Press enter after choosing selection

Detective And The Bank

Detective And The Bank image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The Devonshire Bank had been robbed. An early netification of its President, Mr. Arlington, by the janitor, of the fact, caused that gentleman to act immediately. He promptly convened the Board of Directora in their warm and elegant office. Mr. Broadfield moved that the best detective ability be employed, which proposition was received with an unanimous response in its favor. Mr. Thomas Thompson, special detective, was summoned by telegram, and he at the earliest possible moment put in an appearance. He was keen, quick, fertile, heartless and vigilent. He immediately set about inspecting the bank apartments, private and public, asked a few trivial questions, and went away, with a promise to report at 10 o'clock on the morrow. Passing by the President's private office, to which that aged gentleman had just retired from the conference, lie opeiied the door respeetf ully and inquired. 'Does Master Frank Marro w, the cashier's son, own a trotting horse, sir Y 'He does, or did, Mr. Thompson,' replied the President, with a perplexed countenance. Ten o'clock the next day f ound the detective on the bank steps serenely sunning himself and luxuriously smoking his cigar. He rtported himself as hopeful, but still without a clew or definite scheme of action. On the night f ollowing the fourth day of his vigilance he made what he deemed a most fortúnate and felicitous discovery. Cleverly disguised, he made his way to a suburban, sea-side hotel, where he was soon gratified with a glimpse of Frank Marrow and company, wine-boisterous and resolved upon a protracted revel. Statue of patience that he was, he waited until three o'elock in the ing for the champaing orgies to De brought to a conclusión. When he saw his man making ready to depart, he managed to coil himself up on the rack of Mr. Marrow's wagon, and was driven home at a furious speed by that gay and dashing young gentleman, who was too drunk to be observant and only drunk enough to drive unsparingly. Thompson contrived, without suspicion, to secrete himself in the hay upon their arrival at the barn, and from his concealment was an eager watcher of young Marrow's every movement. He saw him care for his horse mechanically, like a man experienced in his sups, and he saw him eystematically hang upon altérnate pegs the several portions of the harness ïhis accomplished, Marrow seiz ed the lantern, walked softly to the opposite hay mow, and cautiously went up the ladder. Thompson, with stealth crawled to the other end of the mow thereby again bringmg his man directly in view. Young Marrow now rested his lantern on a low beam, and then began to search in the hay, from which he quietly drew a package of band notes, which he held down to the light and contemplated with a suppressed chuckle. 'Five thousand dollars,' he whispered, 'will furnish a good deal of fun for a man who knows how to spend it.' Replacing his treasure in the same spot, he descended the ladder with unabating care, passed quietly out, and secured the door. The detective was overjoyed with his unobserved observations, not so much for the bank folks, though, as for his own personal self. A new and comforting idea engaged bis attention. Had not this long-looked-for opportunity set itself square bef ore him? Through his official life he had worked long, hard and late, and been therefore shabbily rewarded, often proniised encouraging gratuities, and nearly as often disappointed. He had often been dishonestly dealt with by the very men who had set him on to chase down dishonesty. Administering these composing reflections, as a la vender to his waking conscience, he crept along with cat-like caution in the darkness, aud after several mischances, reached the spot and secured the money. Ten o'clock on the morrow found Mr. Thomas Thompson, as hitherto, on the bank steps, smoking his indispensable cigar. Mr. Thomas Thompson somewhat discouraged - no news - Mr. Frank Marrow reported ill with nervous fever, and that was the only ripple on the placid surface. Two days following he notified the bank that his time was up. He admitted himself humbled by his failure, but it would be folly to expend more time or money. The bank tendered him a reasonable sum for his faithful though unsuccessful services. Accepting a part as a safeguard against suspicion, expressing a hope that the abstraeted funds might be ultimately recovered, and saying, respectf ully, 'Good morning, gentlemen all,' he coolly walked away with the now twice-stolen live thousand dollars snugly in his pocket-book. A few minutes too late f or the train, he was obliged to resort to the nightboat. It was a bland, star-lit, midsummer night, and the steamer was crowded with city passengers. Seating himself on the upper deck to regale himself with a cigar and the cool river air, he feil, in an indolent way, to watching the movements of a philanthropiclooking elderly gentleman who was walking to and fro, with his gold-headed cane under his arm, and his melancholy face uptumed to the sky. He Was drpss""1 ir v-'"1-, - =■- o- "- manly exactness, and his carnage was conspicuously easy, natural and dignifled. About midnight Mr. Thompson retired to his state-room. Haying secured the door, he removed his clothing and hungtheseveralarticles thereof upon the hooks contiguous to the head of his bed, and then, with a farewell glanoe at his full pocket-book, he walked to the window at the other end of the apartment, f or a breath of the regaling breeze from the river. The window, some eight feet distant, was a diminutive affair, and was now only half open to admit the needful air. The aperture was insufficient for the ingress of a cat, and of course it would have been impossible for a human being to thereby obtain an entrance. Assured of his own safety, he was turning away from the window, when he once more caught a glimpse of the sédate oíd gentleman, still promenading at a dignifled pace, the ateamer's deck, his pensive countenance turned upward to the superb firmament of a July midnight. This remarkable old gentleman prolonged his patrol for hours after detective Thompson and his associate passengers were soundly slumbering, passing and repassmg the state-rooms at the same regular step, and with the same reflecüve face. Almost involuntarily, he glanced into the window of the room where Mr. Thompson was then sleeping, but sleeping lightly and fitf ully, as men of ten will with weighty matters upon their unquiet minds. He was sleeping so badly as to excite anxiety in the mind of the benign old gentleman, and to excite into action ;he benevolence of his nature. He resolved to administer to Mr. Thompson an immediate and reliable opiate. Unscrewing the head of his cane, very nimbly f or an old gentleman of his years, he drew from it several slender joints, like those of a fishingrod, one of which he ad j usted to a nicety at the bottom of the cane. Ex;onding thia noiselnssly throusrh the window, to within a few inches of the sleeping detective's facas!; he blew througu it, softly and steadily, and ,hen desisted to observe its effect upon his patiënt. The effect was sudden and tranquilizing in the extreme. Mr. Thompson had gone off into a profound and dreamless slumber. Deeply gratifled with the success of his humane experiment, the old gentleman now removed the joint and substituted another, to which was attached a small and sharp-pointed hook. For the second time running the cane into the end attaehed through the opening, he dexterously unhooked Mr. Ihompson's coat, pants, and vest, and drew them one after another to the window, and, after deliberately rifling the pockets, restored them to their original positions. This accomplished, he returned the joints to their former place, readjusted the head and ferule of his cane, and resumed the game highlyrespectable and stately walk up and down the steamer's deck, with the fatef ui flve thousand dollars in his pocket, which a few moments before were in that of the wary Mr. Thompson. When the steamer arrived at her pier, among the first to step spryly ashore, summon a black-eyed hackman, limp with the frogs of the river, and be whirled away, was the serene old gentleman, whose commanding deportment would receive respect anywhere in the world. About this time Mr. Thomas Thompson, special detective, awoke and looked about him stupidly, and was violently taken with a specious of nervous fever, similar to that which prostrated Mr. Frank Marrow on the morning after his immoderate indulgence at the sea-shore. Possibly Mr. Thompson contracted the fever f rom him. Singular as it may seem, the philanthropic old gentleman was not a married man, but he liad an intímate female acquaintance, and to her abode he now betook himself, and so sunny and reviving was her society, that he reapueared in the street that afteinoon a much younger and sprucer man. He no longer wore a white wig or carried a golden-headed cane. Thirty years of Ufe seemed to have slipped trom his shoulders all in one merry morning. He was now Mr. Ked Earrington, a young man of the world. and not of its best and brightest side either. Before taking nis departure f rom the presence of Miss Kitty Lanton, he had as a precautionary measure, comrnitted the flve thousand dollars out of which Mr. Thomas Thompson had been chloroform ed to lier f ai thf ui keeping. Now it happened, somewhat oddly to be sure, that the society of Mr. Farrington had been growing tiresome and distasteful to Miss Kitty, for the past few months particularly so. True she thought he was handsome, stylish and generous, but he is also shallow and commonplace. She resolved, heartless and graceless adventuress that she was, upon his betrayal, and her resolution into effect with but a thought of pity. Two days after Farrington was arrested on an Albany train by two detectives, who briskly handcuffed him and conducted him to the smoking-car. 'For what now ?" he asked, without raising his tearf ui eyes. 'For doing a little banking business in Albany after dark, Ned, was the sarcastic reply. That very day the cold-hearted Kitty Lanton, having disposed of her household effects and engaged an apartment in a drawing-room car, was being dashed along to a Western city with the illusory five thousand dollars sewedinto the bosom of her travellingdress, while Ned Farrington, soon after lodged in his cell, was cursing the false-hearted traitoress who had entrapped him. He was languishing with neryous fever- nervous fevers are contagious. He caught this attack from Thomas Thompson. Miss Lanton, previous to her ture, had sent a, telegram to an old ] friend, now resident in the Western ] city to which she was travelling. His old friend, Mr. Rudolph Queen, was i something after the peculiar pattern of Mr. Farrington, only he was a masI ;er-hand and morebrilliant in personal attraction. He had reached the acme ', of all villainous art. He could cut and ' carve. He Hved by his own wits, or, i rather, by other people's follies. He j was a flourishing faro banker, an adroit 1 sick-pocket, and an accomplished conIdence man. i Soon after the arrival of Mias Kitty Lanton, he became a partner in a deepi aid scheme of counterfeit checks, in ] ;he execution of which it became necessary for him to write another man's name, which he did much more neatly than the man could have written it liimself. i m was üetected, convictea anü committed, leaving Miss Kitty, after six roonths of reunión, inconsolable. During that time she had never revealed to him the possession of the precious 5ve thousand dollars. She had reseryed it for that dark and rainy day which is always sure to enter into the life of such a dariug adventuress. False and heartless as she was to every other human being, she was passionately devoted to this felon and fully determined to save him at all hazards. Five thousand dollars, she reasoned, will corrupt some official, and open without a sound the massive door of the convict's cell. Without opposition, basing her claim upon the statement that she was the convict's sister, and re-enforcing it by her address and beauty, she daily obtained admission to the prison. The f requency of her visits afforded her opportunity to study faces and let her keen, feminine insight of character desígnate the man. She had him - Deputy-Warden Thompson. To her mind he was the man of all others to be most distrusted by the officials, and therefore to be the most trusted by her. She approached him with consuuimate artfulness, and the avaricious deputy understood her overtures. The afEair quickly ripened, as all such perilous undertakings must, the night was nominated for the payment of the five thousand dollars and the pretended escape of the forger. Why was it that no one could keep faith with his fellow-being when this five thousand dollars played the chief parts in a transaction. Deputy-warden Thompson was easily contaminated. He, after the receipt of the money. remained until a late hour in his dimly-lighted office, cogitating profoundly upon the, question, 'Why not improve the present chance and go East this very night ?' The prisoners would all be f ound snug and safe on the morrow, and the accusations of this reckless and disreputable woman i-c.oivf(j wifrh discredit. He had numerous friends in New England, one of whom, Thomas ïliompson, ft detootivc. w. ,1, surviving bvother. 'I will do it,' he exclaimed, springing to lus feet. He consulted the time-table and his watch, and hastened, with a few important preparations, for his journey. One hour after he was pleasantly seated in the eastern express, with this same treacherous five thousand dollars carefully stowed in his valise. At nine o clock that inorniDg the Chief Warden found a jail supernumerary in charge of the office, from whom he learned that Deputy-warden Thompson had been summoned by telegram to the bed-side of a beloved sister, dying at her home in New England. At the same time Miss Kitty Lanton was prostrated with neryous fever. Can it be possible that this fever has assumed the proportions of an epi áeruic ? After severa! disappointments ana vexatious delaya, the fugitive Deputywartlen found his brother detective. , Mr. Thomas Thompson ; but he was a detective no more. He had been defeated in several not very difficult cases and these failures had expedited his retirement from the secret service Resolving upon a quieter and better life, he became a preacher, and in that walk in life his brother found him.settled over a prospeious country church, and walking circumspectly before the people. Many times the guilty Deputy-warden tried to confess to his brother the unlavrful possession of this five thousand dollars, not one dollar of which had been removed or put in circulation but he procrastinated. But a bed of sudden and critical sickness unloosed his tongue, and wlien he feit the icy fingers oí dissolution closing around his heart, he told his brother all. And now came the minister's turn. He, too, had a confession to make of the matter of that iive thousand dollars, and he made it frankly. the adventure at the barn. on the boat, and all. Soon after the repentant Deputywarden died. The ex-detective took the money in his charge, resolved upon ite restoration to the Devonshire Bank. His conscience held him up to his duty sternly. He hastened to town, and at ten o'clock entered the bank-office, as he had often done before, under vastly different circumstances, laid the roll of bilis upon the glass plate, and said : 'Mr. Arlington, here are those tive thousand dollars come back at last. They are all there, intact. Take them and spare me an explanation.' The old President received the money ■with a hand and turned it over to the cashier for counting. There was no sound for a moment save the rustle of the crisp bilis, plucked at by the cashier's supple fingers. 'Five thousand dollars,' he said,' and all ,' 'All what?' demanded Mr. Arlington. 'Counterfeit,' replied the cashier, smiling calmly. Yes, these five thousand dollars, about which there had been so much miserable scheming, so many plots and counterplots, and cruel betrayals, were all counterfeit. The money had often been counted. but the several holders of it had neyer once attempted to put a dollar of it in circulation. In this way thebad money traveled on a good name and f alse credit, tempting weak humanity on all sides to deceit and crime. By the discovery of the spurious character of this money, it became evident that Mr. Frank Marrow, of turfy and vinous memory, was not the bankrobber after all. At the time of the robbery he was an accomplice in a wide-spread combination to put large sums of counterfeit money of the larger denominations into circulation. By a strange coincidence, his confederates had forwarded him for distribution among his deputies the same amount as that abstracted from the bank, and at about the same tipie. The real bank robber was its aged President, Mr. Arlington himself. Tossed about in the swift eddies of speculation, and at the same time sinking, he had clutched at this straw oí bank notes for salvation. Judge him gently. He was old then, and is dead now ; and gray hairs in the gravs, although once darkened by guilt, should still command. if not respect, at least forgivness.


Old News
Michigan Argus