?"

"Yes," answered Maroney. "White, you're a genius! I have a good mind to write to Porter at once and lay your plan before him."

White looked at him in astonishment. "Are you crazy?" said he; "would you trust such matters on paper? I never do."

"You are right again," exclaimed Maroney.

They talked the affair over for several days, the trouble being to get a proper person to act as a go-between to arrange matters with Porter. Maroney asked White why he could not trust Shanks.

"You could; but the trouble is he has never been in the South."

"That would make but little difference."

"No, now I think of it, I don't know as it would. He would only have to carry the messages, and Shanks always obeys orders."

"Well, I will think it over," remarked Maroney; and the matter dropped, he evidently fearing that Shanks would get the money and clear out.

One day he said: "White, I wonder if the Express Company would not settle the matter with me? I am not guilty of the theft, but things look blue for me. I have some money, and I think I will make a proposition to them."

"You could not do a more foolish thing; they would at once conclude that you were certainly guilty, and make you suffer for it," argued White.

White kept me informed of all that went on, and I had instructed him that we would make no compromise. The company did not care so much for the money, as of making an example of the guilty party. That would show the other employés what would be their fate if they were caught in similar peculations.

About this time Maroney's brother came to New York, from Danielsville. He was a man of good standing, well-meaning, and honest in his intentions. Maroney had looked anxiously for his coming, as he supposed his brother would be able to effect his release on bail. He knew that his brother alone could not make the bail-bond good, as one hundred thousand dollars is a large sum to be raised, but supposed that by his influence he might get others to sign with him.

I placed "shadows" on his brother's track, and they, with White on the inside, and Shanks on the outside, kept me fully informed of what he was intending to do. He appeared to feel very bad at finding his brother in jail, and evinced a desire to do all he could for him. He had a long interview with Maroney and his lawyer, but everything appeared against him. Maroney's brother had no property in New York, and the only way he could raise the necessary bail was by giving a mortgage on his property as security to some man in New York, and have him go on the bond.

The matter was well canvassed between them, but finally, like all the other plans devised to effect his release, was abandoned as impracticable. The brother did not like to procure bail in this way, for if he did, and Maroney should run away, the Adams Express would prosecute the bondsmen, who in turn would foreclose the mortgage, and in all likelihood become the owners of his property. He would do a great deal for his brother, but felt that this was asking too much. His duty to his family would not permit him to run so great a risk, and he therefore returned home without accomplishing the object of his visit.

So far, all my schemes had proved successful.

White had weakened Maroney's confidence in his friends. I wanted him to see and feel that all those whom he considered his friends before the jail door closed upon him, were so no longer. One by one he saw them abandon him to his fate, till he had no one left on whom to rely, but White. His brother had come and gone without accomplishing anything. He feared that even his wife was untrue to him, and that she, instead of proving a safe guardian for his property, might at any moment leave with De Forest and the money. His wife had often spoken of a Madam Imbert, but he had never seen her, and knew not whether she was to be trusted. From his wife's correspondence, he was disposed to think favorably of her, and several times was on the point of sending word to his wife to pay him a visit and bring Madam Imbert with her. But what good would it do? After all, it was better to trust White.

One day White turned to Maroney, after writing several letters and holding a long interview with Shanks, and said: "Maroney, I think I can procure bail. My lawyers have been working hard in my behalf, and one of them went to St. Louis to see my prosecutors. He found they would do nothing unless they got all their money back. Of course I could not give them that," said he with a wink, "as I haven't it; and so my lawyer was unable to do anything for me. Shanks, however, has just been in, and he has not been idle during the five days he has been absent. He has made arrangements with a party to go my bail, provided I will advance a considerable sum as security. Nothing is needed now but security, and I think I can manage it. I can give them some money, and they will then manage to get me out on straw bail. I can then loaf around town, enjoying myself, and if I cannot compromise the matter, or if I think that the trial will go against me, I can run away. In this way I shall lose my security, and my bondsmen will have to fight the bond; but still," said he, with a chuckle, the keen Yankee showing out, "but still I shall not do so badly, after all, as I shall have about twenty thousand dollars left to begin business with in a new place."

Maroney was more than ever impressed with his ability, and began to think that White was now his only true friend, and the best man to help him out of his difficulty. He had now been in jail several months, and it was time to get matters fixed up. Why could he not trust White to help him? He was a good contriver, and apparently could be trusted. Still it would not do to be too certain, so he would quietly feel his way along. He gradually broached the subject to White by saying, "White, I feel very bad at the idea of your leaving me; after you go, all my friends will be away from me. I might rely on Porter's help, or perhaps on Patterson's. McGibony is a good fellow, and would willingly help me, but I can't trust him too far, as he could be easily pumped. Moreover, the great trouble is, that they are all down South. I can not take my wife from Jenkintown, and yet I feel as though the Adams Express were watching her. What must I do? You are a keen fellow; can't you help me when you get out? I have some money of my own, and I would gladly pay you for your trouble."

"Well," said White, "I shall have all I can do to attend to my own business for the first four or five days I am out, but after that I might help you. I don't know as I shall be able to do you any good, but if I make an effort, we must have a clear understanding that my connection with the matter must never be known. If I wish to communicate with you I will send Shanks, who will be at once admitted to see you as an old friend. If I were you, I would not talk to any of your New York friends about it. They don't seem to care much for you, and very seldom come to see you. Your lawyer is not doing much for you, and it would be just as well not to let him into the secret either. Above all, you must not let your wife or Madam Imbert know any thing about it. I have had much trouble once or twice through women, and have determined never again to trust them. It is utterly impossible for a woman to keep a secret. She may love you to distraction, but confide a secret to her and she is never satisfied till she divulges it." Maroney eagerly listened to all White had to say, and then replied: "White, depend upon it, you are the right man for me! If you will only figure for me as well as you have done for yourself, you will have me out of jail in a very short time."

"What do you want me to undertake?"

"The first thing is to carry out the plan you proposed the other day-of placing the money on Chase's person. I will make the blow more telling by getting you to have a key made similar to the pouch-key, and putting it into his pocket at the same time. I have a fine drawing of the key and you can easily have it made. I know Chase is the guilty party, and this move will exonerate me and bring the proper person to justice. I am sorry for Chase, but he can't expect me to suffer for his crime. I will furnish you the necessary money to put into his pocket, and give you a letter to Gus. McGibony, who will arrest Chase at the proper moment."

"That's easily arranged," said White, "and McGibony need not know any thing about the dodge. I shall need him only to make the arrest at the moment when the girl gives me the wink. The worst of the thing is, we shall be compelled to have a woman in the case any way; but I am acquainted with a splendid looking girl here, who may, perhaps, keep her mouth shut. I will send her to Montgomery, get her into the Exchange Hotel, and she will soon manage to draw Chase into her room. When he goes in I will get McGibony and have him arrested and searched as soon as he gets to his own room."

"Capital! capital!!" said Maroney, jumping up and walking across the hall, rubbing his hands with glee. "White, if you succeed in this I will pay you well for it."

"What kind of money was it the company lost?" asked White.

"Oh! of course I don't know; I never saw it!" quickly answered Maroney, at the same time looking into White's face with an expression in his eye which showed that he wished to read his inmost thoughts. White took no notice of this look, but went on with apparent unconcern. "Well, one of the first things we must do is to find out what kind of money was stolen from the Express Company, procure bills of the same kind, and when they are found on Chase, he is gone, and his conviction is certain."

"Yes! yes!" muttered Maroney, as the thought flashed through his mind, "can he really suspect me of having stolen the money?" "Yes, it would be a good plan. You might find out what banks the company received the money from and get some of their bills! It is a good thing to look after, any way."

Maroney was not fully prepared to trust White, although he would eventually have to do it. If he had been scanned by a close observer, there would have been discovered in his mind a doubt of White's fealty, caused by the home-thrust he gave when he asked about the money.

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