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The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 13442

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


At Jenkintown all was well. Mrs. Maroney had made up with De Forest and his present happiness was so great that he had entirely forgotten his past sorrow. He was very fond of Flora and enjoyed walking with her, especially when her mother was along. Madam Imbert sometimes drove into Philadelphia with Mrs. Maroney to do shopping, and De Forest was always their coachman. Mrs. Maroney was loyal to a promise she had made her husband, and never went out driving with De Forest unaccompanied by Madam Imbert.

De Forest had only one seat to his buggy, and it was rather irksome to be conveying two ladies around all the time. He had but little room, seated between them, and as the weather was warm, he was often very uncomfortable. He was tall, and his knees were jammed closely against the dash-board; but he bore all the inconvenience manfully.

It was always their custom to drive to Mitchell's when they went to the city. The ladies would alight here, while De Forest would stable his horses. At dinner time they would meet again and drive home. One day, while in the city, Madam Imbert said to Mrs. Maroney:

"Wait here a few minutes for me, I want to get some money changed."

She left Mrs. Maroney at Mitchell's and walked to Third street. Here she went into a bank and drew five hundred dollars I had left there for her and came out. She then walked up Third street and went into the office of Miller Bros., brokers, where she had the money changed into Eastern funds.

Mrs. Maroney was smart. She had followed closely after Madam Imbert and acted the part of a "shadow." As the latter came out of the brokers' office and approached the corner of Chestnut street, Mrs. Maroney met her.

"I am glad to meet you," said she; "I am on my way to Second street to get some goods. Did you get your money changed?"

Madam Imbert was prepared.

"Yes," said she, "but I did not have much. I have the most of my money in a safe place. At the Third street bank, they told me they did not have any Eastern funds and looked very queerly at me, so I went to the brokers' office and they finally changed it. A person has to be cautious, as it is sometimes very difficult to succeed. People ask questions at times that it is impossible for one to answer. You have never had to do so much in this way as I have! have you?"

"No!" replied Mrs. Maroney, coloring deeply; "but I suppose I shall have to learn! I will tell you a secret of mine some time. You may be of great use to me, will you help me if you can?"

"Yes," said Madam Imbert, recalling her poor husband languishing in confinement. "Your husband is like mine, both are in prison. I feel strongly drawn toward you and will do all I can for you. Oh! why can't I succeed in getting my darling free!"

They had reached the dry-goods store and went in to make their purchases.

I was desirous of impressing upon Mrs. Maroney the difficulties in the way of changing money, and my plan was successful beyond my expectations. She saw the trouble Madam Imbert had at the bank and at the brokers, and learned that bankers and brokers were liable to ask very pointed questions when changing money. If she had any idea of changing her stolen money she might be frightened out of it, and prefer to rely for assistance on Madam Imbert, who seemed an experienced hand.

After they had made their purchases the ladies returned to Mitchell's and were driven home by De Forest.

Madam Imbert spent the evening with Mrs. Maroney, but nothing of interest transpired. A day or two after, as they were seated in the garden, Mrs. Maroney took Madam Imbert partially into her confidence and gave her a sketch of her life, which, it must be confessed, as narrated by her, made her appear very pure and spotless. She said that Maroney met her a heart-broken widow, and that she married him only to prevent him from committing suicide, so desperately smitten was he; that they came to Montgomery, where Maroney was appointed agent of the Adams Express-a very lucrative position-and then continued:

"Maroney had a good deal of money of his own, but did not talk much about it, in fact kept it a secret from every one but me. No one is obliged to state what he is worth. He was a very kind-hearted man and fairly idolized my little Flora. He was making arrangements to buy a plantation and a lot of slaves; had made money buying and selling horses, and owned a large interest in a livery stable in Montgomery. On a trip he made to the North he purchased a fast horse named "Yankee Mary," and used to take me out for a drive every day. Nat. is one of the best men that ever lived, but he is a little inclined to be careless. We were as happy and contented as could be, when-oh! unfortunate day for us!-the Adams Express was robbed and my husband was accused of the theft. He was arrested in Montgomery, but liberated on small bail. Soon afterward I came North on a visit, and when he came to bring me home he was arrested in New York and thrown into prison. I immediately went South, sold all his property and secreted the money about me, so that the Adams Express would not get hold of it. I have now the money secreted here; but there have been a great many small burglaries committed around here, and I am in constant dread of its being stolen. I don't dare leave Jenkintown for a night, and fervently wish my husband were out of jail to take care of it. What do you do with your money, Madam Imbert?"

"I take care of it in various ways. Sometimes I carry large amounts concealed on my person; but the last time I was away I placed the most of it in a safe place."

"I wish I knew of a safe place. If my husband were only out, he would soon find one," remarked Mrs. Maroney.

"What are his prospects for getting out?" asked the Madam.

"Well, I don't know, indeed; he is sometimes hopeful, sometimes in despair; he has been writing me lately of a friend of his named White, who was imprisoned a day or two after him. White has managed to make arrangements to effect his own release on bail, and when he gets out, has promised to assist Nat."

"If White managed to get himself out, I should think him just the man to assist your husband," said Madam Imbert.

"Nat. thinks so too; but he probably will not decide on any plan until White gets out, when they together may do something."

A day or two after this long conversation, Mrs. Maroney again alluded to the robberies taking place in Jenkintown, and expressed much anxiety for the safety of her treasure.

Madam Imbert informed her that she expected a friend of hers to come in a day or two to exchange some money for her. She had to have some to send to her husband's lawyer, who was making every

effort to effect his release. "If your money is bulky, from being in bills of small denominations, he might exchange it for you and give you large bills, which you could easily carry with you. I have transacted a good deal of business with him, and have always found him careful and honest. If you wish, I will introduce you to him."

Mrs. Maroney was always very suspicious, and her fears were somewhat aroused by the proposition. "What sort of a man is he?" she inquired.

"I know nothing further of him than what I have told you; he has always acted honestly with me."

"Could you not manage to have the money exchanged for me without my being known in the transaction?" asked Mrs. Maroney.

"Yes, I could, but it would be better for you to see him."

"Oh, no; there is no necessity of his knowing me. You can introduce me as a friend, if you like, but get the money changed as if it were your own, and pay him well for it."

"Just as you please," answered the Madam.

Mrs. Maroney wished in this way to compromise Madam Imbert, and get her into the same boat with Maroney and her. I was doing everything possible to bring out the money, and was able to protect my detectives. I had placed tempting bait for both Maroney and his wife, and they were nibbling strongly. My anglers were experts, and would soon hook their fish, and after playing them carefully would land them securely.

Mrs. Maroney's confidence in Madam Imbert increased daily, until finally she said to her: "Madam Imbert, you would do me a great favor if you would take charge of some money packages I have. You could put them in a safe place, and let me have small amounts now and then, as I needed them. When my husband gets out we can use the money; but now we do not need it. The Adams Express might find out I have money, and they might try to get possession of it. It is not theirs, but they would make trouble for me if they could."

"No," replied the Madam, "that I could not do. I don't want to be bothered with other people's money. I have enough trouble with my own. If I should take yours, I should never have any rest, fearing it might be stolen; and if it should be, I could never forgive myself. No, it is better for you to take care of it. I will advise you all I can, but cannot take the responsibility of protecting your property."

Mrs. Maroney wrote to her husband and asked his advice. She informed him that she had followed Madam Imbert and had discovered her exchanging money, thus proving that she was telling the truth; and now she knew she could trust her. She spoke of the Madam's refusal to take charge of the money, but said she had agreed to get it exchanged, and asked him what she had better do.

Maroney talked the affair over with White, and asked his opinion as to the best course to pursue. "She may do very well," said he, "but I don't know as I would trust her. You never saw her. She may be a first-rate woman, or she may be the opposite. If I were in your place I should wish to see her before I trusted her. It would be well to have your wife bring her to the jail to see you. Some women are smart, and she may be. As a general thing women are very good as playthings, but trusting them is an entirely different matter."

Maroney carefully considered the matter, and finally wrote to his wife, directing her to induce Madam Imbert to accompany her to Eldridge street jail, as he wanted to see her and judge of her character before trusting her too far.

On receipt of this letter, Mrs. Maroney called on Madam Imbert, said she was going to New York to see her husband, and asked the Madam to accompany her. She said they would have a pleasant trip, and return home the same evening.

De Forest came up at this moment, and interrupted the conversation.

"Good morning, ladies," said he gaily, "I have come to ask you to take a fish-dinner with me at Manayunk."

Madam Imbert declined the invitation, but Mrs. Maroney concluded to go, and started off with the happy De Forest. Madam Imbert returned to Stemples's, hired his team, and drove into the city. She reported to me, and asked for instructions about going to New York with Mrs. Maroney. I told her to go; gave her full instructions, and then had an interview with the Vice-President. I told him that all was working well, and received his congratulations. Everything seemed auspicious, and pointed to speedy success. It was true that a good deal of money was being spent, but there was no other way to carry the matter to a successful termination.

Madam Imbert returned to Jenkintown in time for supper, and, after a hearty meal, called at Cox's. She found no one at home but Mrs. Cox and the children. Mrs. Cox said her sister had not returned from her ride, and she feared that she must have met with some accident. Madam Imbert conversed with her until between eight and nine, when Josh. and Rivers came in.

Mrs. Cox said, "Josh., Mrs. Maroney has not reached home yet. I fear she has met with some accident."

"Hasn't she? Well, I'll go and hunt her up. Come along, Rivers."

"Josh., you good for nothing fellow. You must wait here; don't you know you should not leave the house unguarded at this time?"

"Oh!" thought Madam Imbert, "danger in leaving the house, eh! So there are two more in the secret,-Josh. and his wife!"

Josh. said he would only step down the road, and would soon return.

Nine o'clock came, but no Mrs. Maroney or De Forest. Madam Imbert did not know what to make of it, and began to think something unusual was under way. She arose to leave, but Mrs. Cox said: "Please don't leave me alone. Josh. will soon be back. Won't you stay down and watch the house, while I put the children to bed? Flora is asleep, and I am lonesome. I do wish that shiftless fellow would come home."

"I am very tired," remarked Madam Imbert, preparing to leave, "and am afraid the tavern will be closed, as it is getting late; but I will see if I can find Josh., and send him home."

"If you don't find him, please come back," pleaded Mrs. Cox.

"Well, I'll do that," said she, going out. She walked to Stemples's, and without going into the bar-room, where she knew she would find Josh., went to her room and instructed Miss Johnson to find Rivers and tell him to keep Josh. for an hour. She then returned to Cox's.

Miss Johnson found that Rivers was with Josh., Barclay and Horton, in the bar-room. She walked by the door, and, unobserved by the others, gave Rivers a signal to come out. He slipped out, and as he passed her she said: "Rivers, keep Cox for an hour," and in a second he was back calling for more drinks, and getting off jokes which brought down roars of laughter.

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