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The Lost Bank Note

The Lost Bank Note image
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"James," said Mrs. Garret, while sitting at breakfast one morning, "I don't like that new girl. I have my suspicions about her. " " About Aun !" retunied Mr. Garrefc, n surprise. " Wliy, it's onbj a fev days ago that I heard you boasting to Mrs. Brenmer you hl the best cttok in New York." " So she is a good cook. í dOn't expect to get such Anöthar for twice the wages. It íb hrt about the work- she does all that well- -but I've no trust in her." " Wliat has she done ?" ' ' What has she done ?" echoed the lady, somewhnt shnrply. " Nothing, oí' course, or I'd send her packing ! But she's sly and secret, and won't teil me aiiything about herself ; and has ridiculous airs about sleepingj alone, and won't even allow Amanda ïuside her bedroom door. There's something wrong, depend upon it. If there wasn't a screw loóse somewhere she would not be here for üuch low wages." " If that's a fault against her you can raise them," auggested Mr. Garret. "There, James, you muy as well go to your office, if that's all you have to say," cried the lady of tlie house. " Butmark my words before you go, I'll find Ann Walker out before long." Mr. Garret sighed as he rose to depart. He well knew that remonstrance would avail nothing, for Mrs. Garret's prejudices were as the laws of the Medes and Persians that changeth not, so he took himself off without another word. " Amanda !" cried the laly, when left alone, " bring Horace up. " In response to this summons a large, slatternly girl of 11 or 12 made her appenrance from the basement, with a little boy in her arms, who made a snatch at an egg-stand and knocked it on the floor in passing the table. " Youawkward, careless gypsy 1" cried Mrs. Garret, with great spirit; "that's the second thing you've broken this morning. Who do you tliink is going to pay for all yon destroy ? Come here, Horace, love, and have a nice piece of toast. What is Ann doing, Amanda Í" "She's dressing the tnrkey, mum." ' ' Did she scour the front steps this moming ?" " Yes, mum; she got up at 5 o'clock to do it. " ' ' Go and teil her I expect her to wash the drawing-voom windows before dinner." " Upon my word," muttei-ed Mrs. Garret, resentfully, as Amanda retired to carry her message, "I'll pull her pride down for her a bit. Must wash the steps at 5 in the morning, forsooth, lest folkn see her at it. I'll take that out of her !" In a few minutes Ann came up to clear the dishes off. She was tall and wellproportioned, about 20 years of age, her face pale, refined in features, not handsome, but singularly intelligent and earnest in its expression. She looked a little nnxious and troubled as she noiselessly arranged the room, and when she was ready to go she said, in a very soft voicc : " May I ask a favor, ma'am, that the eleaning of the front windows be put off till early in the morning V' "No," answercd the mistress, curtly, " I want them done now. " " I don't wish to bc seen by passersby," she urged, almost pleadingly. "It is of importance for me not to be seen by - by some one who might know me." "You will obey my orders, girl, or leave the house !" returned Mrs. Garret, beginning to quiver with temper. The servant curtesied and withdrew. In a few minutes she was at the windows, but in a close sunbonnet, to Mrs. Garret's unspeakablo disgust. "I think I can see through my lady," was her inward comment. "She' some jailbird tlie detectives are af ter. I'll lay a trap for her, and if she's not caught in it my penotration isn't much." Rising fronher se wing machine, which she had ben liusily plying in Master Horacc's béhalf, while her brain busily r!volved, she unlocked her desk, took from it a $20 note, carefully marked the nujiiber, and dropped it, as if by aficidefit, under the edge of the table. Then she cut and basted some more work, making rul)bish enough about the fioor to insure the servant having to use her dustpan before dimier. By the time tliis was accomplished she discovered little Horace and the machine in suoh danger of coming to grief together that, first driving that innocent to tlie other side of the room, and then pioking up the scattered shuttles and reels, she called Ann up stairs to put the u-lor torihts, and left the room, taking Horace with her. When Mr. Garret came home to dinner he saw by his wife'sportentous face that something dreadful liad oecurred. "James," said she, solemnly, "Ihave found that girl out in a theft." "Who? Amanda?" "Pshawl no. Your superior girl, Ann. She has helped herself to $20 of mine." "Good gracious !" cried Mr. Garret, pausing in the act of carving the turkey. " Yes ; it was a $20 note whioh- aliem ■ -■liíi)'ciit'l !' f!! Pttt i'ï iy desk on tliè Boo t.híH foreooo. ffif '"y I with Horace and so - ahem - forgot to pick it up before I left the room. When I carne down to dinner I instantly inissed it, and the abaudoned creature actually said slio miglit liave swept it into the dustpan and burnt it. Fortunatelyl have the iiuSnbér of it, and after dinner yon must go immediately and fetch a nolioenian. " Bewildered, though far from convinced by the proof rf Anii's guilt which his BpoUBe cited, Mr. Garret suffered himself to be sent off on his errand of justice, and soon retnrned with a detective, armed -with a -warrant, and Ann was imperatively rung up, while Amanda was ordered to remain, that she might take a waming froni the event to take place. "Atm," Said her inaster, feeling very small, " Mrs. Garret miases soine money, and this maii has come to " "Füid i't, in,v iear," ieioined the offloer, Tho nad been regarding her with undisguised interest. "So if you'U hand over the keys of your kit we'll proceed to business instanter. " "And," said Mrs. Garret, sternly, "if the stolen property is found in your possession, you will go to prison, miss - that you shall." Ann's white face slowly kindled with a scorching red ; her largo dark eyes dilated with a deep horror; her lips turned pale ; her breath seemed to leave her in a gaep. " You accliise- toe of theft?" she falMr. Garret silently put hei: inte a chair. She looked as if the Shock would strike her ■Je'd. " Do you deny," demanded Mrs. Garret, none the less spitefully for this attention, "that you picked up that $20 bill that was dropped on the carpet, just on this spot, this afternoon ? Haven't you got it in your pocket, or trunk, or hidden about your bedtooitt at this moment " Öo oh with. the Search, Mr. üflïcer ; ëlie's de'termihed noi; to confesé, tt was a na'tional bank bill for $20, huiübered 109,933." " Seems to rho I'Ve seen your face before this, niy gal," linittered the offioer, confldentially. "You'll picase fork over the key of your kit, young woman. " With trembling hands Ann waved him off, and untied a ribbon from about her neck, on which a small key was suspended. As she gave it to him a sort of sob shook her, and large tears ruslied in a torrent down her cheeks. "111 show the way," said the mistress of the house, sure by these signs of Bqrrow that the note was aboüt to be diScovel'ed. ' James, keep yotiï eye oii the ttüprincipled wretch, for there's no knowing what she raay do." Arriving at Ann's miserable bedroom the officer coolly rifled the pockets of all the dresses to be found hahging up, and not finding what he sotight dragged the single trunk otit under the skylight, and unlocked it. Very neatly arranged were poor Ann Walker's simple belöngings. Some daintily frilled undei'clothiilg, smelling of lavender, her modest Suuday appnivl folded by itself in silver paper, a box of plain linen collars and cuffs, one or two books of such unexpected titles as " Longfellow's Hyperion," "TheHoly Grail," by Tennyson, and some of Madame Michelet's in the original French and a beaütiful mother-of-pearl desk in the very bottom, with Üie silver initials "A. W. A." in a silver monogram on the top. " Now I'm biest if this ain't a pretty kit for a servant girl," remarked the detective, trying to pry it open with a penknife. " A wholesale robber," groaned Mrs. Garret, clasping her hands; "and to think that I have harbored - " "Hullo," cried the detective, opening the lid, and taking out a silver photograph case, richly chased, and garnished with an elabórate monogram, "Who's this." Then the pair had a fine surprise. Opening the case, they saw two cartea - one of a majestic-looking military man, apparently about GO, and the otlier of a young girl ciad in silk and richest lace, whose face bore the exact similitude of Ann Walker's vignette. " By the hooky ! " ejaculated the ofneer, a light breaking all over his face, and astonishment preventing further articulation. Taking a greasy pocket-book out of his pocket he opened it, and drew forth a photograph, which was Ann Walker's vignette. " Them two's the same gal ?" asked he, eagerly. "Yes," answered the lady with a glance. " I thought I had spotted that gal the moment I set eyes on her," cried the man, exultingly ; "and to think of me onding her after all, and three of us aInmtin' for her these six months. I'm a made man. Won't the Gineral plank down the thousand pounds reward? Hoorar ! " "What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Garret. She began to believe she had been sheltering a very great criminal indeed. " What do I mean ? ", grinned the detective. " Why. that you have made the orkardest mistake, missis, you ever made in your life. You've heard of Gen. Arnim as lives in the marble palace up the Hudson?" " Of course I have - indeed have some acquaintance with him." " Or would give the universe to scrape one," she might with trath have added. "That's unlucky for you-, " observed the officer, with an obvious lack of sympathy ; "for you see, this here oook as you have accusod of stealing, is his only daughter and herrees " - "What?" Mrs. Garret sat down on i brokenbacked chair, with a face as palc as a ghost. To think that her penetration should have served her so ill as to suffer her to insult this lady - this daughter of one of the grandcst magnates of society. "Howin hoavt'ii's name can I apnlogize for my mistake?" she gasped. " I'll die of shame outright !" " Meanwhile, we haven't found the bank note," observed the officer with malace prepense. "Shall I go on with the s'arch ?" ' ' No, no ! gracious sake, leave me ! Let me think !" groaned our friend in real anguish of mimi. So the officer went down stairs with a very different, manuer from that in which Ik liad ascended. Meatvwüle the following intorview had taken place between the master of the house and the aceusin! : "Sir," said the latter, as soon as they were alone. " I think you have the feelings of a gentlemnn. Furthfr roncealment is useloss, and before r leave this house I owe you an cxpiiniiitinii." Mr. Garret thought this was the beginiání? of a contession of guilt, and ' Bttiil : i " r: , ! ;.,!,v. bul ündly, " I am not whatlseem'pursued Miss Amim, in an agitated marmer. ' ' You may have heard of , six ínonths ago, Gen. Arnirn's daughter, who disappeared." " Heavens," muttered Mr. Garret, wlio feared poor Ann was insane. " My father," slowly continued Mise Arnim, " wished me +o marry a gentleman ,Vho was m every way repugnant to me, I having already given my heart to another whose want of fortune was Lis only fault. I would not disoboy my father by following tlie dictates of my henrt, yet how could I go through the daily soiTow of thwarting his express wishes ! Ï resolved to escupe f irom botli temptatipns at a time, and I coüld tlmiíc of no way in which I coiüd more securely hide myself thah by gbihg iiito service for aVhile. I conflded my story to the good manageress of the ' Domestic Training Institution, ' who was a friend of mine, and through her influence I carne bere witíi the determination of doing my dnty as conscientiously as it was possible. You have seen the resxilt, Mr. Garret." She burst into tears, thongh her eyes flaslied through them with proud indignation. By this time the earnestness of her manner and the calm refinement of her language had camed the conviction of truth to her Hstenof's heart He gazed at lier in ámazement ahd distress, while a flood of shame dyed his brow. The detective now enteied, ahd, vnih a deeply respectful obeisance to the woman he liad treated so insolently ten minutes ago, said : "Please accept my liumble service, Miss Arnim, and to pardon my mistake. Vliat can I do for yon, miss ?" "Bringa cab, if yoxi please," said Miss Amim. Then turning to her formar master, she mtíd, pleadi'ig!; "Let ine ask as a particular favor, air, that I may be permitted to go without meeting mts. Garret again. I can imagine now, " she added, with a trembling voice, "wliat innocent and friendless girls feel whentheyare suspected wrongfully." Little more remains to be said. The young lady had her wish, and returned to her father's house without another encounter with the amiablo mistress; and so overjoyed was the General to.receive back her whom he had bitterly mourned as lost by his own cruelty that her engagement to Mr. Merville, a rising young iawyer, was immediately afterward arranged with much rejoicing. LiUle Master Üprace proved, some weeks afterward, to be the real cause of that bank note's disappearance. It was found stuffed into Üie cavity under the shuttle of his inainma's sewing niachinc.


Old News
Michigan Argus