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   Chapter 27 No.27

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 13225

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


"White, I will write a letter to my wife which will pave your way to gaining her implicit confidence."

"How will you do that?" asked White.

"I will write to her informing her that you are coming, and that you will identify yourself by presenting a letter from me."

"Yes, but suppose she won't give up the money? I could not go back again, as some of the detectives might suspect me and take me into custody."

"Oh, nothing of the sort will happen. I will write you a letter that will surely get the money; come, we will see what we can do." And they sat down at a table, where Maroney began to write.

In a short time he finished a letter, and read it to White. He wrote:

"My Dearest Wife: I have confided all to Mr. White. He will be liberated to-day or to-morrow. He has some business to attend to, which will detain him four or five days, when he will call on you in the guise of a book-peddler. Now, I say to you, trust implicitly in him! I have trusted him with my secret. He will take care of all. Give him everything you have in the packages. Take no writing from him, whatever. He requires something to work off on Chase, and wants to use some of the stuff I got in Montgomery. When he succeeds in this, Chase will be in my place. Then he will begin to exchange all I have; afterwards all will be easy. When I am at liberty, we can enjoy it in safety. I feel perfectly safe, and confident. Now, dearest, as I have before said, trust him implicitly, and all will be right.

Yours forever,

Nat."

White approved of the letter. Maroney, therefore, sealed it up, directed it, and gave it to Shanks, who was in the jail, to post. Of course the dutiful young man would not fail to do so.

He then wrote the following letter of introduction and handed it to White:

"My Dearest Wife: This is the book-peddler. You will want to buy books from him. Buy what you want. Give him the packages for me. He is honest. All is well.

Nat."

White scanned its contents, and said: "I suppose this is sufficient, but the question still remains: will she obey it? I will do the best I can, but I have little faith in women."

"Oh, now!" said Maroney, "don't make me feel down-hearted. I have done the best I can, and I know she will obey me."

"Very well," replied White, "I will go as soon as possible-in a week, more or less; as soon as I can possibly arrange my own affairs. On my arrival in Jenkintown I will write to you at once and let you know how I am received."

"Agreed; I have trusted you, and my wife must trust you."

Shanks had several commissions to attend to. He first came to my room in the hotel and handed me Maroney's letter to his wife. I opened and read the letter, and exclaimed. "Now the battle is ours! Victory is almost within our grasp." I saw the Vice-President and read the letter to him. He was highly delighted and said he could now see the wisdom of all my man?uvres.

The following day White was released from his long confinement. It must be admitted that his duties were extremely arduous, but such is often the fate of a detective. I have sometimes had my men in prison for a longer time than this, and they have often failed to accomplish any thing, being obliged to give up without discovering what they were looking for. White remained in New York attending to his own business after his release. He called once or twice on Maroney to show that he had not forgotten him, and to assure him that he would soon get a pouch-key made. This was easily accomplished, as all he had to do was to go the Express Office, get a key, file it up a little to make it look bright and new, and show it to Maroney as an earnest of his intentions in regard to Chase.

We will now leave the parties in New York and return to Jenkintown. Very little had taken place here and the various parties in whom we have an interest were conducting themselves much as usual. Mrs. Maroney and Madam Imbert went to Philadelphia on the same day that White was liberated. They spent most of the day in the city and came out on the cars in the evening. De Forest met them and drove them to Stemples's in his buggy. After tea Madam Imbert went down to Cox's and strolled up to the post office with Mrs. Maroney. Mrs. Maroney received a letter which she opened. She said it was from Nat. She began to read it as they walked along. As she read, Madam Imbert noticed that all color left her face, and she became white as wax. She folded up the letter and leaned heavily on the Madam's arm for support.

"What's the matter? are you sick?" she anxiously enquired.

"No; but I have received so strange a letter; walk along with me; I am very weak; I will tell you its contents in a few minutes."

She did not go in the direction of Cox's, but led the way to the garden. Here the two women took seats. She read the letter over again and then handed it to Madam Imbert. "Read it," she said. The Madam did so. Neither spoke for some time. "What do you think of it?" she at length asked. "I think it a little strange, but at the same time have no doubt but that it is all right. Your husband is of course the best judge in this matter, and must have good reasons for taking the step. He has full confidence in White; has been locked up with him for several months; has seen him day and night, and doubtless has thoroughly studied his character. White is almost like his wife, and he knows what he is doing when he consents to trust him so far."

Mrs. Maroney was rapidly getting better and said, angrily, "No, I will never give him the money in this way! it is all nonsense! 'What do I know about White?' This is asking too much of me! Why did he not write and consult me on the subject? He simply says, 'White is out of jail now; give him the money!' and gives me no chance to speak on the subject. Suppose White gets the money; how do I know but that he will run away with it and leave us to suffer without getting any of the benefit? Madam Imbert I must tell you all: you see that in this letter Nat. does not mention money, but he means money. As you are now the only one I can trust, I will talk plainly to you. My husband took the forty thousand dollars from the Express Company, and also ten thousand dollars previously. Now all is out! When he was thrown into prison in New York he sent me for the money which he had concealed in Montgomery, and I brought it here, and have it hidden in Josh.'s cellar. Now what am I to do? If I give it to this man White, I shall probably never see it again; in fact I am sure I never shall."

"You are mistaken, I think," said Madam Imbe

rt; "have confidence!"

"Confidence! It would be my best plan to run away myself!"-she was going on still further, but Madam Imbert stopped her.

"Don't say any thing more at present, my dear Mrs. Maroney. You are too excited to talk calmly; let the matter rest until morning."

They dropped the subject for the time, and as Mrs. Maroney expressed a desire for a little brandy to calm her nerves, went down to Cox's. Mrs. Maroney offered some brandy to the Madam, which she politely declined to take, but this did not in the least abash her, for she gulped down enough to stagger an old toper. Josh. was not at home, and so very little was said.

Mrs. Cox asked her if she had received a letter from Nat.

"Yes," she answered in a snappish tone, and said no more.

Madam Imbert had accomplished all she desired for that day, and so left Mrs. Maroney to herself. In the morning Mrs. Maroney sent Flora to her, with a request that she would accompany her to Philadelphia. Madam Imbert sent word that she would be happy to go and would come to Cox's immediately.

De Forest met Flora and commenced playing with her.

"I must go right home," said she, "as ma is going to Philadelphia and sent me with a message to Madam Imbert, asking her to go too. She said she would, and is coming down to the house, so I must hurry home."

"What a fool I am," thought De Forest, "I would rather have her go with me."

So he went to Cox's with Flora to offer his services. Mrs. Maroney appeared troubled and excited. He knew that he never made progress with her when she was in a moody state, so he timidly said that he was going to Philadelphia and asked her to go along. She said, "No!" very harshly, and he immediately vanished.

She started out and met Madam Imbert on the way down.

"Come back with me, I want to hire Stemples's team," she said.

Stemples soon had his team ready for them, and they started.

"I didn't want any one with me but you, Madam Imbert, as I am much troubled and need your advice. I want to consult a lawyer, but don't know how to go about it. There is a lawyer in Philadelphia, a good man, in fact the same one my husband had at New York for consultation, and I think I shall ask his advice."

"I would not do it, if I were in your place," advised Madam Imbert. "If a lawyer once gets hold of the facts, he is much more likely to get all the money than White."

"That is the trouble. Last night after you left, Josh. came in and we talked the matter over. You know Josh. and the opinion I have of him, but with all his faults he is shrewd. His wife and he held the same opinion: that it would never do to trust White with the money, and Josh. was in favor of changing its hiding place. I did not tell them that I had told you all, but I intend to do so. I informed them that I was going to the city to consult a lawyer, but they were both against me, and now you are opposed to me and I don't know what to do, or what I am doing. I am almost crazy!"

They drove up to a tavern on the way and she took some brandy, which seemed to give her more courage.

When they reached the city Madam Imbert wished to report to Bangs, but found it almost impossible to get away from Mrs. Maroney, who had concluded not to ask the advice of a lawyer. They went into Mitchell's and Madam Imbert managed to get away a few moments and reported to Bangs.

She had not been with him ten minutes before Rivers, who was shadowing Mrs. Maroney, came in and reported that she seemed very uneasy and had been out on the street several times, glancing anxiously around. Madam Imbert at once hurried back to Mitchell's.

"Where were you?" demanded Mrs. Maroney. "I am suspicious of you all!"

Madam Imbert drew herself up with an air of offended dignity which spoke more than words.

"I am sorry I have offended you!" said Mrs. Maroney quickly. "Please forgive me! I am so nervous that for a time I mistrusted even you and thought you had gone for a policeman or a detective; let's have dinner and go."

When they were on the return journey, Mrs. Maroney said:

"I feel much better on the road with you alone than when in the city. I want to talk continually, and you are the only one to whom I dare talk. However excited or miserable I may feel, companionship with you always makes me feel happy and contented."

At the various taverns they passed on the road Mrs. Maroney always stopped and invoked the aid of stimulants to cheer her up. She suddenly turned to Madam Imbert and asked:

"Would you be willing to run away with me? We could go down into Louisiana, where we are not known, buy a small place in some out of the way town and live secluded for four or five years, until our existence was forgotten, and then make our appearance once more in the fashionable world, with plenty of money to maintain our position; or we might go to New York and from there to England and the continent."

"Yes, we could do all that if we had the money," said the Madam; "but you forget that at this time we cannot use it."

"You have plenty of money of your own and you might let me stop with you for three or four years, as by that time we could use the express' money without any risk."

"Yes, I would gladly keep you for years if that is all you want."

"When do you expect the man who exchanges your money? Could you not get him here at once? Then we could go."

"I could write to him," replied the Madam, "and he would come at once, provided my letter reached him, but sometimes I have to wait two or three months after writing for him before he makes his appearance. He travels a good deal, and comes to the place where he has his letters directed only once in a while. He is a strange man, but very honest. I will write to him to-night, if you say so, so that we can soon hear from him and get him here."

They arrived in Jenkintown without arranging any decided plan. After tea they again met. Mrs. Maroney said that she was so fatigued that even her brain was so weary that she felt completely broken down, and must retire early. Rivers arrived from Philadelphia on the cars long before the women, and went down to see Josh. Josh. had remained at home all day with his wife, and was glad of the excuse Rivers's coming gave him to go down to Stemples's. He was moody and would not talk much. Even Barclay could not get a word out of him. He was willing to drink, but spoke only in monosyllables. At nine o'clock he went home. Rivers got into Cox's yard and watched the house for about two hours, when finding all quiet, he returned home and went to bed.

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