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Title: Knots Untied - Or, Ways and By-ways in the Hidden Life of American Detectives
Author: McWatters, George S.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Knots Untied - Or, Ways and By-ways in the Hidden Life of American Detectives" ***

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[Illustration: _Geo. S. M^cWatters_
Photographed by Brady.]


                             KNOTS UNTIED:
                           _WAYS AND BY-WAYS_
                                 IN THE
                              HIDDEN LIFE
                          AMERICAN DETECTIVES.


                     =OFFICER GEORGE S. McWATTERS,=

                               NEW YORK.


                            ETC., ETC., ETC.


                         =J. B. BURR AND HYDE.=


      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by

                          J. B. BURR AND HYDE,

       In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

             Electrotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry,
                          No. 19 Spring Lane.




I am aware that the preface of a book is usually the last portion of it
which is read--if read it is--and, therefore, of little import; and I
have, consequently, deliberated somewhat whether I would encumber the
following tales with a prefix or not, but perhaps it is due to the
reader to say (what, however, is apparent enough in some of the tales
themselves) that the experiences and observations therein narrated, are
not all personally mine; that some of them have, at different times,
been detailed to me by old and tried personal friends, of deep
knowledge of the world, and of extreme sagacity, and that I have
presented them here, together with my own, in special instances, as
being equally illustrative with mine of subtle human nature.

What is specifically my own in these tales, and what little I am
indebted for to my good friends, I leave to such as may be curious, to
determine for themselves. It must now suffice them (for in the
experiment of "book-making" I have nearly lost my best patience--amidst
its multiplicity of perplexities; its "proof-reading," the awful
blunders of the printers, the "bungling" of the mails, the calls for
"more copy" at inopportune moments, etc., etc.)--it must suffice them,
I repeat, simply to know, that whatever experiences here recited are
not my own, are equally authentic with mine, and, in my judgment, add
to the merits of "Knots Untied" (if merits it has) rather than detract
therefrom. So, since it cannot be that the reader will peruse my book
for my sake, but for the book's sake and for his own, let him thank me
for whatever "clearer light" I have accepted from others for his

It was only at the instance--I might properly say by the repeated
importunity--of certain partial friends of mine, that I was first
induced to put into readable form some of the notes of my experiences
and observations, particularly those running through a period of a
dozen years of official life, preceded by a dozen more of a
quasi-official character. I would remark here, that no chronological
order has been observed in the collation of the tales composing "Knots

Having, from my early days, been interested with various sociological
problems, it has been my wont to fix in memoranda, of one form or
another, such data as I conceived worthy, as simple statistics or
eccentric facts, bearing upon the great general question of human
suffering and crime, and their causes, and the means of their
depiction, and final extinction also (as I firmly believe) in "the good
time coming," when Science shall have ripened the paltry and distracted
civilization of the present into that enlightenment in which alone the
race should be contented to live,--in which only, in truth, they can be
fully content with existence,--and which the now subject classes could,
if they were wise enough to know their rights and their power, command
in concert, for themselves, and the ruling classes as well.

And these partial friends of mine have thought I might do some good,
and that I ought to, however little it may prove, to the cause of human
happiness,--in the intent thereby of enlarging the security of the
innocent from the machinations of the depraved,--by the detail of
certain wily "offences against the law and good order of society,"
while demonstrating therein how sure of final discovery and punishment
are the criminally vicious, however crafty and subtle, in these days,
when the art of police detection has become almost an exact science.

Authors are sometimes sensitive (I believe), about the reception which
they, "by their works," may meet with at the hands of the public; and
not seldom do they, in more or less ingenious ways, attempt to cajole
their readers, through well-studied prefaces, into a prejudicedly
favorable mood regarding the body of their books. Perhaps mine is a
singularly good fortune, in that my partial and importuning friends
before alluded to, have given me consoling courage to "go forward" and
publish what they are so kind as to be pleased with, by the assurance
that they will take upon themselves, and patiently bear, all the severe
criticism, the curses, the wanton blows, etc., which may be aimed at me
by "hypercritical critics," or by vexed and wrathful readers; while I
shall be left to enjoy, unalloyed, all the "blessings" with which the
rest of the public may be pleased to favor me.

I regarded this as so excellent an expression of human[e] goodness upon
the part of these my friends, that I consented to honor it, by
submission to their will. Hence these tales, in their printed
form,--designed at first to beguile an hour for particular friends in
the reading, as the same had beguiled many long hours for me in the
writing,--and not primarily intended to be put into the form of a book.
If any good to the world accrues from their publication, through the
instruction which they may afford to some, perhaps; or by their
possibly enlarging the scope of the reader's charity for the erring, or
in any way, I shall be gratified; and so (it _is_ but fair in me to add
this, for they are human, and sensitive to the joys which "a good done"
brings)--and so, to repeat, will also be my aforesaid partial, good

                                                GEORGE S. MCWATTERS.





  PUBLISHERS' INTRODUCTION.                                           18

                         =BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES.=

                     =OFFICER GEORGE S. McWATTERS.=

    IRISH, NOR ENGLISH IN APPEARANCE.                                 21

                    =WHERE HE WAS BORN AND REARED.=


                          =REMOVES TO LONDON.=

    MARRIAGE--SIGNOR ERRANI.                                          23

                    =MIGRATES TO THE UNITED STATES.=




                    =A HEART TOO SOFT FOR A LAWYER.=

    THE LAW IN DISGUST.                                               25

                       =DEPARTS FOR CALIFORNIA.=


                          =BACK IN NEW YORK.=



    "LOLA MONTEZ."                                                    28


    FINALLY BURNED UP.                                                28


    LIGHTER?                                                          29


    ROAD FRIGHTENED BY A SPECTACLE-CASE.                              30


    SPEAKER.                                                          33

                         =PERSONAL INCIDENTS.=



    THE FRONT--NOT OF THE "NOBLE HOME GUARD."                         36




    THE WORKINGMEN OF THE NATION.                                     38

                     =KINDLY AND WISE PROVIDENCE.=

    SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.                                      39

                          THICK OF THE FIGHT.=

    DESTRUCTIVE BLOWS UPON HIS ASSAILANTS.                            40


    RETROSPECTION--McWATTERS' AUTHORS' LIBRARY.                       42


    THE HOWARDS OF THE WORLD.                                         45

                     =McWATTERS AND THE SOLDIERS.=












                         =THE ORGAN GRINDERS.=

    TO IN BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES)--A SAD STORY.                           72


                       ("Man's inhumanity to man
                   Makes countless thousands mourn")

    OF TRUE CHARITY.                                                  74

                        =MACK AND THE VETERAN.=


                         =LOST IN THE STREETS.=

    DEATH--FINIS.                                                     89

                          =AMONG THE SHARKS.=

    NEW YORK--CATCHING A FLAT.                                        97

                          =A SMART YOUNG MAN.=




                      =EXTENSIVE COUNTERFEITING.=


                      =THE GAMBLER'S WAX FINGER.=

    SIGNORE CANCEMI--HE GETS WELL AT ONCE.                           113

                      =LOTTERY TICKET, No. 1710.=

    MONEY RECOVERED--WORDEN'S AFTER LIFE.                            131

                    =PAYNE AND THE COUNTERFEITERS.=

    "BIRDS" SENT TO THE PENITENTIARY.                                153

                     =THE GENEALOGICAL SWINDLERS.=

    TO DISGORGE--A PARADOX, WITH A MORAL IN IT.                      176


    EXPERIENCES, THROUGHOUT.                                         192

                        =ABOUT BOGUS LOTTERIES.=

    AGENTS--A QUEER TALE.                                            225

                      =THE BORROWED DIAMOND RING.=


               =THE MYSTERY AT 89 ---- STREET, NEW YORK.=

    THE MYSTERY--A PROBLEM FOR THE DOCTORS.                          273


    NUMEROUS--DUPES IN THE "ATHENS OF AMERICA."                      309



                     =THE THOUSAND DOLLAR LESSON.=

    RECOVERED--SUPPLEMENTS.                                          341

                    =THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING.=

    THOUGHT.                                                         358


    MARRIAGE DEFEATED.                                               387

                          =THE MARKED BILLS.=

    TEACHER'S INGENIOUS LETTER TO HIS LADY LOVE.                     414

                    =THE COOL-BLOODED GOLD ROBBER.=


                   =$1,250,000, OR THE PRIVATE MARK.=

    OF YEARS VANISHES--OUT, WITH A LAUGH.                            461



                     =OLD MR. ALVORD'S LAST WILL.=

    COMFORT, PERHAPS.                                                509

                       =THE CONFIDENTIAL CLERK.=


                     =THE PECULIAR ADVERTISEMENTS.=




                       =CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.=



    "HONEST FARMER" OF VERMONT CHEATED ME AT LAST.                   626

                        =THE DETECTIVE SYSTEM.=

    THE DETECTIVE SYSTEM FROM ABOVE OR BELOW?                        643


                     List of Illustrations.

 1. PORTRAIT OF GEO. S. McWATTERS,                       _Frontispiece._

 2. McWATTERS' SPECTACLE CASE,                         _To face page_ 33

 3. "TEN DOLLARS A MONTH,"                                            79

 4. McWATTERS AND THE VETERAN,                                        87

 5. THE BOND OPERATOR,                                               103

 6. THE WAX FINGER DISCOVERED,                                       127

 7. SEIZURE OF YOUNG WORDEN IN BALTIMORE,                            149


 9. DESCENT UPON BLANCHARD AND THE GAMBLERS,                         173

10. PROTECTING THE INNOCENT,                                         201

11. RESCUE OF HATTIE NEWBERRY,                                       215

12. RESTELL AT SING SING,                                            221

13. THE BOGUS LOTTERY OFFICE,                                        237

14. SURPRISING THE BOGUS LOTTERY DEALERS,                            249

15. RECOVERING THE DIAMOND RING,                                     267



18. "KETCH HIM AND HOULD HIM!"--WILLIAMS' ARREST,                    355

19. THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING,                                    383

20. BREAK-DOWN ON LITCHFIELD HILL,                                   399

21. THE CEREMONY DEFEATED,                                           409

22. DR. HUDSON'S STRATAGEM WITH THE HIGHWAYMEN,                      433

23. THE MISSOURI LAWYER OUTWITTED,                                   489

24. A RASH COURTSHIP,                                                521

25. FEARFUL DREAM OF OLD MR. BROOKS,                                 549

26. RESCUE OF NELLIE WILSON,                                         577

27. RESCUE OF THE WILL,                                              585


29. THE "HONEST" COUNTERFEIT MONEY SPECULATOR,                       639

30. CATCHING A FLAT,                                                 659


                       PUBLISHERS' INTRODUCTION.


Deeming that the public would be deeply interested to know, indeed had
a right to know, something more of the author of the following work
than gleams through the series of entertaining, instructive, and in
many respects unparalleled articles which constitute "Knots Untied," we
applied to him for his Autobiography, in details covering other
portions of, and facts in his life, than are revealed in the wonderful
experiences of his professional career, as brought to light in these

But we were met by a reply, characteristic of most men of deeds rather
than of words, that it would be wholly against his taste to furnish his
own personal history: he was in 'no wise desirous to vaunt himself,' he
said; 'he had not sought,' he continued, by the articles in question,
to illustrate himself, or to play the part of a hero in any measure,
but merely to contribute to the current literature and the history of
the times a narration of sundry interesting facts, which, in their
hidden and secret nature, are usually withheld from the general public.

Throughout this book Officer McWatters has shown the modesty of a
retiring and unassuming man; making no further allusion to himself, and
his deeds and experiences, than necessary to sustain the thread of the
narratives. He desired that the book should stand upon its own merits,
without any adventitious aid from the high indorsements of his own
daily life and personal character, such as will be found in what
follows. He would, so far as the book is concerned, be judged as an
officer and an author, rather than by the merits of his own private
life, be they great or small. In this he evinced a commendable pride
and a good sense which we could not question.

Nevertheless we considered it fitting that we add to the book such
facts as we might possess ourselves of regarding the career of a man
whose life has been given, in so great part, to deeds of good,
heartfully and freely done, and to humanitary reforms, as has Officer

For it is not strictly and merely in the capacity of a successful
officer or as a spirited and graceful writer that "the Literary
Policeman" (as the journals of New York are wont to distinguish Officer
McWatters) has done his best works. Officer McWatters is, _par
excellence_, a humanitarian, a gentleman of the widest tolerance and
liberality of opinions, as is evinced in various parts of the
narratives, which exhibit nothing of that cruel and tyrannical spirit
so common to men who have much to do with the criminal classes. It is
rather by kindness than severity that he would deal with the erring.

Officer McWatters, being unwilling to supply his Autobiography; and
being ourselves without sufficient notes to furnish the public with the
biographical comments which we considered so desirable concerning him,
we intrusted the matter of writing his personal history to a well known
literary gentleman of New York, with directions to him to put into form
whatever he could authentically gather of a nature interesting to the
reading public in general, concerning the author of "Knots Untied."

How well he fulfilled his arduous duty, under the circumstances, the
reader of the Biographical Notes which follow will judge for himself.
But we regard it as not improper for us to say, that in our opinion the
Biographical Notes will be found a very interesting addition to "Knots
Untied," not only by the insight they give the reader into the career
of a man, who, filling an unpretentious sphere in life, so far as
technical vocations are concerned, has made himself illustrious by
deeds of good will; but also by their style, peculiar in some respects,
and here and there marked by the utterance of brave thoughts regarding
matters of so much vital interest to the laboring classes, the poor,
who are the "chief constituency," in a humanitary sense, of Officer
McWatters himself,--by his benefactions to whom he has mostly won that
high popular esteem, which is so well recorded in the Biographical

It is due to the writer of the Biographical Notes to remark here that,
in view of the very short period that was given him in which to prepare
the same, he accomplished in their production, a task which would be
notable, even without consideration of the peculiar difficulties which
lay in his path. It is not an easy thing to search hurriedly through a
thousand newspapers, for example, for material, and select and arrange
the same acceptably. But upon this point, perhaps, we cannot do better
than to append to this, our Introduction, a copy of the letter which
accompanied the Biographical Notes, from the gentleman in question.

                                                         THE PUBLISHERS.

                                      NEW YORK, February 10, 1871.


    GENTLEMEN: Concerning the biography of Officer McWatters, which
    you requested me to supply, I am compelled to say that I am
    unable to give you anything in the "form and order" which a
    biography should--that it may be whole and symmetrical--present
    to the reader. Officer McWatters belongs to the class of men
    who _make_ history,--the actors and workers in life,--rather
    than those who merely write history, or who so order their
    lives, and keep diaries, that their biographers can readily
    follow them from the cradle to the tomb.

    Officer McWatters is widely known in New York. Everybody
    recognizes him as an active philanthropist, of the practical
    school; yet but a few of all, if any, if called upon as I am,
    to make detail of the deeds of his life, could place his hand
    upon this or that, and say, "This is McWatters' work," without
    some investigation; and for the most part of what I have
    collected, I have been obliged to search the public journals.

    I am indebted, also, for sundry facts, to several of Officer
    McWatters's personal acquaintances, and have also drawn upon my
    own memory somewhat for facts which have come to my knowledge
    during an acquaintanceship with Mr. McWatters of about sixteen
    years. But I have not attempted to put things in their order,
    to any great extent; for there is no such thing as a "_course_
    of events" (the "Declaration of Independence" to the contrary
    notwithstanding). Events are individuate, each a completion in
    itself, and the great deeds of any man's life are usually
    individual, and not dependently connected with each other.

    But in the accompanying papers I send you such a hurriedly
    executed biographical sketch of Officer McWatters as the short
    time you have allowed me would permit, trusting that,
    notwithstanding all its literary imperfections, it will not, so
    far as it goes, be found wanting in due appreciation, at least,
    of the noble career of a faithful, true man, who has done,
    earnestly and with loving spirit, his share of good deeds; and
    who merits both the respect and affection of all who prize what
    is gentle, brave, honorable, and honest in life.

                        Very respectfully yours,



                          BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES.


                      OFFICER GEORGE S. McWATTERS.

The subject of these Notes is now about fifty-seven years of age,--a
hale, hearty, rosy-faced man, agile, lithe of limb, in the full vigor
of life; and were it not for his gray beard and hair, might easily pass
as not over forty years of age. Always temperate in his habits, he has,
notwithstanding the many hardships of his life, some of which would
have broken down less vigorous constitutions than his, preserved to
himself the blessing of health and the hues of youth in a remarkable
degree. He is of a medium height, with a countenance not only always
fresh and rosy, but beaming with benevolence--"a good face to look
into," to quote Carlyle. Judging from Officer McWatters' physiognomy,
and from his style of speech, it would be difficult to declare him to
be either Scotch, Irish, or English; he might, by many, be considered
an American by birth and education, especially if he were to assume the
name "Hudson," "Clark," or "Hyde," for example.

                     WHERE HE WAS BORN AND REARED.

It matters not in what country a man may have been born, whatever the
institutions under which one is reared may have to do with the
formation of his character; and as to Officer McWatters' place of
birth, we are not absolutely certain, but believe he was born in
Kilmarnock, Scotland, and was taken thence by his parents, at an early
age, to the north of Ireland, where he was reared.

It is easy to conjecture that a man like Mr. McWatters must have had a
more or less ambitious boyhood; and his friends have sometimes heard
him recite the wakeful dreams he as a youth indulged in, of "the
beautiful land beyond the western waters." Officer McWatters was
evidently born out of place, for he is intensely democratic in his
sentiments, more so than most native-born Americans, and manifests an
appreciation of free institutions, which not unfrequently rises to the
sublime, or intensifies to the pathetic. It is doubtful, for example,
that during the late civil war there could have been found in all the
land a man who took a deeper, soul-felt interest in the integrity of
the republic than he. But of this farther on.

Mr. McWatters after receiving a very respectable education in the
schools of the north of Ireland, became a mechanic; but the monotonous
life of a working-man there, was ill suited to an ardent nature like
his; and while yet a young man, full of the spirit of adventure, he
left his Irish home, and proceeded to London, where he pursued his
trade, and eventually married a most estimable lady, who has ever been
to him a helpmeet indeed. By this lady Mr. McWatters is the father of a
very interesting family of some six children, who have been carefully
reared, and have enjoyed excellent opportunities of education. Miss
Charlotte, the eldest daughter of Mr. McWatters, a lady of refined
culture, as well as extreme personal graces and attractions, was
married in October, 1860, to Signor Errani, then the distinguished
tenor of the Academy of Music, and who not only occupies a first class
position in his profession, but is a gentleman of marked
intellectuality and extensive literary acquirements.

                           REMOVES TO LONDON

London is a world-school in itself. What a man cannot learn there of
arts, sciences, and literature and of all the various phases of
humanity, from the worse or lower than the barbarian, up to the highest
type which "Natural Selection," according to the Darwinian theory, has
developed, he would be unable to learn in any other spot of Earth.
Though young yet mature, and with an active, inquiring brain it cannot
be supposed that Mr. McWatters allowed the grand opportunity for
observation which life in London gave him, to pass profitlessly. Going
from among the stiff Presbyterian forms of life in the north of
Ireland, which must have been galling to a spirit like his, directly to
London with all its social freedoms, the change was a great one for
him, and must have piqued his intelligence to the keenest examination
and scrutiny of his new surroundings.

In London dwell the best as well as the worst people to be found in the
world. The advanced spirits, philosophers and reformers, whom the
civilization of other European countries is not sufficiently developed
to tolerate, seek the asylum of England and make London their home; so,
too, of the criminal classes. The most murderous thieves and burglars
find in London a hiding place and theatre of operations. London, which
was too large even fifty years ago, and was then emphatically one of
those accursed "vampires upon the public weal," as Jefferson declared
all cities to be, has grown marvelously since, and continues to grow to
the wonder of all political economists, who are at a loss to determine
wherefore. But such is the fact, and into this great seething sea of
human life was it that Mr. McWatters plunged in his first essay at
"studying human nature" away from the narrow field of his boyhood's
observations. Whoever resides in London, and acquaints himself with
what is about him, and mingles in the city's strifes, and comes out
unscathed need not fear to trust himself anywhere in the world.

                     MIGRATES TO THE UNITED STATES.

Mr. McWatters, after sojourning in London for a while after his
marriage, betook himself, with his estimable wife, to this Land of
Promise. In London he had made the acquaintance of many of the leading
men most interested in questions bearing upon sociology, humane
reforms, and philanthropic efforts at the amelioration of the condition
of the laboring classes. His warm heart became greatly aroused in
seconding the needed reforms which his keen intellect demonstrated were
urgent for the good of not only the laborers of London, but of the
working classes everywhere; and he brought with him to this country
what may properly be termed an intense general anti-slavery spirit,
embracing in its sympathy not only chattel-slaves, but wages-slaves, of
every kind and color. And this may properly be said to be the chief
characteristic of Mr. McWatters; and that he has made this felt for the
good of his fellow-men as effectively, perhaps, as any other man
living, considering his means and the sphere in which he has operated,
cannot be questioned by any one who has attentively read our city
journals of the last ten years especially.

The writer has gathered, and has before him, not less than two hundred
and twenty different extracts from the papers of New York, in all of
which Mr. McWatters is complimentarily spoken of in reference to his
benevolent action, his humanitary deeds to the poor and suffering, or
his active coöperation with some great public charity.

Mr. McWatters, though gifted with that untiring industry, clear, native
intelligence, and wide understanding of men and things, which conquer
fortunes in money for their possessors, has never achieved fortune for
himself, so busily has he been engaged in deeds of benevolence. At the
expense of his heart he could never afford the time to make a fortune.
The like fact has marked the history of many other philanthropic
spirits, and should redound as much to their credit, as does the same
to that of certain great scholars whose devotion to science would never
allow them the opportunity for turning their great talents to
money-making. It is reported of Professor Agassiz, the great scientist,
that being asked by some admirer of his vast talents (and who knew that
he rejoiced not in a large share of "this world's goods" in the shape
of money), why he did not turn his attention to money-making, and get
rich, as he would be sure to do soon, he replied, "I cannot afford the


Soon after arriving in this country, Mr. McWatters made his way to
Philadelphia, where he took up his residence. After various
vicissitudes, he gave his time (1848-9) for a year to the study of the
law, under William R. Dickerson, Esq., a Philadelphia lawyer of large
practice, but a man of that stamp of character which made him of
peculiar value as a collector of debts, especially in doubtful cases.
He was rigid, exacting, and uncompromising with debtors. Mr. McWatters
reveled in the study of Blackstone, Kent, Chitty, etc., and looked
forward with eagerness to the time when he should be prepared to enter
the "glorious lists" of the Knights of the Bar.

                     A HEART TOO SOFT FOR A LAWYER.

But a change was to come suddenly over the spirit of his beautiful
dream, and which he foresaw not. Eventually Mr. Dickerson intrusted Mr.
McWatters with sundry collections. He found this branch of the business
unpleasant in its performance. His soft heart ached for the poor
debtors. He could not nerve himself to act the part of an extortioner.
When a poor widow, or orphans, or some discouraged man just arisen from
a sick bed, and in arrears for rent, etc., shed tears in reciting his
sufferings, Mr. McWatters forgot the lawyer in the humanitarian.

Finally, one day he was sent to collect a debt of a poor shoemaker, who
was barely able to get bread enough for himself and his family to
subsist upon. The laws of Pennsylvania exempt from civil process
certain portions of a housekeeper's furniture; but when contracting for
rent, the housekeeper may waive his right to such exemption, if he
likes. The poor shoemaker in question had done so; but in order to
distrain his goods for the debt,--in other words, to take away his very
bed, and other necessary furniture,--it was incumbent upon the officer
to get peaceable admittance into the house; and that he might do so in
this case, Mr. McWatters was sent forward to effect entrance as a
person seeking the shoemaker's service, while the constable had his
post at a corner near by, and was to rush in when the door should be

The whole thing was sickening to Mr. McWatters. He went, however, as
ordered, and rapped at the door, the officer watching at his post. For
a reason most creditable to Mr. McWatters' heart, but which may be left
here only to the reader's surmise, that door, which was unlocked when
he rapped, became duly locked, without the officer's being any the
wiser as to _how_ it was done, and entrance was not then effected.

This was the crowning grief to Mr. McWatters' disgust with the practice
of the law, and he quitted the further study of the "science" thereof,
feeling that he could never harden his heart to the practice of a
profession which often requires much of unscrupulousness of conscience
and such mercilessness. But his year's study became of great service to
him later in life, when called upon as a detective officer, or member
of the Metropolitan Police force, in sudden emergencies, when a
knowledge of the law in this or that particular was necessary for
judicious action.

                        DEPARTS FOR CALIFORNIA.

About this time the great exodus from the United States, in fact from
all parts of the world, to the California gold diggings, began. Mr.
McWatters arranged his affairs, and migrated, with tens of thousands
more, to the new El Dorado. But he was not happy there. The mad strife
for gold overwhelmed all other things there. Men, in general, lost
whatever of conscience they carried there, and the whole population was
plunged in vices or crimes of one kind or another. Mr. McWatters found
that he was not constituted to engage in such reckless warfare at the
expense of all that was manly and good, and after nine months came to
New York, which has since been his home.

                           BACK IN NEW YORK.

Soon after his return from California, Mr. McWatters became associated
with Laura Keene, the actress, as her agent in New York and Buffalo;
and it was while he was at this time associated with her (for he was
connected with her in subsequent engagements) that Mr. MCWatters was
first called upon to enact the part of a detective.

To his success in this instance referred to may be attributed the
series of wonderful articles which constitute "Knots Untied;" for had
he failed on that occasion, it is probable that he would never have had
confidence to attempt again the critical _rôle_ which the successful
detective must necessarily play; and the literature of the age would
therefore have lacked the charming contribution of the mysterious
revelations of hidden life which Mr. McWatters has made in these
spirited tales.

It would be pleasing to the writer to make allusion here in detail,
somewhat, to that incident, and other affairs in which Mr. McWatters
became engaged, and which have come to the writer's knowledge, but
which Mr. McWatters has not seen fit to reveal in "Knots Untied;" but
it would, perhaps, be an unwarranted act to do so. He has conceived the
design of the book to suit his own tastes, of course; and while he has
in these articles struck a chord which cannot but awaken in the popular
mind a rich responsive appreciation of his book, yet he cannot expect
to suit everybody's taste in every respect.


It is not attempted here to give the current of Mr. McWatters' life as
it occurred, in successive steps; indeed, the writer is not sure in
respect to dates in all cases, possessing only the facts in substance.
But not long after Mr. McWatters' first engagement with Miss Keene was
determined, he became the exhibiting lecturer accompanying a grand
panorama of a "Journey to California by Water and back by Land," and it
is not difficult to conceive that with his experiences as a traveller,
his residence in California, and his gifts as a public speaker, he made
the "Journey" a matter of great delight to his audiences. The panorama
was exhibited in the chief cities and towns of various States.

Subsequently Mr. McWatters became the agent of the late Countess of
Lansfeldt, more generally known as Lola Montez, which he continued to
be until nearly the time of her death. Much has been written about
Lola,--much which is false, as well as much which is true. She was, in
some respects, particularly social ones, a great woman, but had her
weaknesses, like other mortals. Lola, like many, was inclined to
occasional religious fits; and this fact suggests an incident worthy of
recital, since it illustrates something of the life of persons of much
public note.


Reference has been made to Mr. McWatters' association with Laura Keene.
At a certain time Lola Montez became very religious, and continued so
for a while. During her pious enthusiasm she determined to sell her
theatrical wardrobe, consisting of splendid dresses, and dress-patterns
(unmade-up), stage jewelry, of magnificent description, etc. She
requested Mr. McWatters to offer them for sale to Laura Keene. He took
some of the "goods" to Laura, whose purse at that time was rather
limited. She could not gratify herself with the purchase of all, but
selected a very heavy, rich dress-pattern, for which she paid in part,
but on which Mr. McWatters trusted her for the sum of twenty-five
dollars. When Mr. McWatters reported the sale to Lola, she was angry
that he had trusted Laura.

Miss Keene was then running the Olympic Theatre. John Duff was her
manager, together with Leutz, her husband. Laura wished to surprise
them with the story of her new purchase, and had sent it off privately
to have it made up gorgeously. When she heard that Lola was angry at
Mr. McWatters' having trusted her, she sent for the dress; found it
finished; declared that she had already paid for it all it was worth,
but sent Mr. McWatters to some merchant's to have the goods appraised;
whereupon he found that it was not dress-goods at all, but stuff for
covering furniture,--known by all ladies now as "rep." Mr. McWatters
reporting the discovery, Laura became angry, and sent the dress, with
all its costly trimmings on, to Lola. Lola got angry again in turn, and
tore off the trimming (which she sent back to Laura), and burned up the


Mr. McWatters was busily occupied in connection with theatres, etc.,
for a long period, more or less interspersed with his enterprises as a
detective officer, and his busy life was richly freighted with
interesting experiences.

Mr. McWatters has ever been greatly interested in social problems,
having in view the emancipation of the laboring classes from their more
grievous burdens, and belongs, in his sympathies, to that class of
humanitarians who see in Association something like a realization of
the teachings of the Founder of Christianism; and at one time was
practically engaged with several other philanthropists, in an
experiment partaking considerably of Coöperation, but which unhappily
failed of its desired success for want of more, and better disciplined
coöperatives therein. It would be interesting to the reader, but out of
place here to present something particular of the history of the
experiment alluded to.


The writer has before him, clipped from the public journals, the record
of remarkable incidents enough in Mr. McWatters' life to fill a small
volume of themselves, only a few of which can properly be alluded to in
a cursory biography. Such men's lives are often illustrated by
"hairbreadth escapes," or signal good fortune under trying
circumstances; but it is doubtful that a more singular and happily
ending affair has ever occurred in any man's experience than one, the
record of which was made at the time, in the New York Dispatch of June
20, 1858, and which is here copied in full.

SPECTACLE CASE.--At a few minutes to one o'clock yesterday morning, Mr.
G. S. McWatters, late door-keeper at Laura Keene's theatre, was passing
through Bleecker Street, near Mott. Suddenly two men sprang at him from
behind a tree, one catching him around the waist, and the other making
a grab at his throat. With a quick and powerful effort, turning himself
around, he managed to fling from him the one who had hold of his waist;
and quickly taking from his side coat-pocket a silver spectacle case,
he drew his hand back with great emphasis, cautioning the other fellow
not to advance a step, or he would stab him to the heart. The second
fellow evidently mistook the glistening of the spectacle case in the
moonlight as the gleaming of steel, for in double-quick time he took to
his heels, followed by his companion, whose fall, as the result proved,
had not detracted from his nimble-footedness. Mr. McWatters let the
fellows run, very prudently avoiding imposing a task upon his lungs by
calling for the police. It is thought they followed him for his money,
of which he had a considerable amount about him."



Passing over a period in Mr. McWatters' busy life, checkered with
incidents and exploits of a marvellous kind in his career as a private
detective, as well as much that is interesting of his active
participation in many measures of a politico-reformatory and
socialistic nature, we find that Mr. McWatters entered the Metropolitan
Police force in 1858, wherein he distinguished himself, for the period
of twelve years, up to October 17, 1870, when he resigned his
post,--not only as a most effective and reliable officer in routine
duties, but also by many suggestions and plans of enlarging the utility
of the force to the community in general. For instance, we find in the
New York World, of date November 22, 1860, an article under the head
"Information to Railroad and Steamboat Passengers," which dilates, to
some considerable extent, and most complimentarily, upon the beneficent
results to the public of the operations of a detachment of the police
force, "called the Railroad and Steamboat Squad," by which travellers
visiting New York, and passing through, were saved from the impositions
and robberies of ticket swindlers, hotel runners, unprincipled
boarding-house keepers, etc., by encountering the travellers before
they leave the cars and steamboats, and giving them all requisite
information in regard both to the swindlers, and how best, most safely
and economically to conduct their sojourn in the city. The World's
article concludes with stating, that "this plan originated with Officer
McWatters, who, we know, was for a long time an efficient, and one of
the most popular officers attached to this section of the force."

How well Officer McWatters performed his individual duties in
connection with this squad, might be illustrated by the quotation of an
article entitled "Personal," in the Daily Tribune of July 7, 1860,
which is most highly complimentary of Officer McWatters, but is too
long to be incorporated here.

Mr. McWatters' onerous vocation as a policeman did not forbid his
finding time for earnest participation in many matters not pertaining
to his special duties as an officer. Indeed, it would seem that, with
all his labors, he found more time to devote to good causes outside of
his police duties than many men of leisure and benevolent spirit think
themselves able to bestow. It is said that none find so little leisure
time to do anything as the wholly indolent and unoccupied, and the more
a man has to do of daily labor, the more time can he find to attend to
extra calls upon his services. Officer McWatters seems to have
practicalized this "doctrine," for, judging from the several hundred
extracts before us, taken from the New York journals for the last ten
years, one would be led to think that Officer McWatters possessed the
attribute or faculty of ubiquity, for we find him "here, and there, and
everywhere" in the city, and without it, in attendance upon reform
meetings; or advocating humanitary measures from the rostrum, for
Officer McWatters is a forcible public speaker. The suffering and
starving people of Kansas (1861) we find elicited his warm sympathies
and active exertions in their behalf, expressed by the practical mode
of raising contributions for their aid. In the Evening Post of October
2, 1861, we find allusion to Officer McWatters as the Secretary of the
Patriotic Association of Metropolitan Police (of which, in conjunction
with the late Inspector Carpenter, if the writer is not mistaken,
Officer McWatters was the originator), which was organized to afford
support to the families of policemen who joined the Metropolitan
Brigade in the war for the Union.

                          PERSONAL INCIDENTS.

Chancing to turn at this moment to the New York World of March 14,
1861, the writer finds that on the day before Officer McWatters
"immersed" himself in the North River, plunging in to rescue a
six-years-old boy, who had fallen off the dock. In the Sunday Mercury
of April 7, five weeks after the occurrence last mentioned, we find
Officer McWatters aiding in the rescue of another boy from a watery
grave; and in the Daily Tribune of March 11, 1861, appears the
statement of still another rescue from drowning by Officer McWatters,
this time of a man, one Captain William Vanname. We might extend,
indefinitely, the list of kindred good deeds by Officer McWatters, as
gathered from the public journals; but these will serve to show the
fact that he was always to be found in the line of his duty. He was
frequently saving life, or performing other noble acts.--But we do not
intend to dwell in detail upon the professional life of Officer
McWatters in his connection with the Metropolitan Police. It is enough,
perhaps, to say in general terms, that he fulfilled his duties nobly
well; that from Superintendent Kennedy, under whom, for the most part,
he served, his official career received the very warmest praise, and
that the public press made frequent complimentary mention of him all
along the period of about twelve years during which he was a member of
the Metropolitan Police force.

We might also refer for further evidence of Officer McWatters'
honorable performance of his official duties and high standing in the
force to the expressed opinion of the late Superintendent Jourdan. This
gentleman's judgment of the merit of an officer's services was, of
course, to a great degree worthy of respect. But though the Latin maxim
is, "De mortuis nil nisi bonum" (say only good of the dead), we are
constrained to feel, that although Superintendent Jourdan's praise had
a certain professional merit, yet his moral character was so
questionable, that his commendation of Officer McWatters could hardly
add to the merit of the latter, while his taste as a gentleman, and his
reverence for the honest and the true, would probably induce him to
prefer the non-production here of the former's testimony.


Officer McWatters' earnest love of, and reverence for the free
institutions of the United States, are something extraordinary, it
would seem. Reared in the north of Ireland, and having resided in
London long enough to thoroughly understand the miseries of the
subject-classes of that great metropolis and of England, Officer
McWatters was prepared, when he landed on our shores, to render at
least due appreciation to republican institutions; and when the late
civil war broke out, he entered into the conflict against secession
with all his soul. His anxiety to go to the front at the breaking out
of the rebellion, and take a soldier's place in the struggle, was only
equalled by the bitter regret that he was prevented doing so by
untoward circumstances. But what service to the country he was thus
forbidden to do upon the field, he fully rendered, in various forms, in
his capacity as a most active and enthusiastic patriot at home. Officer
McWatters was not of that "noble home guard," so justly and severely
ridiculed at the time, who urged others on to the war, and felt
satisfied with their achievements in so doing; but he was ever alert in
the discovery of ways and means to serve the government, perhaps more
effectively than if he had been in the ranks on the field, or had
headed a regiment in battle; for if Officer McWatters had gone to the
field, such are his temperament, popularity, and capacity, that he
could not long have held a position second to that of many men who
gained distinction and led New York regiments and brigades--to say
nothing of superior leaders.

He was of the number of those (few, indeed, they may properly be said
to have been), who, in the early part of the rebellion, took anything
like an adequate preview of its results. It appears that, early in the
war, he wrote a letter to the press, in which is clearly stated his
opinion, that the war "can have no less result than the abolition of
negro slavery." He was prepared for this: implicitly believing in it,
he ordered his conduct thereby, and throughout the contest manifested
an enthusiasm proportionate to the mighty victory for humanity which he
so clearly foresaw was to be won.


Always vigilant, and, everywhere that he was able, ready and prompt to
serve the government, it must have been a matter of proud satisfaction
to Officer McWatters when he made the first seizure of guns which
occurred at the North during the war, and which guns were intended by
their Northern consignors--sympathizers with the rebellion--to be used
by their Southern consignees to shoot down the patriot forces. This
seizure is thus recorded in the Tribune of May 12, 1861:--

"The vigilance of the police was yesterday evinced by the seizure of
four nine-pound Dahlgren guns by Officer McWatters, of the Steamboat
and Railroad Police, on Pier No. 3, North River."

It will be recollected by all who watched the current affairs of the
war, that it was in regard to this seizure by Officer McWatters, that
Fernando Wood, then Mayor of New York, so infamously and cowardly made
an unasked apology to Robert Toombs of Georgia. Communication with the
South was not at that time suspended, and he telegraphed to the
secessionist his regrets at the seizure, and added assurance that if he
had had control of the police the guns should be restored, or that he
would have forbidden the seizure. Such was the substance of his
telegram. But fortunately for the honor of the nation, as well as of
the city of New York, the control of the police had, before that time,
been taken from Mayor Wood. But his telegram sent a thrill of shame
through all patriotic hearts, and added a new lustre to the merit of
Officer McWatters' deed, by the contrast in which it placed the two
men,--the dutiful, freedom-loving police officer, and the poor creature
who, having escaped the issues of a criminal trial by pleading the
statute of limitations, had been borne on the shoulders of a "Sixth
Ward brigade" of repeating voters to the questionable height of the
Mayoralty of New York.

It is, perhaps, worthy of note here that the virtues of Fernando Wood
have since been duly rewarded by an appreciative constituency in New
York, who have sent him for several terms as their fit representative
to the Congress of the nation. It is seldom that the historiographer
has the opportunity of recording such a lofty expression of the
"gratitude of republics;" and the writer hereof takes especial pleasure
in fixing it here "in eternal types." Officer McWatters' due reproof
for the seizure is fitly found in the fact, that a noble constituency
like Wood's, would, if they could, have annihilated him for the deed.


Not only at his post of official duty was it that Officer McWatters
rendered efficient service to the government, but throughout the war we
find him frequently making noble appeals for aid to the Union in one
form or another, or setting forth some judicious plan of operations to
secure the same, in able and spirited letters to the Evening Post, the
Tribune, etc. It should give the writer pleasure to copy some of these
letters herein, especially one which appeared in the Evening Post of
October 2, 1861, but the limits of these biographical notes forbid.

In the Tribune of August 5, 1864, appeared a letter from Officer
McWatters, from which, notwithstanding our narrow limits, we cannot
forbear to make a short quotation, since it so well evinces his spirit,
both as a man and a writer, as well as his lofty appreciation of the
honor and glory of his adopted country's institutions. A portion of the
letter is addressed to working-men, urging them to loan to the nation,
in its hour of peril, such sums of money as they could save; and the
letter concludes with these noble words: "Fellow Working-men: I have,
by hard scraping, saved one hundred dollars. I am going to lend it to
the government. I ask you, in the name of humanity and patriotism, to
'go and do likewise.' Your country demands your assistance; respond
generously, quickly; think of the proud eminence on which you stand
before the working-men of the world,--_as American citizens!_--and
acquit yourselves as though you felt your dignity."

                      KINDLY AND WISE PROVIDENCE.

Often is it, perhaps, that little deeds of gentle and silent charity,
care for the suffering, and unostentatious benevolence, speak more
eloquently for the heart of a true man, than those of valor on the
field of battle in the noblest cause. In the Tribune of June 1, 1863,
is copied a certain appeal made a day or two before, and which we
recopy below:--

"TO THE POLICE OF NEW YORK: Thousands of soldiers--your
fellow-countrymen--are now lying in the hospitals about Washington,
suffering from wounds received in battle. Their chief torment is a
craving thirst; water is unwholesome, and cannot be given in quantities
sufficient to satisfy the craving. The only safe and effectual remedy
is found in the juice of lemons, and for a supply of this fruit the
kindness of individuals must be appealed to. Twenty-five cents from
each member of the force would afford incalculable relief to those who
now pine for the want of this simple luxury. Will you help? All money
paid over to Inspector Carpenter for this purpose will reach its
destination immediately."

This appeal, effectively "displayed" (in the job-printer's parlance),
and printed upon small handbills, was secretly circulated among the
police, and soon resulted in a contribution by them of the unexpectedly
large sum of over six hundred dollars, for lemons for the sick
soldiers. Though a small affair in the matter of money, it proved a
great one in other considerations. It was not only a beneficent act,
but a very judicious one. From whom the appeal emanated was a profound
secret among the police, until, on the 8th of June, 1863, there
appeared in the Tribune a notice of a "report" by the late Inspector
Carpenter, in which, referring to this matter, he says: "To Patrolman
McWatters, of the Twenty-Sixth Precinct, is due the credit of
projecting this trifling donation from this department to relieve the
sufferings of our sick and wounded soldiers."

In many other quiet and effective ways Officer McWatters administered
to the comfort of our soldiers and their families during the war, but
we have not space to recall them here. Some of them became known, from
time to time, and were recorded in the public journals of the day.


During the whole war nothing of a more fearful nature to the cause of
the Union occurred than the great riot in New York city, which
commenced on Monday, the 13th of July, 1863, and was not subdued until
the following Friday. The people of the North were, to a considerable
extent, becoming weary of the war, and thousands, if not tens of
thousands, who had previously exhibited a good degree of sturdy
patriotism, began to wane in their vigor and firmness of purpose, and
were ready to "let the rebels go in peace hereafter." But the facts of
those perilous days are too fresh in the memory of all to need recital
here. The rioters were exultant, and the people stood aghast for a
while; but finally the Metropolitan Police force obtained ascendency
over the surging elements of the local rebellion, and brought back
peace to the city again. But this was not done without more severe
effort and a greater destruction of life than was generally understood
by the country at large at that time.

Before us is a book, entitled "Record of the Police during the July
Riots, 1863," by David M. Barnes, in the preface of which the author,
speaking of the slaughters during those days, says, "The number killed
by the police and military in the different conflicts, when alone and
united, can never be ascertained; it is estimated by those who
witnessed the scenes, and had the best opportunity of judging, at
fourteen hundred. The bodies of those killed on the spot were hurriedly
taken off, and in many cases conveyed out of the city, or secreted
here, and privately buried. Cases of subsequent deaths from wounds, it
is known, were attributed to other causes. Eighteen persons are known
to have been killed by the rioters, eleven of whom were colored."

We confess ourselves somewhat astonished at so large an estimate of the
number killed during the riot; but those were horrible days, indeed,
and the estimate is, we think, quite probably within the limits of the
truth. The book was published in September, 1863, it appears,--a date a
sufficiently long time after the riots to have allowed much careful
investigation to have been made. Among the other heroes of those days,
whom the author signalizes by especial mention by name,--Commissioner
Acton, Superintendent Kennedy, Commissioner Bergen, Chief Clerk Hawley,
Inspectors Carpenter, Dilks, and Leonard, etc.,--is found our chief
subject, as brave, active, earnest, and efficient in the midst of a
deathly struggle, as he is ever gentle, kind, and tender in his silent
ministrations to the sick, sore, and suffering in the days of peace. On
page eighty-two of the book referred to, and where the special history
of the conduct of the police of the Twenty-Sixth Precinct is detailed
in regard to their conflicts with the mob in the City Hall Park,
Printing House Square, and the Tribune Office, the author says,--

"No mercy was shown, and over a hundred lay in the square and park, the
well-punished victims of their own folly and crime. While the mob were
being thus terribly handled in the street, some of the force turned
their attention to the Tribune Building, fighting their way to, and
entering it. The fire had just been lighted, and was readily
extinguished. Officer McWatters, on entering the door, was assaulted by
a burly ruffian, armed with a hay-rung, who, by a powerful blow on the
shoulder, knocked him down; instantly on his feet again, he more than
repaid, on the heads of the rioters, the blow. The building was cleared
speedily, and not a man in it escaped without severe punishment."

But it is unnecessary to extend comment upon the career of Officer
McWatters, as related to the active operations of the war. As a
patriot, his name is not only "without spot or blemish," but is one of
which the best of citizens might be proud, and of which only such could
have made themselves worthy.


Before passing on, in direct course, to the most interesting portion of
Officer McWatters' life, in which the character of the man, in his
intensely benevolent nature, is most beautifully and nobly illustrated
in a thousand ways, we pause here to revert to him as a gentleman of
general literary tastes, and to his friendly and genial associations
with men of letters. Mr. McWatters, in his almost countless letters,
and other contributions to the public press, has ever seemed to avoid
anything like notoriety,--to be, in short, quite unambitious to secure
to himself anything like popular distinction by his pen; for nearly all
his contributions to the press have been unaccompanied by his name, and
when not literally anonymous, published over various _sobriquets_,
known only to a few of his friends at most. Not a few of his most
intimate acquaintances will doubtless be surprised when the spirited
and elegant series of articles which he now gives to the world in
"Knots Untied" reveal to them the man in his higher literary estate, so
unostentatious has he been, and so little merit did his modesty permit
him to attach to the articles in question, until diffidently submitted
by him to the inspection of a few of his critical literary friends,
who, delighted with their engaging style, and appreciating their
practical worth, urged the half-astonished author to give them to the
public, as a duty he owed to his fellow-citizens.

His course has been altogether a too modest one (if we be permitted to
speak in criticism thereof). But, for his own private happiness, Mr.
McWatters has never failed to appreciate the society of literary men,
and notwithstanding his multiplied duties, official and humanitary, has
always managed to find time to cultivate the acquaintance of the most
gifted and distinguished literateurs, artists, and so forth, who,
during the last fifteen years especially, have given lustre to the
great metropolis. A genial man, a good story-teller, courteous under
all circumstances, full of sparkling intelligence, generous to an
extreme degree, a man of excellent habits as well as refined
sentiments, he has always been welcomed by these men of lettered
distinction, to whom we refer above.

And here we should be pleased to introduce the names of the most
remarkable of Mr. McWatters' literary associates, up to the year 1871,
as illustrative of the good taste of our subject. But the record would
be too long for place here; besides, we might, while reciting the names
of some, fail, through fault of memory, in this hasty writing, to
recall those equally worthy of record here. But we have at hand an
article clipped from the New York Illustrated News of August 2, 1862,
in which is arrayed a list of many of those who at that time were
distinguished lights in the literary world, and some of whom have
achieved imperishable honors since, while others of the number have
been gathered to their fathers--borne to their tombs in the "laureate
hearse," after having won and borne upon their brows the bays of many a
literary victory.

The article in question descants upon "Pfaff's;" and its literary,
artistic, and other distinguished _habitues_. But we will quote it
entire for the reader's pleasure, and information, possibly, as well:--

    "As so much has been said in the papers, from time to time,
    about 'Pfaff's,' it may be well to state that the name is
    descriptive, simply, of a 'restaurant and lager bier saloon,'
    kept at No. 647 Broadway, by a Teuton of that name, and which,
    partly from its central position, and partly from the
    excellence of its fare, has been such a favorite resort, for
    several years, for artists, literateurs, actors, managers,
    editors, critics, politicians, and other public characters, as
    to have become quite famous. It is not, as has been often
    reported, the rendezvous of a particular clique or club of
    Bohemians (whatever they may be), but simply a general and
    convenient meeting-place for cultivated men, and one where,
    almost any evening, you may meet representatives of nearly
    every branch of literature and art, assembled, not by
    appointment, nor from habit even, but 'met by chance, the usual
    way.' Among the literary men whom we have met there from time
    to time, during the last three or four years, may be mentioned
    Walt Whitman, Aldrich, Winter, Stoddard, Bayard Taylor, W. Ross
    Wallace, W. D. Howells, Frank Otterson, Charles Dawson Shanly,
    W. H. Fry, Edward Howland, Charles Seymour, 'Doesticks,'
    'Artemus Ward,' 'Figaro,' T. C. Evans, E. C. Stedman, Charles
    F. Briggs, E. G. P. Wilkins, Charles Gayler, J. V. Sears, Harry
    Neill, E. H. House, Frank Wood, C. Burkhardt, Rosenberg, A. F.
    Banks, 'Walter Barret,' George Arnold, Charles D. Gardette,
    'Howard of the Times,' and Thad. Glover; among artists,
    Stillman, Palmer, Launt, Thompson, Cafferty, G. H. Hall,
    Shattuck, Innis, Sewell, Henessy, Loop, Avery, Frank Howland,
    Homer Martin, Eastman Johnson, Bierstadt, Van Beest, Hitchings,
    Bellew, Mullen, Anthony, Eytinge, Nast, Baker, Sontag,
    Boughton, Rowse; and of other well-known characters, Ullman,
    Strakosch, Maretzek, Grau, Stigelli, Mollenbaur, H. L. Bateman,
    Nixon, Dolly Davenport, Davidge, Young, Fisher, Floyd,
    Reynolds, Stuart, Moss, Chanfrau, Mason, the Hanlons, Officer
    McWatters, J. Augustus Page, Gill Davis, Schauss, Seitz,
    Brisbane, Dr. Wainwright, etc., etc., including a good number
    of politicians, and that large class of people, called Germans,
    without end."

Of this goodly host, the gifted Wilkins; Fry, the erudite, then so
distinguished in the editorial and musical world; Arnold, the genial
young essayist, poet, and humorist; "Artemus Ward," and perhaps others,
long since made their last visit to Pfaff's--their lights of life going
out in the peaceful darkness of death, while "their literary torches
burn on,"--"stars which gleam forever."

And other of these,--Whitman, Stedman, Howells, Aldrich, and Edward
Howland, for especial example--(the last four being, in 1862, of the
very youngest of the above array), and Bierstadt, Shattuck, etc., have
climbed to the top of Parnassian heights, won bright and solid
victories in the field of prose as essayists, historians, etc., or
transferred nature to the canvas with that beauty and sublimity of
artistic truthfulness which have commanded for them the admiration of
the world.

It is with these men, and others of equal order of intellectual and
social gifts, that Officer McWatters has passed most of his leisure
hours for many years; thus keeping his genial nature and bright
intelligence free from the corrosion and canker which eat into the
moral and intellectual vitals of the mere business man; and preserving
himself physically, too, fresh and buoyant as youth itself. The great
number of personal souvenirs which Officer McWatters' author friends
have presented him, in the shape of copies of their respective works,
constitute quite a "library" in themselves,--a pleasing recognition,
grateful to himself and his family, of the excellent social merits,
intellect, and moral worth of the man and the officer.


Whatever are our subject's merits otherwise, as a man and an officer,
and extreme though was his patriotic zeal during the late civil war,
and to which he gave practical expression in the wisest and noblest
ways, all these has he eclipsed, and rendered comparatively unworthy of
note, by his career since the war as a Good Samaritan, a practical
"Home Missionary" (if it be not derogatory to apply to him a
designation, however kindly, which usually signifies but little more
than a sectarian proselyter of one school or another). Always
interested in social problems, Officer McWatters is too intelligent not
to fully understand that the fragmentary reforms and the ordinary great
charities of the times can never subdue the evils which his heart would
abate and banish from society forever. Indeed, it is the opinion of the
writer, (however little this may accord with Officer McWatters' views,
or however opposed he may be to so radical sentiments, for herein the
writer speaks for himself and no one else), that the availability of
charity towards abolishing evil is but pitiable at best. Giving the
beggar an old coat, only to be called on by some other beggar for a
like coat, and never seeking to abolish beggary and its attendant
sufferings by some judicious means of abolishing beggars themselves, by
destroying the causes which create them, is unscientific, paltry, and
in every way unwise at best.

It is only about nineteen hundred years since the advent of
Christianity; and perhaps not over two hundred and fifty millions of
people at the present time profess to be Christians, and belong to some
of the symbolized divisions of the church, while may be not over three
hundred millions more profess to be Christians in spirit; and not much
of good could well be expected to grow up in so short a time, and with
so few advocates to encourage it; yet the writer confesses that, in
some of his weaker moods, he is astonished after all that something has
not been done by Christian people to abolish the proximate and fruitful
cause of nearly all the crimes and sufferings, namely, poverty. The
sufferings of the poor in New York, for example, are terrible to
contemplate; and the much-boasted great charities of the metropolis are
directed only to temporary relief of the sufferers. This is their
highest aspiration even. They proclaim no desire to do more, at best,
than to smooth the bed of the sick, and procure "places" for children
(to grow up and work for others in), or situations for this woman or
that poor man out of employment.

The right of these children and these poor men and women to live at
all, and the duty of society to guarantee to the individual the
enjoyment of that right, are wholly ignored by them. Year after year
they perform their patchwork charities with a patience which would be
commendable in the pursuit of science, and which, while it astonishes
the writer at its stupidity, nevertheless commands from him, as he
cheerfully confesses, a sort of respect, if not admiration; for many of
these charity-doers are really the best of people at heart, and would
doubtless, if they knew how, do better, act more wisely. But they are
ignorant of better means than they use; and, in fact, it has never
occurred to them that better and wiser means ought to be, or could be
taken than those they employ, to assuage human suffering.

With his study and understanding of sociology, Officer McWatters must
necessarily see, we think, and painfully feel, how meagre and pitiful
are the amends which charity makes to those victims whom society has
robbed of their rights; and his sense of this must constantly operate
to weaken his courage and chill his enthusiasm in the cause of petty or
"patchwork" charities. Yet withal so abundant is his good nature, so
sensitive his sympathies, that years do not seem to abate his zeal
therein at all; and here is the wonder. He keeps on in his good works,
though the institutions of society multiply the sufferings he would
abate, and bring to his door ten new sufferers _because_ he has just
aided one old one. As long as such souls as McWatters' continue doing
their good deeds, so long will the rapacious and extortionate thank
them, and continue to create victims for them to practise their
humanity upon. The landlord, whose tenant is poor and sick, is very
grateful, of course, to the "charitable society" which helps his tenant
to pay the rent; and it is a question with the writer, sometimes, if it
were not better that the kind and tender-hearted benefactors of the
poor were less numerous; for if the poor were goaded on by suffering a
little further, they might, dispelling the mists of ever-fallacious
"hope" from before their eyes, come to see their rights, and demand

It is to the advantage of the master to feed his chattel-slave
sufficiently well to keep him in good strength for work. Charity, under
direction of the masters in society, feeds the working classes only up
to the point of usefulness as wages-slaves. It is cheaper for a given
present time to keep a poor man in a working condition than it is to
let him starve to death, and so incur the expense of burying him. That
expresses the _morale_ of the master-classes' "consideration" of the
subject-classes; and here in the United States the "tender love" of the
strong for the weak is just as marked as in other lands, perhaps; but,
alas! no more so, notwithstanding our boasted love of "liberty and

But we remarked that Officer McWatters must understand all this, and
yet pursues his constant course of charities. Not for the wisdom (or
the lack of it, as the case may be) which prompts or permits him to do
the thousand acts of benevolence for which he is noted, is it that he
commands so much of our admiration, but for that tireless sympathy and
wondrous vitality of benevolence (so to characterize it) which ever
bestir him, notwithstanding his clear understanding that he will, and
can alone, only mitigate effects, and not cure causes; that he is
"carrying coals to Newcastle" all the while, or is putting one brick on
a pile, only to see a dozen fall therefrom; and this, though he repeats
it day after day.

As we have before remarked, Officer McWatters is not a rich man, save
in his own good nature and the affection of his multitudinous friends;
and _his_ charities mean something to his purse, drawing from it
constantly whatever he can find time or opportunity to place there;
for, if the writer is correctly informed, Officer McWatters has never
received a cent for his multifarious labors in connection with any of
the several organized charities to which he is attached. As a member of
the Metropolitan Police he received his salary, rendering therefor his
full duty; and this was all he had to support himself and family upon;
and that was constantly depleted by his benevolence, as we have
remarked before. In view of these facts, Officer McWatters is elevated,
in our esteem, to the rank of the Howards, and the other marked
philanthropists of the world.

                      MCWATTERS AND THE SOLDIERS.

During the late civil war, as we have said, Officer McWatters took a
deep and patriotic interest in the conflict. This was manifested in
many ways, particularly towards the soldiers and their families; and he
has not forgotten them since. Whatever the reader may think of a man
who in this age allows himself to go deliberately into a contest, the
avowed purpose of which is to maim and kill his fellow-men, for any
cause; or what he may think of that order of society which compels a
man to enlist in a cause of cruelty and blood (as hosts of men were
driven into the rebel ranks at the point of the bayonet, or by
conscription, or want of something else to do, however remonstrating),
ought to have but little bearing upon the case of the veteran soldier

Our Northern soldiers went to the war with the assurance of the public
press, and the declaration of hundreds of thousands of those who
remained at home, but who gathered in crowds ("to see the soldiers
_off_") at the places of departure, that they should, on their return,
receive the gratitude of those for whom they fought. Promises were
abundant, and the poor, confiding fellows for the most part believed
them, and on the battle-field found consolation for their hardships and
dangers in the love of those they had left behind, and which, poured
forth in unstinted measure on their return, was to be their "good and
abundant reward." Poor fellows! they have learned, for the most part,
the value of their countrymen's love; they have learned how priceless
is the glory of an arm or a leg lost, since it secures for them, who
only had precarious homes before, a permanent home in the poor-house,
or has led them to the due consideration of the virtue of economy; the
estimable and superior value of rags over the whole coats they used to
wear; of temperance in eating, and other like virtues. Very few care
for the "veteran soldier" now, and his family is left to starve with
those of other paupers, or with those of the imprisoned criminal. This
is the sad truth; and were another civil war to arise to-day, probably
but very few of the old rank and file, who are still strong and able,
would muster around the standard again, but would generously suggest to
those who remained at home before, that they might now win all the
victories, and enjoy all the glory.

But there are a few in the community who have not forgotten the maimed
veterans and their suffering families; and chief among these few is
Officer McWatters; for we hazard nothing in saying, that, all things
considered, there cannot be found another person, male or female, in
the whole land, who has done more for the poor soldiers and their
families than he. He seems to be impelled in his constant care for them
by what amounts to almost a generous frenzy, and which might so be
denominated were it not that his deeds in their behalf are always
directed by wisdom; it is a passion, at least, with him; the poetry of
his current life.


Officer McWatters is an active member of several charitable
organizations; but that under which the greater share of his benevolent
deeds have been done for the last five or six years during which he has
been connected with it, is the Ladies' Union Relief Association. This
is an organization, under the directorship of several benevolent ladies
of distinguished social position in New York, such as the wives of
Messrs. Marshall O. Roberts, Ex-Mayor Havemeyer, Dr. Joseph Worster,
Henry Dwight, J. A. Kennedy (President), William E. Churchill, etc.,
with Miss Evelina S. Hamilton, as Corresponding Secretary, Miss
Madeline McKibben, Recording Secretary, and Miss Marianna Hale,
Treasurer of the Association. This organization has an advisory board,
composed of Generals Dix, Van Vliet, Butler, Rev. Drs. Chapin and
Thompson, Hon. W. F. Havemeyer, Drs. Herrick and Worster, Messrs.
Theodore Roosevelt, George Bliss, Jr., William E. Dodge, Jr., and many
other distinguished gentlemen. But the chief and most active man of the
board is our subject, Officer George S. McWatters, with whom, and his
constant aid, this benevolent Association would not willingly part.

The Ladies' Union Relief Association undertake to assist the sick and
disabled veteran soldiers and their families, and the families of
deceased soldiers; and their self-imposed duties are very onerous, and
a vast amount of charitable work do they, visiting the sick and taking
to them the necessaries of life, paying their rents, clothing the
children; finding places of employment for the ex-soldier, or his
widow, or family; furnishing this or that one means of transportation
to the far West, for example, when offered a home there with some
relative, etc., etc. These duties are constant. The field is always a
large one; and in a season like that of 1870-71, when business is dull,
and employment is scarce, the poor of New York suffer extremely. It is
in such a season that the relations of poverty to the wealth which its
labors have created (for the workers are ever the poor), is seen in
painful relief upon the face of society.

In the performance of his voluntarily assumed duties under this
Association, Officer McWatters found nearly all his time, aside from
that strictly required by his official duties, occupied, nights as well
as days. At the police headquarters, where he held a detailed position,
the poor and suffering flocked to him during the day for advice and
succor; and when off duty as a policeman, he gave his time to visiting
and aiding them in their squalid homes.

The Ex-Superintendent Kennedy cordially seconded Officer McWatters in
his benevolent work, and gave him every facility for receiving the poor
at the police office. In this way he was enabled, while fulfilling his
duties as a policeman, to gratify his heart with kindly attention to
the poor. But eventually Superintendent Kennedy was superseded by Mr.
Jourdan. Jourdan was, it would appear, an unfeeling man. He refused to
let the soldiers visit the headquarters in search of Officer McWatters,
and declared that they were "dirty, and smelled bad," and that he would
no longer suffer them to come. Thus Officer McWatters' mendicant
clientage was prohibited consulting with him during the hours of police
duty, and he felt that his dearest, most cherished "occupation," was
almost "gone." His sphere of pleasant, though onerous duties, was
limited, and he fretted under the restraint of the rule which prevented
the poor to approach him--a man whom the Rev. Dr. Bellows declares,
when referring to the poor soldiers, to be "one of their few steady,
laborious, and judicious benefactors."

But death came, and laid Superintendent Jourdan in the grave--the
common earth--as lowly as the graves of the "dirty," poor soldiers whom
he despised. It is a significant fact that this man Jourdan's remains
were followed to the tomb by many distinguished citizens of New
York,--politicians, men of wealth and professional good standing, and
others. But perhaps it is not so strange after all that he should have
been so honored in New York, for Fernando Wood has been mayor of the
city; and many who have grown rich by political thieving are kept in
office, and Jim Fisk, Jr., is not only suffered to live within the city
limits, but has been elected to the post of colonel of the Ninth
Regiment, and is actually extolled by great numbers of the people.
Crime is no great stain to any man in New York if he but have money, or
is in the "line" of making it fast. The city's moral worth reposes, for
the most part now, with the few members of the churches who are what
they profess to be, and with the benevolent and Christian
women,--comparatively few in number,--like those of the Ladies' Union
Relief Association, and the few Howards, whose best representative is
Officer McWatters.

Jourdan's death, however, did not abate the unjust rule he had made,
forbidding the poor to seek their friends at the headquarters of the
police, and Officer McWatters, unwilling longer to follow for a
livelihood a calling by which he was prevented from honoring the
dictates of his heart by doing all which he might do in some other
vocation for the poor soldiers and their families, determined on
resigning his post. While he was casting about for such a position,
some of his friends, among whom were Rev. Dr. Bellows, President of the
United States Sanitary Commission (and who cheerfully says of Officer
McWatters, "The evidence is overwhelming that few private persons have
given so much time and effectual aid to the friendless class as he"),
Wm. Cullen Bryant, and other gentlemen of high character; and the
ladies of the Relief Association, who were unwilling to part with his
invaluable coöperation, sought, for Officer McWatters, a place in the
custom-house, where the lingering sway of no heartless Jourdan would
oppress him. Officer McWatters' desire being made known to Collector
Murphy, he, be it said to his honor, immediately and generously offered
him a situation which would enable him to earn his living, and continue
his benevolent work; and on the 17th of October, 1870, Officer
McWatters tendered the resignation of his place as policeman to the
Commissioners, by the following letter, a copy of which we take from
the New York Dispatch of the 23d of that month:--

                                      "NEW YORK, October 17, 1870.

    "_To the Hon. Board of Police Commissioners of New York._

    "GENTLEMEN: I beg respectfully to offer my resignation as a
    patrol policeman, the same to take effect on Tuesday, October
    18, 1870.

    "This step has been rendered necessary for the following
    reasons: I have been prohibited by your representative, the
    late Superintendent, from employing my spare time in the
    fulfilment of a duty which, in common with all good citizens, I
    owe to the defenders of our country, the sick and disabled
    soldiers, and to the widows and orphans of those who perished
    in the late war; and being determined to fulfil that duty, I
    have obtained employment elsewhere, under circumstances that
    will enable me to continue to assist and advise these poor

    "Respectfully asking your acceptance of my resignation, I
    remain, gentlemen, yours, &c.,

                                            "GEORGE S. MCWATTERS."

The public journals of the times made most complimentary allusion to
Officer McWatters when noticing his withdrawal from the police force
and acceptance of a post in the custom-house. They spoke of him--but
perhaps it were well to let some of them "speak for themselves." We
reproduce here the following (all we have space for in this article)
from the New York Evening Post and the Daily Times. The former remarked

    "The resignation of George S. McWatters deprives the police
    force of one of its most faithful and efficient members; but,
    on the other hand, it enables Mr. McWatters to continue his
    benevolent and gratuitous services in behalf of the wounded
    soldiers, and the widows and orphans of those who fell during
    the late war. Mr. McWatters proposes to open an office, under
    the auspices of the Ladies' Union Relief Association, and of
    General Butler, in his capacity of President of the Board of
    Managers of the National Homes for Disabled Soldiers, where, at
    certain hours each day, he can be consulted, and will offer
    relief and assistance. There is now no place in this city where
    this class of persons can get advice without paying roundly for
    it, and running the danger of falling into the hands of
    unprincipled claim agents. Mr. McWatters intends to give his
    service gratuitously in this good cause, as he has been doing
    for the last five or six years. He is now filling an office in
    the custom-house, and Collector Murphy has shown his
    discriminating good sense in making the appointment."

The Times said:--

    "The appointment of Mr. George S. McWatters to the position of
    storekeeper, under the New York custom-house, was most
    judicious, and will be heartily approved by those who are
    familiar with the man and his good deeds. He has been connected
    with the police department of the city for the past twelve
    years, and never had a charge preferred against him in all that
    time. Since the war, in addition to his police duties, he has
    been an indefatigable worker for the interests of sick and
    disabled soldiers, and the families of those who died in
    battle. Hundreds of cases have been investigated by him, and
    relief obtained for the unfortunate in scores of instances. For
    these services Mr. McWatters received no remuneration whatever,
    save the gratitude of those who were the object of his
    beneficence. His merits were recognized by the collector, and
    hence the offer of an appointment, which was accepted a few
    days after."

Thus it was that Officer McWatters ended his connection with the
Metropolitan Police, with the honor of the public for his faithfulness
and efficiency as an officer, and the applause of all good people for
his benevolence and laborious services in the cause of philanthropy.
This brings us to the month of October, 1870; since which time Officer
McWatters has been attending to his duties as an officer in the
custom-house, and pursuing his career as a "Good Samaritan" as usual.


In these biographical notes it has not been attempted to preserve
chronological order throughout, as the reader has observed, and we now
revert to sundry important facts in Officer McWatters' history, which
have been passed over by us without allusion. Perhaps the chief service
which McWatters has rendered to the soldiers is the successful war he
waged against the Bounty Claim Agents in 1868-69. As the law regarding
bounties then stood, the agents were able to grossly swindle the
soldiers. And many of these agents, all over the land, and probably the
most of them, did swindle them. To appreciate the full merit of Officer
McWatters in circumventing the swindling agents, it is necessary to
understand how they operated with poor soldiers; and as we find in the
New York Times of March 21, 1869, a succinct explanation of their mode
of operations, we transfer a portion of the article containing it to
these pages. It will be found interesting as an item in the history of
the times (as well as a comment upon the beauties of civilization in
general). The article is headed "Bounty Swindlers," and goes on to

    "Herman, who is well known as a former claim agent in this
    city, is now at large, under forfeited bail of ten thousand
    dollars, for swindling discharged soldiers, who were credulous
    enough to trust him, out of their well-deserved bounties. It is
    estimated by the authorities that he made nearly twenty
    thousand dollars by these operations, which he has so carefully
    disposed of that it cannot be recovered by his unfortunate
    victims. There are, perhaps, fifty others of the same stripe in
    this city, who have gathered small fortunes by thus defrauding
    the soldier or his widow and orphans.

    "To protect the soldiers from these sharks, Mr. French, Second
    Auditor of the Treasury Department at Washington, has, from
    time to time, suspended all business transactions with them.
    This had the effect of stopping the frauds for a while, but the
    swindlers soon found a method of overcoming the obstruction.
    This they did by procuring willing tools through whom they
    operated as successfully as ever.

    "There are said to be thousands of dishonest agents all over
    the United States, who are continually engaged in this
    nefarious business. They are principally lawyers who have no
    reputation to lose, and who, therefore, are indifferent to
    public opinion.

    "The _modus operandi_ by which these swindles are carried on is
    as follows: A. is a discharged soldier, B. the claim agent. A.
    calls on B., and requests him to procure his bounty money for
    him. A. is informed that, in order to enforce his claim, it
    will be necessary for him to intrust B. with his certificate of
    honorable discharge, to be forwarded to Washington as a
    voucher. Thus far the transaction is legitimate; but now comes
    the trickery. B. further informs A. that there is another paper
    to be forwarded with the discharge, a blank, which he (A.) must
    sign. It is merely a matter of form, B. says, which the
    government requires, for some reason best known to itself. The
    signature is given, and the soldier goes away, assured that
    within a few days his check will be ready for him. The paper to
    which, in his ignorance, A. signed his name, turns out to be an
    absolute power of attorney conferred upon B., not only to
    enforce the claim, but also to indorse the draft when it is
    received, and to collect the money therefor at the bank. Thus
    authorized, B. draws the cash at the proper time, puts it into
    his own pocket, and keeps it there. A. calls for his money at
    the appointed time, but is put off with the excuse that the
    return has not yet been made by the department at Washington.
    This explanation is repeated each time that A. calls, until,
    finally, he becomes suspicious of unfair dealing, and
    peremptorily demands either his certificate or the bounty. As a
    rule, this demand leads to the speedy unfolding of the base
    villany. B. acknowledges that he has collected the money, and
    adds that he has spent it, but that he will refund it as soon
    as he is able to do so. The claim agent having acted by full
    power of attorney in the matter, cannot be prosecuted
    criminally, and the only remedy open to the victimized soldier
    is a civil suit for the recovery of the amount of his claim.
    The remedy is ineffectual, however, by reason of the fact that
    the swindler has no property out of which to satisfy judgment,
    and the soldier being too poor to prosecute the case, the
    affair ends at this point.

    "There are now in the Second Auditor's office as many as
    sixty-five thousand unsettled bounty claims, representing about
    four millions five hundred thousand dollars, and by the recent
    passage of another bounty act, that sum will soon be augmented
    by nearly five hundred thousand dollars. It will thus be seen
    that, unless some measures are taken by the government to
    prevent it, five million dollars more will pass into the hands
    of swindling agents, to the great loss of those for whose
    benefit it was intended."

But long before this article appeared in the Times, Officer McWatters
had been reflecting upon a measure for rescuing the poor soldiers from
the despoiling grasp of the agents. He had laid his plans before the
Ladies' Union Relief Association, and the good ladies, at once
appreciating it, commissioned him to go, in the name of the
Association, to Washington, and procure, if possible, the immediate
carrying out of his plan, which consisted of certain changes in the
law. He went at once to the Capital, and called upon President Grant,
who kindly received him, and to whom he unfolded his plan. The Military
Committee of the Senate were also visited, and they, as the President
had likewise done, gave Mr. McWatters assurances of their sympathy with
his designs, which they proceeded to directly express, by a proposed
change in the law, which was in due time made. Messrs. Wilson and Howe
of the Senate, General Butler and General Logan of the House, were
particularly earnest and active in aiding Officer McWatters to
accomplish his great aim in this matter. A resolution "for the
protection of soldiers and their heirs," according to Officer
McWatters' plan, after passing both Houses of Congress, received the
approval of the President, and became a law on the 10th of April, 1869,
and thousands of soldiers have since blessed their ever warm and
judicious friend, McWatters, for one of the very best deeds that has
been done in their behalf since the war. Lodges of the Grand Army of
the Republic, in all parts of the country, passed votes of compliment
and gratitude to him; and the press, also, was everywhere laudatory of

The new law forbids the Treasury and Pay Departments paying bounties
due the soldiers to any claim agent, or upon "any power of attorney,
transfer, or assignment whatever;" but provides that the money due
shall be sent directly to the soldier or his heirs, by draft, on their
order, or through the Freedman's Bureau, or state agents appointed
specially for that purpose, etc., at no cost to the soldier or his
heirs. The law also provides, that the government shall retain in its
hands such proper fees as may be due to the claim agents for their
services in procuring bounties, which fees are subject to the agents'
order; thus securing to them all that is justly their due, while also,
in a truly Christian or motherly way, shielding them from the
temptation to rob the poor soldier or his heirs of everything. (One
object of governments, we are told by sundry "great writers on Law," is
to protect the morals of the people; which we are very glad to be
assured of--sometimes. It is refreshing to be told that a divine power
has a hand in the governmental institutions of the world; for if we
were not so informed by the great writers, we might not always be able
to discover the fact.)

But this victory over the claim agents was not won without much hard
fighting on Officer McWatters' part. The rascally agents harassed him,
threatened him, and attempted to bribe him, etc. But without going into
details, we will content ourselves with transferring to these pages an
article which we find in The Sun, of April 10, 1869:--

    "The thanks of hundreds of soldiers who have been defrauded by
    the bounty thieves, are due to General John A. Logan, for
    pushing through Metropolitan Policeman McWatters' bill,
    requiring that all moneys due them shall be paid to the
    soldiers direct, the government reserving to itself the fees.
    While Officer McWatters was in Washington, the bounty thieves
    pretending to enjoy influence with the Metropolitan Police
    Commissioners, threatened him, and tried to buy him off, one of
    the fellows offering him five hundred dollars to 'go home and
    mind his own business.' We reproduce two of their threatening
    letters, as follows:--

    "'MR. MCWATTERS. Dear Sir: You are in a business that don't
    suit you--something you have no right in. The men you are
    working against are a large and influential class; have power
    where you least expect it. You have a good position on the
    police. As you value it, quit your present action. Let the
    _soldiers_ take care of themselves; it don't pay _you_, nor
    will it. You can't afford to play philanthropist. Leave that to
    men of means, and women, if you like. A word to the wise.

                                          "'Yours, a friend,

    "'NEW YORK, March 27, 1869.         H. B. L.'

    "'MR. MCWATTERS. Dear Sir: Your visit to Washington will do you
    no good, but may possibly result in great harm to yourself. You
    have a good position now, and I think you had better let the
    soldiers' matters alone, as you are interfering with the
    business of those whose power and influence can be used against
    you to disadvantage. If you think anything at all of your own
    welfare, leave Washington immediately, and pursue the matter no

                                                Yours, etc.,

                                                          P. G. W.

    "'NEW YORK, March 29, 1869'"

But Officer McWatters' labor for the soldier and his family, in regard
to the laws regulating payments thereto, did not stop here. In 1870, in
conjunction with others (he being the proposer of the same, we believe,
as he was surely the most active mover thereto), obtained a change to
be made in the time and frequency of the payment of pensions; the same
theretofore being paid only semi-annually. There were evils attending
these semi-annual payments. Some recipients getting so much of their
dues at a time, were led to improvidence, spending the same more freely
than they would have done smaller sums; and their families often
complained about the matter. Officer McWatters urged the proposition of
monthly payments, but was unable to secure his object; but the law was
changed, making the pensions payable in quarterly instalments. This was
a great improvement over the old law. Officer McWatters received
numerous letters of gratitude on the passage of the law. We clip the
following in relation thereto, from the Tribune of December 9, 1870:--

    "The first payment of pensions under the new law making the
    payments quarterly instead of semi-annual, began last Monday,
    and many grateful letters, illustrating the beneficial working
    of the new plan, have already been received by Mr. G. S.
    McWatters, who was instrumental, in conjunction with the
    Ladies' Union Relief Association, in procuring the passage of
    the bill."

The payments were made formerly in March and September; and how the
pensioner welcomed a quarterly payment coming on the first Monday of
December, is perhaps as feelingly told, in its own homely way, as it
well could be, in the following extract from one of those letters to
which the Tribune refers. A pensioner, writing to McWatters, says:
"Nobody but a poor man can appreciate the feelings a poor man enjoys in
the consciousness of having a clean rent bill, a ton of coal, and a
barrel of flour, in the first month of winter."

Ay! there _is_ an eloquence in those words--an eloquence which touches
the softer chords of the heart,--"The poor man enjoys"! Nobody more
than Officer McWatters, the philanthropist, could appreciate the poor
pensioner's letter. But is there not in that letter that which touches
other chords than those of sympathy--the chords of justice in all
decent souls? a sense of justice which regards with horror, and burns
with indignation over, the wretched order of things, or disorder the
rather, which creates these suffering poor? Very likely that pensioner,
who tells us so touchingly of "a poor man's feelings," has done more
for the world, created more for the good of his fellow-men, through his
labor, in the form of agricultural products, necessary work of one kind
or another, etc., etc., than all the millionnaires of New York
together,--the mere cormorants, who fatten upon the toil of the
laboring classes. Is it not a shame to our common humanity that a
barrel of flour should, in any family, become a subject for their
rejoicing? "How a poor man feels!"--in this world of wealth! in this
age of Christian teaching! in this era of churches! Bah! it is enough,
one would think, to make the apostles of the Nazarene arise from their
graves, and seize the sword of Peter, to put an end to the villany
which still enslaves the masses and keeps them poor. But we do not hear
that they are disturbed, nor do we learn that there is pity anywhere in
the universe for the poor, save in the souls of the poor themselves,
and in those of a few philanthropists here and there. But that is well,
for it is not pity which is to work the good reformation which must
some time be wrought; it is justice, the justice which shall yet demand
_rights_, and banish even the name of _privileges_; justice, with
science as its means. All else has signally failed to achieve any great

Froude and other great writers admit that but little real progress has
been made under our social institutions. Changes have come along the
line of the centuries, it is true, but the "poor man" (and the term
generically comprehends the vast majority of the race), the poor man
suffers as much in these days as in those of Moses, or in Caligula's,
or in the dark ages, or any period of feudal times; and yet we boast of
"progress." In no period of the world's history has anything more
reprehensible than the suffering of the Irish people at home, in these
days, occurred; and there is no reason found in the organic structure
of our government why our own poor suffer less, or shall suffer less in
the future, than the Irish people now, save that there is a little more
mercy in the laws which the tyrant or governing classes of this country
make for the laboring classes, in the matter of certain household
goods, for example, exempt from levy of attachment or execution; (but
this is true only of the laws of certain States, not of the national
laws). And this very hour, as we write, the National Congress is
contemplating putting millions of acres of the public domain into the
hands of the tyrant forces, thus robbing the future millions who will
need the soil to live upon.

"The poor man's feelings"! But we dismiss the subject here, with the
simple words,--eloquent enough to stir every decent soul to indignation
over the wrongs of the laboring classes,--"The feelings of a poor man"!

But more work for the soldier and his family remained for McWatters to
do, and he is at this writing (February, 1871) attempting, with the
support of the ever noble and active Ladies' Union Relief Association,
to get an act passed by Congress, by which an honorably discharged
soldier, too poor to buy his own grave, may console himself, in his
last moments, that his family will not be obliged to follow him to a
pauper's last resting-place. Now, only such soldiers as die in actual
service have a right to be buried in the National Cemeteries. The
veriest villain may have enlisted in the service yesterday, and died,
and be buried to-day in the National Cemeteries. But the honorably
discharged soldier, who served through the war bravely and nobly, is
not entitled to be buried therein, and if he dies poor, goes to the
potter's field. Such is the nation's gratitude!

There's an awful sarcasm in this last work of McWatters. We do not know
whether, in the overflowing kindness of his soul, he sees it or not.
Memorializing "The Honorable the Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives in Congress assembled" to provide a place to bury the
nation's heroes in, by a sort of legal fiction, which, while they do
fill paupers' graves, technically, obscures a little the fact of their
abject poverty, by giving them graves "free of cost." Poor fellows!
After death they get more rights than they had when living! The
government takes away the soil from the living man, robs him of his
right to it,--a right, the true title to which is in the fact of his
existence,--his being born, if you please,--and makes restitution with
six feet of subsoil to the dead man!

But the merit of Officer McWatters' work is not decreased by this
consideration. He does the very best thing he can do under the
circumstances. But the nation--the community--civilization--what of


We have somewhere said that Officer McWatters has received not a dollar
for his years of constant, active benevolence. This is literally true:
but it is not exactly true in the interpretation which some readers
might give it; for Officer McWatters has not been wholly without
substantial rewards other than those of the joys of his own happiness
in well doing. But we have not space to notice all of these. The one
which we presume is most dear to the gallant heart of Officer
McWatters, is a testimonial of his benevolent services given him by the
Ladies' Union Relief Association, in July, 1868. We copy the following
article regarding it from the New York Times of July 31, 1868:--

    "TESTIMONIAL.--The well-known services of Officer George S.
    McWatters on behalf of disabled soldiers and of the widows and
    orphans of fallen ones, received a handsome acknowledgment, a
    few days since, at the hands of the Ladies' Union Relief
    Association, with whose invaluable labors he has closely
    identified himself since the organization of the institution.
    Mrs. John A. Kennedy, who is President of the Association,
    presented Mr. McWatters with a very valuable gold watch,
    purchased for him with private contributions of the ladies of
    the Association, as a testimonial of their appreciation of his
    energetic labors in the work they have so much at heart. The
    watch is richly chased and bears on one side of the outer case
    the monogram 'G. S. McW.,' and on the other, also in monogram,
    '1868.' The inner case has the following inscription:--

    "'_Presented to George S. McWatters by the members of the
    Ladies' Union Relief Association, in appreciation of his
    services to the families of Union Soldiers._ 1868.'

    "It is pleasing to note this handsome recognition of the quiet
    energy and modest worth of Officer McWatters, who has in many
    ways and frequently, during the war and since, given remarkable
    evidence of how much good work, in a humble and unpretending
    way, is within the compass of a single individual, impelled by
    a spirit of true philanthropy."

We also append a notice of the same testimonial, taken from The Sun of
the same date, since it very succinctly sets forth Officer McWatters'
great worth as a philanthropist.

    G. S. McWatters was surprised by a request to attend at the
    residence of Mrs. John A. Kennedy, the President of the Ladies'
    Union Relief Association. There he was presented with a
    beautiful gold watch, as a token of recognition of the valuable
    work done by him in assisting the objects of the society. Ever
    since the war Officer McWatters has devoted all his spare hours
    to the benefit of Union soldiers and their families. _We could
    fill columns with stories of his work and its good results, but
    have only room to say that no man of equal means has worked so
    hard and so successfully._ To the assistance and encouragement
    of that noble institution, the Ladies' Union Aid Society, he
    has given every moment that could be spared from his official
    duties. It is a fitting and graceful compliment, when such
    ladies as Mrs. Wm. F. Havemeyer, Mrs. Marshall O. Roberts, Mrs.
    Kennedy, and others of similar standing, so generously
    recognize the faithful services of their co-laborer. Of course
    Mr. McWatters has official permission to accept his well-earned
    present, and long may he live to wear it."

We also subjoin the following from the Tribune, inasmuch as it makes
allusion to certain benevolent acts and plans of Officer McWatters, to
which we have not referred in these biographical notes, but which are
most worthy of record. So good a summary is the Tribune's article of
Officer McWatters' claims upon the public esteem as an active
philanthropist up to the period of its date, that we copy it entire,
though it embraces several matters upon which we have descanted more or
less extendedly in these Notes:--

    "It is always gratifying to see genuine and unpretending merit
    recognized and honored. We are therefore specially glad to
    record the fact that the Ladies' Union Relief Association of
    this city have recently, by the presentation of a valuable and
    appropriate gift, so recognized and honored the services
    rendered by Officer G. S. McWatters to the peculiar cause of
    benevolence to which they are devoted. The gift is a handsome
    gold watch, and the presentation was made on Thursday evening,
    the 23d inst., by the President of the Association, Mrs. John
    A. Kennedy, at her residence, No. 135 West Twenty-Second
    Street. The Ladies' Union Relief has been established two
    years. It was instituted with a view to the relief of sick and
    disabled soldiers, their families, widows, or orphans, from the
    evils of extreme poverty. Great good has been accomplished by
    the Association; and, in its peculiar charity, it has had no
    ally more efficient and indefatigable than Officer McWatters.
    Indeed, from the very beginning of the late civil war, this
    officer has consistently and faithfully devoted himself to the
    cause of the Union soldiers. In 1861 he was associated with the
    late Daniel Carpenter in the mission of raising money from the
    police force for the support of the families of policemen who
    had gone to the war. In 1862--an assessment having been levied
    on the police force for the purpose of raising and equipping
    the Metropolitan Brigade--Officer McWatters subscribed more
    money to this fund than any other patrolman on the force. In
    1863, when our military hospitals around Washington and
    elsewhere were in great need of lemons for the wounded and
    suffering victims of battle, Officer McWatters collected six
    hundred dollars from among the police towards supplying this
    want; and the lemons so procured were gratuitously forwarded to
    the hospitals South and West by Adams Express Company. A letter
    of thanks from Dr. Bellows, representative of the Sanitary
    Commission, was, on this occasion, addressed to the Police
    Commissioners. In 1863, also, Officer McWatters was a member of
    the little band of police officers that rescued and defended
    our building from the miscreants who attacked it during the
    July riots, and in that affray he was badly wounded. In 1864 he
    was one of the originators of the New York Sanitary Fair, and
    he served as one of its committees, with so much devotion and
    success that he won a letter of thanks from Mrs. Lane, the
    President of the Fair, Mrs. Jessie Benton Fremont, and Colonel
    Le Grand Cannon. Officer McWatters, it should also be
    mentioned, is the originator of the Police Mutual Aid Society,
    a very useful institution, founded on the principle of
    fraternal benevolence. The society has served as a model for
    similar societies--of firemen, post-office clerks, and other
    bodies of men all over the country. A plan of practical
    benevolence has likewise been formed and matured by Officer
    McWatters in the Masonic Fraternity, and has won the
    commendation of some of the highest officials in that
    organization. These facts strongly attest the humane spirit,
    active intelligence, and earnest devotion to duty which have
    characterized Officer McWatters in a highly creditable career
    of practical benevolence. The ladies of the Union Relief
    Society have no less justly than gracefully acknowledged the
    worth of his character and services, in making the gift we have
    recorded. Every lover of this country, we may add, and every
    friend of mankind, will naturally wish the amplest success to
    all these workers in the good cause of charity."


Charity, holy though the poets sing her, and beautiful the painters
picture her lineaments, is, after all, a hag, if real; or only an ideal
being, at best, if we are to judge her by her precious, favored
children, the almoners she sometimes employs to dispense her bounties.
In New York a great many vulgar wretches are, from time to time,
officially connected with the charitable institutions under control of
the city government. Bellevue Hospital was, in 1869, the theatre of
some of these base fellows' operations.

These men were protected by the "Citizens Association," so called,--a
self-constituted body of very respectable gentlemen, whose business it
is to see that everything in the city is properly conducted; gentlemen
of high moral tone, the hems of whose phylacteries (made of invisible
or abstract "great moral worth," "solid character," "piety," "good
standing in society," and visible and real amounts of greenbacks, all
interwoven in some mysterious way, and which together constitute
"dignity," we believe), are broad enough to out-Pharisee those
marvelous gentlemen in Christ's time who made Jerusalem such a genial
place of residence, with their "long prayers."

In July, 1869, the Citizens' Association published, through the
newspapers of the city, what they called the result of an investigation
of the several institutions under the control of the Commissioners of
Charities and Corrections, in which they assured the public that these
institutions were all properly and well conducted, and felicitated the
said public that the said institutions were in charge of such high
toned and efficient gentlemen as they named.

But there was a man in New York, who, when he read the Citizens'
Association's manifesto, thought it a most astonishing falsehood,
either of the kind known as a lie, or of that kind which people tell
sometimes when they are talking of things about which they know
nothing; for his duties had called him to Bellevue Hospital on sundry
occasions, and he had there witnessed, with his own eyes, sundry things
which made his blood boil with indignation; and when he read the
manifesto of the Citizens' Association, he determined to correct it.

Of what this man had seen at Bellevue Hospital, some faint conception
may be formed from the following facts: There was scarcely a bed
there, in any of the wards, which was free from vermin; patients who
took most care of the beds, were always liable to get lousy in the
water closets; only a single clean sheet a week was allowed, no
matter how filthy a bed might become through the poor patient's weak
misfortunes; the blankets were dirty; to keep the coverlets clean,
for "whited-sepulchre" purposes, when visitors called, they were
taken off nights; the cooking of the institution was done by a
drunken, filthy cook, and was served to the patients on what had once
been tin dishes, but had been so often polished "clean" that they had
became rusty sheet-iron plates; the "orderlies," who were paid to
attend to the sick, were tyrannical, and little or no attention was
paid to the complaints of the sufferers. The only thing a poor sick
man had to sit on was a stool, with a seat of about twelve inches by
fourteen inches in size, without a back (and most of the sick had
weak backs). The sick poor, picked up in the streets, for example,
and carried there, had their outer garments taken off, and were put
to bed without washing, with their under clothes on, and had no
"change of raiment" till they died! The wards were cold in winter,
and the poor were glad of even their filthy rags to keep them warm.
Generally the bed in which a poor fellow died remained as he left it,
unchanged, for the comfort of the next occupant and corpse! But this
is quite enough, we opine, for the reader's entire satisfaction.

Of course this "Augean stable" needed cleansing, and the Citizens'
Association needed enlightening, or reforming, whichever is the proper
term in the case, and that man to whom we have alluded knew how to do
it. The Tribune and Evening Post, when informed of the true state of
affairs, cheerfully gave space in their columns for the facts, and
appealed to the Citizens' Association to revise their work of voluntary
report-making. We have before us a copy of the Evening Post of date
September 1, 1869, containing a long editorial article on "Bellevue
Hospital," mostly made up of a letter (which was written by a poor,
disabled soldier, then "confined" in Bellevue Hospital), setting forth
some of the luxuries, conveniences, the neatness, etc., enjoyed at
Bellevue Hospital. (It appears that the only decent thing connected
with the hospital then, was the medical care which was pronounced

The article alluded to, called on the Citizens' Association "which, by
a recent publication, has made itself in some sort responsible for the
good management of the city charities," to "investigate" the matter
(out of courtesy it ought to have said, "_re_-investigate," but it

The secretary of the Citizens' Association visited one of the editors
of a city paper, and stated that Bellevue Hospital was the only
institution under the Commissioners of Charities and Corrections which
he had _not_ personally visited! and after two weeks' delay, the
Citizens' Association sent a committee of investigation to the
hospital, and found everything all right, of course, and drew up a
report, which, however, was never published; for when they presented
the same for publication, the wary editors required that the report, if
it were to appear in their columns, should be followed by affidavits of
proper parties, showing that the iniquities complained of existed at
Bellevue Hospital when the complaints were made.

The result was, that reforms so much needed at Bellevue Hospital were
made there; for which hosts of patients have since been grateful. It is
said that the authorities of the hospital offered a hundred dollars
reward for the person who wrote, or instigated the writing, of the
various letters to the press, exposing the state of things there, and
which wrought the reform. But they were not successful at the time in
discovering their enemy, and the poor patients' friend; for the
bringing to light, and subjecting of these outrages at Bellevue
Hospital to public condemnation, was one of Officer McWatters' many
silent Good Samaritan deeds, and he did not intend to have them or the
public know who wrought it. Besides, the officials were powerful, and
might do him great harm, in their indignation at his exposure of their
wickedness, and it would not have been wise in him to act too openly.
But time enough has passed now, we presume, to calm their animosity;
and having possessed ourselves of the facts without Officer McWatters'
knowledge, we think it proper that the credit due him in this matter be
acknowledged here.


In these meagre Biographical Notes we have done but partial justice to
Officer McWatters. Our readers were duly assured that no attempt would
be made by us to write a fitting biography of the man; and we have
only, in a hasty way, and in a manner wholly unsatisfactory to
ourselves, alluded to certain incidents in our subject's life, which
serve to stamp him as a man far above the average of even good souls,
in his active, practical benevolence. But it is often in little things
that the generous soul demonstrates itself most eloquently--in the
usually unremarked, quiet acts of a man; and, in our judgment, a letter
from Officer McWatters, which, in our search of the public journals for
most of the material of these Notes, we found in the Evening Mail of
October 23, 1869, bespeaks for him as much respect from the good and
charitably inclined as anything he ever did.

We judge from the opening sentence of the letter, that some "good
enough" fellow, "S. W. H. C.," soft of heart, perhaps, but limited in
judgment, had found fault, through the columns of the Mail, with the
poor organ-grinders' "plying their vocation" on the public streets. Of
course there was nobody in all the great metropolis to come to their
defence, except some man like Officer McWatters. And so he came, it
seems, seasonably. The letter shows not only the tender, generous
spirit of the man, but his ripe good judgment and comprehensive view of
things as well, and is worthy of preservation here in these pages,
along with the masterly efforts of his pen, which, in "Knots Untied,"
have not only given us,--his present readers,--the liveliest
gratification by the mysteries they unfold in a lucid style, but have
made one of the best possible records of certain phases of now current
life, for the information of the future historian.

The old Romans (as well as other peoples) had their secret police
service; and how interesting it would be to us, in these far off
centuries, to read of their deeds in the empire, or during the kingdom
of Rome. History, for the most part, is made up of the deeds of great
conquerors, etc. We know too little of the domestic and "hidden life"
of the past. But the future historian of these times will have all the
_materiel_ his ambition can desire for weaving the thread of his story.
And what a _resumé_ of crimes and outrages of all kinds will that of
the 19th century be for the historian of the 40th century to make!

The letter to which we refer above, regarding the organ-grinders, will
be found appended hereto, together with some other matters of interest
regarding Officer McWatters, which we have collected in our examination
of the public journals. We place them in connection with these
biographical notes, as in some respects presenting our subject in a
more graphic manner than we are able in this hurried writing, to make
him known to the great reading public of his adopted country.

The concluding paragraph of the letter referred to regarding the
organ-grinders, as will be seen by reference to it, is, "Until the
country has reached out her helping hand to all to whom she owes
assistance as a right, it is in bad taste to find fault with the mode
in which the disabled soldier tries to earn a living for his family."
In these words, so just and wise, is embraced more than the casual
reader will be apt to perceive. They are, in our opinion, very
remarkable, and involve a great principle, one which Officer McWatters,
as a student of social science, as we have remarked him, must clearly

"To all to whom she owes assistance as a right," are words eloquent
with the great truth of social statesmanship which they suggest; which
is, that a country, a government, should recognize the right of its
subjects (or component parts, to speak more decently, for there is a
hateful sound in that word "subjects") to life; and the great moral
duty of all these parts to assist each other; a duty which is clear and
imperative in the nature of things (but we cannot here go into the
subtleties of the matter, and show why); a duty, however, which can
never be fitly performed till some nation or people are so organized,
politically and socially, that each shall receive all he merits
therein; till the labor forces, the creators, the only really worthy,
are honored and protected; and not, as now, when the chief villains and
the worthless tyrants live upon the fat of the land, enjoy all the
honors, and are shielded by the laws in robbing from and exploiting
upon the poor, the laboring classes.

Healthful and buoyant of spirit, Officer McWatters doubtless has many
years of active life yet to enjoy. The record of his past is abundant
assurance that his future will be just, generous, brave in good deeds,
sternly and patiently laborious, and benevolent to all mankind; and
when he ceases to be, when the organized atoms which make what we call
the man, and are discriminated by us from all other organized atoms as
"McWatters," shall have been resolved into their original conditions,
and his individuality is lost forever in the ceaseless processes of
continuing creation, his good deeds shall live on still, and make for
him a place in the reverence of those who honor good works far above
that of most men; above that of all the talkers, the self-elected
teachers, who heed not their own doctrines, however noble these be. One
such man as Officer McWatters is worth more than an army of
self-proclaimed saints, who do nothing but prattle about virtue, and
preach, to use their own figure of speech, but live not out in their
lives, nor exemplify in their deaths, "Christ and Him crucified;" but
who think more of Christ _on_ the Cross, in the "triumph of faith,"
than of the nobler Christ-come-down-from-the-Cross, and still battling,
with untiring spirit, against the wrongs which men do to one another.

With this hasty sketch, and the appendices which we may see fit
to make (as before indicated), we leave Officer George S.
McWatters,--the kind of heart, the merciful, the dutiful, the
intelligent and honest man; the patriot of the true type; the
practical and great philanthropist,--in the hands of our readers,
trusting that some able biographer will yet write his history, in
a style and with a particularity commensurate with Officer
McWatters' nobility of character and multifold great good works
in the cause of humanity.


                          THE ORGAN-GRINDERS.


To the Editor of the Evening Mail: The communication signed "S. W. H.
C.," in your issue of the 19th, breathes a good spirit towards our sick
and disabled soldiers, but evidently was not written understandingly.
By far the greater number of the street organ-grinders, clad in
soldiers' garb, have been true and honest soldiers, but being husbands
and fathers, they cannot take advantage of the asylums. The article on
this subject was in all respects correct. Until the nation furnishes
homes for this class of our disabled soldiers,--homes which will not
necessitate their parting from their little families, dearer to them by
far than their own personal comfort,--we must look for such street
exhibitions as we see, and which are not disgraceful to the soldier,
whatever they may be to his country. That some of these are impostors,
I do not doubt; but it is the duty of the police to satisfy themselves
who are and who are not, and to treat them accordingly. On the other
hand, there are no more deserving objects of charity in the world than
some of these are.

In evidence of the reluctance which those who have family ties feel in
entering any of the asylums, I now narrate you an incident. Some six
months ago I found a poor fellow in this city who had lost his health
in the army, in which he had served four years. He had just been sent
out of hospital incurable--a consumptive. He had a wife and four
children, the eldest a boy of twelve, a cripple, and three little
girls. Some one of the customary blunders at Washington had hitherto
delayed his pension. The sole income of the family, when I called, was
what the mother earned by scrubbing. The father had evidently not long
to live, and poverty was hastening him to the grave. When I called, and
saw how things were, I advised him to go to the Home, to which I would
find means to send him. He said he would consult his wife. He did so,
and then said that he had resolved to go; that he was only eating the
bread his poor wife earned, and which his little ones needed. I took
the necessary steps, and received from General Butler the coupons for
his transportation. By this time I had had several interviews with his
family; and seeing how much misery the threatened separation was likely
to entail,--for they were deeply attached--father, mother, and
children--to each other,--I resolved to try and prevent it. To this end
I consulted Mrs. J. A. Kennedy, President of the Ladies' Union Relief
Association, who, having heard the pitiable case, consented to extend
the aid of the institution to the family, that they might stay together
as long as the father lived. Freighted with this news, I went to the
miserable home. They were waiting for me; had been sitting, weeping in
company for hours, expecting the separation. I cannot describe to you
the joy that filled that poor home when I told them that the father was
not to go. Their joy was more touching than even the preceding grief.

Had "S. W. H. C." been with me then, or had he seen so many of just
such cases as I have seen, he would be much slower in coming to
judgment of the poor organ-grinder. For it is this love of wife and
children, which we honor, or ought to honor, which sends the married
soldier on the street to beg in this way, rather than take life easy,
and "fight his battles o'er and o'er again" in an asylum. The soldier
above referred to is still alive, thanks to the assistance given him by
General Butler and the good ladies of the Association.

The asylums, as they are at present ordered, cannot meet cases like
these; but they merit help, and should have it in some fashion. The
Ladies' Union Relief Association does much to keep a great number off
the street who would otherwise present much more disagreeable pictures
than the organ-grinders to the eyes of your sensitive correspondent;
but their means are limited. They cannot reach all who need. Until the
country has reached out her helping hand to all to whom she owes
assistance as a right, it is in bad taste to find fault with the mode
in which the disabled soldier tries to earn a living for his family.




It is a painful comment upon the state of society, or the character of
our civilization, that our most cherished literature, both of poetry
and prose, has its origin in human woes and wrongs. "Man's inhumanity
to man Makes countless thousands mourn." Dickens, with all his wealth
of genius, so much prized, would have found no use for it in a decent
world, unless, perchance, it might have shone as brightly upon the face
of Joy, as it beamed pathetically upon the tortured visage of Misery.
Hood, in his immortal "Song of the Shirt," and the "Bridge of Sighs,"
and in many other of his verse; Tennyson, in the best of his poems;
Mrs. Browning, with her vast power of thought and feeling, to say
nothing of many other great writers of the past and present; our own
blessed poet Whittier, etc., have given us their noblest works with
pens dipped in human tears, or sharpened by human sufferings. So, too,
of the great good deeds of the other philanthropists--the Howards, the
Nightingales, the McWatterses. They could only have had their origin in
the wrongs which man does to his fellow-man; in the outrages which the
tyrant classes do to the weaker; in the riot of wars for governmental
supremacy; in the sufferings of the outraged, trampled into the dust by
the powerful robbers of society in their mad greed for wealth, or
cheated by pious and talented hypocrites out of their moral as well as
physical rights.

Society should be so ordered, as it might readily be, that all the
pathetic literature now so much cherished, would be obnoxious to us, as
belonging to a state of things which once existed, but which all were
anxious to forget; when only the songs of joy should find birth, and
when the basilar principles of Christianity should be practically
recognized, and everywhere expressed in our institutions, or organic
social life. But this we cannot hope for till superstition shall be
done away with, the "money-changers" driven from the porches of our
"temples;" the poor and ignorant made aware of their rights, and
earnest in claiming them; and the tyrant classes come to learn the
falsity of their chief "motto," namely, that 'tis "better to rule in
hell than serve in heaven."

We had thought to give in the foregoing Biographical Notes some
touching instances of the experiences of the good women of the "Ladies'
Union Relief Association" and Officer McWatters, in their noble work of
succoring the needy, and binding up the wounds of the suffering. We
have before us, furnished by the kindness of a friend, a partial record
of the Association's deeds (never intended for publication), freighted
with notes of bitter sorrows which they have assuaged, and which,
written out, would fill pathetic volumes; but we have no space for them
here. One, however, so enchains our interest that we cannot forbid
ourselves to recite it here, as an exemplary instance, which, if
multiplied in his mind by hundreds and thousands, will give the reader
something like an adequate understanding of the vast work of kind and
tender ministrations which these philanthropists have done, and are
constantly doing.

Officer McWatters had two or three times visited a poor, sick,
emaciated veteran soldier, by the name of Patrick O'Brien. Of course
Patrick could earn nothing for his own support, and depended wholly
upon what little his good wife (a comparatively young and fragile
woman) could earn by washing and scrubbing, and which she shared with
him and their three young children. McWatters was greatly moved by the
condition of this family. He saw that the wife could not much longer
sustain the burden she was bravely attempting to bear, and finally
advised that, as the best thing to be done, the veteran should be sent,
at the expense of the Ladies' Union Relief Association, to the
Soldiers' Home at Dayton, Ohio. This was consented to by the soldier
and his suffering wife, but not without great reluctance. The sympathy
of sorrows is tenderly cohesive and sensitive. After leaving with the
family some money for their aid, and fixing upon a time, two or three
days thereafter, to call with a carriage, and take the soldier to the
cars, Officer McWatters bade good day to the family. They expected him
to come for the veteran in the night, for the poor man preferred
travelling then, as he got no sleep in the night season.

Officer McWatters was so greatly impressed by the innate pride, high
spirit, and profound love of the soldier for his family, so deeply
reciprocated by them, that he could not bear to see that poor household
separated, and at once interested himself to get an allowance for the
soldier from the Association, and thus enable him to stay with his
family; and he succeeded in procuring ten dollars a month for him,
assurance of which he received by letter, just at the time appointed
for taking the soldier from his poor home to the cars. He went to bear
the good news to the family. It was so late when he got to their
miserable little room (for one room, one bed, served them all), that
they had retired, thinking that he would not come that night. He
rapped, and announced his name, and the poor wife arose from the bed,
and admitted him. The poor children awakened before he could announce
the good news, and supposing that he had come to take away their
father, rushed off from their couch, and sobbing and weeping, implored
him not to take their father off, the violence of their and their
mother's grief preventing Officer McWatters explaining his present
errand for the space of a full minute or two. The poor soldier, moved
by his family's grief, had risen from that one bed, and added his
prayer to the rest, for something else possible to be done than the
sending of him away.

[Illustration: TEN DOLLARS A MONTH!]

At last Officer McWatters succeeded in quelling the passionate storm of
wailing and grief for an instant, which he seized to tell them his
errand in. It is not probable that pen or pencil could ever do faintest
justice to the picture of the gleeful, tearful gratitude which that
family exhibited in their sudden revulsion from broken-hearted grief to
wild joy, as McWatters finished reading the letter he had received
assuring the monthly allowance.

"Ten dollars a month!" A pitiable sum, yet it brought joy to that whole
household at that dead hour of night, in the city of mingled sorrows,
and vanities, and debaucheries, when hundreds and thousands of the
pampered sons and daughters of luxury (worthless members of society)
were wasting each more than ten dollars an hour in worse than useless
ways,--in riot and "ribald revelry."

The poor man remained with his family nearly two years; when he died,
and was buried by the Association. Upon his death his grateful widow
wrote to the ladies a letter (a copy of which was taken from the
archives of the Association without their special knowledge, it must be
confessed, but by "no robbery" after all), and which we think most
worthy a place here, in honor of the good ladies whose charities it

                                           "NEW YORK, May 3, 1870.

    "_To the Ladies Union Relief Association_:

    "LADIES: It is my painful duty to inform you of the death of my
    husband, Patrick O'Brien. Allow me to express the deep sense of
    gratitude that I and my children feel towards your Association
    for the assistance you have generously extended to us during
    the last two years of his illness. The value of that assistance
    has been enhanced by the manner of its bestowal. Mr. McWatters,
    the kind dispenser of your bounty, has smoothed to the grave
    the pilgrimage of a proud spirit; but for the many delicate
    assurances he gave my husband that your generous assistance was
    not charity, but the poor soldier's rightful due, the last
    years of his life would have been embittered by a sad sense of
    destitution and dependence.

    "My husband served the republic for nearly four years, during
    which service he was maimed in its defence, and died at last of
    disease contracted in the service. He could not have borne the
    thought that he and his little ones were subsisting on the cold
    charity of the world, and thanks to the delicate tact with
    which your aid was bestowed his mind was smoothed, and his last
    days on earth made peaceable.

    "Please accept the sincere gratitude and blessings of a
    soldier's widow and three children.

                                                    MARY O'BRIEN."

This scene of the poor family, with their single bed, and as they stood
in their night-clothes before Officer McWatters, as, choked with
mingled feelings of sympathy and a sense of the joy he was about to
give them, he read, with tears, the welcome news, ought to be put upon
canvas, and hung upon the walls of all the haunts of sin, the gold-room
of the Exchange, the brokers' offices, bankers', princely merchants'
ware-rooms, sectarian churches, and the other meeting-places of pride
and robbery throughout the city, and underneath it should be written,
"A chapter of our civilization in the 19th century."



                         MACK AND THE VETERAN.


The following, taken from the New York Dispatch of October 16, 1870, is
not only to the point as illustrating the noble traits of Officer
McWatters' character, but is too well told not to be preserved here. We
think best to make no substitution of "McWatters" in the place of the
familiar _sobriquet_ by which the genial writer was pleased to
designate him.

In one of the big public institutions set apart for a branch of the
Municipal Government of this big, overgrown city of ours, there is one,
among the many departments of this, that, and the other thing, presided
over by our friend Mr. Mack.

Mr. Mack is a gentleman, who, though old in years, is not old in
infirmity, and he walks about with a vim and spirit that might be
profitably imitated by many listless young men of the period.

Besides devoting his time and talents to his official position, he
takes an active interest in everything of a philanthropic nature. We
are ignorant of the number of societies which have these objects to
attain, of which Mr. Mack is a member; but in all of them he is among
the most active.

Among the charitable societies, is one composed of ladies, who attend
the wants of disabled soldiers, their widows and orphans. The ladies
have selected our friend Mr. Mack as their almoner, and his office is
visited every day by scores of poor people.

On a late visit to the good man, we found a poor veteran just
approaching his desk.

"Mr. Mack, sir," said the man.

"That's my name sir. Take a seat."

The man stepped forward briskly, but with a limp. He was sixty years of
age, with gray hair, shabbily attired, lame in the leg and arm, and, as
it afterwards appeared, one half of his right foot gone; a wreck of the
human form divine, but with much manliness left about him.

"What is your business, friend?"

"That's it, sir; and I'll thank you if you can do it," he replied
cheerily, as he handed a letter.

"You want to go to New London?" said Mr. Mack, after reading the

"That's it, sir; my darter lives there. I've walked all the way from
Philadelphia, and my legs have kinder give out. One of them ain't of
much account anyway, but I've got to make the best of it."

_Mr. Mack._ "Were you a soldier? You know my business is principally
with soldiers, although I should be glad to assist you if it is in my

_Veteran._ "Well, I guess so, sir. I got knocked up in this kind of
shape doing service for Uncle Sam."

He raised his arm with difficulty, and pointed to his leg.

_Mr. Mack._ "Have you your discharge papers?"

_Veteran._ "I'm sorry to say that I haven't got them with me. I had
them framed, and after the old woman died (tearfully), I sent them to
Mollie for safe-keeping. But they're honorable, sir--they are, indeed."

_Mr. Mack._ "I might give you a letter that would insure you an
entrance to the Soldiers' Home. Would you like to go there?"

_Veteran._ "O, dear! no, sir; although it may be a good enough sort of
a place. I've got a home with my darter Mollie, who is well married,
and settled in the place that I am making for; and I know that she will
never go back on the old man, for she used to think too much of me, and
be too delighted to see me when I came home from a long voyage in
happier days. O, no, sir! (brushing the tears from his eyes with his
coat sleeve), Mollie will make room for me."

During the colloquy, Mr. Mack was busily engaged in writing a note, and
after finishing it, went into an adjoining room to obtain a necessary
signature. He returned without getting it, and was obliged to delay the
veteran until the official, whose name to the letter was wanted, came

_Mr. Mack._ "You will have to wait a little while until I can get this
note signed."

_Veteran._ "All right, sir; never mind me--I'm used to waiting. I
learned that some time ago, when I waited through the long watch at
sea, till my turn came to climb into my bunk, and when I was on post in
the army, till the relief guard came around; and when I've been away
from home,--in times past, you know, I had a home of my own once,
sir,--I've waited for the day to roll around when I would see my wife
and Mollie (who was a little bit of a thing then) again. And all I'm
waiting for now is the time when my shattered old hulk shall be laid
aside as used-up timber; and all I hope for, when that time comes, is,
that my darter Mollie may be alongside, and I shan't mind it much."

_Mr. Mack._ "Are you a native of Connecticut?"

_Veteran._ "No, sir; I'm a Baltimorean. I was born opposite the old
Independent engine-house, in Gay Street, and my father and mother
before me were born in the city, too, for that matter."

_Mr. Mack._ "A great many from your State fought in the Southern army."

_Veteran._ "That's so, sir; they did. But how do you think it was
possible for me to do so, after having followed the old Stars and
Stripes through the Mexican war, and having sailed under its protection
for going on thirty years? O, no, sir! I had too much love for it. Why,
sir, every port I ever entered respected that flag. They couldn't help
it; besides, they knew they had to!" (Drawing himself up proudly.)

_Mr. Mack._ "Did you enlist in a Maryland regiment?"

_Veteran._ "No, sir. I'll tell you all about it. You see when the
Massachusetts regiments passed through Baltimore, the brig that I
sailed on had just returned from a voyage to Rio, and we were unloading
in Smith's dock, near Centre Market. The soldiers had disembarked from
the cars at the Philadelphia depot, and were marching along Pratt
Street, towards the Washington station, when the attack was made on
them. As I looked from the deck of the brig I saw the old flag pushing
and dodging along the street, with a shower of stones and bricks flying
around it, and I heard the sound of pistol-shots and the hissing and
hooting of the mob. I happened to turn around, and I saw the same
colors proudly flapping in the wind from the mast head, and I tell you
it was too much for me--I couldn't stand it. I went to the captain,
almost choking, and I told him I wanted an order for my pay; I was
going home. I was the second mate of the brig; and the captain was a
little wrathy at the idea, for he wanted me to stay and help him
superintend the unloading of that part of the cargo that was to be left
on the dock, before dropping down to Fell's Point the next day. I told
him I must leave; and as he had no further hold on me, he had to give
me the order. The owners were surprised, too; but after some talk they
paid me, and I went home to the old woman. She said, 'You look excited;
what's the matter with you?' 'Well,' said I, 'I am going to enlist in
the Union army, and try and help to pay these fellows that fired on the
American colors in Pratt Street to-day, back in their own coin.'
'That's right,' said she; 'I wish they'd let me carry a gun, and I'd go
with you.' And I wished for once in my life that Mollie was a boy; for
I might have made a drummer out of her, anyway, for she was too small
for anything else. Well, you know;--but I hope I'm not tiring you with
my long yarn, sir?"

_Mr. Mack._ "No; go on with it."

_Veteran._ "They were not raising any regiments in Maryland; and I fell
in with a Hoosier, who was going home to Madison to enlist, and I
promised him ten dollars if he would get me past the surgeons. I'm
sixty-six years old; and you know I was too old for them, because they
were more particular in the early part of the war than they were later.
Well, when we got to Madison, to make matters sure, I went and got my
hair dyed; and as luck would have it, the recruiting officers were a
little drunk, and I passed without any difficulty, though one of them
asked me how old I was, and I told them a lie, God forgive me, that I
was thirty-nine years old! I went into the Army of the Cumberland, and
at Chickamauga a shell burst near me, and I was knocked up in the way
you see."

_Mr. Mack._ "You have served with General Howard?"


_Veteran._ "Yes, sir; and a good, noble-hearted man he was, too, sir.
There was no airs about him. He was just like one of the boys,-- moving
around among the men in a blue army blouse and the regulation cap, with
a kind word for everybody; and when there was a battle, wherever there
was the most danger you were sure to find him."

Mr. Mack stepped out, and returned with the letter, which he handed to
the old veteran, with some money, which he took with some hesitation,
saying, that all he wanted was to get a passage to New London, and
Mollie would attend to his wants.

"When I get there," said he, "Mollie will find me some clothes to wear,
for these are getting rather soiled; and I'm kind of ashamed to be seen
in them, for I've been used to wearing a little better."

Mr. Mack told him that he only gave him the money to buy some food on
the way, and keep him strong enough to look for his Mollie when he
arrived at his destination.

"That's so, sir," said he; "I ain't got as much as will buy me a good
supper. When I left Philadelphia, I didn't have enough to pay my
passage, and I have made many a longer march. I didn't think it was
much to walk a hundred miles, so, sooner than beg my passage, I thought
I'd walk it. My lame leg made it rather harder than I expected, and I
made slow work of it. I soon spent what money I had for meals, and I
was obliged to part with a bull's-eye watch, that cost me twelve
dollars a good many years ago. It was pretty old, and I only got a
dollar and a half for it. Bull's-eye watches ain't worth as much as
they used to be. I sold my old pocket-book, too; but as it didn't have
anything in it, it was no good to me. I got my breakfast this morning,
and have a small balance in my pocket, off of my spectacles, that I
sold to an old fellow that they suited exactly; and I tell you I missed
them this morning when I tried to read a newspaper with an account of
the war in Europe. I think that war is going to do our people some
good. They'll want some of our corn and wheat, and I tell you the crops
did look amazing fine in the country that I passed through. I'm getting
interested in the way things are going on on the other side of the
water, and I think I'll buy a pair of specs with some of this money you
gave me, and read to-day's news about it."

"Do you know," said Mr. Mack, "that you are entitled to seventy-five
dollars for the loss of your foot, under the law to supply soldiers
with cork legs, when they have sustained the injury in the line of

"Well, sir," said he, "I didn't know it, but you can see whether I am
entitled to it;" and he pulled off his boot, and showed the stump of
his foot, with the same pride that we remember to have seen a general
officer display the stump of his arm lost in action.

The exposure showed that he was without socks, his foot being wrapped
up in a handkerchief.

While he was exhibiting his stump, we observed Mr. Mack pulling his
shoes off, and we expected to see him display a wounded foot also, when
he hastily pulled off his socks; but instead of so surprising us, he
handed the socks, which he had evidently but just put on that day, to
the veteran, and against that individual's earnest protestations,
forced him to take them to wear.

We are certain that the same angel who dropped a tear on the record of
Uncle Toby's oath, will enter those socks to the credit side of Mr.
Mack's account, at a large increase on their market value.

Shaking hands with the battered old veteran, and wishing him good speed
on his journey to Mollie, we left Mr. Mack in his office in a
meditative mood.


                          LOST IN THE STREETS.

                          McWATTERS IN CHARGE.

During a considerable portion of his connection with the Metropolitan
Police, Officer McWatters had charge of the department denominated
"Bureau for the Recovery of Lost Persons;" a position which both his
experience and active sympathies with sorrow peculiarly fitted him to
fill. Its duties were very onerous, as will be seen by the following
article copied from the World newspaper of December 12, 1868, and which
cannot fail to greatly interest such of our readers as are not
conversant with life and its mysteries in the great Babylon of America.


In a side room of the main hall of the Central Police Headquarters, on
the second story, in Mulberry Street, is a desk, at which sits an old
rosy-cheeked, white-headed police officer, named McWatters. Officer
McWatters is famous in New York. He is a theatrical critic, and his
opinions on music and the drama are greatly esteemed by artists; but,
like most critics, he is a little dogmatic at times, perhaps.

Officer McWatters is detailed by Inspector George Dilks to take charge
of a department organized in November, 1867, to supply a great want,
and which is now in successful operation. This department is known as
the "Bureau for the Recovery of Lost Persons." Officer McWatters was
formerly in the City Hall Precinct, under Captains Thorne and Brackett,
and is very well acquainted with the city, so his services have been
made available in his new bureau.

                         MISSING MEN AND WOMEN.

The manner of investigation in regard to a missing relative or friend
is as follows: As soon as a person disappears from home, the nearest
relative, on learning of the missing person, goes to police
headquarters and makes application to the "Missing Bureau" for
information. The age, height, build; whiskers, if any; color of eyes,
dress, hair; the place where last seen, the habits and disposition of
the person, are given to the inspectors, and Officer McWatters makes
proper entries on his register, which he keeps for that purpose, of all
these facts. The personal description of the missing one is compared
with the returns made by the Morgue every twenty-four hours to the
police inspectors. Should the description answer to the person and
clothing of any one found at the Morgue, word is at once sent to the
relatives of the joyful news. Besides this, another very necessary
precaution is taken to find the person or persons missing. Cards are
printed, five or six hundred in number, and sent to all the police
offices on special duty in the different metropolitan precincts, with
instructions to the captains to have his men make active and energetic
search for the person.

                      TROUBLES ABOUT LOST PEOPLE.

Over seven hundred people have been reported as missing, to police
headquarters during the past twelve months. Of this number the majority
have been found, it is believed, as no record can be kept of those who
are not reported when found, by their relatives or friends, to
headquarters. Occasionally, a person who reports some one missing
belonging to them, will give all the details about him, but if found,
will fail to notify the authorities, from a sense of shame where
domestic difficulties have occurred in families, or from laziness, or a
sense of forgetfulness. Thus all track is lost of those who have been
found unknown to the police, and accurate statistics are baffled in the
matter of inquiry.

                     WHERE AND HOW PEOPLE ARE LOST.

The manner in which missing men are advertised, is as follows: A card,
of which the following are fair examples, is circulated among the

    "MISSING.--Morton D. Gifford, about twenty-five years of age,
    light hazel eyes, brown hair, full beard and mustache same
    color, five feet six and three quarters inches; has lost two
    first joints of the middle fingers of right hand. Had on a
    light brown cloth suit bound with black, the vest cut without a
    collar, a black cloth overcoat made sack fashion, with black
    velvet buttons. Was last seen on board the steamer City of
    Norfolk, running between Norfolk and Crisfield, in connection
    with the Crisfield, Wilmington, and Philadelphia Railroad
    Annameric line, on the 3d of February, 1868. Had with him a
    black leather satchel, containing a full suit of black clothes,
    hat, linen, &c. Was a soldier in the Union army, and has
    recently been in business in Plymouth, North Carolina. Any
    person having any information regarding him will please
    communicate with Inspector Dilks, 300 Mulberry Street, New

                300 MULBERRY STREET, NEW YORK, January 11, 1868.   }

    "MISSING--since Thursday evening last, Mary Agnes Walsh, 23
    years of age, residing at 281-1/2 Elizabeth Street, five feet
    high, medium size, slim built, dark complexion, dark-brown
    hair, dark eyes, had on a black alpaca dress, black plush coat
    (or cloak), black velvet hat. It is supposed she is wandering
    about the city in a temporary state of insanity, as she has
    just returned from the Lunatic Asylum, where she has been
    temporarily confined for the last three weeks. Any information
    of the above to be sent to her brother, Andrew Walsh, 281-1/2
    Elizabeth Street, or to Inspector Dilks, 300 Mulberry Street."

    "MISSING, since Thursday, November 14, John F. McCormick. When
    last seen, he was on board the steamtug Yankee, at the foot of
    Charlton Street; age 24 years, eyes and hair dark brown, height
    five feet four inches, heavy eyebrows. He was dressed in a
    brown sack coat and brown vest, black pants, flat-crowned black
    hat. Any person knowing his whereabouts, or having seen him
    since the above date, will please call at the residence of his
    uncle, Robert McCormick, No. 12 Talman Street, Brooklyn, or to
    Inspector Dilks, Police Headquarters, 300 Mulberry Street.
    November 30, 1867."

    "FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD.--Missing from Bay Street, Stapleton,
    Staten Island, since Wednesday, November 25, 1868, Willy
    Hardgrove, a boy eight years of age, medium size, dark hair,
    dark, clear complexion, blue eyes; has a recent scar on his
    cheek, made by the scratch of a pin; dressed in a dark striped
    jacket and pants; the pants button on the jacket with light
    bone buttons; old, strong boots, no hat. He is rather an
    attractive boy, and very familiar with strangers. It is feared
    he has been abducted, from the fact of his musical abilities.
    He can sing, in a good tenor voice, any tune he may hear once
    played, but can't speak plain. The above reward will be paid by
    his father, Terence M. Hardgrove, Stapleton, for such
    information as will lead to his recovery. Information may be
    sent to Inspector Dilks, Police Headquarters, 300 Mulberry

    "MISSING.--Annie Hearn left her home on Monday last. She is ten
    years of age, dark blue eyes, black hair cut short; has a
    slight scar on her left temple. Was dressed in a dark alpaca
    frock, black woollen sontag with white border; black velvet
    hat, no trimming, high laced boots, striped stockings. Any
    information relative to her will be gratefully received by
    Richard Burk, 217 Madison Street, or Inspector Dilks, 300
    Mulberry Street."

    "LEFT her home, at Hyde Park, Scranton City, Pa., on Monday,
    June 14, Sarah Hannaghan, aged 15, tall for her age, short
    brown hair, light eyes, and fair complexion. Had on a
    tan-colored dress, light cape, drab hat, trimmed with ribbon of
    the same color. Had with her a dress with a yellow stripe, made
    short. Information to be sent to Inspector Dilks, 300 Mulberry
    Street, New York, or to James Hannaghan, 152 Leonard Street."

    "TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS REWARD will be paid for information that
    will lead to the arrest or recovery of Henrietta Voss, aged 16
    years. She left Secausus, Hudson county, New Jersey, Tuesday,
    July 21, about 7 A. M. She is tall, slim built, and a little
    stooped; brown hair, blue eyes, long, thin, pale face. Dressed
    in a full suit of black. The gratitude of a father, who desires
    to save his daughter, will be added to the above reward. JOHN

    "TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS REWARD.--Missing, an insane man, named
    Frederick Liebrich, native of Germany, speaks English, German,
    and French. Supposed to lodge at night in the police station
    houses about the lower part of the city; is very stupid
    looking, and clothed in rags. Was last seen in Washington
    Market, about the middle of last November. He is about 38 years
    of age, eyes and hair black, large, regular features, and very
    dark complexion; about five feet ten inches high, stout built,
    straight and well made. The above reward will be paid for his
    recovery, or direct evidence of his death, by Frederick
    Kummich, 82 Washington Street, Brooklyn. Information to be sent
    to Inspector Dilks, Police Headquarters, 300 Mulberry Street."

                             LOST CHILDREN.

Hundreds of "lost children" bear testimony to the carelessness of
mothers and nurses, who are more intent on other business, when their
charges stray off, to be found afterwards, in out-of-the-way places, by
stray policemen. Quite often a pedestrian will notice, on going along
one of our side streets, a young child, its eyes bubbling over with
tears, and red from irritation and inflammation, who has strayed from
its parents' residence. Sometimes it will have a stick of candy in its
infantile fist, or else an apple, or a slice of bread, butter, and
molasses, to console it in its wanderings. It is very seldom, however,
that these children do not find their way back to their parents, unless
that there is foul play, in such instances where a child may be
kidnapped by people who are childless, or through their agency, for the
purpose of adoption in barren families. The practice of baby-farming
has not as yet attained, in America, the height that it has reached in
England, and therefore the lives of children are not yet so endangered
as they are across the water. It is calculated that at least one
thousand children are missing every year in this city, but they are
nearly all returned before the close of the day on which they are first

                         THE DENS OF MIDNIGHT.

If the thousand and one noisome crannies, nooks, and dens of this great
city could be exposed to view, day after day, the body of many a
missing man and woman might be found festering and rotting, or their
bones bleaching, for want of decent burial. Where do the bodies come
from that are fished up, bloated and disfigured, night after night, by
the Water Police, in haunts of the docks, and from the slimes of the
Hudson? It is fearful to think of men, influenced by liquor, who, with
their gold watches, pocket-books, and other valuables, exposed in the
most foolish manner, are to be seen, night after night, in the dens and
hells of this great, sinful city. Many of these men are from far-off
country villages and happy homes, and when thrown into our streets at
night, under the flare of the gas lamps, and among crowds of showily
dressed women, whose feet are ever downward into the abyss, it becomes
almost impossible for them to resist the thousand and one meretricious
temptations that are placed before them.

                     THE HORROR OF A BREAKING DAWN.

Instances may be related of how men disappear, and are never heard of
to be recognized. A well-to-do person from Ohio, who had never visited
New York before, pays a visit to this city, and stopping at a down-town
hotel, sallies out in the evening in search of what he has been taught,
by his limited course of reading to call "adventures." He believes, in
his Ohio simplicity, that he will meet with a beautiful and rich young
lady in New York, who, struck with his rural graces and charms, will at
once accept his hand and farm. Well, he takes a look at the "Black
Crook," or "White Fawn," or "Genevieve de Brabant," and, returning late
to his down-town hotel, is struck by the beauty and grace of a female
form that glides before him on his way thither. Pretty soon she makes a
signal to him that cannot be mistaken, and our Ohio friend, rather
astonished at the freedom of the aristocratic and well-bred ladies of
the metropolis, but nothing loath, hastens to her side, and accompanies
her to her richly voluptuous mansion in Bleecker, Green, Mercer, or
Crosby Streets. In the watches of the night he awakens to find the
aristocratic lady fastened on his throat, and a male friend of hers,
with a villanous countenance, poising a knife for a plunge in his neck.
The work is done quickly; a barrel well packed, or a furniture chest,
placed in a carriage at night, can be taken up the Hudson River road,
and there dropped in the river, and after a day or so the head of
another dead man will be found eddying and floating around the rolling
piers near the battery, his face a pulp, and no longer recognizable.
The sun shines down on the plashing waters, but the eyes are sightless,
and never another sun can dim their brilliancy or splendor. It is only
another missing man, without watch, pocket-book, or money on his person.

                       MISERY, SHAME, AND DEATH.

Another missing instance. A beautiful girl, born in a village on the
Sound, where the waters of that inland sea beat, and play around the
sandy pebbles of a land-locked inlet, is reared in innocence and
virtue, until she reaches her seventeenth year. She is as lovely as the
dawn, has had no excitement--but the Sunday prayer-meeting, and her
life, peaceful and happy, has never been tainted by the novelty of
desire. At seventeen she visits New York for the first eventful time in
her life. She is dazzled with its theatres, its balls, its Central
Park; the Broadway confuses and intoxicates her, but opera has divine
charms for her musical ear, and she is escorted, night after night, by
a man with a pleasing face and a ready tongue. She is yet white as the
unstained snow. One night they take a midnight sleigh ride on the road,
and stop at a fashionable-looking restaurant in Harlem Lane. She is
persuaded to take a glass of champagne, and finally to drink an entire
bottle of champagne. That night the world is torn from under her feet.
She has tasted of the Apples of Death. She returns to her peaceful
home, by the silken waves of the Sound, a dishonored woman. To hide her
shame, she returns to New York; but her destroyer has gone--she knows
not whither. Then the struggle begins for existence and bread. She is a
seamstress, a dry-goods clerk, but her shame finds her out when an
infant is born to her unnamed. One night, hungry, and torn with the
struggle of a lost hope, she rushes into the streets and seeks the
river. On a lone pier she seeks refuge from her "lost life." The
night-watchman, anxious about the cotton and rosin confided to his
charge, does not hear the cry of "Mother" from a despairing girl, or
the plunge into the gloomy, silent river below. She is not found for
days after, and then her once fair face is knawed threadbare with the
incisors of crabs, and the once white neck, rounded as a pillar of
glory, is a mere greenish mass of festering corruption. She is not
recognized, and thus fills the page devoted to missing people.


Then there are the cases of girls who disappear from their homes
outside of New York, and descend into her brothels, where they find
rich raiment, rich food, a merry and unceasing round of gayety,
champagne and lovers, which they could never hope for where they came
from. These girls leave home very often through sensuality or
laziness,--for girls are lazy as well as boys,--and when missing, are
generally found in brothels, which, as a general thing, they will not
leave for their parents. Then there are husbands and wives who quarrel
foolishly, and separate to vex each other, and are missing for years,
to finally be forced into other illegal ties. And there is a case of a
young man, twenty, married and rich, who leaves his wife; is gone for
twelve months, and is found in New Orleans, when he tells those who
find him that he has been very sick, and was forced to leave his happy

There is also, as it is well known, a great number of infamous houses
in this city where abortion is openly practised, and where whole
hecatombs of innocent children are slaughtered, to hide the shame of
their guilty mothers. How many wealthy and refined girls are to be
found in these slaughter-houses, concealed there to hide the evidences
of their indiscretion, by their parents or relatives, whose social
position would be lost did the consequences of such indiscretion show
themselves? The mothers are left to die in agony, again and again; and
there is no coroner's inquest or public burial; for are there not
scores of obliging physicians to hush the matter up?

And then, again, our private lunatic asylums. How many men and women
are spirited away to those tombs of living men, where remonstrance or
clamor is useless unless the public press tracks the injury, as in the
case of a well-known naval officer, who was most unjustly confined, as
the investigation proved, and was only released by the agitation made
by The World newspaper.


                          AMONG THE "SHARKS."

                    IN NEW YORK--THE BOND OPERATOR.

A part of Officer McWatters' duty, when connected with the Railroad and
Steamboat Squad, was to advise and protect strangers in the city. He,
of course, encountered many a curious country chap, making his _debut_
in the great Metropolis. One of the most comical, if not the most
valuable things Officer McWatters could possibly do for the delectation
of readers in general, would be to write out his multifold experiences
with strangers in the city, and put the whole into book form, entitled,
for example, "Afloat in the Sea of Iniquity, Waifs Gathered There." The
following is taken from the New York Mercury of some years ago.

Officer McWatters, whose urbanity and politeness is proverbial, was
accosted yesterday forenoon, by a young man who had just stepped off of
the Fall River boat, who inquired of him to know the way to the Park.

"What park?" politely queried the officer.

"O, I don't know,--any park where I can sit down a while, and see
something of New York!"

"Better take a stage and go to Union Park. Everything clean, quiet, and

The officer assisted the young man into the stage, which soon sat him
down in Union Park. The Park never looked lovelier. Children and drums,
nurses and baby-wagons, small boys and fire-crackers, lovely maidens
with books of poesy, the water-basin and the flowing fountain, the
green trees and the luxuriant shade, all were but parts of a perfect
whole, which Mr. Jasper Gray, the young man in question, enjoyed hugely.

Mr. Gray is a native of that enterprising village known as Fall River,
and he had come to New York to see the sights. The senior Gray had
warned him to look out for the "sharks;" and with a promise that he
would do so, and about one hundred and sixty dollars in his pocket, the
young man left his home, to sojourn several weeks in and about the
Metropolis. Mr. Gray's idea of "sharks" was, that of some huge
braggadocio, who would fiercely assault him late at night, demand his
money or his life, or assume some other equally disagreeable mode of
placing him in a dilemma. He had no idea that under the bright sun of
midday, and in the grateful shade of the trees of a public square, the
shark was looking and watching for a victim; but so it was.

As he cast his eye towards the fountain, his gaze rested upon a little
child playing on the greensward, now rolling on the grass, and again
approaching dangerously near the water's edge. Once thinking that the
child might fall in, he sprang from his seat, and caught the little
fellow by the arm, and delivered him into the hands of his nurse. A few
moments after this occurrence an elegantly-dressed young lady came up
to the seat upon which he was sitting, and begged leave to thank him
for having so kindly cared for her little brother, whom, she declared,
he had saved from falling into the water.

"Nurse has gone home with the darling, now; but I could not feel to
leave you without expressing my gratitude for your kindness," said the
lady, whose eyes shone with brilliancy through the thin gauze veil,
filling Mr. Jasper Gray with the most undefinable feelings.

He replied awkwardly to her many complimentary expressions, but finally
became animated, and began, as all slightly verdant people are apt to
do, to speak of himself, his connections, the town he came from, how he
came to leave, what his father told him, how much money he had, and a
hundred other equally as interesting matters. The lady was interested.
She grew animated as Mr. Jasper Gray proceeded; and as he alluded to
the one hundred and sixty dollars with which he had been provided on
leaving home, her interest seemed to have reached its height. She
declared he must accompany her home to see pa and ma, and receive their
thanks for having saved little Charlie's life.

Really, this was too much; but the young lady insisted, and Mr. Gray at
length yielded to her solicitations, happy in the thought that he had
not only escaped the "sharks," but had fallen into the most pleasant of
experiences with the most respectable of people. The mansion into which
our hero was inveigled was one of the first class. The furniture was of
rosewood and brocatelle, and the lace curtains swept the floor with
their magnificent dimensions. Elaborately carved chandeliers were
suspended from the ceiling, costly mirrors and valuable paintings
decorated the walls, and marble-top tables and a splendid piano lent
their attractions to the room. Bouquets of choice flowers shed a rich
fragrance about the place, giving it an air of elegance and
enchantment. Here Mr. Gray spent the afternoon. An elderly-looking
personage played mother, and thanked him a thousand times for saving
Charlie. Pa would soon be home, and he would be equally grateful. Cake
and wine were served. The youth was in a perfect sea of delights. The
wine raised his spirits, and evil thoughts entered his heart. He cast
longing and loving glances upon the fair Florine of the mansion, and
the elderly matron adroitly withdrew. More wine was served, and the
young man was in a fit condition to sing with Burns,

                   "Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,"

so bravely did the ruddy fluid lift him up.

What followed must be left to the imagination of the reader. Suffice it
to say, that the Fall River wanderer, when in the full flush of the
Paradise of which the wine had led him to believe he was the sole
master, was suddenly confronted by an enraged father, who desired
simply to know who he was before he killed him on the spot, and by a
sobbing mother, who declared he had betrayed the confidence she had
reposed in him; and last, but not the least important, the beautiful
being, whose dishevelled hair and disarranged toilet told a woful
story, standing before him, a mute upbraider of his crime. Such a
combination of revenge, despair, and injured innocence, as the trio
presented, very nearly, but not effectually, sobered Mr. Gray, and left
him in a peculiarly muddled condition, in which, with true Yankee
simplicity, he felt for his pocket-book, as the most available and only
method of settling the accumulated difficulties under which he found
himself laboring.

It is a credit to his instinct, that the production of the pocket-book
aforesaid produced the desired result. The mother was compromised by
the payment of one hundred dollars, and Mr. Gray was allowed to depart.
He of course sought for his new-made friend, Officer McWatters, for
consolation and advice in his emergency, and seventy dollars of the
amount was recovered last evening, and Mr. Gray was admonished to
expect the "sharks" in any and every possible garb, from the rollicking
gutter-man of the Five Points to the extensively got-up denizens of the
Fifth Avenue or the Astor.

But we ought, perhaps, to add here an incident of Mr. Gray's experience
among the "sharks" of another kind than that alluded to in the
foregoing portion of his history. Not willing to trust himself further
alone in the city, and wishing to make his visit to New York as
profitable as possible to himself in the sight-seeing way, he begged
Officer McWatters to permit him to go around with him on his business
tours. The complacent McWatters, who was never known to deny any one
anything proper to be asked, and which he could give, permitted the
bore to accompany him for a day or two. Among the early sights
thereafter seen by the young man, was one, which frightened him so
thoroughly, that the wonder is his hair did not turn white on the spot.
He declared, after he recovered his self-possession, that he "wouldn't
be hired to live a week in New York for all Old Vanderbilt's pile."

[Illustration: THE BOND OPERATOR.]

Officer McWatters had occasion to cross Wall Street, on a hasty errand
of business down into Beaver Street, accompanied by his _attaché_, Mr.
Gray, when they came suddenly into the midst of a great excitement. A
dandily-dressed, rakish-looking young man was just breaking out of a
crowd, and running with hands full of papers and a bag. Officer
McWatters instantly "twigged" the nature of the trouble, and put chase
after the fellow, unceremoniously leaving Mr. Gray in the midst of the
turbulent and excited crowd. The fleeing young scamp, who had just
snatched a package of United States bonds and a money bag from an old
messenger of some house, who was on his way to make a deposit, was a
little too fleet for Officer McWatters, and gained on him a little;
but, turning a corner, was fortunately impeded in his flight by another
policeman, who chanced to have his pistol about him, and brought it to
bear on him. The bold "Bond Operator" (as such villains, who were quite
plenty in those days, were called) thought discretion the better part
of valor, surrendered, and got his dues, we believe, at last.

Mr. Gray was in fearful plight over losing Officer McWatters, and it
was some time before he found him again, meanwhile getting jostled
about among the large and fierce crowd of excited Wall Streeters, whom
the interesting occasion hurriedly brought together. He quite lost
heart for sight-seeing in that adventure, and was, at last, only too
glad to "get out of the infernal city," and went home a wiser man, we
presume, than when he first landed in the city from the Fall River boat.


                           A SMART YOUNG MAN.


From one of the public journals we clipped the accompanying spicy
article; we have lost our notes, and have forgotten from which, or we
should duly credit it to the proper source. We discover that we have
"pencilled" it "1862," and presume that it first appeared in that year.
Our readers will pardon its somewhat "swelling" style in sundry places,
but it exemplifies Officer McWatters' quick and acute perceptions, and
his character as a detective, and we therefore give it place.

eating is a strong one; the demands of appetite are peculiarly and
pertinaciously potent. There are many fleshy-looking young men in New
York whose appetital demands are largely ahead of their pecuniary
resources, the latter being of a limited nature, like their
consciences. Our leading hotel diners are appreciatively affected by
these unconscionably-stomached and conscienceless individuals; and it
requires all the devices of the proprietors, and ingenious watching of
sharp-sighted detectives, to guard against their stealthful
appropriation of dinners. In the multiplicity of guests daily arriving
at first-class hotels, and multiplied disguises assumed by the unpaying
diners, it is easy to conceive that the labor of watchfulness is no
light one, and the guarantee of detectives by no means sure. There is
no keener man in the Police Department to scent out a rogue than
Officer McWatters. He can tell a rascal by a sort of instinct. A
stranger to him is like a piece of coin in the hand of the skilful
medallist, who tells the spurious from the genuine by the feeling--by a
glance even.

Officer McWatters measures a man at a glance. He sees the latent
roguery peering out of the corner of the eyes, lurking in the smile,
hiding itself in the cultivated mustache and careful whiskers, strongly
and unconsciously developing even in the gorgeous watch-chain, flashy
vest, showy cravat, elaborately-checked pants, and brilliantly shining
patents, or, _vice versa_, suit of puritanical plainness. His
penetrative optics permeated, yesterday afternoon, the disguise of that
most notable and audacious of non-paying hotel diners, Jack Vinton.
Jack had taken dinner at the Metropolitan Hotel. His brassy impudence
had enabled him to pass muster, as a guest of the hotel, the Cerberus
at the dining-room door. Not to betray a dangerous haste in leaving, he
sank back leisurely into a soft-cushioned chair in the gentlemen's
parlor, and read a newspaper for a while. He was going out of the hall
door, when Officer McWatters spotted him.

"Are you stopping at this hotel?" asked the officer (who, by the way,
was in citizen's dress), in that tone of politeness, for which he is

"I am, sir."

"How long have you been stopping here?"

"Ever since I came here."

"Is your name registered?"

"Registered? I never heard of such a name. Mine begins with an initial
letter of higher alphabetical rank."

"You misunderstand me. Is your name on the hotel books?"

"The bookkeeper is the proper informant."

"Have you a suit of rooms here?"

"Am suited perfectly--all the rooms I want."

"What is the number of your room?"

"A No. 1--first-class, sir. First-class hotel has first-class rooms,
you see, sir. This is a first-class hotel--the _ergo_ as to the rooms
is conclusive."

"You are evasive."

"Only logical, sir!"

"You took dinner just now up stairs?"

"Ask your pardon. I took no dinner up stairs. I went up with an empty
stomach. An excruciating stomachical void. 'Nature abhors a vacuum,'
says philosophy; and, to borrow the apothegmatic utterance of that
philosopher, Dan Brown, 'Dat's what's de matter.'"

"I must be plain, I see. You are Jack Vinton, and are up to your old
tricks. You have come here, eaten a tip-top dinner, and were coolly
walking away, with no thought of paying for it."

Jack saw he was in for it. He offered to pay for his dinner, and
attempted by bribery to effect what he had hoped to effect by colossal
cheekiness of action and tongue; but his antecedental history was
self-crushing, like the mad ambition of the great Cæsar. He was
conveyed to the Second District Police Court, and committed to answer
this and other graver offences of swindling, of which he is supposed to
be guilty.

Jack is only twenty-three years old, and is a master-swindler. Of good
family, he has been well educated, and to fine looks adds the manners
of a polished gentleman; while in artistic culture and familiarity with
the classics, scientific studies and polite and poetical literature, he
has few equals of his years. His dashing form is often seen on
Broadway--the envied of his own sex and the admired of the opposite
sex. His career betrays a wonderful and perverse mingling of the finest
intellectual endowments and culture with the meanest and most pitiable
traits of low and dishonest natures. He is a sort of Lord Bacon, on a
vastly reduced scale of brilliancy. As philosophy delves the mysterious
problem, she finds only "darkness to shadow round about it."





The following article is taken from the New York Dispatch (1861), and
serves to illustrate the sagacity of Officer McWatters in "picking out
his man" in a crowd.

A young man named Velge, lately from California, was arrested at the
pier of the Ocean Mail Steamship Company by Officers McWatters and
Hartz, of the Steamboat Squad, and taken to Police Headquarters, where
he has been since detained, till the matter can undergo examination
before a magistrate. The report, as obtained from an officer at the
central office, is substantially as follows:--

About eighteen months since, a German, residing in Sacramento, was
murdered under circumstances of extraordinary brutality. He was mild
and inoffensive, said no extenuation appeared to exist for the
atrocious crime. He had saved some money, which the assassin had taken,
but the amount was hardly sufficient to induce an ordinary bravo to
attempt his life, or otherwise disturb him.

The suspected murderer was known to the police. Extraordinary measures
were adopted to bring him to justice. His likeness was obtained
somehow, and photographs of it were multiplied and distributed all over
California and Oregon.

After some time, intelligence was received at Sacramento that the
suspected murderer was at Carson City. There was a resemblance,
certainly. The sheriff of Sacramento and a deputy repaired thither, and
arrested him. A conveyance was obtained, and the legal formularies
having all been attended to, the officers set out for Sacramento.

The journey was tedious, as may well be expected. The party finally
neared Sacramento. Already the officers began to dream of home and rest
from their fatiguing journey. The driver was in an equally listless
mood. Velge, the prisoner, was not slow to perceive their
half-somnolent condition, and take advantage of the circumstances.

Quietly but adroitly taking hold of the revolver which one of the
officers was carrying in one pocket, he cocked it so as not to arouse
attention, and a moment after sent a bullet through the brain of the
unfortunate sheriff. The other sprang to his feet, just in time to
receive the contents of another barrel in his body. He fell from the
vehicle, while the assassin hastened to despatch the driver. Having
thoroughly completed the work of death he fled.

The excitement produced by this triple murder was terrible. Rewards
were offered, and the State was thoroughly searched for the felon. But
it was of no avail.

Among the passengers on the North Star was a young man of singular
mien, whose appearance attracted comment. One of the passengers had a
portrait of the murderer of the sheriffs, and found it to agree
remarkably with that of the strange passenger. He made no effort to
call attention to the matter, but took the opportunity, as soon as he
came on shore, to place the authorities in possession of the facts. The
first man whom he observed was the busy McWatters, of the Steamboat
Squad, who was making himself ubiquitous and useful in the way of
superintending the landing of baggage, protecting passengers from
runners and pickpockets, and enabling them to come and go as best
suited their convenience.

Approaching the indomitable McWatters, Rev. Mr. Peck addressed him.

_Peck._--"Are you an officer?"

_McWatters._--"Yes, sir; I hold that position, and am proud of it."

_Peck._--"I have an important matter to call your attention to. Please
examine this likeness."

_McWatters._--"I see it. I would know that face in a thousand. I could
pick it out in a crowd."

_Peck._--"He is a passenger on the North Star, and I think is guilty of

Calling his comrade to his help, McWatters carefully noted each
passenger as he was leaving the steamer. As Velge came up, Mac
recognized and arrested him. He was thunderstruck at the occurrence,
and protested his innocence. The officers conveyed him to the central
office, and laid the case before the superintendent. The prisoner
showed that he was an old resident of this city, though only twenty
years old. Several of his relatives were at headquarters yesterday
pleading his innocence. The clergyman who had caused his arrest made
his statement to the superintendent, who finally decided to retain the
young man in custody till he could be brought before a magistrate.

There was certainly a striking resemblance between the portrait and the
countenance of the prisoner. If the suspicions now entertained should
prove to be well founded, this is another instance of the perpetration
of crime followed by its speedy detection.


                       EXTENSIVE COUNTERFEITING.


In the New York Times of November 20, 1865, we find an article with the
above caption, and which we copy as below. The arrest therein spoken of
created much sensation at the time, as well it might. Officer McWatters
acted in the matter, not only as an ordinary member of the police
force, but in the capacity of a detective, and won great credit by his

"An important arrest was effected in Brooklyn last Tuesday, the
particulars of which have been suppressed up to the present time. The
Treasury Department at Washington have long been aware that the
business of counterfeiting greenbacks and postal currency has been
carried on to an alarming extent at different points throughout the
country, but their endeavors to arrest the guilty parties have, with a
few exceptions, been attended with failure, or only partial success.
One exceedingly skilful engraver of bogus postal currency has been
especially marked as the most dangerous operator, inasmuch as his
execution was so perfect as frequently to deceive even the Government
officials; and the boldness of the counterfeiter was almost as great as
his skill. The man in question is an English engraver, by the name of
Charles J. Roberts. The best Government detectives have been on his
track for six months, without succeeding in finding him, until last
Tuesday, when his arrest was effected in Brooklyn, by Messrs. R. R.
Lowell and A. J. Otto, detectives in the service of the Treasury
Department, with the assistance of Officer McWatters, of the
Twenty-Sixth Metropolitan Precinct.

"The operations of Roberts have been mainly confined to Philadelphia,
in the suburbs of which city his "money mill" was situated. The last
counterfeit pieces which he made, and which, in an indirect manner, led
to his arrest, were copies of the latest issue of fifty cent postal
currency. They are of steel, and the impression from them is so
beautiful and perfect, as to be entirely undistinguishable from that of
the genuine plates. Upon this counterfeit the criminal artist had
exerted his skill with the most elaborate patience and precision,
intending to make it, in every sense, a _perfect_ resemblance, which
would even escape the suspicion of the Government detectives.

"But though an engraver, Roberts was not a printer. His plate was
perfection, but unaided, or assisted only by mediocre printers, he
could not produce an impression equally perfect. He therefore left
Philadelphia a short time ago to seek the services of a Brooklyn
printer, whom he understood to have been in the counterfeiting
business, and who was well known to be a mechanic of extraordinary
skill. Unluckily for the English operator, this printer was in the
service of the Government detectives, who were, therefore, promptly
informed of the whereabouts of the game for which they had so long been
in pursuit.

"Messrs. Lowell and Otto, McWatters and others, accordingly surprised
Roberts in his Brooklyn retreat, on Tuesday morning last, at 9-30. The
counterfeiter made a desperate resistance, swearing that he would die
sooner than be taken; but the detectives were too many for him. He was
knocked down, disarmed, and speedily lodged in the Raymond Street jail.

"The arrest was kept a profound secret, to allow the detectives time to
effect the seizure of the plates and counterfeit money already
manufactured in Philadelphia, which they were unable to do prior to the
arrest. They also knew of twenty thousand dollars in the fraudulent
currency, which the manufacturer had brought with him to Brooklyn, and
which they hoped to procure. After lodging their prisoner in
confinement, they immediately set out for Philadelphia, found the mill,
and seized its contents, comprising the plates, tools, presses, fifty
thousand dollars' worth of the fraudulent currency, all in fifty cent
postage stamps. Some of it was in an unfinished state, but the
detectives declare that the completed issues would have deceived them
instantly; that they would never have doubted their genuineness. But
they were outwitted by the prisoner, so far as the counterfeits in
Brooklyn were concerned. During the absence of his captors, Roberts
managed to have the following letter conveyed to his mistress and

                                    "'BROOKLYN, November --, 1865.

    "'MARY: Please go at once, when you receive this, and tell
    Louisa to come and see me at once. _Tell her to clean things
    away._ I am at Raymond Street jail. Please go some roundabout
    way, and take care nobody follows you. Tell Louisa to keep
    cool. I am all right. Do this right away, please, to-night, and


                                               CHARLES J. ROBERTS.

    "'MRS. LLOYD, corner North First Street and
        Third Street, Brooklyn, E. D.'

"This note was conveyed to the above address by the brother of the
sheriff who had the prisoner in charge, whence it reached 'Louisa,'
who, of course, 'cleaned things away,' much to the disappointment of
the detectives, when they called for the purpose of making the seizure.
The guilty brother of the sheriff has fled, and has thus far effected
his escape.

"The detectives are now in pursuit of a confederate of Roberts, and
they are quite confident of soon capturing him. Since his incarceration
Roberts has confessed everything. He says that the plate which has been
seized was intended for his final and greatest effort. If the
detectives had only held off for another week he would have made one
hundred thousand dollars, and been in Europe enjoying it. We understand
that Roberts's new counterfeits, to the extent of twenty thousand
dollars, are already afloat.

"Overton, the counterfeiter of twenty-five cent stamps, who was
arrested some time ago, pleaded guilty on Friday last. Roberts will
also probably be speedily convicted, and, as he is not so fortunate as
to have 'a wife and nine children,' there is no likelihood of his
receiving the hasty pardon which was recently granted to Antonio Rosa,
a similar criminal."


Knots Untied

                       THE GAMBLER'S WAX FINGER.


    AT ONCE.

Early in my detective life, when I was more ready than now to accept
business which might lead me far from home, I was commissioned by a New
York mercantile house to go to St. Louis first, and "anywhere else
thereafter on the two continents" (as the senior member of the house
_fervently_ defined my latitude) where my thread might lead, to work up
a subtle case of forgery to the amount of about fifty thousand dollars,
out of which the house had been defrauded by one Charles Legate, a
Canadian by birth, but combining in himself all the craft of an
Italian, with the address of the politest Frenchman, and the bold
perseverance and self-complacency of a London "speculator." The task
before me was a difficult one, and at that time more than now I craved
"desperate jobs," entering into them with an enthusiasm proportioned to
the trials and dangers they involved.

After a thorough study in every particular of the correspondence
between Legate and the house, which covered a long period of time, and
in which was disclosed to me, as I thought, a pretty clear
understanding of the man in all his various moods and systems of
fraudulent pursuit, and having gathered from the members of the house
every particular in regard to the personal appearance of Legate, of
which they could possess me, I started on my mission. The house had
been unable for some time to get any word from Legate, or any tidings
of his recent whereabouts from others; so we felt certain that I should
not find him at St. Louis, the point from which they had last heard
from him, and where they had evidence he had for some weeks resided; so
I was even unusually particular in my inquiries of the firm as to
Legate's mode of dress, the peculiarities of his manner, and all
possible personal indices. Legate was one of those men whom it is
difficult to describe, being of medium height, having black eyes and
black hair, a nose neither large nor small, mouth of medium size, teeth
the same, nothing peculiar about his cast, and his complexion sometimes
quite light, at others "reddish." There's nothing more difficult to
determine by inquiry from others than a man's complexion, no two
persons seeing it alike. He dressed neither gaudily nor carelessly, and
though my informants all agreed that he was a man of consummate
address, yet none of them could by imitation give me any definite
representation of his manner.

Almost in despair of learning anything at all definite about his
personnel, which might enable me to identify Legate, I finally said,
"Gentlemen, almost everybody is in some way deformed or
ill-formed--nose a little to one side--one foot larger than the other,
leading to a habit of standing on it more firmly than on the other--one
shoulder higher than the other--an arm a little out of shape--hand
stiff--fingers gone, or something of the sort."

"See here," exclaimed Mr. Harris, a junior member of the firm,
interrupting me, and resting his face pensively for a half minute on
his hand, the elbow of which was pressed upon the table at which we
sat. "Ah, yes; I have it. You've hit the nail on the head. I remember
noticing once, when Legate dined with me at Delmonico's, that the end,
or about half, of his little finger of the left hand was gone. He
doesn't show it much. I remember I looked a second time before I fully
assured myself that what I first thought I discovered was so. He is as
adroit about concealing that, as he is in his general proceedings." I
felt great relief to learn so much, and bidding my employers good day,
found myself, as speedily as I well could, on the way to St. Louis,
taking my course up the river, and on viâ the New York Central
Railroad. I suppose that it is the fact with every business man when
travelling in the pursuit of his occupation, either as a merchant going
to the big cities to buy goods, the speculator hunting out a good
investment somewhere in real estate,--no matter what the business,--to
be more or less occupied in thought regarding it. But no man has half
or a tenth part so much occasion for constant weariness about his
business as has the detective officer, whether he be in pursuit of an
escaped villain, working up a civil case, searching for testimony in a
given cause, or what not; for however deep his theories, or well laid
his plans, some accident or incident, apparently trifling in itself,
may occur to give him in a moment more light than he might otherwise
obtain in a month's searching and study--a fact which is ever uppermost
in my mind when in the pursuit of my calling, and I endeavor to turn
everything possible to account. It so happened, that when along about
Syracuse on the cars, I overheard some men, who were evidently enjoying
each other's society greatly in the narration of stories and
experiences, saying something about "home" and St. Louis; and I fancied
they were, as proved to be the case, residents of that city; and I
became consequently quite interested in them, hoping that something
would occur on their way to allow me, without obtrusion, to make their
acquaintance; for they were both men who apparently know "what is going
on around them," and very possibly might know Legate, or something
about him, which might serve me. Indeed, I half fancied that one of
them might be Legate himself; for he would answer the description given
me of that person as well as anybody I should be apt to find in a day's
travel; and I was more than half confirmed in my suspicions, as you can
readily surmise, when I discovered that the traveller was lacking the
little finger, or nearly all of it, on the left hand! Of course, thus
aroused, I became very watchful, and devised various plans of getting
into the acquaintance of the gentlemen as soon as might be. But the
cars rolled on and on, and no chance occurred to place myself in their
immediate presence, although I walked up and down the aisle of the
cars, occasionally lingering by this or that seat, and passing a word
with the occupants; but somehow I could not get at the men in question
in this or any other like way; but I kept myself as much as possible
within hearing of their ludicrous, comical, or exciting stories, over
which, at times, they laughed immoderately.

Eventually, as the cars were starting on from a station at which we
stopped for a moment, there came on board a fine, brusque, jolly, but
courtly-looking man, of that class who bear about them the unmistakable
evidences of good breeding, frankness, and honor, and whose associates
are never less than respectable people, and who, as he brushed down the
aisle of the car in search of a seat, accosted the man upon whom in
particular I had my eye,--

"Ah, Mr. Hendricks! I am very glad to meet you," extending his hand and
giving him a cordial grasp and "shake" which assured me that the man
Hendricks was a very different character from the Mr. Legate in search
of whom I was making my journey; and so my "air castles," founded upon
suspicion, came to the ground. I know not why, but I really felt a
relief to find that it was not Legate, after all, notwithstanding it
would have been a happy circumstance for me, had Mr. Hendricks really
been he.

But I listened still to the St. Lousians' story-telling, which grew
more and more loud as we moved on, in consequence, I suppose, of their
occasional attention to a little flask of wine which each gentleman
carried; but they did not become boisterous. Mr. Hendricks was
narrating to his friend,--whose name by this time I had discovered to
be Phelps,--what was evidently an intensely interesting story to the
latter, when he, striking his hand very heavily upon his leg,
exclaimed, "That Legate was one of the most accomplished villains--no
softer word will do--that I ever heard of."

"Ah, ha!" I thought to myself, "now I am in the right company to get a
clew to the fellow. But stop; he said "was," not _is_. I wonder if
Legate is dead: perhaps he is; and I became quite fearful that he might
be, and so my mission prove entirely fruitless. But I could see no
chance to break in upon their conversation, here, or make their
acquaintance. "_That_ Legate," too, might also be another than the
Charles Legate, whom I was seeking. What shall I do? and I pondered
over the matter. Finally I made the bold resolution to interrupt the
gentlemen at the first half-favorable opportunity, my seat being one
back of theirs, on the other side of the car, and so near that I might
do so quite readily. While talking of this man Legate, their
conversation was, in the main, more subdued, and as if half
confidential, than upon other topics, which made it the more difficult
for me to interpolate a query, for I had by this time resolved upon my

Presently I heard Mr. Hendricks say, "The last I heard of him, he'd
gone to Mexico." I fancied this must relate to Legate, and began to
think that my journey might indeed extend "over the two continents,"
according to my conditional orders on starting. Presently I heard the
name Legate, and as Messrs. Hendricks and Phelps were at this time in
the height of their jolly humor, I fancied they wouldn't mind the
obtrusion. I stepped from my seat to theirs, and said, "Gentlemen,
you'll pardon me, but I am somewhat interested in the genealogy of the
Legate family both at the west and east; and just hearing you speak the
name Legate, it occurred to me that perhaps I could get a new name to
add to my list. Is it a gentleman of the western branch of whom you
were speaking?"

"O, no, sir," replied Mr. Hendricks; "the man we were speaking of
doesn't belong to the United States at all. He was (and is, if alive) a
Canadian, who lived for a while at St. Louis. Are you a Legate, sir, or
a relative of the family? allow me to ask."

"No, sir; simply a general genealogist. You know all men have their
weaknesses: genealogical studies are among mine."

"I asked," said he, "because, if your name was Legate, you might have
been offended, if I had told you that the Legate we were talking about
wouldn't add any grace to your family list."

"Ah, ha! then I infer that he might have been at least a man of bad
habits--perhaps a dishonest one."

"Well, the public opinion in St. Louis is, that this man Legate wasn't
very honest, however good his general habits may have been."

"I am sorry," said I, "that any member of the Legate family anywhere
should bring disgrace upon the name; but we can't always help these
things--a pretty good family generally throughout the country, I find.
Permit me to ask, what was this Legate's first name? perhaps I have
heard of him before."

"Charles," said Mr. Hendricks; "or familiarly, among his old
acquaintances, 'Charley Black Eyes Legate,' to distinguish him from a
blue-eyed gentleman by the same name. His French friends, too,--there
are a great many French-speaking people in St. Louis,--called him
'Charley _Noir_' (Black--short for black eyes.)"

Having learned so much, I was not anxious to press my inquiries, at
that time, beyond simply asking if he was still residing in St. Louis,
and was assured that he had departed--nobody knew to what point--nine
months before. I managed, before we arrived in St. Louis, to make the
further acquaintance of these gentlemen, without letting them at all
into my business; indeed, so cordial had they become as to insist on
calling on me the next day after my arrival at the Planter's Hotel, and
giving me a long ride about the city.

During the ride I referred to Legate, and learned from them that he was
a swindler and a gambler; that for a while he moved in the best society
in St. Louis, and was thought a "pink of a man," possessing good
manners, and being an unusually interesting colloquist and
story-teller. He was considerable of a "romancer among the ladies,"
said Hendricks.

"Better say necromancer; that would be nearer the truth," suggested Mr.

"O," said I, "a man given, in short, to wine, women, and cards, you

"Yes, exactly; but a man might be all that, and not be a Legate,"
responded Hendricks. "The fact is, sir, this Legate is a most
unscrupulous villain--a man who would hesitate at nothing. If I am
rightly informed, he made a murderous assault in New Orleans once upon
an old friend who happened to cross him in some way. It was in that
encounter, Phelps, that he lost his finger, I've heard."

I could no longer have any doubt that I was on the right track, and I
felt that there could be no danger in confiding my special business in
St. Louis to these men, who might be able to give me great assistance,
possibly. So I told them that I was hunting this same Charles Legate,
of the frauds he had perpetrated upon the New York house, and that I
wished to find him within a given time in order to secure a certain
amount of property in Canada, which, after a certain period, would be
so disposed of as to be of no avail to my employers, and that I was
willing to give any reasonable amount for information which might
enable me to reach him.

My friends told me that they thought my case an almost hopeless one,
that Legate's sagacity could outwit the very d----l, and that he was
the most uncertain man to "track" in the world; but they would do all
in their power to find out who were his principal associates, during
the last of his stay in St. Louis, the time, as near as might be
determined, when he left, and what course he took. They had heard that
he had gone to Mexico; but that was probably only a "blinder."

I staid in St. Louis five days, prosecuting my inquiries; but all I
could learn of any import was, that the last which was known of Legate
in St. Louis, he was constantly with a certain pack of gamblers, of
rather a desperate order, and that, with his quick temper, it was
possible that he had got into a fight (as some had suspected), and been
made way with--possibly thrown into the Mississippi. This was not
decidedly encouraging, and I was on the point of writing back to my
employers that it was useless to search for Legate longer at that time;
that they would have to trust to some future accident to reveal him, if
still alive, indeed. But having another affair on hand at the same
time, which necessarily called me to New Orleans before returning to
New York, I thought better of the matter, and merely wrote to my New
York friends, that having gotten all possible clew to Legate in St.
Louis, I should take boat next day for New Orleans, from which point
they would hear from me duly.

The next afternoon I took the steamer "Continental," after having made
all arrangements with my new friends in St. Louis to apprise me if ever
Legate "turned up" in that city; and down the mighty Mississippi the
proud boat bore me and a large number of the most cheerful, genial, and
hearty men and women I ever travelled with. There's a certain frankness
and generosity about the western and southern people which captivated
me, when I first went among them, at once; but though I had often been
in the west, I had never encountered a finer class of travellers than
departed with me that day from St. Louis, on board the well-tried
steamer Continental.

Nothing special, save the usual jollity, mirth, good living, copious
drinking, and lively card-playing, which characterized a "voyage down
the Mississippi," especially in those days, occurred, and being not
over well, I kept my berth considerably--until our arrival at Napoleon,
Arkansas, where we stopped to "wood up" and take on passengers,
accessions of whom we had had all along our course, at every
stopping-place. At Napoleon quite a concourse came on, mainly of not
well-to-do people, mostly migrating to Texas in order to better their
worldly condition, as they thought. Poor fellows! I fear many of them
found themselves doomed to disappointment. But to my story. Among the
on-comers at Napoleon were three men of marked individualities. They
came aboard separately. One of them was quite large and comely, neatly
dressed, in the style then prevailing at the North; nothing about him
but certain provincialisms of speech to indicate that he might not be a
northern man. The other two wore long hair, and beards, and slouched
hats, and had the air of well-to-do planters of middle age. One of them
was accompanied by a negro, the most obsequious of all his race, and
who, whenever ordered by his master to do anything, always took great
care to indicate his willingness to obey by saying, very obsequiously,
"Yes, Massa Colonel," or "Yes, Massa Jacobs;" by which fact I of course
learned what the negro supposed, at least, his master's name to be, but
there was something about this man's appearance which excited my
suspicion, at first, that he might not be a planter, after all.

It was near nightfall when we departed from Napoleon and it was not
long after the cabin was lighted up that the usual card-playing was
resumed; and these three men crowded, with others, round the tables, to
look on at first, and of course to take part when occasion might offer.
Jacobs was particularly observant of the games as they proceeded.
Although I saw that he had peculiar talents for the gaming-table, I
wondered why he lingered so long before taking a hand. But he was
biding his time. The bar, of course, was pretty well patronized, and
the finest looking of the three men in question grew apparently more
and more mellow. The stakes at this time were not large, but the
players were waxing more and more earnest, when this man--assuming to
be slightly intoxicated--exclaimed, "Gentlemen, I say, I say--do you
hear me?--that this fun is rather slow. Is there anybody here that
wants to play for something worth while? See here," said he,
"strangers, please let me draw up my seat," pushing his chair up
between those of two players; "see here; there's a cool two thousand,
that I want to double or lose to-night," and poured from a red bag a
heap of gold, over a portion of which he clapped his large hand. "I am
in for it. Is there anybody that wants to make this money?"

"Well, stranger," said Jacobs, "when these players can give us room,
I'm your man; that is, till my pile's gone. 'Tain't so big as yours,
and it ought to go for a new nigger down to Orleans. I must have
another hand; but your challenge is rather provoking, I must confess,
and I don't care if I try you."

The players, moved by that curiosity which such a proceeding between
"strangers" would be apt to excite, politely made room for the
combatants, and in their turn became lookers on. The large man played
well, but he was (apparently) intoxicated, and now and then "bungled,"
giving the game into Jacobs' hands at times. My curiosity about Jacobs
was, I know not really why, constantly increasing, and when the third
of that trio had entered the lists with a partner, I managed to slip
out down to the lower deck, where Jacobs had ordered his servant, and
fall into conversation with him.

"Are you Mr. Jacobs' nigger?"

"Yes, massa; I'se Massa Jacobs' body sarvant."

"Your master's a jolly fellow--isn't he? He's a planter, I suppose--has
a great number of "hands"--hasn't he?"

"No, Massa Jacobs don't plant. He's a banker, or a specumater, as they
call um up there."

"Up where?"

"Little Rock--we lives about five miles wess of Little Rock."

"O, then he don't plant. What do those speculators do? I never heard of
them before."

"O, massa, you's quare--ain't you? You never knows about the
specumaters? That's quare."

"But tell me what they do;" and the darky, turning up the whites of his
eyes in a most inimitable manner, and cocking his head to one side,
while he put his big hands into the attitude of one about to shuffle
cards, went through the motions of dealing off cards with a celerity
that indicated that he, too, might be a "specumater," as he doubtless
was, among the darkies, having taken lessons in his master's office.

When he had finished this exhibition, he whirled about on his heel in
true negro style, and with great glee shuffled a half dozen steps, and
ended with an air of triumph, which indicated to me that he thought his
master a great man. The slaves used, despite all they might suffer from
a cruel master, to take great pride in him if he excelled in anything,
or was a noted man.

"Your master's a great speculator, then? I reckon I had not better try
him, eh?"

"Tell troof, massa, I reckon dare's nobody on dis heah boat that can
beat massa;" and he looked very serious, and spoke low, as if kindly
warning me.

I had learned enough, and proceeded to the cabin, and watched the play.
For a while Jacobs played with the large "stranger," sometimes losing a
little, sometimes winning more, and at last gave up the play, having
won quite a sum.

Noting Jacobs' success, and the "stranger," too, having ordered on
sundry glasses of liquor during the play, and having become apparently
more heedless, others anxiously sought his place. A party of four was
made up, and the large "stranger" and the third one formed two as
partners. Jacobs posted himself where he could signal to the large
"stranger," who, with his partner, went on now winning great successes.
Frequent charges of "cheating" were indulged in by the losers, and
Jacobs was appealed to to decide the points in issue, which he always
did favorably for the large "stranger." But as the losses grew heavier,
the suffering parties became incensed, and charged Jacobs as coöperator
with the large "stranger" and his partner; and finally some one on
board declared that he knew Jacobs and the large "stranger" to be
chums; that they travelled together up and down the river, swindling
everybody they could "rope in" to play. This, being whispered about at
first, became finally talked aloud; and then commenced fearful
criminations and recriminations among the parties. Pistols and knives
were freely brandished, and a grand melee seemed on the point of
breaking out; and it did break at last, fearfully. All the while my eye
was upon Jacobs. I could not, for some reason, avert it. Somehow he
seemed to me to wonderfully resemble the description I had had of
Legate; but there was this difficulty in the way of my suspicions.
Jacobs wore upon the little finger of his left hand a large seal-ring,
and there was unmistakably a full-formed finger, which articulated at
the joints properly, and I must be mistaken. During the earlier part of
the disturbance, which the officers of the boat tried in vain to quell,
the big "stranger" had been the chief centre of abuse and attack; but
suddenly some one exclaimed, "That black-muzzled wretch is worse than
the big one," and the whole party of sufferers turned instantly upon
him. Jacobs was a brave fellow, and with cocked revolver in hand
breasted the whole, and swore he would kill the first man who laid
hands on him, standing then on one side of the cabin with his back to
the door of a state-room. Suddenly a passenger, who had retired for the
night, opened the door behind him, and Jacobs, being stiffly braced
against it, "lurched" for an instant, when an agile, wiry fellow of the
angry crowd suddenly jumped forward and grasped his revolver, turning
its muzzle upwards, when off went the pistol--the first shot, which was
a signal for a desperate conflict, in which Jacobs struggled hard for
the possession of his revolver, but was overpowered, and most severely
beaten, so much so, that he had finally to be carried to his berth; and
I followed the crowd that bore him there. He was speechless and nearly
dead, I thought, and they laid him in his bunk. I noticed that the ring
had gone from his finger, and with it, lo! the end of the finger also,
leaving only the first joint and part of the second. I examined the
stump, and saw that it was old. No further doubt rested on my mind that
Jacobs and Legate were one and the same, and I immediately called the
attention of the passengers to the loss of the ring and the finger, and
caused search to be made for the same, which we found evidently
unharmed, having somehow fallen into the state-room, the opening of the
door of which first threw Jacobs off from his balance. I took charge of
the finger, which was made of hardened wax, as my trophy, and some one,
I knew not who, took the ring.


The big "stranger," who was badly bruised too, was not so much wounded
that he could not be about next day, but kept aloof from poor Jacobs,
probably because he had protested utter unacquaintance with him, and
the next night, with the third "stranger," got off the boat, it was
supposed, at the point where the boat stopped to wood, for the next day
they were nowhere to be found on the boat; but poor Jacobs was so
severely handled that his life was despaired of by a doctor on board,
and we took him along to New Orleans. Meanwhile I had made my
suspicions and business known to the captain of the boat, and we took
means for Jacobs' detention on board after the rest of the passengers
should leave. But, poor fellow! there was hardly need in his case for
so much caution or prevision, for when we arrived in the city, Jacobs
could not have left the boat had he tried, so weak and sick was he. I
left him on board, and hastened to the office of a friend of mine, once
a detective in New York, and told him the story, asking his counsel how
best to proceed.

"Why," said he, "this is a strange affair; but I think I can put you in
the way at once of identifying this Jacobs as the very Legate whom you
are after. Indeed, rest assured that he _is_ your man, without doubt."
Going to his drawer, he produced and showed to me an advertisement of a
year before, offering a reward of two thousand dollars for the arrest
of one "Charles Legate, alias Charles L. Montford," giving a
description of his person, but pointing especially to the fact that he
was wanting a portion of the little finger of the left hand. "You see,"
said my friend, "that _we_ have an interest in the fellow as well as
you. If he is our man, we are all 'hunky-dory,'" said he, "for he is
very rich, as we have found out--know where his money is."

"Rich?" asked I. "Why, then, does he continue to lead the life he does?"

"Why? Why, indeed, such a question from an old detective like you
astonishes me: it wouldn't, though, if a woman, or a fool, asked it,"
said he, giving me a curious wink. "Don't you know yet that the
Mississippi is infested with old gamblers rich as Jews, and who can't
give up their pious trade to save their lives? Come along." And he took
me down St. Louis Street a ways, and stepped into a side street, and
standing before a door a moment, said, "Give me the finger, and follow
me." We mounted a couple of flights of dirty stairs, and my friend
opened a door into a sort of anatomical museum of old gypsum and wax
casts, and all sorts of small sculptural devices.

"Mr. Cancemi at home?" asked my friend of a weird-looking lad, whose
hands were besmeared with the plaster he was working. "Si signore,"
(yes, sir), was the reply; "but my fader is much sick, questo giorno"

"But I must see him a moment. Won't you go ask him to come down?"

The family, it seemed, occupied rooms in the loft above. The boy
hurried off, and presently the father came down with him, almost too
feeble to walk.

"Cancemi," said my friend, "you are sick; but I've brought you some
medicine that will cheer you up at once."

"Ah, Dio," exclaimed the old Italian, "I vish it be so. I am much
ammalato (sick). What have you brought?--Tell quick."

"See here!" said my friend; "did you ever see that before?" producing
the finger. The old Italian seemed a new man as his eyes dilated at the
sight with wonder, and he went into raptures over the matter, the
reason for which I could not understand, and in his broken English
muttered a thousand exclamations of surprise and joy. Of course he
identified the finger as the one he had made for the "villain-scoundrel
Legate." Legate, I found, had never paid the Italian for his skillful
handiwork, and he had been promised a portion of the reward, if my
friend should succeed in earning it--hence his joy.

We left the old Italian soon, and proceeded to the boat, where we
confronted Jacobs, and made him acknowledge his identity with Legate.
My business was made known to him. He lay on the boat for two days,
until her return trip, when we had him carefully taken to a private
hospital, where he could, beyond possibility of escape, be confined,
and awaited his slow recovery under the best medical and other
attendance we could procure. I telegraphed to my parties in New York,
one of whom came on directly, reaching New Orleans within ten days from
that time; and before two weeks had passed from the time of his
arrival, we had settled matters with the now penitent, because caged,
Legate; and the New Orleans parties who had offered the reward were now
called in by my detective friend, and settled their affairs with him by
accepting a mortgage he held for twenty-five thousand dollars on a
sugar plantation in the Opelousas country, paying the reward to my
friend, and losing nothing in the result.

Only for the advertisement in the New Orleans paper, probably Legate
would never have thought to procure a false finger; but for which I
should never have been able to satisfy myself that Jacobs, in his
bruised and battered state, was the identical Legate, and might have
left him without further investigation on the boat.

The old Italian recovered his health speedily in his joy over Legate's
capture, and was not forgotten by my friend, who, by the way, but for
this old artist, would of course have never known of Legate's attempt
at disguising the only peculiar mark about him, and would not,
therefore, have been so sure of his identity when I told him my story.
"Straws show which way the wind blows," and "fingers," though they be
inanimate and waxen, may "point," you see, unmistakably to a villain.


                       LOTTERY TICKET, No. 1710.



"Your name is ----, I believe, sir?" asked a tall, gray-haired
gentleman of me one evening, as I was stepping out of the Carleton
House, a hotel then on the corner of Broadway and Leonard Street.

"Yes, that's my name," offering my hand to receive the already extended
hand of the gentleman.

"I have sought you," said he, "at the suggestion of my friend and
lawyer, James T. Brady; who tells me that you are able, if anybody is,
to help me in my loss."

"You've had a loss? Well, sir, you wish to tell me about it. Shall we
go in here, or where shall we go to talk it over."

"Can we not walk up Broadway, and I tell you during our walk?"

"Probably that would not be the best way," I replied, "for it is
doubtless as a detective that you need me, and we might meet somebody
who knows me as such, and who might be the very last person whom I
should like to have see us together," I replied.

"You are right, sir," said he, smiling. "Your caution shows me that you
understand your business; but it is too late to go far up town to my
house.--I have it. I'll call at the Howard House, take a private room,
and you follow, in half an hour, say, and finding this name on the
register with my room, come up. Here's my card. Come directly to the
room, and say nothing."

"That's a good plan, sir. I will be there;" and he left, and I, having
finished my business at the Carleton, wandered slowly up Broadway to
kill time, wondering what such a stately, dignified, cool-headed sort
of a looking man as he--a real estate holder to large amount, a man
whom everybody knew by reputation as one of the most quiet in the
city--could have for me to do. I suspected forgery, arson, or some
attempt at it, and a dozen other things. But I drove them all out of
mind in a few minutes, for it is never well for a detective to indulge
in anticipations in such a juncture of affairs; and meeting just then
an old friend, beguiled a few minutes with him along Broadway, and
finally taking out my watch, saw I had only ample time to get to the
Howard at the time appointed, and so "suddenly recollected" an
appointment, excused myself to my friend, sought the Howard and the
gentleman there, whom I readily found in waiting for me.

"You are here on the moment," said he, as he closed and locked the door
on my entry. "Take this seat, if you please, and I'll try to be short
with my story."

"Go on, sir," said I; "but please don't be in too much haste. I have
plenty of time; but tell me all your story as you would, and probably
did, to Mr. Brady."

"Well, sir, day before yesterday morning I missed from my safe, at my
house, seven thousand two hundred and fifty-five dollars, which I
placed there the night before, having received most of it that day, at
an hour too late to make deposit of it in bank;" and here he paused.

"Well, sir," said I, "who took it? That's the question, I presume,
which you wish to solve."

"Yes, that, of course, is the point; but I can't fix my suspicions upon

"You say that most of this money was received after banking hours.
Suppose you tell me next where and of whom you received it, and in what
amounts, for I infer that you did not receive it in a lump."

"No; I collected it partly from rentals due, and some came to me from
the country,--notes due,--and some from the sale of a cargo of pressed
hay over at Jersey City, and I did not get around in time to put it in
bank, such as I had, before closing hours," looking at memoranda.

"Well, I am glad you have memoranda of the amounts. Now tell me where
you received these, each one;" and he went on to tell me, in detail,
where, and who was near by, if anybody, in each case where a tenant or
other debtor paid him money. I listened intently, and could get at
nothing worthy of note till he came to the hay transaction at Jersey
City. It appeared that there were several persons standing about at the
time of the payment of the money to my client (call him Latimer, for
further convenience), mostly working-men, some dealers, loafers, and
two or three well-dressed, but rather dashily-dressed, young men. Mr.
Latimer had been obliged to take out considerable money from his own
purse, in order the better to arrange it to put in the amount then
received; and feeling that he had quite an amount of money, even at
that time, and he added some before he reached home, put his purse in
his inner vest pocket, thinking of nothing worse than possibly
encountering pickpockets, or losing his money by accident on the way.
In his vest pocket he thought it secure, and secure it was to take
home, but not secure for keeping.

The result of our conference was that evening, that I should be obliged
to go with Mr. Latimer to his home the next morning, when he would call
at my office for me. I could not go that night, and perhaps it was as
well; for I had a business appointment which led me, not an hour after
parting with Mr. Latimer, into certain haunts where I fancied,--it was
mere imagination, if it were not instinctive perception, in which I do
not much believe, although many mysterious things have occurred in my
life which seemed to be governed or directed by some subtle law, which
the human brain is not yet strong enough to discover,--where I fancied,
I say, that I saw some of the money which Mr. Latimer had lost,
displayed, and distributed in dissipation. In short, I imagined that I
had stumbled upon the thief, and had I known the character of the
bills, which Mr. Latimer, however, could not tell me much about, I
might have seized my man then and there.

But the next morning I visited Mr. Latimer's house in an up-town
street, which was not then, as now, compactly builded; at least, in the
portion of it where he dwelt. I examined everything about the premises,
concluded where a thief might have gotten into the house without much
trouble, and finally commenced questioning Mr. Latimer about his
family, the servants, etc. None of Mr. L.'s family, except his wife,
were at home. Two boys, or young men, were at school, rather at college
one of them, and both far away, and the daughters were at the female
seminary in Cazenovia. As to the servants, in whose honesty Mr. Latimer
had the utmost confidence, I had them called into my presence, and
questioned them about the condition of the house on the night of the
robbery. One of them heard some slight noise, at some time between
twelve o'clock and four in the morning; was not definite. The others
slept soundly; heard nothing. They did not seem to me likely to be
connected with anybody, or to have lovers who would be apt to be of the
class who might have robbed the safe. Besides, nobody, not even Mrs.
Latimer, knew that Mr. L. had deposited any amount of money in his safe
that night. He was of the order of men who attend strictly to "their
own business," too strictly, sometimes, when evidence is wanted
especially. His bedroom adjoined the room in which the safe stood, and
was so situated in regard to a pair of "back stairs," that if the
robber had come in from the back (on the theory of his possible
complicity with the servants), he could have hardly gotten into the
room without disturbing Mr. and Mrs. Latimer, unless on that night,
which was probably the case, they slept with unusual soundness. I
concluded that the robber must be an expert one, and somehow I
constantly referred in mind to the fellow whom I have alluded to before
as having been seen liberally dispensing money. He seemed to me
competent for the business; but there was one thing which I left to the
last, which arose in my mind at first on my interview with Mr. Latimer
at the Howard; but I said nothing of it then, for I had learned that
the best way is to approach the most serious troubles softly; as often
the "course of things," as they take shape in an interview, will better
point out how this or that mystery occurred than all the attempted
solutions which one might, _a priori_, project for a week, and that one
thing which perplexed me was, How did the robber unlock that safe? He
must either have been familiar with the house and the safe, and perhaps
had a key to it, or he must have carried about him, probably, several
safe keys, one of which happened to fit (and the key to this safe was a
small one, fifty of the like size of which would not much trouble a
burglar to carry), or he must have gotten possession of Mr. Latimer's
key. But his key was in his vest pocket, and his clothes were on a
chair at the head of his bed, he said, on my inquiring,--there's where
he left them, and there was where he found them in the morning,--and he
was sure he locked his safe securely after putting the money in. I
finally, as the concluding portion of my examination, asked Mr. Latimer
to let me see the inside of his safe, and to show me where he deposited
the money. He unlocked and opened the safe,--a simple lock concern,
proof really against nothing but fire, perhaps; for although it was
supposed that the keyhole was so small, and the safe so constructed,
that burglars could not get sufficient powder into it to blow it up,
yet it would not have stood a minute against the skill and power of
professional burglars; but to open it, as they would have done, would
have necessitated noise enough to have awakened Mr. Latimer, especially
as the bedroom door was open. Mr. Latimer had put the money into a
little drawer in the safe, and turned the key of that, which key,
however, remained in the drawer lock. But the drawer was tight, and we
tried a dozen times to pull it out without making a creaking noise,
without avail; so I concluded that, on the whole, Mr. Latimer and his
wife _had_ slept that night pretty soundly.

We were about closing the safe again,--I having made due examination,
and asked all necessary questions,--when Mr. Latimer, thinking to
arrange a half dozen or so papers which had been thrown loosely upon
the bottom of the safe, took them up in one grasp of the hand, and
commenced to put them in file, when out of his hand dropped a little
white card with figures on it, which arrested his attention. He picked
it up, looked at it with astonishment, and said, "That's a curious
thing to be here," handing it to me. "You will perhaps think me a
sporting man, a devotee of the Goddess of Luck; but I don't know who
put that here." "Who has access to your safe besides yourself?" "My
wife; she has a key." "O," said I, "perhaps she's put it here then."
"Not she," said he. "She'd turn pale with horror if she had found that
here, in fear that I might be trifling with lotteries. A brother of
hers spent a good-sized fortune in lottery tickets, and died of
disappointment and chagrin over his course. Not she!" "Yes, I know,"
said I; "still she may have put it there, if not for herself, for one
of the servants, perhaps; for you know many servants have a mania for
'trying their luck.'" So Mrs. Latimer was called, and asked about the
lottery ticket. There was no mistaking her seriousness when she said
that if one of the servants had asked her to lock up the ticket for
safety, she would have taken it and torn it to pieces before her eyes.
I was satisfied. But how came the ticket there. "No. 1710, Great Havana
Consolidated Lottery," to be drawn on such a day, through the house of
Henry Colton & Co., Baltimore. This is as near as the notes of my diary
of those days, much worn, permit me to recount the words and figures of
the ticket as I took them down in pencil. I studied the ticket, and saw
from a note at the bottom that some days would elapse before the
drawing was to come off. It was a fresh ticket then, evidently. But how
did it get there? Mr. and Mrs. Latimer knew nothing about it--that was
clear. It had not been there long--that was equally clear. I questioned
Mr. Latimer about the condition of the loose papers in the bottom of
the safe. It appeared he did not observe much order in them, so I could
learn nothing by that query. Finally, I concluded that perhaps in
pulling out the drawer the robber experienced considerable trouble, and
that if he had the ticket in his vest pocket at the time, in bending
over, and exerting some force to pull out the drawer, he might have
dropped it on the floor, and perhaps his curiosity led him to pull out
the papers too, some of which fell from his hand, and he picked them
up, the ticket along with them. I settled upon this, and there was a
clew to the robber, if nothing more. But how did he unlock the safe?
This question remained unanswered. Perhaps with a false key, as I have
before suggested; but this lock was one supposed to need a special key,
none other exactly like it in the whole world. After we had finished
our examination, Mr. Latimer closed the safe door, gave a turn to the
knob, and jerked out the key. I do not know what led me to think of it,
but I asked, "Have you locked it?" "Yes," said he, "that's all you have
to do to lock one of these safes," at the same time taking hold of the
knob, and pulling it, to show me how securely and simply it was
fastened; when, lo, open came the door! Mr. Latimer was confounded, and
I confess I was greatly surprised. It might have been that the robber
that night found as easy access to the drawer as Mr. Latimer then. We
examined the working of the lock as well as we could, and found that
something must be deranged, for although it would, on turning the knob,
give a "thud," as if the bolts were driven home, it did not always put
them in place. Mr. Latimer had his safe repaired after that, and found
some "slide" in the lock-work a little out of place.

But I had gotten the ticket, and I told Mr. Latimer that we must work
out the problem with that, or fail; and I sent Mr. Latimer about to his
debtors, who had paid him the stolen money, to see if any of them could
remember the denominations of the bills, and by what banks issued,
which they had given him. He found something in his search which seemed
likely to serve me. I gave Mr. Latimer my theory of the case, and
pointed out to him the course I should pursue, and we concluded that a
week would probably bring us to the determination to try longer, or
would put us on the clear track of the robber or robbers, for there
might have been more than one. Mr. Latimer authorized me, in case I saw
fit, to offer a reward of five hundred or a thousand dollars for the
robbers, or double these sums for the robbers and the money.

My first step was to go to Baltimore, where I learned that the ticket
was genuine, but I could not learn the name of the person to whom it
was issued. I had obtained it, I represented, of a man who never bought
tickets, and was curious to know of whom he got it: but it was of no
use to inquire. They kept faith with their customers. I could have
inquired, with perhaps more success, of the agent in New York, but I
dared not venture to see him. Some special friend of his might have
bought that number,--"1710,"--and he would tell him of the inquiry, and
the robber might suspect that he had lost it on Mr. Latimer's premises.
The New York agent had fortunately made his report to the "general
office" in Baltimore a day or two before. I left the lottery office,
baffled for a moment, but I soon laid a plan. If this ticket wins,--and
I shall know by the drawn numbers as published in the papers
immediately after the drawing,--then I will "lay in" with the ticket
agent, with the bribe or "reward" of five hundred or a thousand
dollars, to help me detect the robber; and if the ticket fails to win,
I will make the ticket agent my confidant, and have him despatch a note
to the person to whom this ticket was sold, saying that "1710" has
drawn a prize, to be paid on presentation of the ticket; and in this
way get the man into my clutches. So thinking to myself, I concluded to
stop in Baltimore till after the drawing, which occurred three days
from that time.

As fortune had it, the ticket--"1710"--was lucky, and drew a prize of
three thousand dollars. I went to the agent, and putting him under the
seal of secrecy, with the prospect of five hundred dollars, and one
half of the money drawn by the ticket besides, we arranged to catch the
robber, if possible. The New York agency would claim the privilege of
paying the three thousand dollars itself, for this would help to give
it the reputation of selling lucky numbers, and increase its sales, and
consequently its profits. Of course the New York agency was alive to
its interests; but where was the ticket? The man to whom it was sold
was expected to present it at once at the New York agency; but it
didn't come, and he was advised of its having drawn a prize. But it was
lost, he said; and the New York agency, desirous of making capital for
itself, ordered the payment of the prize money through it, advised with
the home office. It was finally concluded that the buyer might make
affidavit, before a notary public, of the fact that he purchased the
ticket No. 1710; that he had not transferred it to anybody else; that
he had lost it, and when. And it was suggested that, as possibly the
ticket might yet be presented by somebody who might have found it, it
would be well for the buyer to state whether he had given it any
private mark--his initials, or something else,--which is often done.
This was done to excite the robber's memory about it, and drew forth
from him a statement that he had not marked the ticket, but remembered
that it was "clipped" in a certain way, cutting into the terminal
letter of a line across the end; which was just what we wanted, as it
identified him, beyond a doubt, as the real purchaser. He swore he had
not transferred the ticket, but had lost it somewhere, as he alleged
that he believed, on such a day (which chanced to be the very day on
the night of which the robbery occurred), somewhere between the corner
of Fulton Street and Broadway (where was located then a day
gambling-saloon) and Union Square. This was indefinite enough for his
conscience, I presume. Of course a name was signed to the affidavit,
but how could we know that it was correct? Together with this came the
agent's affidavit that he sold to such a person the ticket. We arranged
that payment should be made to the affiant if the ticket was not
presented by somebody else within a month; and if it were presented
before that time, he should be informed, and the proper steps taken to
secure him his money. This was communicated to the New York agency, and
I left for New York to find out who was this "Charles F. Worden," the
purported purchaser of the ticket; and the Baltimore agent came on to
see the New York agent, and adroitly draw out of him a personal
description of this "Worden," for we suspected that the agent and he
were special friends. The Baltimore agent had no difficulty in
executing his part of the work, and indeed effected an interview with
Worden, whom, with the New York agent, he treated to a superb supper at
the Astor House. When he came to give me a detailed account of the
fellow's personal appearance, I recognized him, especially by a curious
bald spot on the left side of the head, and which he took some pains to
cover by pulling his long hair over it,--which, however, did not
incline to stay there,--as the young man whom I had seen in the
gambling saloon on the night that Mr. Latimer first consulted me at the

I now felt quite sure of my game; but was confident enough that I
should find that the young man bore some other name than "Worden."
Suffice it that it was the work of a couple of days only before I had
my man in tow, knew all about him, his antecedents, etc. His family was
good. He had been prepared for college, at the Columbia College Grammar
School; was a young man of fair average capacity, but by his
dissipations managed to make himself an eyesore to his family. His
father, who was a well-to-do, if not rich merchant, doing business in
Maiden Lane, had, in order to "reform" him, "given him up," and ordered
him to shirk for himself, something like a year before this. He went
into a grocery store, being unable to get work elsewhere, and had done
very well for three or four months; but there was a private room in the
back of the store where liquor was sold by the glass--one of those
places which are now known by the felicitous name, "Sample Rooms," the
disgusting frequency of which all over New York, and in many other
cities, is so remarkable; places which are really worse than the open
bars of hotels, or the regular "gin mills" (if I may be permitted to
use the vulgar phrase), because in these sly, half-private places is it
that most young men learn to drink, and here it is, too, where many a
man, too respectable to be seen frequenting the open liquor stores of
his vicinity, steals in and guzzles his potations, on the sure road to
a drunkard's fate--failure in business, ruined constitution, and final
poverty and disgrace. Here the young man, "Worden," as he now called
himself, had fallen in with genial company, who came to his employers
to "buy groceries," and to drink, and among them had made the
acquaintance, in particular, of a down-town "banker," who boarded in
the vicinity of the grocery, which was on the corner of Bleecker Street
and ----. This banker was a fascinating fellow, and young Worden soon
fell in love with him. By and by he found out what sort of a "banker"
was his new-made friend--the same who kept the day gambling-rooms on
the corner of Fulton and Broadway. It is astonishing how little one may
know of the business of his neighbors whom he meets every day in New
York, unless he takes special pains to find out. The "solitude of a
great city" is no mere Byronic fancy. One could hardly be more solitary
in the dense woods than a man may be in the midst of the throngs of men
and women he may meet in New York. He sees them--that is all. His heart
is closed to them, and theirs to him, as much as if they were in China,
and he the "lone man" on some island of the West Indies. So that
"banker" passed for a rich, active, business man, in the vicinity of
Bleecker Street and ----, within less than a mile, perhaps, of this
nefarious den. Young Worden was easily led on till he got to neglecting
his business when sent out on errands, or down town to the wholesale
grocers; and finally the grocer discharged him for neglect of business;
and how he had lived since then was a mystery to his old companions,
who found him afterwards always better dressed. The secrets of his
history, from the time of his discharge up to the time of the robbery,
as I finally learned them, would form an interesting chapter by
themselves, but are out of place here. An incident in his career,
however, may yet find place in these papers, because it was interlinked
with an extraordinary case which at another time I worked up, and of
which I have made note, in order, if my space permit, to recite it in
this work. It must suffice now, that despair, resulting from the loss
of money at the gambling-table, and which he was not for some days able
to win back, though he hazarded his last dollar, drove the young man to
commit a small robbery, or theft, from the purse of one of his
fellow-boarders, when the latter was asleep one night. The full success
of this hardened him, and led him on. If detection could always follow
the first offence, the number of criminals would be far less. But few
will "persevere" beyond a detection, if it comes early enough in their

I had made sure of my man. But he was not caught yet, by any means;
besides, the Baltimore agent and I had something further to do
together. Upon him depended much. I had the ticket in my possession,
and the young man had sworn to it--identified it in his affidavit, to
be sure; but he would insist that he lost it, and that somebody who
found it must have robbed the safe, if we should pounce upon him now.
So I went to Mr. Latimer, and managed to take him, in proper disguise,
to a gambling saloon, which this young man frequented, and he thought
he recognized him as one of the persons standing near him on the day
the money for the hay was paid him in Jersey City; and before we left
the saloon,--staid half an hour perhaps,--Mr. Latimer was quite willing
to swear to the young man's identity as one of those present at the hay
transaction. But this would not be enough to convict the young man,
unless we could find some of the stolen money upon him, or among his
effects, which I felt sure we should do, for I saw that he was gambling
those days sparely, like one who means to win, and keep what he wins. I
reasoned that the robbery had given him a snug little capital; that he
felt his importance as a "financial man," and that perhaps he was
resolving to gamble but little more, give up his old associates, and
with what he had, and what he would obtain from the lottery, go into
business, and perhaps win his way back into his father's favor. And I
reasoned rightly, as a subsequent confession of the young man proved.

In his investigations among the creditors who had paid him the sum
stolen, Mr. Latimer had found out a fact on which I was relying for aid
in the course of the work, as I have intimated before; and renting on
that becoming important in the line of evidence, I repaired to
Baltimore, and told the general agent that I thought it time now to
draw matters to a close. We arranged our plans. The New York agent was
informed that the ticket had been presented at the general office, and
the prize demanded; that it would be necessary for the young man and
himself to come on to Baltimore to meet the presenter of the ticket,
and that he was to call again in three days. The general agent was in
great glee over the matter; for I had arranged with him that he should
have the whole of the three thousand dollar prize as his own, if he
would not demand the five hundred dollars reward of me, in case the
matter worked out rightly, and we managed to get back a good share of
the money stolen from the young man. He was for attacking the young man
at once, as soon as we could get him into the private office, and
charging him with the robbery of Mr. Latimer's safe; overwhelming him
with the history of his being that day in Jersey City, and showing him
the trap we had set to get him to identify the ticket so minutely,
etc.; but I feared that the young man might not be so easily taken
aback, and we agreed to wait for something else which might, in the
negotiation, turn up. I had not informed the agent yet of what Mr.
Latimer had discovered in his investigations about the kind of money
paid him, but had arranged with the agent that if things came to the
proper point he should offer to pay the young man by a draft on New
York, and should say to him, that if it would be convenient he would
rather make the draft for three thousand and five hundred dollars, and
let the young man pay him five hundred dollars, as that amount would
draw out all his deposit, and close account with the bank in question,
he having determined to do his business with another bank. So much I
had asked which he said he would do; and duly the young man and the
agent came on. We had a private conference; I being disguised, with
spectacles and all, as the legal counsellor of the lottery men. The
agent from New York was present. I had asked the young man many
questions about the ticket, heard the New York agent's story, and given
my advice to the Baltimore man to pay it to him, but to send for the
"other man" who held the ticket, and who was said to be waiting the
result of things. So the New York agent was politely asked to take a
note to a man quite a distance off from the lottery office, and whom
the agent had informed that he might receive a note that day, and
instructed what to do in such case. The man was a store-keeper; was
very polite to the New York agent; bade him be seated in the
counting-room, and he would send his boy out to bring in the man
indicated in the note. The New York agent was told to be sure to get
the man, wait till he could bring him along with him, "if it takes
three hours," said the Baltimore agent, as the New York man went off.

"Yes, yes; depend on my doing the business right," responded the New
York agent, as he went off on his tomfool's errand.

Papers were given the young man to read, and we chatted together a
little; the lottery agent having gone to work at his business desk in
the next room. A half hour passed, and then--"This is dull business. I
must go to my office, and come back if needed," said I to the lottery
agent, as I opened the door into his room. "When shall I return?"
"Stay; he'll be back soon." "No," said I; "I'll go, and return." "Well,
please don't be long away,"--and he gave me a significant look, which
the young man, of course, did not see. I went off, and returning in
about a quarter of an hour, called the agent into the private room, and
said, "See here! a new phase in affairs. I found that man waiting at my
office to consult me about the ticket. He said he knew I was your
attorney, and would advise him what was best; he didn't want any fuss
about it. This was after I told him I was quite sure that the ticket
was the property of young Mr. Worden here; and the matter is left
entirely with me. See! I have the ticket here; do you recognize it?"
asked I of Worden, presenting it to him. He started up, looked at it,
and with a face full of joy, exclaimed, "The very same: don't you
remember how I described this slip here in my affidavit?" "Well, Mr.
Worden, as the matter is left with me, I have no doubt the ticket is
yours; and of course the agent will pay you the prize." "Yes, of
course," said the agent; "stay here, since you are here, and I'll make
the due entries, etc., get the money, and be back." He closed the door
behind him; and as it was a late hour, drawing near closing time, told
the clerks he'd give them a part of a holiday; and bade them to be on
hand early next morning. "A good deal of work to do to-morrow, you
know," said he, as he smilingly bowed them out.

Presently, after a delay, however, which I was fearful would excite the
young man's curiosity, if nothing more, the agent came into the room,
and told Worden that he found it would be inconvenient to pay the three
thousand dollars that afternoon in money, and then proposed to him to
take the draft on New York, of which I have before spoken. Worden
compliantly fell in with the suggestion; said he would cash the draft
for the balance. He was anxious, he said, to get on to New York as soon
as might be; and, "by the way," said he, "where's my friend, Mr.
----?"--(the New York agent.) "Ah," replied the Baltimore agent, "he's
waiting at the place to which I sent him for the man." "Well," turning
to his watch, "there'll be time to send for him before the next train
north, after we have settled the matter." He went to his desk, drew the
check, came in and handed it to Worden, who, laying it on the table,
proceeded to take out his wallet, which I noticed was heavily loaded.
He selected five one hundred dollar bills and handed them to the agent,
who stepped into the next room, as if to deposit them in his safe,
saying, "I'll be back in a moment, Mr. Worden. Step in here,
'Counsellor,'" said he to me, "and tell me how I am to make this
entry"--for the want of something better to say. I followed, and he
showed me the notes. We "had" the young man! Four of the notes bore on
their back, in writing, the business card of one of the men who had
paid Mr. Latimer money on that day; the notes were of the Bank of
America, such as he had told Mr. Latimer he had drawn that day from
bank, and he had indorsed his card on them not an hour before he paid
him. His account was new with that bank. He had no other than _six_ of
those one hundred dollar notes, so I saw our game was sure, and I said
instantly, "Go in and ask Worden if he can't give you two fifties, or
five twenties for this note," taking up the one not bearing the
business card. He did so, and I followed, and instantly that Worden
drew his purse to accommodate him, I suddenly knocked the purse from
his hand, and caught Worden by the throat--"No noise, you villain! You
are caught! You are the scoundrel who robbed Mr. Latimer's safe. I've
traced you, and you are splendidly trapped!" I exclaimed.


He made some exertions to get from my grasp, but I held him firmly;
waited a moment or two that the first flush of excitement might pass
from him, and led him to a chair; gave him his history in brief; and in
a short manner showed him how he was caught. Meanwhile the agent, at my
request, was searching and counting the money in the purse which he
picked up as I knocked it out of Worden's hands. "Here's another one
hundred dollar bill with Bordell's card on it," said he. (The card was
"Rufus Bordell, Optician, and Mathematical Instrument Maker, 173
Bowery, N. Y.," as my notes read. It was not an unusual thing in those
days, though I always thought it a foolish one, for men to indorse all
the new bills that came into their possession with their business
addresses, as a mode of advertisement. Poor Mr. Bordell! He was an
Englishman, and was making a trip to England to visit his relatives on
board the ill-fated Pacific steamer in her last trip out, which went to
sea, and was never heard of after.) Well, Worden saw that he was
caught, and there was no escape for him. We found he had over three
thousand dollars in money with him, and he agreed to go to New York
with us and get what remained of the rest, which he said was all he had
taken except six or eight hundred dollars, and he thought he could
manage to raise that amount too, if I would not prosecute him. The
vision of State Prison was too much for his nerves. He wanted to go
unmanacled; and so I insisted on the agent's accompanying me to help
watch him. However, he could never have got away from me alone, for I
should have felled him at once to the ground had he tried, and I was
sure he had not been in the business long enough, or done enough at it,
to have "pals" to assist him. In fact, he said he never had any
comrades in crime.

The agent arranged his affairs; sent word to the New York agent that he
was suddenly called to New York, and would see him there the next day,
and we left Baltimore for New York by the next train. The young man
kept his promise to us; not only got the money left out of his robbery,
but raised of a "friend," whom we all visited, seven hundred and ten
dollars, which we found was the deficit; gave up the lottery ticket to
the agent (who had the honor, however, to pay him back the sum he paid
for the ticket), and we let him go.

I hardly know whether I ought to state what I am about to or not; but
it may encourage some reader of this who may be inclined to a life like
that which young "Worden" was then leading, to reform. "Worden" saw the
situation of things, thanked us for our kindness, and begged me to
never mention his real name. (I had not communicated it to the agent or
to Mr. Latimer, and have never since told it to either or to anybody).
He promised to reform at once, and go to work, however humble the
situation. He did so, and in two or three years won his way back into
his father's smiles, conducted business in New York for a while after
that, and is now a prominent and wealthy man of Chicago. I met him not
over ten months ago from this writing, and enjoyed his hospitality.
"You saved me," said he. And that was all that was said between us
about the robbery.

The Baltimore agent drew the prize for No. 1710, and it was none of the
Lottery Company's business that he pocketed it.

When I carried the money back to Mr. Latimer, he was astonished, and
insisted that I take the reward of one thousand dollars, which, as he
was rich, I did accept. I never told him _how_ we let the fellow
escape, but satisfied him on that point.

"But," said he, "you haven't told me what you learned about how he got
into the safe."

"No, for the scamp was in as much doubt about it as we; he thought that
the lock turned easily, if it turned at all. He pulled, and the door
came open, and afterwards, on looking at the key he tried it with,
thought it curious that it could have raised the spring. Probably the
safe was not locked."

"But how did he get in, and do it so secretly, my wife and I lying
right there?" pointing to the adjoining bedroom.

"O, he says you were both snoring away so that nobody in the house
could have heard him if he'd made ten times the noise he did."

"I--do--not--believe--it," said Mr. Latimer, with an emphatic drawl,
and more seriousness of face than I had seen him exhibit over his loss
even. "I never caught her snoring in my life. She says I snore
sometimes. I'll call her, and tell her the story."

Mrs. Latimer came in; the snoring matter was settled in a joke, and I
was made to stay and take a private supper with them, which, in due
time, was served in superb order; and I left that house to go home at
last with a firm friend in Mr. Latimer, who has never failed to send me
business, when he could command it, from that day.

He is ignorant of the young robber's real name to this day; and,
indeed, said he did not care to know it; when, four years after the
occurrence, as he was one day badgering me to satisfy his curiosity on
that point, I told him the man had reformed, and was made a good
citizen of, indirectly through the facts that the safe was probably
unlocked that night, and that he and his wife snored so loudly.





There had been a lull in business for a time with me soon after I had
left an organized force of private detectives, and with the promised
assistance of some friends, mercantile and otherwise, whom I had served
more or less, under the direction of the chief of the corps to which I
belonged, had taken a private office, and was beginning to wish that I
was not so much "my own master," and had more to do.

During those days I tried to divert my mind with much reading, and one
day, poring over De Quincey's "Opium Eater," I was half buried in
oblivion to all particular things around me, though wonderfully aroused
to a sweet sensuousness of all things material, when my old chief
entered my office. I was not a little surprised to see him, for it had
been weeks since I had met him, and that casual meeting was the first
time I had seen him since my resignation from the corps.

"Good day, my boy," said he, giving me a hearty grasp of the hand. He
looked weary and worn. I thought he looked vexed, too, about something,
and I asked, "Well, what's up? What ails you? Are you unwell?" "No,"
said he, "not unwell; in fact, never in better health; but business
annoys me. I've been on a scent for some parties for quite a while, and
I can get nobody to do what I want done. Report of failure to find out
what I want has just been rendered an hour ago, and I have come down to
see if you can't help me out."

"Tell me your story," said I. "But I don't suppose I can accomplish
anything for you if Wilson, Baldwin, or Harry Hunt" (detectives of rare
ability on his corps) "have failed."

"They have," said he, "signally; but I believe the matter can be worked
out readily, though you will have to take your time at it. The case is
this: There's a lot of blacklegs and counterfeiters, some of whom you
know, whose den I want to find out. That's all. They are passing more
or less counterfeit money these days. What I want is not to detect any
one of these by himself, but to capture the whole of them in their
den--gobble them all up at once, and break up their gang; and now I
think I have a key to their hiding-place, which, if I can get anybody
to work it well, will open in upon them."

"Well, give me the particulars, and your general instructions, and I'll
try it."

"You know," said he, "that some of it may be desperate work, and that's
one reason why I want you--steady hand, and cool head, and time enough,
must succeed in this business. Here is a minute description of five of
the gang. Look it over," pulling from his side pocket a paper. "There,
you know this first one, Harry Le Beau. We dealt with him, you know,
two years ago; and the next I guess you don't know. In fact, I reckon
you don't know any of the rest."

I was studying over the personal descriptions; meanwhile the chief went
talking on, I paying little heed further to what he was saying. Coming
to the last on the list, "Mont Collins!"--"Mont Collins?"--I don't know
the name, but the description just suits another person; rather, just
suits the character himself, for I knew, of course, that "Collins" was
one of any number of aliases. "This is a particular friend of mine,"
said I. "His name used to be Bill Blanchard, and--and--well," without
saying any more, "I'll undertake the job; and, by Heavens!" said I,
"I'll succeed," for I had been warming up out of my opium reverie from
the instant my eye fell upon the description of "Collins," with an
indignation and a hope of revengeful triumph over this villain, who had
now taken a step in counterfeiting, or in passing counterfeit money,
where I could, if successful, get him confined within the walls of a
prison, and pay him for his vile iniquities.

"You have encountered this scoundrel before, it seems," said the chief,
noticing the glow upon my face.

"No, not I; but a relative of mine. I can't tell you the story now.
I'll follow him to the death. No stone shall remain unmoved in this

"I am glad you have a peculiar incentive, and I feel that you are sure
to succeed; but I have not given you the key yet. May be it will serve
you. Perhaps you can get a better one, and won't need to use it," said
the chief.

"Give it me," said I, "by all means. A straw, even, might serve to
point the way; and if the rest are as desperate and cunning as
'Collins,' I shall need all the help and advice possible to work up the
job," said I.

So the chief went, on to say, "It is very evident that these fellows
have an important victim in a young man, by the name of Lewellyn Payne,
from Kentucky, who came to New York some months ago, reputed to be very
rich, and had always at first about him money enough; but he has become
reckless. He's a fine-looking fellow, of good address, and how he
allowed such a vile gang to get hold of him, I don't see"--

"But I do," said I, interposing. "Collins is as keen and genteel a
villain as the city holds," said I.

"May be," said the chief; "but the rest of them are only cutthroats,
without a particle of grace to save them."

"But they cannot be worse at heart than he," I responded. "He has
chosen his crew for his own purposes--fit instruments for his style of

"Well, you think you know him. I hope you do, and can manage him; but
I'll tell you about this Payne. They have drained his purse, I think;
in fact, I've had him watched, and have found out that he is greatly in
their debt. They hold his notes, and he is about to sell property in
Kentucky to meet them. At least this is my translation of Hunt's report
from him. Hunt "cultivated" him for a while, but we couldn't find out
anything from him in regard to the gang's rendezvous."

"Well, what am I to do? Where does he live, this Payne?"

"In West 19th Street, No. --, corner Sixth Avenue. He and his mother
board there."

"O, ho," said I; "his mother! Does she know anything about her son's

"Yes; it was she who came to me first about him,--says her heart is
broken, and that something must be done to save her son. She can learn
but little from him; but says he's away a great deal all night, and
sleeps mostly during the day; that she fears he's gambled away most of
his property, etc."

"Then she can be approached upon the subject. Well, I see the way
clear. I must make his acquaintance without his knowing why. I may make
such use of your name as I please?"


Before night that day I was fortunate enough to secure board at the
house in 19th Street, though I did have to accept a room a little
farther up toward the sky than I desired, with the assurance that I
should have the first vacant room below. My first business was to
effect a meeting with the lady, Mrs. Payne, which I found but little
difficulty in doing. The poor woman, who was a model of elegance and
matronly character, was greatly moved when she came to tell me of her
son's wanderings from the strict path of morality in which she had
tried to rear him. Young Payne's father had died some twelve years
before, and she had taken her son Lewellyn to Europe to finish his
education. Being of Scotch origin herself, and most of her relations
residing in and about Edinboro', she had taken him to the university
there, whence, after leaving college, she went to the Continent with
him. Finally, spending a season at Baden Baden, young Payne caught
there the fashionable mania for gambling, which was proving his ruin.
She was ready to spend liberally of her means in order to reform him,
and wished me to spare no expense necessary in the course which I
pointed out to her. I found it necessary to take an office or desk as a
lawyer in Jauncey Court, out of Wall Street, and had some cards struck
off, announcing myself as an attorney at law. Three or four days passed
before I thought best to make the acquaintance of the young man, the
mother having stated to me, meanwhile, a legal matter of hers in
Kentucky, on which I had taken advice, so as to be able to talk
learnedly to the son.

All being arranged, the mother told the son that she found they had a
lawyer in the house, and had thought best to consult him regarding the
matter in Kentucky, and was pleased with his advice, but would like him
(young Payne) to talk with the lawyer also. Through this means I made
the acquaintance of young Payne next day, and invited him down to my
office. He said he should have occasion to go into Wall Street that
very day, and would call about three P. M. Of course I was there,
received him, spoke of the library, which was quite large, as mine, and
played the lawyer to the best of my abilities. We went out to a
restaurant together, and I allowed myself to accept his treat to a
little wine; and, in short, before reaching home that evening, for we
went up town together, I felt very certain that I had properly
impressed young Payne with my consequence, and with the notion, too,
that I was no "blue-skin," but ready always for a little "fun."

Mrs. Payne looked a degree or two improved that evening when she saw
how swimmingly her son and I were getting on in our acquaintance.

After supper, young Payne said he had an engagement out, and would bid
me good evening. But I said, "I am going out too; perhaps our paths may
lie along together for a while. I am going down town."

"So am I," said he, "and I should be pleased with your company as far
as you may go."

I left the house with him, and we proceeded to Broadway, and turned
down, talking over many things, and managing to agree pretty well upon
them all. At last, as we neared 8th Street, I thought I saw that young
Payne was a little uneasy, as if wishing to shake me off; and I said to
him, "Well, good evening, Mr. Payne," offering him my hand. "My course
leads this way," pointing to the left, and turning in that direction.
"I suppose you keep down farther."

"Yes," said he, "I am going on farther," and bowing me an "adieu, for
the while," he passed on, and I kept a good look out for him, for I
"scented" that he expected to meet somebody not far from that point.
Dropping into a saloon near by, where a friend of mine was engaged, I
left my "stove-pipe" hat, and pulled from my pocket a thin "slouched"
hat, which I carried for occasion, and taking the opposite side of the
street from Payne, kept him in sight till he passed into the New York
Hotel, when I crossed over, and entered. I had hardly done so before
he, returning from the back portion of the hall in company with
another, passed by me. His companion was evidently telling him a funny
story, for he laughed quite loudly, and was hitting Payne, as if in
glee, upon his shoulder. I knew my man, both by his voice and face,
which was partly concealed by the manner in which he, at this moment,
had fixed his hat upon his head. He was unmistakably Blanchard, alias
"Collins," and my blood was up. Blanchard, the villain, had ruined the
husband of my cousin Elizabeth ----. "Bettie," as we familiarly called
her, was one of the sweetest women I ever saw,--my most cherished
cousin, of whom I was proud in every sense,--and the griefs which bore
her down, in the ruin of her husband, pierced my heart, and I resolved
to be avenged, if possible, upon this villain Blanchard, who had worked
her husband's downfall, and robbed him of every dollar. The husband had
been at one time in the enjoyment of a lucrative trade, as a merchant
of woollen goods, and had a fine standing with some of the best
manufacturers in Rhode Island and elsewhere, and was on what seemed the
sure road to a great fortune, when he unluckily fell into the clutches
of Blanchard. Indeed, I too had suffered by Blanchard, to no small
extent for me, having been indorser of some of my cousin's paper, which
went to protest, and which I had at last to pay. I do not allow myself
to cherish enmity against my fellow-man. The detective soon learns to
not be surprised at finding the man of the best reputation frequently
involved in crime, and he comes to look with charity upon the faults,
and even the crimes, of his fellow-men. Comparatively, men do not, in
society, differ at heart so greatly as the uninitiated might imagine.
But few men are proof against the wiles of "circumstances." No man can
really tell what he would have done, or would not have done, had he
been placed in these or those circumstances by which some other man has
been led on to a career of crime, or to some dark deed. But I could
never wholly suppress my longing for vengeance whenever Blanchard came
into my mind, and on this occasion my temper was quite as intense as I
could well control.

I turned when Payne and his friend had passed a proper distance on, and
taking the sidewalk, followed them near to a house in Houston Street,
which I saw them enter. I did not know the character of the house then,
but was satisfied that it was a "hell" of some sort--a genteel one, for
its outward appearances indicated as much; but I made myself acquainted
with the probable character of the place before I returned to my
boarding-house that night.

The next day Payne was not up till two o'clock in the afternoon, and I
feigned illness enough to delay me at home that day, in order to make
further study of him. When he came into the general parlor, I saw that
there was a peculiar haggardness about his countenance, not such as
over-drinking or ordinary mere dissipation gives. To me it was a
tell-tale haggardness, and I felt I knew full well that he was on the
last plank, and just about to be submerged beneath the waves of
irretrievable ruin. So he looked, so he felt, too, of course. I entered
into conversation with him, drew out some of his experiences in New
York, and gradually led him on to the disclosure of some pretty serious
confessions. At last he told me that he had run a wild career, but had
made up his mind to reform, and find some useful employment. "But,"
said he, "I've promised myself to do so a thousand times before, and
have failed as often to make a beginning."

"I know your case," said I. "I've known a great many such. There's
always ground for hope, I assure you, so long as the desire to escape
exists. But each case has its peculiarities. One case is never an exact
representation of another, of course."

We carried on the conversation for a while longer, till we came to a
point where Mr. Payne, in giving me a description of some friends whom
he had made since he came to New York, spoke of his friend "Collins" as
a very "brilliant, dashing fellow," who was a nondescript for him,
otherwise, in character. I was, of course, more interested at this
point than at any other, which must have been manifest at once to young
Payne. He told me of some of his and Collins' adventures. In all these
I could clearly see the workings of the villain Blanchard, and I was
several times on the point of uttering my full views to Mr. Payne, but
I thought it an hour too early in our acquaintance to do so, and so
delayed to do it.

Another day came. I was out all day away from the house, but not idle,
for I managed to learn more of "Collins'" or Blanchard's proceedings
for the last few months before, of his places of resort, etc.; but when
I returned at evening, before Mr. Payne's usual hour for going abroad,
I found him in great dejection; and having opportunity to converse with
him, approached him, and was soon invited to his room. It was not long
before our conversation took such shape that I was able to breathe to
him some of my suspicions. Payne listened with surprise; but I drew
Blanchard's modes of proceeding, his general character, etc., so
accurately, that Payne became more than half convinced that "Collins"
and Blanchard were one. In short, I got down into Payne's heart before
our conversation concluded that evening. It was necessary for him to go
forth again that night, or, I think, he would have held me in his room
all night, reciting his adventures and running over his mistakes. I saw
that he was utterly ruined, beyond all hope, unless I could manage to
get out of the hands of his captors a large number of collaterals,
which he had for the space of three months past left in their hands, as
security for promissory notes to a large amount which he had given
them, and to pay which he was looking to the sale of some property in
Kentucky, and for some dividends on stock in a manufactory in
Cincinnati, which, however, was itself pledged. These were debts of
honor, as he, up to that moment, had regarded them, and must be paid,
no matter if paying them more than bankrupted him. Indeed, he had
played and lost far beyond the sum of his actual property, so desperate
had he become in the matter; and the gamblers, his elegant friends,
were willing to show their gentlemanly confidence in him, and trusted
him more,--the well-bred scoundrels. But I pointed out to him the fact
that he had (which was evident enough to me) been victimized by
villains who never play an honorable game of hazard; indeed, who never
play a game of hazard at all, since all is in their hands and under
their perfect control. When he came to see this, and reflect upon each
step, and saw how the thing had been done, and also that, as his
memory, now excited, called all vividly before him, when he had lost
heavily with the gang they had, without doubt, in every instance played
a false game, the dark shades deepened in his face.

Mr. Payne became at first very serious, but at the close of our
conversation I saw that his mind had become quite calm: he was very
deliberate. The muscles about his mouth assumed a firmer expression. I
could easily see that he was meditating some way of revenge on the
scoundrels who would have gladly ruined him in all respects, as they
had already done in some. Finally he said to me, "You seem to
understand all about these villains. How came you to know them so well?
Have you ever been victimized by them?"

"No, not victimized; but I came to learn these characters through my
profession. Professional men are compelled to know more or less of
them, and it has been my lot to be greatly interested; in fact,
somewhat involved in a matter in which Blanchard, or, as you know him,
'Collins,' was the principal actor; and I'll say to you here, that it
would give me the keenest pleasure to give you any aid in my power as
against that wretch."

Mr. Payne's time for going out that evening had come, and I left the
house at the same time with him, hoping that he would do something, or
that something would occur on my walk with him, to further my projects.
But we parted that evening with nothing done. But next day Payne came
to me at my office in Wall Street about twelve o'clock. He was uneasy,
and did not wish to sit down to talk, and asked me if I would walk with
him. We sallied out up to Broadway, and along it; got to Courtlandt
Street, when he said, "Somehow I feel a great inclination to go down to
the water. Suppose we go over in the ferry to Jersey City."


Of course I was ready to humor him, for I well knew the agitated state
of his mind; and down to the dock and over the river we went, and
arriving in Jersey City, Payne having no special point of destination,
we wandered the streets and talked. He told me his whole story over, as
of the night before, and added to it many touching incidents. "Help me
now, I beg you, if you can." I asked him if this gang dealt in
counterfeit money at all, and found that he knew nothing about it. This
was a relief, in one sense, to me, and a surprise in another; and I
thought, "Perhaps I may be mistaken after all." But we planned, as the
result of our day's conversation, that, as a first step, he should take
"Collins" that evening into the "Atlantic Beer Garden," in the Bowery,
to take beer (of which he said Collins was very fond, not drinking
anything else intoxicating), to treat him, and I should come in
carelessly, but unexpectedly, upon him. And he should present me at
once to "Collins" as Mr. "Wilson," the name I had assumed on my legal
card, but which I did not explain the reason for at that time to Mr.

That night I came upon the twain at the place proposed, where they were
sitting at a table over pots of beer, and smoking, when I, darting in,
called for a pot of beer; and seeing Payne, pushed up to his table,
extending my hand. "Ah, here, eh? Mr. Payne; very glad to meet you?"
"Take a seat with us," said he. "This is my friend, Mr. Collins, Mr.

I looked into "Collins'" eyes; gave him a wink, as much as to say, "Mr.
Payne thinks my name is Wilson; you know better; keep still." Of course
"Collins" was as anxious that I should not call him Blanchard, as I was
that he should address me as Wilson. "And," he said, "Mr. Wilson--I am
glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Wilson. Let's fill up, Mr. Payne,"
for their mugs were dry, "and invite Mr. Wilson to take what he likes
with us." "Thank you, gentlemen, but here comes my beer. I'll wait for
you to fill up again." I put "Collins" quite at ease, and we drank, and
told stories, and sang a song or two. So well did Collins and I
disguise the fact that we had ever heard of each other that Payne, as
he afterwards told me, made up his mind soon that I had been utterly
mistaken in the man.

We had nearly finished our cups at the table, when Payne, spying a
southern friend coming into the saloon, with a number of others, asked
to be excused for a moment, and left us.

"The devil!" said Blanchard; "how did you come to know Payne?"

"O, he is one of the acquaintances one picks up in the city, he hardly
knows how."

"Yes, yes; but as I happened, by the mistake of a partial acquaintance,
to be introduced to him as 'Collins,' I have let it go so. I hope
you'll be as careful the rest of the evening to not call me Blanchard,
as you have."

"O, we are in the same boat, 'Collins,' you see! He calls me 'Wilson,'
and I let it go at that."

"But," said Blanchard, "I must say, 'Wilson,' you are very complaisant,
and I hardly thought you would speak to me at all."

"O, well, Blanchard, we grow wiser as we grow older. We don't see
things, generally, in the same light we used to."

"True," said he; "and I am glad to find you not unkindly
disposed,"--and I doubt not that he was, for he well knew how I loved
my cousin, and that I knew he was the cause of her husband's downfall,
and her greatest griefs.

"What are you doing these days?" asked B.

"I've turned lawyer," said I, "and have an office on Wall Street.
Here's my card. Don't like my profession over much, and so find time to
speculate more or less." (Blanchard had never known that I had become a
detective, fortunately. Though living in the same city we had been,
practically, as wide apart as the poles.)

"What are _you_ doing?" I asked in turn.

"Well, I am speculating, too, a little," said he, with a half-inquiring
wink in his eyes.

"I see you misinterpret me a little," said I. "Not so much either," I
continued, "for I speculate in Wall Street some, and elsewhere some."

"The fact is," said 'Collins,' "I am getting to be very much attracted
by sundry speculations, though I lose money as fast as I make it. I was
on my way to-night on a little speculation. Perhaps you'd like to go
along." In paying for my beer I had purposely made display of all the
money I had,--quite a pile,--and doubtless Collins' gambling avarice
was a little whetted, or he might not have invited me along.

Payne returned to us; and Collins telling him that he had invited me to
accompany them "for a little fun to-night," we sallied forth, and were
not long in crossing Broadway, and finding ourselves in a suite of
rooms, which, as soon as I set my eyes on them, I understood as one of
the worst of the second-class of gambling hells in the city.

Roulette, dice, and the latter loaded, and every other appurtenance of
such a place, as well as cards and a faro bank, were there. The whole
air of the place, the men at play and about the boards, were assurance
to me that I was on the right track of the counterfeiters; but I felt
at once that the game I had to play was a desperate one; that these
fellows were the worst sort of cutthroats.

We both played a little, Payne and I; but Collins played not at all
that night, except the part of a particular "friend" to Payne in
various ways. I lost considerable, Payne lost more, and his note was
received on demand; but still with the understanding that he was not to
be asked to cash it till his Kentucky remittance came on. It was a part
of my plan to play and lose a little that night, to furnish occasion to
come again; and when we parted to go home, the "gentleman" of the
establishment, to whom Collins had introduced me as Wilson, said, "Mr.
Wilson, now you've learned the way, drop in occasionally. Poor luck
don't run always."

"Ha, ha!" said I, "gentlemen," taking the matter good-humoredly. "I'm
not feeling very well to-night; but you can expect me around some time
to break your bank when I am in good spirits."

"That's right, come along any time. We like bold players, if they do
clean us out sometimes; nothing like spirit,"--and we bowed ourselves

It was arranged by me and Payne, as we betook ourselves home, that he
should continue to go there and play a little every night till his
money came; that then he should offer to play all his pile against his
indebtedness to the concern, his notes of hand, and all the collaterals
he had pledged. I knew the gamblers would catch at that, and count him
a bigger fool than ever. I was to be there, and play too. Payne
continued to visit the place, played less and less each night, and at
last declared to them that he would not be in again till his money
came. "And," said he "I'm going to take Wilson in, as my partner--he
has a pile." Meanwhile I reported to my old chief, and had all things
arranged for a descent upon the place if I should be able to work the
matter up to the proper point by the time Payne's money came. The money
came. Payne's fifteen thousand dollars, in good money, I knew would be
a temptation to the villains, although his indebtedness to them had
increased to over twenty-five thousand dollars, and we went to the den;
I having my force of policemen in training, and ready for my call. It
was a wet night. There was quite a number of visitors in early in the
evening; but they straggled home, as the rain increased, some not
having umbrellas with them, and for various reasons, and we were left,
eventually, almost alone with the regular keepers of the place; and
Payne was asked if his money had come? "Yes, gentlemen, fifteen
thousand dollars of it; all I shall get for more than a year to come,
and I'm going to hazard it all against my notes and the collaterals you

"All right," said the leading genius of the place. "All right," said
"Collins," aloud; but he stepped up to Payne, and kindly whispered in
his ear, "But would you do it? I wouldn't hazard it now. Play half for
half, say; for if you should lose all, you know--well, do as you like."

"Yes, I will do as I like--I'll play all." There was a smile of
fiendish triumph then on Collins' face, which Payne did not see, but
_I_ did, and I couldn't help feeling a pulse of vengeance beating in my
heart as I contemplated how soon the scoundrel's face might change its
expression. Payne's money was put up; one game was to decide the whole.
His notes were put up on the table, by the other side, to the amount of
fifteen thousand dollars.

"But where are the rest?" said he. "No trifling; and where are the
collaterals?" and there was bickering about the understanding, and I
was appealed to. "I did not wish to interfere," I said; but that "I
understood it was to be a clean sweep. But as there was a
misunderstanding, perhaps 'twasn't best to play at all to-night; wait
for another occasion, and Payne take his money and go."

The gamblers saw it was of no use to pretend further misunderstanding,
and that Payne's money was likely to be more readily "gobbled up" then
than if they were to wait, and consented to put all on the table,
though as the collaterals were packed away and locked in the safe, they
proposed to put money up instead--ten thousand dollars.

"No, no," said Payne, "I want to see the whole on the table. I want to
look at 'em once more. There's my Harry Clay watch" (a very fine five
hundred dollar watch); "I want to look her in the face again--play
better, I tell you, gentlemen, in her smiles;" and so he went on. I was
at the instant disposed to favor him; but on second thought I suspected
that that money would be mostly, if not wholly counterfeit, and I saw
if it was, how I would trap the scoundrels, and save Payne's fifteen
thousand too, as well as get up his notes and all his collaterals; and
I interposed. "No need, Mr. Payne, of troubling to get out the
collaterals. The money at hand's just as good, and if you win you can
buy back the collaterals."

"Yes, yes, that's it," said Collins, eager now to see the foolish Payne
slaughtered. The money was produced. "Here, count it if you please, Mr.
Wilson," said Payne, as the first bundle of a thousand dollars was
thrown upon the table.

I caught it up carelessly, and ran it over rapidly. "One thousand,"
said I, all right; and so with the next, and the next, till the fifth
had been counted, when I said, "Mr. Payne, there's no use counting the
rest; I guarantee it all right." It is not easy to deceive me with a
counterfeit bill at any time; but that night, alert and watchful, I
could have sworn that more than nine tenths of the money I counted was
counterfeit. The play came. I declined to join as "partner" of Payne,
as he had called me. He played tremblingly. I began to fear that he
would not hold out till the proper time for me to expect my men; but he
did, and just as the game was about concluding, disastrously to him,
there came a ring at the door-bell. The servant hurried down, and the
excited gamblers bade Payne "play, play." Up came a dandy-looking chap,
apparently intoxicated. He was my man. He blundered around, took a
little wine from the side-board, and said maudlin things; staggered on
to the board, made the gamblers angry, one of whom drew a light cane
over him. I interposed, took his part, said that they should excuse
him; if he was a fool, he was drunk; should be pardoned if he asked
pardon; and, taking advantage of the black boy's absence in the
exterior room, said, "I'll show him down, and get him out of the way."
"Wilson, you are always so polite and obliging," said Blanchard,
facetiously, as I led out the stranger, who was very loath to go, and
needed some encouragement.


"Just so," said I. "Don't you think I'd make an excellent waiter here?"

"Yes, we must employ you. What do you want by the month?"

"Talk about that when I come up," said I.

We went down the stairs--two flights--but to return. I opened the door,
the "stranger" gave the signal he had arranged with the rest of the
men, and eight stalwart, well-armed policemen were in the house, and
silently on their way up those stairs; the stranger fighting me, and
pulling me along up, making some noise, and more drunk than ever. "Our
friend won't go out," said I: "insists on staying."

"D--n him! _I'll put_ him out," said one. "No you won't," said the
stranger, drawing a pistol, and calling out to our followers, who were
just at our heels, "Come on, boys!" and there was a rush into that room
which startled every gambler to his feet, only to be throttled by a
policeman. There were six of the villains, including Collins, and the
policemen had no little trouble to silence them. The drunken stranger
immediately seized all the money on the table, notes and all, and
ordered the gamblers manacled on the spot, which was done. Payne then
told them his story (as I narrated before only in short), asked to have
his collaterals delivered up. In short, the gamblers were ready for
anything. The counterfeit money was in our hands, and the evidence
complete. Payne got all his notes back, which were at once put in the
grate and burned, and all his collaterals, his fifteen thousand dollars
of money, and was satisfied. But I was not; and a compromise was made
that on the delivering up of all the counterfeit money they had about
them the gang should give up the rooms and disperse, all but two of
them, one of whom was my man Blanchard, and another desperate scamp
whom the police wanted to answer to a charge of burglary in
Philadelphia. The safe was searched; all its counterfeit money given
up, and all the collaterals, with the names of parties who had pledged
them for gambling debts, were delivered into the police's hands. The
rest were then allowed to escape; but Blanchard, and Johnson (the
Philadelphia burglar), were ironed and taken to the tombs.

"Blanchard" was tried before the United States Court in due time, but
under another name, which, unfortunately for his respectable relatives,
became known as his proper one before the trial came on, and was sent
for five years to Sing Sing.

Johnson was, after due process of requisition by the governor of
Pennsylvania, on the governor of New York, taken to Philadelphia,
tried, and sent up for ten years.

In a short time after the breaking up of this gang proceedings were
taken to find the parties to whom the collaterals, other than Payne's,
belonged, in order to deliver them up. It took a good while to find and
surely identify them; and this delivery led to information regarding
various matters which needed the keenest detectives to unravel. I was
overrun with business, in consequence, for months after, incidents of
which I may think best to relate in other papers.

Mr. Payne was the happiest of men over his good fortune, and insisted
on deeding to me some very valuable real estate in Kentucky, besides
giving me more money than I had the face to ask. He became my fast
friend, as he remains to-day.

But there was a happier mortal than he in those days, in New York, when
all came to be disclosed, and that was the beautiful, noble old lady,
his mother, Mrs. Payne. She could hardly contain herself in her joy,
when Lewellyn made clean confession of all his misdeeds, all his great
sins, and pledged her that he would not only never play cards again for
a cent, not even for fun--a pledge which he sacredly keeps to this day.
His experiences were too great, his sufferings had been too severe, to
be forgotten; and Mr. Payne, in due course of time, went into
legitimate business, in which he has proven himself a very capable man.

Good old Mrs. Payne lived happily with her reformed son for about four
years and a half, and at last died of a fever, which followed a cold
contracted one wet day, on Mount Washington, New Hampshire, where she
and her son were passing a summer vacation, and her remains were taken
back to Kentucky. I had the honor of accompanying Mr. Payne on his
mournful journey there.


                      THE GENEALOGICAL SWINDLERS.



The pride of ancestry is usually great among those whose ancestors
possessed any traits of character worthy to be remembered, or did deeds
of which history has made emblazoned record, or who held large estates,
or were in other respects distinguished,--and justly great is this
pride, perhaps. However, it is not to be overlooked that, as a general
thing, how great soever the pride of the progeny may justly be, that of
the ancestors would probably not have been extreme, in most cases,
could they have looked forward for a few generations, and seen what
their successors in time were to be. It is not certain that some of
them would have refused to have successors at all, and might not in
very shame have betaken themselves to the cloister, in celibacy, or
forsworn their mistresses altogether. And could their ancestors have
foreseen that even their greatness would be overshadowed by the large
or small estates which they might leave, what would have been their
disgust or displeasure, is left to us to conjecture.

But a "pride of ancestry" has developed itself in this country, which,
if it is not altogether profitable to those exercising it, is sometimes
made so to others; to lawyers who seek fortunes for others, and who,
for due fees, are ready to hunt up "estates in chancery" in England,
and find them, too, _if_ they are there,--which is the only requisite
for the finding, except the fees. At sundry times many families get it
into their heads that there ought to be property of their ancestors
preserved somewhere for them, and talking up the matter among
themselves, get feverish over it, and finally assure themselves that
such property exists, and that it is their first duty to procure it.
Such people become an easy prey to speculating lawyers and others, who
find it an easy thing to whet their hopes, and procure money from them
to make "primary investigations." A shrewd lawyer, wishing to make the
tour of Europe, for example, can readily play upon the credulity of
some such family, and induce them to advance him a few hundred dollars
to go to England with to examine records, and so forth; and when there,
can send home such a "statement of the case," so full of hope, as to
evoke a few hundred, or a thousand or two more dollars, in order to
retain and pay first-class counsel. It is a shame to our people that so
many of them fall victims to the greed for money in this line.

I hardly knew whether the more to be vexed at the stupidity of the
sufferers, or amused by the skill of the intriguing scamps who
perpetrated the swindle I am about to disclose, when I first heard of
it; and _I_ confess I haven't yet come to a decision on that point
after the lapse of a dozen years or so.

I was called on one day by a Western merchant, an old man, by the name
of King. He was a New Yorker by birth, he said, born in a place called
Janesville, in Saratoga County, where he had lived to maturity, had
then done business in New York City till he had reached beyond middle
age, when, failing in business, he had retired to some land he had, in
the course of business, acquired in Illinois; but finding farming
irksome, had managed to open a little country store, which had grown
upon his hands until he had, in the process of time, become rich, and
was in the habit of visiting his old home in Saratoga County every
year, and also coming on to the city, sometimes to select goods, though
his junior partners came down at the same time, and did the principal
business. The old man had learned to drink whiskey at the West, in
order to keep off the "fever-na-gur," as he called it, and at the time
of visiting me, had evidently not gotten over his last "fuddle" at
home, some weeks before, or had somehow managed to get abundance of
that creature comfort--"old rye"--in New York; not that he was drunk,
but he was "keyed up" to a good pitch--a height from which he surveyed
all the glory of the King family, and felt that nothing but royal blood
flowed in his own veins; and who knows but the blood was royal? It
might have been the whiskey, however,--but what matters it? The old man
descanted a long time on the glory of his ancestry, and the pride of
his race; claimed relationship to the great Rufus King of New York, and
all the Kings by name, who were of any account; spoke of their natural
pride; said that they were always ready to avenge any insult to their
name, come from what source it might, and so forth, and so forth. It
was in vain that I interrupted him at times at the end of a sentence,
in order to ask him to come to the point. Talk he would, in his own
way; and as he was a white-haired man, the outlines of whose face
showed that he was a gentleman when not in liquor, especially (and he
was thoroughly gentlemanly at the time, though vexatiously garrulous),
I thought I would let him have his talk out in his own way. At last he
got to tell me that some months before he had been swindled out of a
dollar, and that a large number of the King family, he had recently
learned, had each been defrauded to the amount of a dollar, and that
some of them, moved by family pride, had, as he had been informed, made
effort to discover and punish the defrauding parties, but had failed.
He felt his pride wounded at this. The King family had made an effort
to find out the parties who had so questioned their good sense as to
successfully swindle them, and such a number of them, too--and failed.
This he could not endure. If all that had been lost had been wheedled
out of one member of the family, if he himself, for example, had been
the only victim, he could have endured that, and would, for the pride
of the name, have endured it in silence. But the whole race had been
insulted, the very family coat of arms had been mocked, and he would
not suffer it any longer. There had been, a few days before he came to
me, a large gathering of the King family from all over the country. If
I remember rightly, this was at New Haven, about the time of
commencement at Yale College. The Kings of Georgia shook hands there
with the Kings of New York and the Western States, and so on; and it
was there that he learned how extensive had been the swindle. Some of
the family had talked and laughed about it as a good joke, and poked
fun at each other about it. But the old man considered that these were
degenerate in spirit, and spoke of them with a degree of shame. Persons
present at the gathering, with King blood in their veins, but bearing
other than the King name,--the sons of King daughters, by men who
rejoiced not in so royal a name,--made great sport of the swindle, and
said that people high in position, like Kings, emperors, etc., were
more subject to such things than people of undistinguished names and of
low estate, and assured the King relatives that the latter ought to
feel complimented by the deference that had been paid to them by the
swindlers. The old man felt sore over this style of joking; felt that
the name had been trifled with, and he was resolved to let the jokers
"see that there was yet the 'true spirit' in the King blood to avenge
an insult,"--and so he did at last. He was not particular about
"terms." He was willing to pay abundantly, for he was rich,--rich on
that day, at least,--and persuaded me to take hold of the matter by
advancing me,--and insisting on my taking it,--double what I told him
it might cost to make thorough work of the matter. I told him I had not
a particle of hope, for I saw no prospect whatever of tracing out the
perpetrators of this fraud in question months after it had been
accomplished. But I took the matter in hand, and hearing his story in
full, told him to call next day, for I might, on reflection, wish to
consult him again. He left with me a letter, which a son of his had
received--the man to whom I was indebted for my engagement in the
matter. His son, and a partner of his in business at Utica, N. Y., had
about a year before had occasion to engage my services in tracing out
some forgers, who had been "speculating" a little upon them; and when
he found his father, against his advice, was determined to do something
about the matter in question, he told him he had better employ a
regular detective, and so sent him to me. I kept this letter for a long
time, and, indeed, had three or four copies of it, which I got, some
from the Kings, and others from some persons by the name of Perkins,
who had been victimized at the same time. I supposed I could readily
find a copy now; but in the multitude of vicissitudes to which a
detective's papers and "things sacred," as well as those of other
people, are subjected, the letters have become misplaced or lost. But
my memory is pretty retentive, and I can reproduce the letter so nearly
that I presume several thousands of people in the land would, trusting
to their own memories, say that it is a perfect copy, for these several
thousands and their families were the victims. The letter purported to
be, at its head, the advertisement of a great firm of lawyers in New
York City; or rather the professional firm name was displayed in type
at the head of an ordinary full-sized letter sheet, thus:--

                         LORD, KING, & GRAHAM,

                  _Attorneys and Counsellors at Law_.

                       (Address, P. O. box 1070.)


                                            _New York_, ----, 185.

[The above was printed in an elegant manner upon the nicest paper.
Under this was _written_ a letter, the same to the Kings, the Lords,
the Grahams, and Perkinses, with the exception that when writing to a
King, the "King family" was named, in the place where, when writing to
a Perkins, the "Perkins family" was named; and the letter ran pretty
much after this sort; for example:--]


            _Quincy, Illinois_.

    DEAR SIR: Our firm, in the course of investigations, which it
    has made during the last year among the records of the High
    Court of Chancery in England, discovered that there is a vast
    estate lying in chancery there for the descendants of John
    King, who came to this country in the year 1754, as near as we
    can learn. In behalf of the King family in this country, I have
    undertaken to make out a genealogical list of the direct
    descendants, and their branches, from said John, and have found
    a branch, of which I suppose you to be a member, and if so,
    entitled to your share in the estate. Will you have the
    kindness to forward me your pedigree, as fully as you
    understand it, or are able to obtain it? I am making out a
    genealogy of the King family, which will be furnished to those
    wanting at its cost price, one dollar. This list will be used
    in bringing suit in England, and it is desirable that all Kings
    claiming relationship to the said John should be registered
    therein, as this will be made a part of the pleadings in the
    case, and, according to a peculiarity of the English law, only
    such as are thus made parties to this suit will receive a share
    in the estate. Your name will be at once registered on receipt
    of the dollar and your pedigree. Please be as particular as you
    can about the latter.

                                   Yours, very respectfully,

                                                      WILLIS KING.

The letters I saw all seemed to be written in the same rapid,
half-clerkly, half-lawyerlike, but elegant scrawl, whether written to a
Perkins or a King. It will be seen that the third partner--"J. Perkins
Graham"--could represent both the Graham and the Perkins family, and I
suppose he did. So there were in the scheme four families to be preyed
upon,--Lord, King, Graham, and Perkins; and these families are numerous
over the land, and many of them in high positions. I learned from the
scamps, after their detection, that they received all sorts of
epistles, from the lowly Lord up to the exalted one, who wrote on paper
displaying flaming coats of arms, and their letters bearing a huge
seal. So with the rest of the families. The swindlers had spent some
time in hunting through all the directories of other cities and towns
which they could find in New York, and gathered all they could from
advertisements in newspapers for a year or so, before they launched out
in their long-meditated scheme. Meanwhile they were practising their
cunning arts in other swindles. They also wrote to the postmasters of a
large number of towns, enclosing to one a letter for a King, to another
a letter for a Perkins, to still another a letter for a Graham, asking
each postmaster to have the kindness to "read the accompanying letter,"
and to pass it over to any King, Perkins, and so on, who might be
within the delivery of his office, or in his vicinity. These letters
they got copied by a clerk at a few cents (five, I think) apiece. So
when they got a dollar back it paid for about twelve letters, inclusive
of stationery and postage. A hundred letters and the postage would cost
them about twelve dollars, and from a hundred they would probably get
fifty, if not more, favorable answers. From several thousand letters
they received several thousand dollars, aside from large sums which, by
subsequent correspondence, they swindled out of such pompous, or other
parties, as, judging by their letters, they thought they could further
entrap. Some of these forwarding to the famous firm of Lord, King, &
Graham as high as a hundred dollars to be guaranteed _especial_ effort
in their behalf! It is almost too preposterous to be believed, but such
was the fact--such the credulity of some who occupied political
positions of note; one of them, indeed, being at the time a member of
Congress! But credulity in matters of this kind is a weakness, alike of
the poor and the rich, the educated and uneducated. The device of these
swindlers proved to be more profitable than one would have, on first
thought, judged possible, so much greater is human credulity than we
are wont to consider it. Perhaps credulity is the only thing in the
world that we are not apt to overrate. But it is not strange that it
should be great touching material things, when in matters of religion
the most absurd fancies have, from time immemorial, down through the
ages of Oriental, pagan, and other religions to the days of
Mohammedanism and Mormonism, had possession of the human soul, ruled
nations, gathered armies, and taught millions of millions of human
beings to sacrifice each other in death, willingly and proudly. And in
the matter of money-getting, where hope may be whetted, in order to
inspire the actor,--as in reaching out for a fortune in
chancery,--their credulity usurps a wondrous supremacy, and carries all
along with it. So many of the most intelligent representatives of the
various families addressed by "Lord, King, & Graham" fell as readily
into the trap as the least intelligent. Now and then a man, a little
more wary than the rest, wrote, wishing to make further inquiries about
the property in chancery, how it came to be discovered, what was its
amount, about how many, probably, it would have to be divided between,
etc., etc. But he could not, after asking so many questions, neglect to
enclose the small amount of a dollar; and the swindlers taking his
measure by his letter, would generally reply in so cunning a manner as
to finally elicit from him a "contribution" of from twenty-five to a
hundred dollars, in order to prosecute the matter in England.

In some instances persons who had received letters wrote that they were
coming on to New York in a few days, and would call and talk over the
matter. Replies would be made to these, that "_our_ Mr. Perkins," or
"Mr. Lord," or whatever name the special letter-writer bore, and "who
has exclusive charge of the matter in question," is away from home,
gone to meet some of the family in--(Kentucky, for example); that he
would proceed, immediately on his return, to England, etc., so as to
keep the party from making investigations, and finding that there was
no such firm as "Lord, King, & Graham," generally managing to conclude
the letter in some such way as not only to win the one dollar at once,
but to elicit more from the man; as, for instance, suggesting that some
of the Perkinses were making up a sum, by the contribution of ten
dollars each, to secure special legal talent in England, and intimating
that the interests of those who took a generous and manly part in
prosecuting the matter would be likely to be better looked out for than
would the interests of those who are not so generous. The family pride
of the correspondent would often be flattered in such a way as to make
him go deeper into his pockets. The recital of affairs, as given me by
one of the swindlers, himself a young man of fine education and genius,
was very amusing. It was a pity, he said, that they had not preserved
all the correspondence. It would have made a most remarkable book, as
funny, in parts, as anything Thackeray ever wrote. It was serious and
serio-comical; bombastic and Pecksniffianly humble. It represented all
grades of society, from the "Lord" who "drove stage" for a living, up
to the "King" who had a seat in Congress. Widows, whose deceased
husbands' names had been culled from ten years old directories, wrote
mournful stories about "the late Mr. William Lord," or "James Perkins,"
or whatever the names might have been, and declared that their late
partners had always told them there was an immense estate in England
for them, and so on. The pious and the less pious each wrote his
peculiar letter. But what was most noticeable was, that almost all of
them assumed the airs of "nabobs." And why shouldn't they? Were they
not on the eve of becoming immensely rich? And what is there in this
world, with its grievous labors and trials, comparable to riches? I
presume this same sort of trick could be successfully played with
almost any family in the land which has an American line extending back
of the Revolution, say, for a hundred years, and with many of less age,
so great is the desire to get riches. Indeed, there is a lawyer in
Vermont who has made the matter of searching out estates in England a
study. He spent ten years in England in hunting up genealogies and
titles; has a regular partner in London to whom he transmits business
from this country, and publishes a good-sized pamphlet filled with the
names of families residing in America, and entitled to property in
England. This lawyer now and then gets an important case, in which his
fees amount to something handsome,--sometimes to twenty thousand

But this is wandering from the direct line of my story, though,
perchance, it is far more interesting than the simple detecting part of
the tale. My old friend King left the city, and went home a few days
after I accepted the work; but his interest did not flag because he had
handed over the matter to another, but rather increased. His letters
were very frequent, sometimes three a week, none of which, except the
first, did I take the trouble to reply to for a long while. I soon
found that I needed more facts than I had in my possession to enable me
to reach any practical result. It was impossible to find any job
printer in the city who had ever done a job for "Lord, King, and
Graham." Nobody had ever seen the letter-head before, and no one could
suggest where the work was probably done. It was not recognized as like
the style of anybody. Possibly it was done out of the city; but the
fact was, as I afterwards learned, that it had been done privately by a
firm which had meanwhile failed in business, and I was baffled on that
point. I expected to fail, and so gave but little heed to the matter;
but it finally occurred to me that if I could find some King, or
somebody else who had received a letter and not replied to it, that he
might at that late day make reply in such way as to get into a
correspondence with the parties, and I could then have them followed
from the post office, or in some other way trap them. About this time I
went on to Louisville, Ky., and there encountered a gentleman, one of
the King family,--we will call him Lemuel, for a name,--whom I had not
met in some fifteen years before. He was a New Yorker by birth, and I
had known him when a school-boy. Lemuel was a bright boy, and made a
most acute man. When I asked him if he had ever done business with
"Lord, King, & Graham," of New York, he laughed outright, and
exclaimed, "No; but my George, you knew him, has, and got badly
bitten." When I found out this, I disclosed to him my reason for
inquiring, and found that he had on file somewhere the letter from "L.,
K., & G.," which was hunted out, and we coined a letter to the firm,
which was calculated to wake up any one of them who should receive it.
Mr. King's letter had been found, sealed and unopened of course, in a
package of letters, and he wrote hastily, with great anxiety, to know
if it was too late yet to be put in the genealogical list for the
dollar; and intimated his desire to contribute anything of a reasonable
amount to the prosecution of the search and claim for the estate. This
letter was posted, and I hurried back to New York, suspecting that it
would appear in the list of advertised letters, as it did; and thinking
that it would meet the eye of some one of the firm who would be curious
to get it, I had a man stationed in the post office, along with the
delivery clerk, and when the man came, as I suspected he would, and
asked for the advertised letter, the clerk delayed the delivery long
enough to enable my man to get out near the fellow, and follow him. He
found that the man entered a law office in Nassau Street, and that the
real estate business was also attended to in the same office. So we
devised a business call upon the office, and got well acquainted with
the man who took out the letter. He caught at this bait, as I soon
learned from Louisville, and I carried a letter in reply to his, which
led him along till I was fully satisfied that the lawyers and real
estate men were all of a piece. I "laid in" with the post office clerk
to let me know when a letter bearing Mr. King's monogram, from
Louisville, should arrive. The clerk delayed its delivery one day, and
I made a call into the office at the time one of the partners went for
their mail. He returned smiling, and passed the letter, which he had
read, over to the other party. There was an amount of blind talk over
it. Finally they excused themselves to retire into the "counsel-room,"
and coming out, the lawyer sat down and answered the letter. I left the
office soon after, and had the letter intercepted at the post office,
which I took into my possession.

I then sent to Louisville for the letters which had preceded this, and
receiving the same, I now had the writing of two of them in my
possession, and I had managed in a business way to possess myself of
sundry documents written by each of these men, and I found other
parties, too, who could identify the handwriting of each; and having
secured these, I advertised in a Philadelphia paper, also in a Boston
paper, in one at Utica, and one in Cincinnati, to the effect that any
person by the name of King (that for Philadelphia), or any person by
the name of Lord (for Boston), and so on, might hear of something to
his advantage by calling on so and so any time during the week. I made
arrangements with brother detectives in these places to receive their
calls, and instructed them what to say. In this way I became, in the
course of two weeks, in possession of abundant facts to convince the
firm of Lord, King, & Graham that we had them trapped; and one day,
taking an officer along with me, and setting watch till I saw that the
two men I have spoken of were in their office, dropped in, and said,
"Gentlemen, I have been here often on business affairs, and we have got
along very pleasantly, and I have invariably found your advice good;
but I've something now which I fear will puzzle you; perhaps you can
help me out. By the way, if you please, as it's private, I'll lock the
door," stepping towards it.

"O, certainly, certainly," said both of them at once. I locked the
door, and putting the key in my pocket, said, "Perhaps, gentlemen, you
think I am over-cautious in pocketing the key; but my business is
serious, and--you are my prisoners." There was astonishment, and
differing shades of color going and coming on their cheeks.

"Give me the key!" exclaimed the lawyer, finally, resuming his
composure in a measure. "'Twouldn't do you any good," said I, "for I
have brother officers at the door, and the best way is to sit down and
talk over the matter coolly. You naturally wish to know why you are my
prisoners. I'll tell you. Some months ago you carried on a system of
frauds under the name of 'Lord, King, & Graham.' I was lately employed
to work up the case. I've all the facts necessary for your conviction;
your handwriting, and so forth, and so forth, in my possession;" and
then I read them a series of names of those they had swindled, and
said, "although I don't need to do so, yet I am going to cause your
back office there to be searched." One of them started to rise in his
seat. "Sit still, or I shall handcuff you," said I; and I stepped to
the door, called in the officer, relocked the door, and put the key in
my pocket, and directed my man to go into the other room and possess
himself of all books and papers which he could find there, and search
especially for anything bearing on the "Lord, King, & Graham"
business--(I had told him all about it before); "and, gentlemen, I
propose to take possession of all your papers here." My man was hunting
over matters vigorously in the other room while I was at work briskly
searching the larger room, when the lawyer rose, and said, "Gentlemen,
I see you've got us. I'll give you up what books there are left, and
you can make what you please out of them; they won't do you any good,
however." "Please to deliver them up, and I will see as to that." They
were produced--journals of accounts; and fortunately in one I found
three letters written out, but which, for some reason, had never been
sent, in the writing of "J. Perkins Graham," which I discovered to be
that of the letter written by the lawyer to my friend in Louisville. I
also searched the books, and found entries therein in his hand. Taking
out his letter from my pocket, "There," said I, "is your late letter to
Mr. King, of Louisville. I saw you write it, can prove your hand by a
half dozen persons in this building; and that" (taking up a newly-found
letter), "is yours, and here are entries in your hand, and I have your
friend caught still more firmly. Now you see the relation of things,
and we needn't dispute; how will you settle this business? All the
expenses I have been to must be met first, and you can't object to
paying a handsome sum for the education, discipline, and experience you
have had in this business. You've learned a good deal of human nature.
I don't propose to be hard with you, but my instructions are to expose
you through the public press,--you two, and the rest of you,--for I
know you all." There was consternation in their countenances, and I had
no great difficulty in bringing them to terms, for I informed them that
I knew all about their social standing, and that of their relatives,
especially dwelling upon the relatives of one of them who was at that
time absent, but whom I had inextricably caught with the rest. The
lawyer was willing, and so was his friend, to submit to "any reasonable
terms," an item of which was the returning to those whom they had
swindled out of ten dollars and upwards the money they had defrauded
them of, as nearly as from the books and memory they could make out,
and to bear the expense of such correspondence as I should think
necessary. They were also to pay all expenses I had been to, and to
give me full wages for the time I had been at work, the account of
which made no small sum. There was no need of my holding them under
arrest, for they could better afford to come to my terms than to run
away and be exposed in the public papers. Besides, they could not think
of such a thing on account of their relatives. The father of one of
them was a clergyman, in high standing, and the rest held higher social
position than he, and the terms, were duly complied with on the return
of the third party the next day.

I kept possession of the books, had a short letter, in the form of a
circular, printed and sent to all the parties whose names were on the
books, and were marked with a little cross, which they told me meant
those who had responded, in which was set forth the fact of the
swindle, with a request that each party should reply as to how much he
had lost, especially over ten dollars, and make affidavit of his loss
before some notary public or other officer in his vicinity. The amount
thus heard from was over three thousand dollars (not counting the
several thousands which came in one dollar at a time). On the three
thousand and upwards I charged, as permitted to do, ten per cent. for
"collecting;" but it was a bothersome business, and vexed me more than
it profited me. My acquaintance got to be somewhat intimate with those
sharpers, who were all men of education, and very adroit, as the reader
may well conceive, from the fact of their perpetrating their frauds on
some of the shrewdest and most important men in the land. They kept
files of some of their letters, as well as copy-books, which revealed
the most consummate skill on their part. Indeed, as I said before, I
sometimes hardly knew whether to swear, to laugh, or be indignant over
this subtle fraud.

Old Mr. King, who first employed me, was delighted with the detection
of the villains, but could never forgive me for not exposing them to
the public. However, he took all the credit which was fairly due him,
if not more, and considered that the good name of King in America was
at last preserved from the shame which easy imposition had brought it,
and used to say that the Lords, Perkinses, and Grahams of the country
all owed the Kings a great debt of gratitude. But as my name is not
King, I sometimes used to reflect that perhaps they owed gratitude to
some others than Kings as well, for the largest share of the money
returned went to Lords and Perkinses. Not a Graham, save one in North
Carolina, had been defrauded of over one dollar. For many it proved
better to have been swindled out of ten dollars or more, than it would
have been to have lost only a dollar,--a paradox, with a moral in it,
which I leave to the reader's solution.





It was my original intention when I contracted with my publishers for
these sketches from my diary, to avoid such narratives as hinged upon
matters of love between the sexes, and especially to avoid all those
matters of abduction of females for unholy purposes, the detection and
exposure of the schemes of procuresses, or the rescuing from a life of
infamy girls of respectable parentage and home surroundings, from both
the country and city--matters which frequently come into the hands of
detectives, and with which old detectives, in particular, are painfully
conversant. I could fill a quarto volume with what has come under my
own eye of that nature, with recitals far more romantic in their
truthfulness than are the cunning devices of the most imaginative
novelists. Indeed, the more astute novelists of the sensation school
are wise enough to gather instruction, and obtain from interviews with
detectives the plots which they work up, out of facts given them by
these officers. In my own experience I have been, indeed (at one time
especially, when it seemed to me as if all the scribblers had gone mad
upon sensation tales), harassed and vexed by what we would now term
"interviews," fishing from me the issues of this or that experience. It
was my purpose, to which I shall adhere, of course, to give publicity
to not a line in these narratives which may not properly fall under the
eye of the most fastidious or the most innocent child. Nevertheless,
such is the course of life the detective is obliged to lead, finding
himself frequently among the vilest characters,--thieves, gamblers,
highway robbers, unfortunate and lost women, and wretches too low and
vile to be named here, even by the crimes or base offences which they
commit,--that it is almost impossible to give the full history of
anything, with all the incidents of a nature interesting (in some
respects) which may have attended it. The scenes which occur in New
York, for example, in one day, if gathered into a book, such as the
regular police force and the detectives might furnish, would astound
the uninitiated; and were they recited in all their details, would,
many of them, horrify and disgust, as well as "astound," the reader. At
this writing there are crowding upon my memory many occurrences in my
life, that I have been called to take a part in, which would hardly be
fit for these pages, in view of the extreme immorality that generated
them, or follows in their trail, which yet have their romantic side.
Most of these affairs, to which I now especially refer, relate to the
life of fallen women, their first enticements from the path of virtue,
their utter ruin, or their final rescue. But it were better that the
public remain ignorant of these things as far forth as possible, than
to be well informed. Yet the eye of sympathy cannot but fill with tears
of pity over the ruined and wronged; and as I write, I feel a strong
impulse to go aside from my original intention in these tales, and
mingle with them recitals of horrible personal wrongs suffered, and the
lives of infamy led by many females, whom better surroundings than they
enjoyed, or more benevolence and kindness than they received, might
have saved, and elevated to places as comparatively dignified in the
world as the position they now occupy is base and degraded.

"Society," it is true, as a great philosopher has aptly said, "creates,
for the most part, the crimes which it punishes;" and though the
detective, in the pursuit of his calling, is apt to become merciless
towards the really guilty, and to condemn them outright,--declaring
that they could, if they would, do better,--he knows that it would, a
thousand times, seem that the very "conspiracy of circumstances"
irresistibly impels men on to the commission of crimes, and in his
reason he is more lenient towards his fellow-men than his profession
permits him to be in practice. But there are villains in the world who
seem to combine with base desires and notions a persistency in the
expression of them which never wearies. They pursue their base objects
with a tirelessness which would be most admirable in a good cause.
Indeed, virtue, save as exemplified in the characters of a few great
souls, grows weary and careless, and turns almost to vice, long before
the perseverance of these villains would turn from its course of wrong.
There seems to be a romantic impulse for some in the very trials that
beset the path of crime. The more hair-breadth escapes to be made, the
more eagerly do these villains seem to enter upon their course. But I
must not stop to moralize farther here. Unwilling to recite any tale of
my own experience of the kind to which I have alluded, as related to
the rescuing of intended female victims from the snares of the
despoiler, which now comes to my mind, I will recall, as clearly as I
can, the story of a brother detective. I was coming from Buffalo, in
1859, and chanced to enter the car in which he was seated, on his way
to New York, from a successful professional mission at the further
West, and fortunately found a seat with him in the same chair. We
occupied our time mostly as detectives, when travelling together, are
apt to, in the narration of our professional experiences; and let me
say here, that of all "story-tellers," the best I have ever listened to
are detectives,--the most "apt scholars" usually of human nature,--and
what is more, they always have truths enough of a startling kind to
tell, to be under no necessity of "drawing on the imagination."

Thus ran his story of "Hattie Newberry:"--I may get places and names,
in some particulars, not exactly correct. I merely wish to present the
substance; and I remember it more particularly, because the case he
cited was in so many respects like one of mine, which, however, had
features which would be unfit for display in these pages. But to the

My friend said, that once on his way from Vermont, he took the cars at
Proctorsville, I believe, below Rutland, coming south; that he had not
been long on the cars before he observed a couple of men whom, by their
"flashy" dress, and certain signs unmistakable by the "initiated," he
knew to be either New York or Boston cutthroats of some sort. He
thought he had encountered them somewhere before; and as he was on a
peculiar mission, connected with the subject-matter of which these very
men _might_ be, he kept his eye on them, watching their manners with
each other. He discovered that they had some iniquity on hand, as he
thought, or were very gleesome over some already secured success, or
something of the kind. He observed, too, that they frequently turned
their attention to a young lady who was sitting alone in the front seat
of the car, by the door, near the stove; and by and by these fellows
got up, and went forward to her, and commenced talking, and it was
evident from her manner that she had seen them before, and that she
wished to avoid them. They tried to affect a familiarity with her,
offered her something to drink which they carried in flasks, and so
conducted, in short, as to attract the attention of the car full of
passengers, who seemed disgusted with their movements. It was evident
to my friend that something was wrong; and eventually, as the cars
stopped at Bellows' Falls for a change of passengers to another train
for those going down, my friend caught a glimpse of the young lady's
face, which he had not seen before, sitting, as he was, some distance
behind her, and at once he reflected that he had seen her somewhere,
and ought to know her. She was startlingly beautiful, not only in the
regularity of her features, but in the expression of her face--"the
most beautiful being I ever saw in all my travels," to use his own
declaration. He felt a great interest in her; and now that he had seen
her pure, beautiful face, he understood well enough that the two
villains had no proper acquaintance with her; that they were only
harassing her, and had some low design regarding her. The cars waited
at the Falls for some fifteen minutes before the other train would come
in, and my friend, leaving the gentlemen's room, wherein the two men in
question were, among others, partaking of refreshments, and "giggling"
over their pretty designs, and talking about "her," "that bully gal,"
etc., and smacking their lips with evident delight over some
contemplated victory,--he sauntered into the ladies' room, and
proceeded towards the young lady, who arose, moved towards him, and
giving him her hand, called him by name. He was astonished as well as
delighted that she knew him.

"But, miss, I am sorry I cannot call you by name. I think I must have
known you," said he.

"Why, then," she replied, "you have forgotten 'little Hattie Newberry,'
whom you used to dance so much on your knees, along with your Jane."

"O, no, I've not," said he, grasping her hand, and shaking it heartily,
but tenderly, for the tears came into his eyes; for his Jane, to whom
Miss Hattie referred, was dead, and he called to mind how dearly she
loved "little Hattie." Ten years had passed since he had seen Hattie.
She was then a "wee bit of a thing" of her age, and she was not very
large now, though grown to full womanhood, as exquisitely moulded in
form as she was beautiful of face. My friend had married a Vermont
girl, he himself being a native of New Jersey. The illness of his wife
had led them to remove to a little town somewhere above Rutland,--New
Haven, I believe, but may be that is not it,--for a summer, in which
place he had first known Hattie, when but a child of six years of age.
His little daughter Jane was just her age, having been born on the very
same day that she was, and the two little creatures, just the
opposites, however, in complexion, color of hair and eyes, and quite
unlike in all respects, fell into the warmest mutual friendship. "They
had not a single taste alike," said he. "Jane was a great romp, loved
to be out in the stables with the horses and cows, was full of
boisterous life;" but Hattie was as mild as her own blue eyes, and as
delicate as her fine, glossy hair. "It was a strange affection these
children had for each other," he said; "very beautiful, and I used to
be constantly with them when there." He used to spend a month or so of
each summer there, while the wife staid from the last of May, he said,
into October. For three years his wife made the little town her summer
home, and these children grew more and more together. Ten years had
gone, and Hattie was now in her nineteenth year,--a beautiful woman,
into whose countenance her advanced years had thrown just enough of
spirit to make her interesting,--with an air of sweet, just ripe
maturity about her, which gave my friend an inkling of what the two
villains were pursuing her for. Pretty soon my friend introduced the
subject of her "friends,"--her two "fellow-travellers,"--and she
shrugged her shoulders with an expression of mingled disgust and dread,
and said, "You are going down?"


"O, I am so glad, for you'll be company for me, and keep those mean men
away from me--won't you?"

"Why, certainly. Where did you meet them first?"

"They came on at Rutland, I think, and the impudent fellows have tried
to talk with me all the way down. At first I said a few words to them,
and told them I was going to New York, and they've left their seats
several times, and come forward to me."

"Yes, I've noticed them," said my friend, "and that's why I came in
here, not expecting to find Hattie Newberry, but sure that you, whoever
you are, were being persecuted by those villains, and needed

"O, you are so good," said she, "and I shall be so glad to go with you.
I did not know what to do, but I had thought that if they got into the
same cars with me on the next train, that I would speak to the
conductor about them, or go out into another car. They had the
impudence to ask me to take some liquor with them, and I do not think
they were drunk."

Their conversation had proceeded to this point, when into the ladies
room boisterously came the two men. "Here's the darling," said one,
approaching her, bringing cakes, etc., in their hands. "And you must
take something with us." She declined, and turned her face away, when
my friend said to them, "She doesn't want anything--don't trouble her."

"Yes, she does, too," said one, and the larger of the men; "and she
mustn't be bashful--must take it. See here, sis," said he, and placed
his hand familiarly on her shoulder to turn her around; at which she
shuddered, and gave my friend such a look that he couldn't control
himself, "if 'twas in the ladies' room," and dealt the fellow such a
blow in the face with his brawny arm--for though he was not very large,
he was a Hercules in strength, and as skilful with his fists as a
prize-fighter--as stretched him flat upon the floor.


"This young lady is under my protection, and if you harass her any
more, I'll break your head," said he, as the scamp "gathered" himself
up, and looked for an instant at my friend, perceiving then, perhaps,
that the plain-looking man, whom he had quite likely taken for a
"common country fellow," was something of a genius in the art of
self-defence, as well as that of offence, for my friend was on his
"pose," ready to resist the attacks of the two.

The scamps almost instantly decamped, and about this time the expected
train arrived, and my friend led Hattie to a car. Into the same the two
men came; but my friend, rising, and looking about at them as they
passed back, and they perceiving him, they said something to each
other, and turned about, and went into a forward car. My friend hoped
that that was the last of them; but at several stopping-places on the
road, one of them--not the one who got the blow--would saunter through
their car, as if looking for some new in-comer, but evidently to feast
his eyes on Hattie's beauty,--so my friend thought.

After being well seated in the cars, my friend called to mind, that,
not long before, his wife had heard from some of the relatives in
Hattie's native village, with whom she kept up an occasional
correspondence, that Hattie Newberry was engaged to a young man by the
name of Dwight Phelps, a member of a quite wealthy family in that
place; and he wondered if Hattie was going to New York to get "fixed
up" for the marriage, for he knew that she had some relatives there
somewhere, and his curiosity led him to inquire if she was going to
stay long in New York.

"Yes, perhaps so. I am going with my cousin Charlotte,--going to work
in the same store with her. She's been trying to have me come for a
long time, and at last I've made up my mind to go." Hattie's parents
were poor people; industrious and respectable, but with quite a large
family; and Mr. Newberry himself, never a very "touch" man, as they
express it in Vermont, and ill a good deal, they had hard work enough
to make ends meet, and send the children to school, and all that.

"O, so you are going to live in New York! How's that? Let me see; it
seems to me that somebody wrote to my wife a few weeks ago, that you
and young Dwight Phelps were to be married; and so I supposed you'd
always stay up there."

Hattie blushed, and replied, "O, there was such a rumor; but that's all
over now." She tried to be cheerful, but a sigh, which did not escape
my friend's ear, and a sad look, for an instant, which did not escape
his eye, revealed to him that something had gone wrong with her; and he
finally found, on joking her a little about the matter, kindly, that
young Phelps's father, who was a sort of a miser, was in the way; that
he wanted his son to marry some rich girl, or not a poor one in money,
at least, however poor she might otherwise be; and the young man was in
his father's hands, so far as pecuniary means were concerned, and would
not be independent enough to think of marrying soon. The old man Phelps
had threatened to disinherit him if he married against his will; and
she had determined to not make difficulty in the family, and was on her
way to New York, at her cousin's solicitation, to go to work where she
could earn something, and help her father and mother support the
family. The subject was a painful one for Hattie to descant upon, and
my friend addressed himself to other matters of conversation. Hattie
informed him that her cousin, Charlotte Keeney, was the chief clerk in
a confectioner's establishment, with a neat restaurant attached, in
Sixth Avenue, near Twelfth Street, New York, the proprietor of which
was a certain Mr. Henry ---- (Brown, for a name)--a popular, thriving
business man, of the rigid school of morals; just, generous, and kindly
in manners, but as fixed in his opinions, and as relentless against
evil-doers, and as unforgiving of actual moral delinquencies, as if he
had been carved out of the "ribs" of the Mayflower--(before she became
a slave-ship); a sort of wooden-headed man in all matters of morals; a
descendant of the Puritan stock. This fact lightened my friend's regret
that Hattie had resolved to go to the city to live, for he chanced to
know Mr. Brown's reputation, otherwise he would have felt it his duty
to say more to her of the perils and trials of city life than he did.
He said, as he looked upon her wonderful beauty, and thought how many
girls, almost as beautiful, had found city life full of thorns; had
borne sad trials, and suffered deathly sorrows, principally through the
fact of their exquisite beauty; and reflected, too, that she was going
there with a wound upon her heart, and therefore less likely to resist
the city's temptations,--his heart quite overcame him, and he wanted to
take her directly into his own family, and as a father protect her.

Along the route, as I have observed before, he noticed the impertinence
of the two men, constantly seeking to get a sight at Hattie whenever
the cars stopped. My friend (call him Frederick Daniels) was greatly
annoyed by this; but it gave him occasion to descant to Hattie upon the
character of certain heartless beings she might meet with in the city,
and to advise her touching the companionships she might make. But
Hattie thought that in her cousin Charlotte's riper experience she
should find sufficient protection, and she seemed to look upon
Charlotte as a wonder of wisdom as well as of goodness; and Mr.
Daniels, reflecting that Mr. Brown's must be as safe a place as any for
a young lady, probably contented himself with asking Hattie to visit
his family as often as she could; but he lived far up town, and on the
other side of the city from Mr. Brown's, so it was not likely that she
could find time, save on Sundays, and then she would be obliged to walk
much to get to his house. But she promised him to visit his family when
she could, and to always come to him if she needed aid or protection of
any kind. The journey was passed pleasantly on to New York, without
notable incident, save that at Hartford, where the cars were delayed
for some time on account of an accident which had occurred on the road
some miles below: the two men were met by a man of the same character
with them, evidently, and who gave them something to drink from his
flask, theirs being apparently empty, and which fired one of them into
unusual impudence, which made him annoying to Hattie and Mr.
Daniels--breaking in at times into the ladies' sitting-room in the
depot, whither they had gone, with other passengers, for "sake of
change" from the cars. Mr. Daniels, it chanced, knew this third man,
who seemed to have no memory that he had ever run across Mr. D. before;
and knowing him, Mr. D. was not at a loss where to place them. He told
Hattie that they were gamblers, and worse; besides, probably being
pickpockets. She, in her innocence, was surprised to learn that so
well-dressed men as these could be so low in character, and Mr. D. felt
that she almost questioned his judgment. So, hoping to impress her with
the danger of "trusting to appearances," in a great city especially, he
told her such tales about such elegantly-dressed scoundrels as came
into his mind; and filled up the time of the journey with such lessons
as he thought might be of use to Hattie, and put her on her guard
against evil.

Mr. Daniels chanced to observe that the third villain took passage with
the other two from Hartford, and he saw that this man had become more
interested, if possible, in Hattie than the other two, if anything was
to be judged by the more extreme eagerness with which he eyed her. The
third villain, whose name or _alias_ was, as Mr. D. knew, "Harland,"
was a more accomplished man than the rest. He hailed from Meriden,
Conn., where it was said he was quite respectably related, and had at
one time occupied a respectable business position in New York; but
turning to sporting, he at last got involved, and operated some adroit
forgeries, and had been connected with a swindling bogus lottery. It
was in the detection and breaking up of this concern that my friend
Daniels had come across Harland. This man had lost his best old
friends, who discarded him outright, he being obliged to take up with a
low class of society; yet there was a natural, or educated pride in
him, which probably suffered much from his debasement, and which
prompted him to make tools of these beings, whom he regarded,
notwithstanding his fraternizing with them, as inferior beings. Mr.
Daniels felt a renewed interest for Hattie when he considered this
adroit man; and the fear came over him that the rascal would, in some
way, manage to make himself felt by her to her sorrow; and he told
Hattie that the fellow would as likely as not seek her out in her
employment, and that the place she was going to, being open to the
public, he would doubtless find her out; but that if he did, she must
not allow him to make her acquaintance, beyond what her necessity as a
clerk would demand of her allowing. She promised him to observe his
advice. My friend, with his usual shrewdness, had preconceived that
these villains would endeavor to follow Hattie, to see where she went
on her arrival in New York; and when the passengers alighted from the
cars, he was not surprised to find these men near him, watching his
movements; and to thwart them, he took Hattie and her trunk, by coach,
to the hotel, intending, as he did, to soon after take her to her place
of designation on Sixth Avenue, and to send from there some trusty man
for her trunk. The scoundrels followed in another coach, and kept close
behind him, alighted at the same hotel, and registered their names just
below his and Hattie's. "Fred. Harland," "Edward Rowe," and "Philip
Jas. McHenry," were the entries, in the bold and elegant hand of
Harland. Mr. Daniels procured a room for himself and one for Hattie,
who began now to see the desperate course which these men would pursue,
and was very willing to be guided by Daniels, to avoid being followed
by these fellows. Mr. Daniels, not being willing to be kept close
prisoner there by these men,--and the night was coming on, too, and he
wished to be at home,--went out to a trusty friend's store, advised him
of what was going on, and asked him to allow one of his lady clerks,
about Hattie's size, to go to the hotel parlor, the gentleman to follow
soon; and the girl, "for the fun of the thing, if nothing more," as she
giddily said, acquiescing, made entry to the hotel parlor, whence Mr.
Daniels took her to Hattie's room, and caused her to assume Hattie's
hat and shawl, in exchange for which Hattie took hers; and after the
merchant had come over to the hotel, and had been made acquainted with
Hattie, Mr. Daniels took the young lady, and proceeded through the hall
to the street; and acting as if utterly oblivious or careless of the
existence of these fellows, passed on, with his thickly-veiled charge
upon his arm, down the street. In crossing to the opposite side, at no
great distance from the hotel, he had opportunity to look back without
being suspected, and saw Harland, and the man "Rowe" (the one whom he
had knocked down at Bellows' Falls), following slowly, but with eyes
bent upon him. He would have been better satisfied had he seen the
third following him. The young lady liked the sport, and Daniels led
the fellows quite a chase, and finally brought about to the store of
his friend, trusting that the latter's sagacity had enabled him
meanwhile to leave the hotel with Hattie, and take her to Mr. Brown's,
on Sixth Avenue.

He had told Hattie to take the key of her room with her, and give it to
his friend. The surprise of the scamps in seeing Mr. Daniels come away
from this store, and leave "Hattie" there, must have been considerable.
Mr. D. went back to the hotel, and to his joy found that the merchant
had gone with the real Hattie; and he withdrew to the store again, and
awaited his return, which he made in good time. It was then arranged
that the porter of the store should be sent for Hattie's trunk, and it
be brought there. Mr. D. went with the porter, paid the bills, and took
the trunk, brought it to the store, whence the next day it was sent to
Hattie's new home, and Mr. D. then betook himself to his own
home,--feeling that his stratagem had saved Hattie much annoyance in
the future, and perhaps much suffering. The next day the ladies
re-exchanged, through the porter, their hats and shawls, and Mr.
Daniels, being called away from the city soon on business, and being
exceedingly occupied for some two months and over, had almost lost
memory of Hattie altogether. She, however, called at his house once in
the mean while, in his absence from home, and had a cheerful "reunion"
with the wife and the family. Mrs. Daniels took the greatest interest
in her, and regarded her beauty as something "almost superhuman," she
said. She knew that as a child she bade fair to become a beautiful
woman; but the change had been so great in her in the last eight years
(for Mrs. Daniels had seen her once since her husband had, before the
latter's late meeting with her), that she would not have known her at
first, had she not given her her name, and then could barely recognize
that it was she.

Mrs. Daniels gladly accepted the husband's invitation to "go down and
call on Hattie Newberry," which they did; and on entering the
confectioner's shop, what was Mr. Daniels's astonishment and horror, on
discovering there both Harland and McHenry, in cheery conversation with
one of the girls, whom he took, and who so proved, to be Charlotte
Keeney, Hattie's cousin! Evidently they were old acquaintances of hers.
Mr. and Mrs. Daniels passed by them, on to where they discovered
Hattie, who saluted them cordially, asked them into the little rear
saloon, and called in her employer, Mr. Brown, to whom she presented
them as old friends, who "used to live in Vermont." They had a charming
visit with Hattie, who was released from her engagements by her kind
employer, in order to entertain them, and Mr. Brown sent in confections
and "goodies" for them to carry back to their family, and gave them
much of his attention besides. Mr. Daniels was indignant to find those
two men there; but he knew not precisely what to do. Had they hunted
out Hattie, or were they old acquaintances of Charlotte, and had found
Hattie there by accident when calling on the former? Were they time-old
customers of the place, or recent comers? These and such like questions
occupied his mind. He wanted to speak to Mr. Brown, and tell him of the
character of these men; but they might be good customers,--certainly
they were lavish with their money that night,--and it was clear that
Charlotte liked them; indeed she seemed fond of them, and Mr. Daniels
hesitated as to what to do, for fear of giving offence. He knew the
reputation of Mr. Brown, to be sure, and that he would not wish his
clerks to be on terms of friendship with such villains, if he knew
their true character. But then he, Daniels, was a comparative stranger
to Mr. Brown, and why should Brown accept his single word as against
such well-behaved "gentlemen," who were good customers, too. Besides,
business men, however good they may be themselves, exist upon, and make
their money out of, their customers; and whoever should enter upon a
close scrutiny of the character of his patrons in New York, would be
apt to find nine scamps in every ten persons. The fact is, that the
greed for money is so great in New York, and all over the country, that
the best men come to be as polite to their most wicked patrons and
customers, as to those of high and noble characters.

Mr. Daniels, as a detective, whose business it is to "mind other
people's business" in some respects, felt more keenly than most men
feel the like, the propriety and expediency of minding his own
business, and was cautious in his proceedings therefore. He made up his
mind to say nothing to any one except Hattie, at first, at least; and
so, when she, and his wife, and himself were quite alone together, he
spoke to her of these men as the ones whom they had encountered on the
cars, and whom she had escaped. What was not his astonishment when he
found that she did not recognize them as such. It appeared that Harland
was an old friend of Charlotte, of whom Charlotte had, in fact, written
her before she came on,--speaking of her having been, the night before
her letter was dated, to the theatre, with her friend, Mr. Harland, "a
very fine, spirited gentleman," etc., whom Hattie would like, she
thought. Mr. Daniels had not mentioned the names of these men to Hattie
on the day of her escape from the hotel. It had not occurred to him to
do that; and when, in the course of a week or two after her arrival at
Mr. Brown's, Harland called on Charlotte, who received him joyfully,
and after a while presented him in warm terms to Hattie, she of course
did not recognize him by his name, though she thought she'd seen him
somewhere; but she reflected that on her way to her boarding-house--for
she did not board with Charlotte--she saw many noticeable men, and
probably had encountered him somewhere in going or coming. But
notwithstanding Mr. Daniels's assurance, she could not identify either
of the men as having been aboard the cars that day; and it was evident
that they had made quite a pleasant impression upon her mind. They had
been there quite often; and Mr. Daniels, from what he saw of their sly
glances towards Hattie, discovered that it was she, rather than
Charlotte, whom they came most to see. But Mr. Daniels was not willing
to leave without making some further effort in Hattie's behalf; and he
asked her to call Charlotte into the room, to see him and his wife,
while Hattie should wait upon the customers, and especially these men.
He thought that possibly Hattie might yet call them to mind as the
scamps who pursued her that day.

It was evident to him that the men recognized him, and were bound to
stay as long as he did, and entertain Charlotte. They proved themselves
"good customers" that night, if never before; in fact, Hattie confessed
that she thought they had bought more that night than in all their
calls before. She went, at Mr. Daniels's request, and asked Charlotte
to go into the little room; and Charlotte said she would "soon." The
men heard the request, and it was clear that they meant that she should
not go, and so they kept chatting on; but Hattie, going out again, and
evincing some anxiety, Charlotte excused herself to the men, and went,
not however till Harland, calling her back after she had gone a few
steps after Hattie, said something to her. She came to the table where
Mr. and Mrs. Daniels were sitting, and thanked them for their wish to
see her, but said they must excuse her; that they saw how occupied she
was, and that Mr. Brown, though a kind, generous man, was very earnest
in wishing his clerks to do their full duty, and not lose a chance to
trade. She hoped they would come again, and find her more at leisure.
Of course Mr. Daniels could have nothing to reply to this, but to thank
her, etc., and she bowed herself away pleasantly, and so Daniels was
foiled in that move; and at last, contented himself with earnest advice
to Hattie to let these men alone, to avoid them all she could, and to
tell Charlotte their true character, and that they were the men who
persecuted her on the day of her arrival. Hattie promised to heed Mr.
Daniels's advice, and she told Charlotte about the men, on the first
good opportunity that she had; but Charlotte could not believe it,
especially as Hattie had not recognized Harland before, and confessed
that she could not yet call him to mind. "But Mr. Daniels cannot be
mistaken," said she. "I did not look the men in their faces much. I
avoided them, and would not be apt to remember them in other dress, and
coming here as your old friends." But Charlotte would not be persuaded,
and believed Mr. Daniels mistaken. Indeed, she finally told Hattie that
Harland said he had seen her friend, Mr. Daniels, somewhere before;
couldn't say where; but that he was a man of poor character he knew,
and he wondered Hattie allowed him and his wife to call on her. This,
Mr. Daniels heard long after from Hattie's lips. That night Mr. D. went
home down-hearted, feeling that he had failed to impress Hattie
sufficiently of her danger; but he had made her promise him, that if
she ever had any serious trouble she would seek his aid, and that she
would call on him and his family, whenever she could find it convenient
to do so.

Time went on, and though Mr. Daniels's mind frequently reverted to
Hattie, yet his business cares did not allow him to visit her. He made
up his mind that night that the wretches intended to possess themselves
of her in some way, and that they would carry out their vile purpose if
possible. He talked with Mrs. Daniels about it. Such beauty as Hattie's
would not fade easily, and such a prize as she would be sought. He
hoped she'd make the acquaintance of some good man, and get married,
and thus be saved from trouble; but he reflected that these villains
would manage to keep such men as that away from her. As for themselves,
even if either of them was moved by her beauty to love her, he probably
then had a half dozen wives somewhere; and would prefer her as mistress
rather than wife, even if he were unmarried. Mrs. Daniels had no fear
for Hattie; which consoled Mr. Daniels somewhat. She said she _knew_
that such a girl as Hattie could take care of herself as against the
seducers. She felt in her woman's nature that there was something in
Hattie's composition which the despoiler could not corrupt, and which
would be her protection; besides, Hattie's duties required her services
evenings, and these men had not much opportunity to ply their villanous
arts. Mr. Daniels deferred a good deal to his wife's judgment in this,
and felt more easy--and time wore on.

Three or four more months had passed, and one night, just as Mr.
Daniels had returned home, there was a violent ringing of his
door-bell, which he answered on the spot, not having yet removed his
overcoat. The messenger had come for him, with imploring word from
Hattie Newberry, that he should at once come to the Jefferson Market
Station to see her. She was in trouble: charged with crime, and was
almost frantic; had been rescued, an hour before, from the North River,
where she had attempted to drown herself, and was calling, in
incoherent terms, his name, and much which they could not make out. He
must go at once, and he did, with a willing but a sad heart. He
revolved all sorts of possibilities in his mind as he accompanied the
messenger, and arriving at the station-house, found there poor Hattie,
who, recognizing him, rushed upon him, threw her arms about his neck,
and exclaimed, "O, if I had but minded your good advice. I am not
guilty! not guilty!--and I wanted to die." "No, no, Hattie, you are not
guilty," he replied; "no matter what the charge is, you are not guilty
of any crime." At this point a brother detective stepped up, one of Mr.
Daniels's best friends. His clothes were still wet, and Daniels
exclaimed, "What, was it you, Montgomery, that rescued my child here
from the water? God bless you!" "Yes,"--and Montgomery, pulling him by
his sleeve, as if to take him away, he said to Hattie, "Be calm,
Hattie, you are my child, and nothing shall hurt you; excuse me a
moment, I'll be right back." "Yes, yes," interposed Montgomery, who was
a splendid officer, and greatly respected by all about the station, "I
assure you that what Mr. Daniels says is right. You shall not be
harmed, and we'll be back soon."

Daniels and Montgomery went aside, and the latter said, "Tell me all
about this girl, Daniels. I never saw such beauty. I thought one spell
she'd drag me down, but I would have gone under willingly to save her;
and when she called your name I was glad, for I knew all was right
somehow--but I haven't questioned her much; indeed, she's been half
delirious till you came; but I see her eye is getting natural."
Montgomery then went on to tell him how he happened to be down near the
wharf, saw a well-dressed girl running in such a mad way as to arrest
his attention, and he followed her, and saw her plunge off the dock,
but not before she had paused a second, and looked about, when he
caught sight of her wondrous face. His first thought was, that she was
some unfortunate of the town, who had resolved to end her unhappy
career; but he stripped off his outer coat and boots, and ran along
some logs which were lying in the water, and reached out a pole to her
which he had caught up. As she rose, puffing and struggling, she seized
it, and he saw that the water had chilled out her purpose of suicide;
and, indeed, she cried for help, and he plunged in, finding the water
deeper than he thought, and had a hard struggle to get out with her,
for she was frantic, and grasped his arms so that he could hardly use
them. He had gotten assistance and a carriage, and had taken her to the
station, and quickly after arriving there had encountered an officer,
who said he was after her; that she was a thief, had stolen a diamond
ring of great value, "and, of course, lots of other things," as he
said. But Montgomery would not give her up till Daniels came, after
hearing her call for him. This was all that Montgomery knew about the


Dry clothes had been procured for Hattie, and she had recovered from
her fright a little when Daniels came. Daniels told Montgomery all
about her, and they both believed her innocent, and resolved to save
her. The charge was surely false, they said, and they went back to her,
dismissed those about her, and asked her to tell them her trouble,
which, in her plain, simple way she did. She had been charged by
Harland with having filched from him a valuable diamond ring, worth
three hundred dollars. She had denied it; and Harland had asked her to
let her room be searched, and she had willingly done so; and in company
with an officer, she had gone to her room with Charlotte and Mr. and
Mrs. Brown, and allowed the search; and there, to her consternation, in
her own reticule, wrapped up in a little white paper, was found the
very ring Harland had described. "The villain slipped it in there in
the search!" exclaimed Daniels. "No, no," said she, "Mr. Brown opened
the box, and found the reticule, and examined it himself. Harland did
not touch it." "Did he examine anything?" "No, he didn't touch
anything," said she. "Mr. Brown and Mrs. Brown did the searching; he
looked on." "Then," said Montgomery, "the villain had, in some way, got
the ring in there. He knew what the search would result in,--felt sure
of his game."

Mr. Brown was convinced of the girl's guilt, and was going to discharge
her. He was dreadfully perplexed by it, for he had thought Hattie the
best of girls; but her guilt was so apparent to him as to excite his
old Puritan sense of justice. Mercy lost its hold in his heart, but he
consented, at Harland's suggestion, to let her stay a day or so longer.
Harland said, that now he had got his ring he did not care to punish
her; that he presumed she had been sorely tempted by it, for she had
seen it in his possession, and he knew well enough when she took it. He
thought it too bad to not give her another trial; but Mr. Brown would
have no thief in his employ, but would let her stay a day or two,--but
not to work,--till Harland could get her a place. When Daniels and
Montgomery got to this part of her story, they could account for the
man's villany; and consulting with each other away from Hattie,
concluded to send at once for Mrs. Daniels, for they saw that there
were probably things which Hattie would prefer to tell to a woman.
While the carriage was gone for Mrs. D., they learned further of
Hattie's story: that she partly loved Harland, that she was innocent of
the theft, and somehow suspected him of having planned to destroy her
character. The light began that day to open upon her mind, and she
loathed him; and so dreadful were her feelings, and so deep her sense
of wrong at Mr. Brown's hands, in that he had no charity for her, that,
brooding over it all, and thinking what a horrible story would reach
her home about her, she got frenzied, and resolved to put an end to her
life. She expected Harland at about such an hour, and the nearer that
approached the more terrible her condition seemed to be; and finally,
life seeming unendurable longer, she had rushed from the house, as it
would seem, just about the time Harland and the officer with him had
come. This would account for the appearance of the officer whom
Montgomery had seen.

"That scamp is no officer," exclaimed Montgomery, when he came to hear
this, for he was the same man, she said, who had accompanied Harland on
the day of the search. "I thought I had seen him before. Do you go,
Daniels, and meet him, for he may know me. I think it is a wretch by
the name of Harry Restell; and if it is he, you'll discover a slit in
the lobe of the left ear, shaped liked an inverted 'V,' and if you
notice further, you'll see a slight inclination of the head to the left
side, as if the cords of the neck, on the left side, were a little
shorter than on the other, and stiff. If you find so much, make his
acquaintance pleasantly, get him to talk with you, and go with you
about the cells, and without ceremony shut him in; call Badger for the
keys, and tell him I told you, for this will end that game, and send
for me instantly. I'll fix him. I want him." Mr. Daniels went, and
finding Restell, the man whom Montgomery suspected, was adroit enough
to accomplish the feat given him to perform in less than fifteen
minutes; and Montgomery was delighted with the word to "come." He told
Hattie to be calm; that the rascals would be foiled, and she proved
innocent,--as she was, in reality, before another day rolled round. He
rushed to the cells, opened the one in which was Restell, drew in
Daniels with him, and clutching the villain by the hair, said to him,
"I have you, you scamp, you murderer, you --!" But it will hardly do to
repeat here the last word, implying crimes which, though common enough,
are hardly fit for the eye of the general reader to see named in print.
"You show your guilt, and my proof you know, when I name Mary ----; and
now you have been personating an officer, helping that Harland to
destroy an innocent girl. You have your choice, whether to go with me
at once to the Tombs, and from there to Sing Sing Prison for five or
ten years, or to tell me all about what Harland and you have been
doing. Make a full confession." Montgomery spoke as rapidly as
lightning, and there was a terrible firmness and earnestness in his
voice. Restell quivered. He saw that he was known. He had been guilty
of a terrible crime; had personated an officer, too,--a misdemeanor
punishable with fine,--and he was sure to be caught in the conspiracy
with Harland; and he thought it the better way to confess at once,
which he did; and he told Montgomery that Harland had managed to slip
the ring into the girl's reticule at the theatre a few nights before;
that the ring was a paste one, and not a diamond ring; that its setting
was really worth about twenty-five dollars, but the diamond being only
paste, Harland had not risked much; that Harland wanted to degrade the
girl, get her away from her place, get her a situation himself, make
her dependent on him, and finally make her his mistress. "And he told
me I might have her a part of the time, if I would help support her,"
said Restell; "and when I came to see her, I found her so beautiful
that I agreed to help him, and went with him, as an officer, to look
for the ring, and we were after her to-night, and got there five
minutes after she'd left. That's how 'tis," said he, "and I went one
way in search of her, and Harland another." "Where were you to meet
when one of you found her?" quickly asked Daniels. "At Washington
Parade Ground, on this north-west corner." "Ay, ay," said Daniels, "I
know that fellow. We'll nab him,"--and taking an officer with him,
proceeded at once to the spot, and luckily found Harland walking back
and forth there, very nervously. Daniels knew him, and without a word,
as they were about to pass each other, knocked the rascal down, and
fell upon him, while the officer clutched him too. "Don't make any
noise, or you are a dead man," said Daniels. "Give me that diamond ring
the first thing, or die," clutching the scoundrel by the throat, till
he was so nearly dead that he could hardly point with his finger to an
inside vest pocket, where Daniels put his hand, and found a wallet, in
which he found the ring. Getting that, he let the scamp up. He wanted
the ring to prove its paste character, as one of the evidences against
the villain. "Now," said he, "Restell is nabbed. You see he has
'peached' on you, and we want you to go along with us to him." The
officer told Harland that if he didn't go quietly, he would "put the
irons on;" and Harland felt the propriety of subjection, without any
attempt at escape. Meanwhile Mrs. Daniels had arrived, and being
instructed by Montgomery, had inquired into Harland's conduct towards
her. It was evident that his intentions had long been to possess her,
but that the girl, in her innocence, had not known what he meant; and
when he had asked her to marry him, although she had considerable
liking of, and affection for him, she had refused to accept him for the
time, and he had urged her several times. She said he was always quite
nervous, and sometimes almost angry, that she would not marry him; yet,
after all, he had been very kind to her in most respects; had made her
several presents, and taken her and her cousin to the theatre, etc.,
whenever they could get away from the shop. Some things which she told
Mrs. Daniels, on the latter's minutely inquiring into the modes in
which he had treated her, and what he had said, showed a peculiar
innocence in the girl, amounting to almost stupidity. Yet it was no
wonder, after all, in view of her careful rearing at home.

What Mrs. D. learned confirmed Mr. D.'s and Montgomery's theory, and
with it, and all they had learned before, they had solved the problem.
Harland saw how thoroughly he was caught, and thought best to
acknowledge that what Restell had disclosed was the truth; that the
girl was innocent; and he went so far as to express his love for her
with tears, and was allowed to see her, and beg her pardon on his
knees, with protestations of love, and his desire to marry her. He was
allowed to do this, only that Hattie might have better evidence of her
innocence, for it was done in Mr. and Mrs. Daniels's and Montgomery's
presence. Harland wanted to give her the ring which Daniels handed to
her for him, but she spurned it; and Daniels said he would keep it for
her, to which Harland consented; for Daniels had a notion that Harland
would yet do evil with it if he possessed it. To make all sure, Mr.
Brown was sent for, routed out of bed, and brought before the girl and
Harland, and Harland made to repeat his confession before him. Mr.
Brown was delighted, put his arms about Hattie, called her his own
child, and said he could not all the while believe she _meant_ to do
any wrong; but there was the ring in the reticule, and she had stoutly
denied having any such ring; and how could it have gotten in there
without her putting it there? etc. This had convinced him against his
will; but he said he would never believe any charge against anybody on
circumstantial evidence again, Hattie was taken back into his employ,
remained with him over a year, as kindly cared for as if she was his
child, and finally went back to Vermont as the wife of young Phelps,
who had, at last, overcome his father's objections, mostly through his
mother's intercessions, who had died meanwhile, and who, on her
death-bed, had made him promise to let the son marry the girl he loved.

Harland agreed to leave New York forever if proceedings were not taken
against him; and having money enough (obtained, though, by gambling and
forgeries), the officers thought it no wrong to make him pay pretty
liberally for the trouble he had made; and Mr. Daniels, having Hattie's
good at heart, was not easy with him in his demands, but secured
enough, so that Mr. Brown could afford to do a great deal for her; for,
at different times, Mr. Daniels put sums of money into Mr. Brown's
hands to buy this or that for Hattie, letting her suppose that it all
came from Brown's generosity; and it should be added, that the latter
_was_ generous to her also, for he always added to the sums given him,
and purchased better things than directed for her, as a sort of
quietus, it is supposed, to his wounded conscience, in believing that
she was guilty. Harland decamped; but he came back at last, and carried
Charlotte Keeney off with him somewhere as his wife,--which was the
strangest part of the story. She had loved him before Hattie came, and
he had probably loved her, but Hattie's great beauty had attracted him
from her; that is, his affection,--for he had always taken Charlotte
along with Hattie to theatres and elsewhere. The fact is, there was a
jealousy of Hattie in Charlotte's heart, so great, that though she
loved her cousin, it seemed that she was almost sorry that she proved
innocent at last; and she felt Harland's absence, notwithstanding his
villany, greatly. The heart of a woman will cling to her lover or
husband in crime or obloquy, almost as strongly as the heart of a
loving man will cling to, and protect, the woman he really loves, doing
deeds of crime at her will, and, in fact, wrecking fortune, and health,
and life at her behest. It is common to declare the constancy of woman
greater than that of man; but that is a false notion, cherished only by
the inexperienced in human nature's laws. Charlotte found pardon in her
own heart for Harland; and if she did not invent sensible excuses for
his conduct, was not wanting in the number of them. She married, and
was heard from afterwards as living happily with him somewhere.

[Illustration: RESTELL AT SING SING.]

Restell expected to escape his deserts by peaching on Harland; but
Montgomery had not so promised him when Daniels caged him in the cell,
and Montgomery had taken care to not do so, for officers of the law and
detectives are very scrupulous about keeping their plighted word to
even the basest criminals. And if they were not so, the whole
fraternity of wretches would know it, and refuse to give evidence at
any time, and thus many a criminal mystery would go unexplained, and
many an innocent, like Hattie, might suffer the full consequences of a
criminality of which they were not guilty. It is often better to let a
dozen guilty go than that one innocent should suffer. Restell was taken
to the Tombs, on charge of a crime here unmentionable; but a portion of
the evidence against him failed by the death of a witness for the
prosecution, while he lay in prison, and a matter of forgery having
meanwhile become disclosed involving him, he was tried on that, and
sent to Sing Sing for four years and some months--the longest term the
law would allow for his offence.

Mr. Daniels interwove in this narrative many interesting facts, to
which I cannot, at this distance of time, do justice. He was a keen
observer of human nature, and told a story pleasantly. He recited to me
many other tales of almost equal interest; and, as I learn that he is
alive at this writing, I am not sure that I shall not try to hunt him
up, and engage him to give zest, with his piquant stories, to these
pages; for it matters not whose an interesting experience may be, so
that we have the facts. Truly, "facts _are_ stranger than fictions"
often; and it has occurred to me, while hunting over my diaries and
burnishing up my memory, to hint to my publishers that the truest,
shortest, and best way to collect a volume of marvellous experiences
would be to invite a number of detectives to dinner, accompanied by
short-hand reporters, and treat them so well that they tarry with their
story-telling through the night.


                         ABOUT BOGUS LOTTERIES.


The object of these narratives is not simply to paint human nature in
the color of its subtle facts, more strange than the imaginings of
fiction, in order to excite the reader's mind as he runs over these
pages, or to feed the greediness for the marvellous--not these alone;
but the writer trusts that what he has taken so much pains to cull out
of the repertoire of his observations and experiences, and from those
of others, and reproduce here for the instruction of his fellow-men,
shall be found useful as well as interesting; and by teaching those who
are inclined to the commission of offences against law and the good
order of society, that they cannot easily escape discovery if they
commit crimes, shall prevent, to some degree, the perpetration of such
crimes. But there are sufferers as well as guilty actors, and these the
writer would serve also, as well as preserve the innocent and unwary
from the operation of those crafts and cunning devices by which they
might be made sufferers.

To-day, tumbling over some old files of notes and papers at the bottom
of an old trunk, the contents of which had not been thoroughly
disturbed for over ten years before, there came to light a sealed
package, marked "The Bogus Lottery Papers: not to be opened without my
consent." This package has awakened a host of "memories of other days,"
and decided me to wander a little perhaps from the preconceived line of
these narratives; and not so, either; for in this tale it will be seen
that the detective had his legitimate part to play in the matter which
it recalls.

The package is found to contain notes for guidance in working up the
case; letters from dupes or victims of the crafty speculators in human
credulity; bits of the personal history of some of these wily scamps,
and which they would hardly desire to see in public print, with their
true names affixed (for some of them were and are of high rank in the
business, social, and literary world); copies of certain financial
journals, devoted to the dissemination of remarkable facts tending to
show the wise philosophy of "nothing venture, nothing have," and from
their first column to the last, filled with cunning lies; my own
correspondence with certain victims; memoranda of facts gathered at
sundry post offices and elsewhere; piteous letters from the deluded;
correspondence with lawyers on the subject at issue, etc., etc.,--quite
a little pile, as they lie on my table here. Some of the letters have
grown dark with age, and there is a peculiar smell about them, as if
they hinted at unsavory things, and so they do.

And these remind one of other years very peculiarly, and suggest many
thoughts on human weakness and perversity. I am vexed not a little as I
look over them, and call to mind the class of men who mingled in the
iniquities of which I am about to speak, that I cannot write out these
men's names for the public eye. But some of them have "reformed," have
gone into legitimate business, and have families dear to them, and who
were ever quite unconscious of the modes by which their husbands and
fathers obtained money here in this seething sea of iniquity of New
York,--this worse than modern Babylon,--whom it would be cruel now to
wound. And I call to memory now one of these operators in petty
villany, who is dead--a noble fellow in the general way, a son of a
distinguished father, well bred, and related by blood to some of the
first, and really finest people in New York. Ah! what would a certain
philanthropist say--a man who leads noble charities, devotes his now
declining years to the practical duties of a Sunday school teacher, and
whose voice has been, within a few years past, heard in the national
Congress, as that of one of the few there whom the corruptions of
politics have not stained; a man of large wealth, with which he makes
far less display than many a man of the expensive habits of these
latter days with but a tenth or fiftieth of the former's income, and a
man of marked intelligence, too, as well as of high morals,--what would
he say, were it disclosed to him that his relatives, his nephews, the
sons of his not unnoted sisters, were participants in these
crimes,--cool-blooded, mean, devilish,--and continued, and carried on,
under the guise of "business," and indeed as a business for years? But
if this simply, were told him, he could not understand the half, for he
would not know the half. I shall spare the participants in those
criminal schemes the mention of their names here, though I conceive
that I should have done no more than my duty had I, at the time in
question, given them publicity through the press. But even in the last
ten years the public sentiment has largely changed, not only in New
York, but throughout the country, perhaps, in regard to the true
standard of morals, or the recognition of any standard at all, may be;
and those who are acquainted with the modes of conducting business in
Wall Street,--(the real centre of practical government for the
nation),--and therefore know what iniquities transpire there in the way
of "legitimate business," so called, could hardly be surprised at
anything I might disclose of the past. It is a sad reflection that the
greed of gain governs everything else in these days in this Union; and
that the manner of obtaining a fortune is, in most people's opinion, of
no account, however vile, in comparison with the matter of possessing
it. Money is a veil which will cover every crime, and nobody knows this
fact more surely than the detective. It is a fact, that to save
anything like a fair proportion of the value of a thing stolen, the
loser will almost universally compromise with the thief when the
detective secures him. "Compounding a felony," in itself a crime at the
Common Law, has become so universal as to be the "common law" itself:
and in New York it is a matter of but slight disgrace, at most, to be
guilty of any crime; and especially of those crimes by which the
perpetrator secures a large amount of money. Wall Street, for example,
is thronged every day by men in respectable and high ranks of society,
who are frequently guilty of crimes which would, a generation ago, have
consigned them to the State Prison for a long term of years, if not for
life. But after all, the reflection comes that morals, like the matter
of conscience, are educatable, changeable; and that the hearts of men
are not so very bad at bottom, most wrongs being chargeable to the
institutions of the people. Competition, instead of coöperation, being
the rule, and the depraved doctrines of such writers as Carlyle,
advocating the development of the individual, rather than the interest
of communities and blended peoples, have had a direct tendency to
increase the volume of crime.

But I will, with these "prefatory remarks," return to the body of my
subject. New York contains a large number of people who obtain their
living by the practice of frauds, of one kind and another. The gambling
saloons, with their marked cards, and faro banks, so arranged that
while the pretension of fairness is observed, the chances in favor of
the bank are made sure in the proportion of ninety per cent. to ten per
cent. for every hundred dollars which go upon the table; the iniquitous
"corners" made in Wall Street, and all the fine scheming of the Bulls
and the Bears, etc., etc., illustrate this. In fact, commerce itself
is, in all its avenues, made to bend to this skill of fraud in making
money, and making a living; and it is a wonder that there are not more,
rather than less of the institutions of which I am about to speak, in
New York. These exist to-day; but it is a long while since I have been
called into relations with them in a professional capacity.

At the time to which I allude, there were several bogus Lottery
Companies having their centre in New York, and extending their
operations all over the country, fleecing the credulous people to the
extent of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. In Maryland and in
Georgia, and also in Kentucky, at that time, lotteries were licensed,
and perhaps in some other States; but most of the States prohibited
them. Cuba, too, licensed extensive lotteries, and Havana was, as she
still is, the chief city of the world, perhaps, in this respect. The
bogus companies in New York mostly pretended to be agents of the
legitimate companies to which I allude above; and purported to give
their "policy-holders" the true reports of the public drawings of these
lotteries, by which their fate, as winners or losers, was decided.
Among these companies of scamps, was one, self-styled "G. W. Huntington
& Co.," concocted and "managed" by men of classical education, high
bred, representing some of the really best families in the land, but
who had not been as fortunate in legitimate business as desirable, and
so resorted to this course of fraud in order to make money easier, and
more of it. They knew the value of advertising, to any business, and
they published a sheet in the form, in part, of a literary paper, in
which counterfeit schemes of the companies they pretended to represent,
were set forth in due style. It appeared, in the course of my
investigation of these affairs, that this company issued monthly no
less than two hundred thousand copies of this paper, which were sent to
various addresses, culled out of directories, and otherwise obtained,
from almost every village as well as city in the nation, north and
south, east and west; but principally in the Western and Middle States.
As the agents of the companies they pretended to represent, and of
pretended companies too, which never had an existence, these men were
in constant receipt of letters, containing from fifty cents, as a
minimum, up to ten dollars, usually the maximum, from their victims,
who wished to purchase tickets in this or that drawing; and they _got_
tickets in return, to be sure. I was informed that these letters were
received in numbers varying from thirty to a hundred a day, for several
days, and even weeks at a time, when some especially grand "drawing"
was announced to soon take place. Their mode of operations, as
disclosed in our investigations, was this: They first fixed upon nine
numbers, which they were to report after the alleged (pretended)
drawing should have taken place, as the numbers drawn--thus, for

                   1, 7, 14, 35, 11, 8, 55, 91, 240.

According to their "rules," whoever chanced to hold a ticket upon which
any three of the above numbers should appear in consecutive order (as,
for example, 1, 7, 14; or 11, 8, 55; or 7, 14, 35)--would draw the
largest prize of the scheme in which he bought his ticket, and in many
of these schemes such sums as $50,000, or $100,000, or $250,000, were
announced as the chief prizes; and then there were numerous small
prizes in each scheme which the ticket holder was sure to draw if he
happened to hold a ticket with numbers thereon, which should represent
_two_ of the above numbers consecutively; and so on ran their rules.
Well, having previously decided what numbers they would report to their
countless victims as the drawn numbers, these wily scoundrels had, for
their safety, only to take care in issuing each ticket to see that it
did not contain any three of the "drawn numbers" in consecutive order.
To A, for example, they would send a ticket bearing the Nos. "1," "7,"
"80"; to B, "11," "8," "200", etc., etc.; and after the "drawing" they
would send their report, containing a slip of paper bearing the nine
"drawn numbers," as above arranged, with a letter, running somewhat
this wise.--I am sure I had, at one time, several of the letters
actually sent to victims, but they do not disclose themselves from my
package now; but no matter, for my memory of them is pretty clear. The
report of drawings was private; but the letters were usually written
with a pen, in part, in order the better to flatter each person that
the company took especial notice of him, and hoped for his particular

             (Here was a picture of their Banking Office.)

     BANKING HOUSE OF G. W. HUNTINGTON & CO., Bankers and Brokers,
       and Dealers in Foreign Exchange, and Agents for the chief
           Baltimore and Havana Lotteries, 23 William Street.

                                         "NEW YORK, June 14, 1858.

    "JOHN HENRY JONES, ESQ., _Harrisburgh, Pa._

    "The public drawing of the 'Grand Consolidated Lotteries' of
    Baltimore, Md., No. ----, took place as advertised, yesterday.
    Herewith find slip bearing the drawn numbers." (Thus far, save
    the address, printed, then followed in writing.) "We are sorry
    to perceive that your ticket in scheme No. ----, and numbered
    14, 35, 80, has drawn a blank. But you observe that you came
    near winning the chief prize, as we heartily wish you had (as
    it is for our interest as agents that our special customers be
    lucky); '14, 35' only needed '11' to follow them, to have made
    you a rich man. But perhaps your luck will come next time.
    'Perseverance is a virtue which wins in the long run.' Hoping
    for your further favors, and that you will yet be amply lucky,
    we beg to remain,

                            "Your obedient, humble servants,

                                          "G. W. HUNTINGTON & CO."

Now, "John Henry Jones, Esq." was probably an ignorant, low-minded,
dirty-faced ironmonger, of Harrisburgh, who managed now and then to get
together a few dollars, and had a hankering to get rich fast. His
letter to the company was badly spelled, and so forth; but it contained
money, and was, therefore, as acceptable as the elegantly-written
letter of some cashier of a bank in Ohio, or some poor clergyman of
Illinois, who thought it no harm to try his luck for once--(for many
clergymen, as well as others, get bitten by these schemes). John had
never been addressed as "Esquire" before; never received such a polite
letter in his life, and from a great banking house, in the largest city
on the continent! and John was flattered. Besides, he had almost drawn
a great prize; of course he would "try again," and again, and again,
for it appears that many persons become infatuated in this sort of
speculation, and will buy lottery tickets several times a year, and
year after year, for a long period, even without a particle of success.

When a customer sent these fellows ten dollars, they would so arrange
the numbers on his ticket, sometimes, in relation to the prepared drawn
numbers, as to allow him to draw one, two, or three dollars, so that he
should not feel that his loss had been entire, and to tempt him by a
little success to try again for a greater one. This will serve to
illustrate the business ways of the fellows; and just here, since it
now comes to mind, perhaps I had better note a little "side issue" of
one of these companies, of which I was told by one of the participants.
The company had its agents,--postmasters, many of them,--all over the
country,--and thought they would make a little speculation on their
agents themselves. So they prepared a splendid "scheme,"--a wonderful
GRAND CONSOLIDATED UNION DRAWING, etc. The tickets were most elegantly
printed, and vary-colored, in red, blue, and black, on the nicest
paper. No ticket in this grand scheme was less than ten dollars. To
some fifteen hundred of their agents, in as many different localities,
they sent from three to five of these tickets each, with a printed
letter, but marked "very confidential," setting forth the great
advantages of the new scheme, and suggesting that among these tickets
were doubtless many prizes, and the company did not expect to reap much
profits from the sale of tickets in this scheme, but were anxious that
its old customers should reap the prizes, and so forth. Of course the
company did not expect that any agent would be able to sell all the
tickets sent him, even though so few, and were surprised that many were
disposed of before the time of the alleged drawing. On the day of the
"drawing," more than nine tenths of the tickets still remained unsold,
and unreported upon in the hands of the agents. Having prepared written
letters in anticipation of the small sales, as a part of the trick,
they sent them forth to each agent. The letter ran something like this,
in substance:--

    "DEAR SIR: The drawing of the Grand C. U. Lottery took place at
    Baltimore, at twelve M., yesterday. Please to return us the
    tickets, Nos. --, --, --, --, --, now in your hands, at once,
    without fail, and _buy back any, if you can_, which you may
    have disposed of, and charge us, and ask no questions, and we
    will send you certified copy of drawing immediately on your

                                  "Yours, most respectfully,

                                                      "---- ----."

This being an unusual way of doing business, excited the agent's
suspicion. He reflected that probably some one of the tickets he held
had drawn a great prize, and that the company meant to keep it, but he
could not, of course, guess which; and so as to secure the prize
himself, he would hold all the tickets, send on the money for them,
with an apology for not having reported earlier, and frequently with a
long lie about the trouble he had had, and naming this or that man to
whom the tickets had been sold. So hundreds of them sent in, after the
day of the alleged drawing, from thirty to fifty dollars apiece,
according to the number of tickets they held, and received by return
mail a "certified report" of the drawing, by which they discovered that
the tickets they held were all blanks, each, perhaps, thinking that
somebody else had drawn the "mammoth prizes." This trick was fruitful
to the amount of a great many thousands of dollars, and cost the
company only its expenses for printing, stationery, and postage. These
same agents continued to act for the company, and I presume that not
one of them to this day knows how he was taken in. But I trust that
this narrative will fall into the hands of many a one of them, and open
his eyes as to the fact of his having been made a tool of by designing
scamps to cheat his neighbors, and to be cheated himself.

The mayor of New York was constantly besieged, and I presume the same
is the case now, with letters from all parts of the country,
complaining that these writers had tried and tried their luck, time
after time, in this or that company, in vain, and asking him regarding
the standing of the company, and so forth. Sometimes a victim would get
his eyes open, conceive that he had possibly been cheated; or, having
had some rupture by correspondence with the company, discovered that he
was cheated, and beg the mayor to take the matter in hand. On two or
three occasions, within my memory, the police have made raids upon such
companies as they could get at; but usually matters were so secretly
conducted, that it would cost the police too much effort to get at
anything decided, especially without extra compensation for their
labors; and the frauds complained of in each case would generally
amount to not over ten dollars at most, and the complaints usually,
perhaps always, came from obscure men, living at a great distance from
New York, who could not afford to come and attend to the matter

But the companies constantly had difficulty from one quarter of the
land or another--enough so as to keep them all the while on the alert.
Their offices were in obscure places. The members had business names
which differed from their real ones. Ostensibly, they carried on a real
estate business, for example, actually doing something in that line for
respectability's sake, and conducting their lottery swindle in some
secret room, having a box at the post office, and sending for their
letters a clerk, who was instructed to deposit the letters in some
secret place, from which one of the firm would secretly take them. Thus
they managed. But one day "there came trouble into the camp" of "G. W.
Huntington & Co." They had sold a ticket to a sturdy, and somewhat
intelligent farmer in or near Portland or Bangor, Maine. (I am unable
to find his address at this writing.) When the alleged drawing took
place, the company sent on its usual report to the farmer, among the
rest of their victims, saying, "You perceive that your ticket has
unfortunately drawn a blank. We regret it," etc.


Now the farmer had "studied up" on the matter, and he saw that if they
had sent him what they called the copy of the "certified report" of the
drawing, he had drawn a prize of five thousand dollars, instead of a
blank, and so he politely wrote the company about their mistake.
Correspondence ensued, in which the company tried to convince the
farmer that he was mistaken; but it was of no use. The farmer was too
keen for them, and insisted on his rights. He consulted a lawyer in his
place, and the lawyer opened correspondence with the company, hinting
that legal measures would be taken. The company put the matter into
their lawyer's hands, and the two attorneys fired away at each other,
the company laughing in their sleeves over the humbugging they were
operating on the Maine lawyer. Finally the farmer's lawyer wrote on to
say, that the farmer would go down to New York, and institute
proceedings there, unless the prize was cashed within a week, and
suggested that a suit would seriously injure the credit of the company.
To this the company, by its lawyer, made no reply.

The farmer came on, and proceeded to the "Banking-house of G. W.
Huntington & Co., 23 William Street." He brought with him one of the
company's papers, in which was an engraving of the building, 23 William
Street, with the great sign of "G. W. Huntington & Co., Bankers,"
running across the whole face of the building, in large letters. His
astonishment can be guessed at when he failed to find any such bankers,
or any such sign there. There was the building, correctly represented
in the picture. The rest was fiction, of course. The building, except
the lower story, which was the office of some brokers, I believe, was
occupied mainly as lawyers' offices, and it chanced that the farmer, in
his astonishment at not finding "G. W. Huntington & Co." there, and
being determined to investigate the affair, and not be cheated out of
his five thousand-dollar prize, after coming all the way from Maine,
sought counsel at the office of one Mr. Wheaton,--a great criminal
lawyer, and the son of the distinguished author of an extensive and
valuable work, in two volumes, on International Law and Practice. Mr.
Wheaton was the same gentleman who, a few years ago, was run over by
the Harlem train of cars, on its way out of the city, and killed. He
was a very gentlemanly man, and heard the poor man's case; told him
that the company was undoubtedly bogus; but pitying the man, who was
really not well off in this world's goods, undertook to aid him, and
through the post office sent a very polite note to the company touching
the matter. The note was politely responded to, and eventually, after
three or four days' delay, the company, securing a sharp and
unscrupulous lawyer, sent him to wait upon Mr. Wheaton. The lawyer
represented that he did not know the company's place of business even,
but was ready to treat for them; that they would not pay a dollar, and
that the whole trouble arose from some mistake. But Mr. Wheaton would
not settle without something being done; but at last, after a few days,
agreed to take thirty dollars, which would pay for the farmer's
travelling expenses to and from Maine. How the poor fellow met the rest
of his expenses, I was never told; but he doubtless went back to Maine
a wiser, if not a better man. (Should this article chance to fall under
his eye, he can certainly do some of his neighbors good by reading it
to them, and "illustrating" it in person, saying, "Gentlemen, _I_ was
the man! behold the picture! and forever be wary of lottery agents.") I
had been called in to work up the case, but the settlement was effected
the next day, and it was dropped. Mr. Wheaton had a conference with the
mayor concerning it; and afterwards, when, on several complaints being
made against the company, the mayor resolved to trace out the company,
and break up their nefarious business, he sent for me.

Numerous efforts had, at times theretofore, been made to hunt out these
companies' dens. Officers had been stationed inside the post office,
and when a clerk--usually a rusty, scampish-looking lad, or an old
sinner of a man--came for the letters, and he took them, he was
tracked, with the hope that he could be traced to the secret office.
But he was too wary for that,--had had too good instructions,--and
escaped; or, if next time he was arrested, after having been traced
along a circuitous route, going into this or that crowded store, or
eating-house, it would be found that he had already disposed of the
letters, having adroitly handed them to one of the "firm," perhaps,
properly stationed at some point for the purpose of receiving them: or,
if he was arrested at the post office with the letters in hand, he was
found to be an individual not easily frightened, and when taken before
the mayor, would declare that he did not know the company, or the
individuals composing it; that some man, whose name he did not know,
had employed him at fifty cents or a dollar a time to draw the letters
with the box check or card. If the mayor took away the check, all the
company had to do was to write to the postmaster for another, alleging
their loss. Keeping this fellow under arrest for some length of time
did no good. The company readily found out about the arrest, and would
send some lawyer to act for the clerk, and the result would be that he
would be released speedily, and go to drawing letters again. Attempts
had also been made to trace out the printers of the papers sent out by
these companies. So great were the numbers of these at times that they
seriously burdened the mails. The postage expenses to the companies
must have been enormous; but advertising "tells," and if only one paper
in a hundred chanced to fall into the hands of a man who would be
allured thereby to invest in lottery tickets, the business would pay.
But after considerable search for the printers, within the city, it was
concluded that the papers were printed somewhere else, and sent into
New York in bulk, and privately prepared for the mails.

This was the situation of things when I took hold of the matter. I was
advised of what had previously been done, but was, of course, allowed
to pursue my own method. After a day or two's experimenting in
following clerks from the post office, and finally tracking one of them
into a lawyer's office on Nassau Street, and being coolly informed by
the lawyer that the company were his clients, and having had some
difficulty with disaffected parties, had put their correspondence into
his hands for a while, I thought best to pursue another course. There
was little or no use in attempting to convict him of complicity with
the matter. He said he would take his oath that he did not know whether
the company was bogus or not, or were really the agents of responsible
companies in foreign states; and as for that matter he did not care. He
had been, he said, employed by them to attend to certain legal matters
of theirs, and he never inquired into the private character of his
clients except when necessary. "They pay me well for my services,
generally advancing my fees, and I am satisfied." My own opinion was,
and is, that he was one of the firm himself, and as guilty as any of
the rest, but he was shrewd enough to not get trapped. I saw it would
cost more than it would come to to pursue that line. If I arrested the
letter clerks for a few days, and took them before the mayor, that
would not break up the business. The company's plans were safely laid.
When I did get at them, I wanted to break them up effectually; and I
set myself about procuring copies of their papers, which I did by
writing from the mayor's office to the parties who had sent in their
complaints, asking them to forward all documents and papers which they
had received from the company. Receiving these, I submitted them to
various wary and knowing printers, in order to find out at what office
in the city the printing was probably done. A printer or newspaper man
will ordinarily detect, by the size of column, or some other
peculiarity, from what paper a given extract has been clipped, as
readily as a tailor can tell from whose shop a certain coat or pair of
pantaloons came, or as easily as a man can distinguish the handwriting
of his friends. But in this case I was baffled at first. Nobody could
give me any hint, till I finally came across a printer then working in
the Tribune office; and on looking over some of the papers, he
discovered something which reminded him of the style of a certain paper
in Norwich, Connecticut; and then, as if a new light had dawned upon
him, suddenly exclaimed, "By George! I believe I have it, for I know
that at the ---- office, a year or two ago, the boys used occasionally
to do a great deal of extra night work, and got extra pay. I never knew
what 'twas."

In further conversation with him, I concluded that there must be
something in it, and in a day or two posted off for Norwich, where I
made the acquaintance of a gentleman by the name of Sykes, then editor
of the "Advertiser" (I think that was the name of his paper), and was
soon put in possession of abundant facts for the then present time. I
learned that the papers for certain bogus lottery companies, to the
extent of several hundred thousand a month, were printed at a certain
office there, and mailed through the Norwich post office; that it was a
matter of considerable pecuniary profit to the post office to have the
mailing of these documents, and that certain men of much social
respectability in Norwich were engaged in printing and mailing these
papers, which they well knew to be the circulars of bogus lottery
companies; but I could do nothing with them; and exposure of their
conduct in Mr. Sykes's paper was not likely to result in much good. The
lottery papers reached parties who would not be apt to ever hear of the
exposure; besides, to make it was no part of my business on that
occasion. I found, to my satisfaction, that whereas "G. W. Huntington &
Co.'s Bulletin" had formerly been printed in Norwich, and distributed
from there over the country; that it was now doubtless printed
somewhere in New York, and at Norwich I prepared my traps to find out
certainly where the papers were printed in New York, which fact I
finally accomplished after a little delay. Determining about what time
of the previous month the papers for the next month's issue would be
put to press, I made business to the printing office, and gave the
printers an order a little difficult to fill, and which I knew would
have to be delayed. I also set a brother detective on their track with
a like affair, so that we could have proper excuse for visiting the
office occasionally. I managed to privately secure (no matter how, for
somebody yet living might not wish me to tell) two or three copies of
the paper then in process of being struck off. The character of the
printing office was high, the members of the firm being all what are
styled "good fellows," not likely to be in complicity with the lottery
pirates, and I was not disposed to injure the printers; but I was
determined to learn what parties gave them the orders for printing
these papers. The laws of New York are a little stringent upon this
matter, and I waited till I found out that a very large number of the
papers were struck off and ready to be delivered. I had learned that
these were usually sent off out of the office to somebody's care, but I
did not propose to follow up the parties as I had done the letter
clerks; so one morning, when all was right, I took a couple of regular
policemen along with me, and entered the printing office on Spruce
Street, and calling one of the proprietors into the counting-room,
advised him of my business, and the law in the premises. He was taken
aback; turned a little pale; and protested that he had no suspicion
that he was engaged in an unlawful business; said they exercised no
secrecy in the printing, so far as attempting to cover up any offence
was concerned; but that the lottery company had asked them to observe a
degree of privacy in the printing, on account of their competition with
rival companies.

"But," said he, "I read a little law once in Ohio; thought I would make
a lawyer, but got sick of it; and I remember that one of the first
things my old instructor, in whose office I read, taught me, was,
'Ignorance of the law excuseth no man,' and we shall have to bear the
brunt of it, I fear. Besides, we have a bill of nearly a thousand
dollars against these fellows, and if you break them up, where are we
to get our pay?"

"Have they been good pay heretofore?"

"O, yes; we let one bill run on to over fifteen hundred dollars. I felt
a little skittish about it, but they paid it all up, and gave us five
hundred dollars in advance on the next month's issue." I was convinced
of the gentleman's honesty. I had learned a good deal about him, and
his manner was that of an honest man. "Well," said I, "I'll tell you
what we'll do. You deliver these papers, but do you let me know
precisely where they are delivered; tell me the true names of the
parties who order them; give me such 'copy' as they have sent in to be
printed from, so that I may be in possession of their manuscripts;
describe the personal appearance of each of them whom you know, in
writing, and make a written statement over your own signature of all
your connection with them, and I will wait till you get your pay from
them, if you will stir them up immediately, and promise to not do any
more work of this kind for them." The gentleman instantly replied,--

"That's fair. Of course we won't do any more such printing if it is
illegal: but some of these lottery men are persons of great
respectability in society, and I am astonished to find they are engaged
in such a nefarious business, and I prefer to consult my partner" (a
much older man), "before I concede to your proposition. Let me speak to
him a minute, for there he is, and I will give you my answer. I prefer
that _he_ shall take the responsibility."

The gentleman walked out to where his partner was engaged in looking
over some work, held a moment or two's conversation with him, when they
both came into the counting-room, and the older gentleman heard from me
my story and my propositions, and answered at once. "Of course we will
accede to your propositions, and be much obliged to you for giving such
excellent terms."

The propositions were specifically complied with. The printing-house
got its pay for its work by refusing to deliver it till paid for. As
the lottery agents were in need of the papers, and would lose a month's
revenue for want of them, they were obliged to yield, and pay up all
arrearages, threatening to take their printing elsewhere thereafter,
which had been considerable; but the printers kept silent, and did not
even let them know that they had discovered they were pursuing an
unlawful business. The papers were duly delivered to the lottery men,
and I kept watch on their private den, concluding that I would not
disturb them till they had gone to the expense of wrapping the papers,
and paying the postage, which must have been something enormous. Whole
bushels at a time of the papers went to the post office, and the
rascals were probably dreaming of the revenue which was to follow that
month's laudable labor. I was willing that they should do the
government as much service as they pleased in the way of sustaining the
postal system, and inwardly rather feasted on the "prospect." Their
private den was unoccupied during the night. Indeed, they usually left
at an early hour in the afternoon, save on great mailing days.

I hired desk room in a lawyer's office in the same building, No. 5
Tryon Row, close by the courts of justice, and within the immediate
shadow of the City Hall,--not an inappropriate locality for the
bogus lottery scoundrels after all; for the common council of New
York holds its sessions in the City Hall, and there, too, is the
mayor's office, and that office has sometimes been filled by as
great wretches as these lottery agents. Indeed, I call to mind one
mayor who made not a little of his large fortune in the "policy
business," i. e., in a scoundrelly, though, in a measure, legalized
lottery swindle. Matsell, the old chief of police, had his rooms in
the same building, and had he been in office at the time, would
have rejoiced to find these "birds" making their nest so
conveniently near him. Having a desk in the lawyer's office, I was
of course entitled to spend my nights there, or as much of them as
I pleased; and being next door to the "Real Estate Office" (as a
sign on the door facetiously intimated), or, in other words, the
private office of "G. W. Huntington & Co.," I found the "patent
lock" on their door not at all in my way for making observations.
With a dark lantern I could select such of their correspondence as
I pleased, take it to my room, and there, by a broad light, read
it. I got possession in this way of many astounding facts, and also
procured "specimens of the handwriting" of several of this honest
firm--notes written to the clerks, giving orders, etc. Some of
these I preserved for future use, but returned most of the
customers' correspondence. There were in their office numerous
large packages of "business" letters; letters from agents and
customers--(when we took possession we found somewhere about twenty
thousand letters, which were only a part of what the company had
received during their comparatively short existence. They had
destroyed great numbers, merely to rid themselves of the
incumbrance.) I got a pretty thorough understanding of the
business, and collected facts and names of customers for future
witnesses, etc., to put it quite out of the question for these
fellows to ever resume their business under their then title, after
they should be broken up; and, all things prepared, kept watch so
as to catch one of the proprietors in the office at work. The "Real
Estate" department, in which nothing at all was done, was divided
off from the lottery den by a board partition, over the door of
which was a sign "Private Consulting Office." Leaving my assistants
at the door (and having sent an officer to an office in 115 Nassau
Street, to arrest another of the "proprietors" there), I went in to
see the gentleman on real estate business; and was informed by the
clerk that his principal was in the consulting room, and would be
out soon. The clerk who had come out from the "consulting room" as
I went into the office, had closed the door (which was evidently
open before); and I remarked, that as I was in a hurry, I'd step in
and see the principal; and suiting the action to the word, stepped
to the door, when the clerk,--a tall lad, of twenty years of age,
perhaps,--brusquely stepped up before the door, and said,--

"You cannot enter here--that's my orders."


I pushed him aside without saying a word, whistled, and went in, and
caught the principal with pen in hand at work at a table, with a pile
of correspondence before him, while at the same time my two men at the
door rushed in, and I called to them to secure the clerk, and bring him
into the private room, which they did. I then stepped out of the
private room and locked the outside door, and returning, informed the
principal what I knew about him, and so terrified him as to extort from
him a full confession of his connection with the business. He confessed
that they were thoroughly caught, and must be broken up; which
conviction was soon deepened, when one of my men answering a knock at
the outside door, let in an officer, accompanied by another of the
principals. I took possession of the contents of the office, made the
parties deliver up the mails for that day and the day before, (the
money received from which they still had on hand,) in order to refund
the money to the swindled parties; made them give me money enough to
pay for the requisite stationery and postage, all of which I got from
them on the spot; and then took due proceedings against them legally,
leaving the office in charge of one of my men, till I could get around
to it and examine the correspondence, which was in time to be
destroyed. I made these fellows advance me money, too, to pay for the
rent of the office, on which a month's rent was then due the lessor,
and for another month's rent. These fellows were men in high social
position, and they tried hard to bribe me into silence, and made large
and tempting offers, and promised also to quit the business forever;
but I reminded them that their very offer was an offence against the
law, and suggested that they must not even repeat their bribes. There
was a third member of this honest firm, but the officer sent to arrest
him reported that he was out of town, to return next day; and as we
wanted him too, we took good care that his friends should have no
opportunity to communicate to him, or anybody else that day. I never
saw more "sore-headed" chaps than they. The fear of exposition through
the public press, was a terrible one for them; and as it was
compounding no felony, and was no breach of law to agree to not give
the facts to the press, and to let these chaps be brought before the
proper officers and plead guilty, under assumed names, when we should
get to that point, I had no hesitancy in accepting for myself and my
men a pretty large sum of money from them. It was true that the money
gave me some uneasiness, as I reflected that it had probably been
cheated out of poor victims, although the rascals asserted that they
had not made much in that way. But their correspondence showed that
they had. The third man was arrested next day, and kept apart from the
other two. He was taken before the mayor under his assumed name, and
there made a pitiful confession, disclosing more than his _confreres_
had done. He was the "scion of a distinguished house," was younger than
the rest, and had been inveigled into the matter by the ambition to be
independent of his father, and make money for himself; and having been
bred to no legitimate business, easily fell into this in connection
with his cousin, one of the other principals. The third party is now
dead. He "reformed," and went into a legitimate business. Some of the
steps we had taken with these fellows, were rather bold ones, hardly
within purview of the law; and the mayor, satisfied with the thorough
work which had been done,--we having captured all their correspondence,
their elaborately-kept journals, containing corrected lists of all
their agents, together, with quite a large library of city and business
directories, and a countless quantity of business cards, which had
afforded them names to which to direct their papers, and schedules of
"drawings to be held," etc., etc., the mayor conceived that we had so
effectually crippled them, that they could not, seeking a new office,
go on with their business; and as all he wished to do was to break them
up, he concluded to let them go, on their promise to not reënter upon
the business; and turned to me, and asked if I did not agree with him.
I said, "Yes; but I think there is one thing more which these men owe
to the public, through their victims. They have apparently a plenty of
money, and we have their register of correspondence. My proposition is,
that we draw up a circular to be sent to all their victims, stating
that the firm is broken up, and warning the customers of the fraudulent
character of this and all other such concerns, get a few thousand of
the circulars printed, and mail them to each man on their books, and
make them bear the expense of printing, enveloping, clerk hire and
postage, and pay the clerks liberally for their work. They ought to do
this, to undo the wrong they have done, as far as they can."

"Yes, yes, gentlemen, I like that proposition. What do you say to it?"
said the mayor.

They were deathly silent for a moment; looked askance at each other
(for at this session we had all the three present); but one broke the

"It will be a pretty big bill. I told you the truth when I said we are
poor; as for myself, I am worth next to nothing."

The mayor looked at me inquiringly, and probably saw something in my
face which was as expressive as if I had said, "Bosh! they are
perfectly able;" so he said, "Gentlemen, I shall insist on the
condition;" and turning to me, he added, "make out a liberal estimate,
and hold these men under arrest till you get the sum advanced. Mind! I
say advanced! don't trust them for a minute."

The firm, seeing that it was of no use to quibble, agreed to meet the
emergency that day; and I, having in the course of two hours found out
how much it would cost to print twenty thousand circulars, and for
clerk hire for two months, for two clerks, with postage added, at two
cents a circular, agreed to accept eight hundred dollars,--a pretty
liberal sum, for I was not disposed to oppress myself for want of
means, on account of any foolish pity for these chaps. The amount was
forthcoming, and the scamps were released.

I at once drew up a circular in these words. By the way, I had secured
their engraving of the building, No. 23 William Street, with which the
circular was headed:--

                                        "MAYOR'S OFFICE, NEW YORK.

    "DEAR SIR: This is to inform you that the great 'Banking House
    of G. W. Huntington & Co.,'--the above picture of which you
    have doubtless seen before,--has 'suspended operations' having
    fallen into the hands of the police. This house was a bogus
    lottery concern, which conducted its stealthy business in an
    obscure den, while pretending to occupy the building above
    represented, by the picture of which they more readily enticed
    their country customers to 'invest' in their shrewdly-devised
    schemes. If in dealing with them you ever secured a prize, it
    was only given to entice you into larger ventures. Beware of
    all such companies in the future. The mayor directs me to
    advise you that there are no legitimate lottery companies or
    agencies in the city of New York. None are allowed by law to do
    business here. All of them are bogus and fraudulent. His honor
    the mayor further suggests that you may, perhaps, do your
    unwary neighbors a service, by showing them, if you please,
    this circular,--or by at least informing them that all such
    companies and agencies in New York are fraudulent in their
    character. The mayor receives hundreds of complaints during the
    course of a year from the victims of these companies, or
    'agencies,' and a list of all those to whom this circular is
    sent, is kept, and no notice of the complaint of any one of
    these will hereafter be taken. The mayor trusts that you, sir,
    will not only escape being imposed upon by these bogus lottery
    sharpers hereafter, but will so warn and instruct all your
    friends that they, too, will escape being victimized.

                                       Respectfully yours,

                                                 "---- ----,

                                          "Mayor's Special Clerk."

About eighteen thousand of these circulars were duly mailed to the
addresses found in the captured books, and the books themselves were
duly deposited for further reference. It would seem that this warning,
scattered as it was into more than half the towns in the Union, ought
to have lessened the number of victims to these swindling concerns; but
I have been informed that some of them are in full blast to-day, and
that all along, since the arrest of "G. W. Huntington & Co.," other
concerns carried on heavy operations. Everybody, almost, it would seem,
_must_ have personal experience; will _not_, for some reason, profit by
the experience and advice of others who have suffered--been bitten by
sharpers. But I trust that this article will be heeded by all who read
it. Perhaps it is a sufficiently clear exposition of the way these
rascals proceeded, to make it evident that there is no trusting the
pretences of any of them. Sure it is that there are at least five
hundred thousand people in the land, who, if they were to read this
exposition, could reflect that it must be, as it is, literally true,
entirely unembellished by imagination to the extent of even a word, and
that, too, from their own experiences; and they can now understand the
_modus operandi_ by which they were swindled.

All "gift enterprises," so common in New York, and other places,
to-day, partake in their nature of these bogus lottery operations, and
no man is safe who trusts a single one of them. He will be swindled in
the end, in some way.

I could not well allow myself to cut this article short at this point,
although my tale is, properly speaking, finished, and my contract under
this head, with my publishers, fulfilled. There is something so
marvellous in the human heart in the way of its disposition to
adventure in order to make money easily; such a wonderful credulity in
the minds of large numbers of people, and a willingness to fasten in
trust upon the merest shadow of success, that perhaps these fraudulent
concerns will never lack victims. But in studying the correspondence
which fell into my hands,--over twenty thousand letters,--and with
which I beguiled many hours during the six months in which I kept them,
before burning them, I became apprised of the fact that the great
majority of the "customers" of these concerns are illiterate; most of
their letters being misspelled; that great numbers of them were young
men, boys, and poor women; nearly all evidently mechanics, and from
some of the States, such as Pennsylvania, many farmers. (Pennsylvania,
by the way, furnishes more victims to petty frauds, I learned, than
several other States which I might name, taken together.) She has a
large number of citizens who are barely able to read and write poorly,
and who probably do not read the public journals extensively, and are,
therefore, not likely to be well informed of the current iniquities of
the time. I seriously meditated, after having studied the "G. W.
Huntington & Co." correspondence, the writing of a book on the matter
of Swindling, in general; and this correspondence would have afforded
me many pathetic things for comment. While looking over that
correspondence, the tears often came irresistibly to my eyes. I
recollect the letter of a boy writing from Easton, Penn., I think it
was. He had, it appeared from his letter, sent many dollars to the
company for tickets, a dollar at a time, and winning nothing from his
ventures, was getting discouraged. He wrote an imploring letter at
last, accompanied by a dollar, in which he begged the company to choose
him a winning number. He told them it was his last dollar; (he was but
sixteen years old, he said); that he should not be able to send again,
if he failed this time, for he had to give every cent he could earn; (I
forget what he said he worked at, but he named the business and the
pitiable wages he got); that his father was a dreadful drunkard; one of
his little sisters was "sick all the while;" another had broken her leg
two months before, and the doctors thought she might have to lose it,
and so on, a pitiable tale--a tale to stir the hardest heart, and
written in that style which stamped it as undoubtedly true. At the
bottom of this letter was a note for the clerk, in the handwriting of
one of the firm. "Write to" (somebody, I forget his name, of course),
"at Easton, and learn if this story is true; and if it is, let the boy
draw five dollars in Scheme No." (so and so.) There was a note dated
some days after, below this in the clerk's hand. "Letter received from
Easton; story true; ticket issued." _Probably_ that boy re-invested the
whole five dollars. Drawing the money, his hope would naturally be
excited; and now that he could buy a ticket in a larger "drawing," he
probably sent the five dollars back, and lost them of course.

Widows, with large families, and who wrote most mournful stories,
sending on every cent they could save (while half-starving their
families in order to do so, probably), were among the number of
correspondents. Clergymen of poor parishes sent for tickets, with long
letters, in which they commented piously upon the matter of hazard and
lotteries, in a manner to excuse themselves for sending, and hoping
that they should draw something to help them out of their poverty and
misery, and expressing their belief that "God would pardon them if they
were doing wrong," were also of the number. Many letters were of a
comical nature, the writers half-laughing at themselves for doing so
foolish a thing as buying tickets in a lottery; but yet unable to
resist the temptation. By some of the letters it was evident to me that
the writers told abominable lies about their sufferings and trials, in
order to excite the sympathy of the "agents," and induce them to use
their best efforts to secure for them winning tickets. Some of the
correspondents offered to give the "agents" half their prize money, in
order to bribe them to select a successful ticket. Some of them sent
counterfeit money. I found such notes as this at bottom of several
letters, "One dollar counterfeit, two dollars good. Send tickets in
Scheme No. 8." "Counterfeit; send back." These were evidently
directions to clerks. If the writing in these letters which contained
only counterfeit money had been good, I might have suspected the
writers of perpetrating an appropriate joke; but the letters were
evidently from ignorant people, some of whom, perhaps, knew that the
bills they sent were counterfeit, and hoped that the great banking
company, in their vast press of business, would fail to detect the
bills. Many of the letters were written in excellent mercantile hand;
but I noticed some badge of ignorance about all these, as well as about
the poorly-written and misspelled ones. Probably ninety-nine in a
hundred of the victims were made such through their ignorance of the
world and the wicked men in it.

"Knowledge is power;" not only a power to execute, but a power for
salvation; and when her light shall be sufficiently diffused, all such
crafts _as these bogus lottery swindlers_ will "have had their day,"
and not before. I doubt somewhat that if all the newspapers of the land
should, on some given week, publish each a full _exposé_ of these
swindles, and repeat the same every week, for a month, the majority of
the victims would be saved. Many would; but some with their eyes
opened, as far as facts could open them, would still be duped. The
investigation of this bogus lottery business did more to weaken my
respect for the good sense of my fellow-men in general, than had all
the experiences of my life theretofore. But I find I am tempted on
beyond the limits I had set for myself in this article. The subject is
an interesting one to me, and I may return to it at another time, and
to some of its phases not here commented upon.


                       THE BORROWED DIAMOND RING.



Just before the late war broke out, and the Winter Garden Theatre being
in its prime, my friend, Henry C. P., of New Haven, Conn., being in
town, urged me to accompany him there one night to see the play. The
house was quite crowded with a more than usually fashionable set of
play-goers, many being from different parts of the land, visitors for a
time in New York. No matter where I go, to theatre, court, or church,
along Broadway crowded with its vast moving tides of humanity, or
through the streets of some half-deserted hamlet, my mind is ever on my
business; rather, ever pondering on the craft and crime of society,
symbols of which, in more or less emphatic shape, I am ever liable to
see. It is one of the greatest vexations which the detective suffers,
that the nature of his business is such that he can never fully
liberate his thoughts from dwelling upon the frailties, the follies,
and particularly the crimes, petty and felonious, of which so many of
his fellow-men are constantly being guilty. Like an incubus of dread
and darkness, these thoughts are ever weighing on his mind. He has no
peace; and the only approximate peace he can win, is to let his
thoughts drift on in the usual current, without attempting to direct
them by his will. Consequently, that night, though for a while I
enjoyed the play, studying its representations of human nature with
some delight, and being not a little pleased with the beauty of sundry
of the female _dramatis personæ_, who were rather above the average in
personal graces, my eye was wandering over the parquet, family circle,
etc., considerably. Hearing a slight noise in a part of the gallery, I
observed that three young men, probably having a "prior engagement" to
fill somewhere, were leaving the theatre,--a thing of no moment in
itself, and which I should have forgotten on the instant, only that the
vacancy they left enabled me to cast my eye a little farther on, when I
discovered a character of much interest to me--a man elegantly
apparelled, and having every outward semblance of a gentleman. At the
moment my eye first rested on him there, he was peering into one of the
boxes, and I saw him soon in the act of whispering some mystery,
apparently, into the ear of the comrade who sat by his side. The latter
person I did not know; but knowing the company he was in, I divined
that some mischief was up, for the former person was no other than a
man whom, in my detective career, I had several times encountered--an
elegant, scheming fellow, who sometimes operated on Wall Street, kept
an office at 34 Pine Street, as a real estate broker and money lender,
etc., though he was seldom there, and was as skilful a juggler and
pickpocket as any of whom New York could at that time boast. I could
not, from my then position, well see into the boxes, so I changed my
seat--through the courtesy of an old friend, who gave me his in
exchange for mine--to a point where I could watch the boxes and the two
elegant gentlemen, of whom I have spoken, without the latter's knowing
the fact. As I have intimated, the season was gay. In one of the boxes
sat two gentlemen and two ladies, the former evidently Southerners I
judged, and so I thought the ladies to be also. They were quite richly
dressed, and "sported" a large amount of richest jewelry. I was not at
a loss, as soon as I had enjoyed a good view of them, as to the nature
of the special concern which they had evidently awakened in the minds
of the two worthies whom I was watching. I felt very sure that some
plan was being devised by the latter two to make the acquaintance of
the gentlemen, and, perhaps, the ladies in the box, with an eye to
relieving them of some of their jewelry or money.

"Harry Dubois" was one of the aliases of the elegant rogue; his
friend's name I knew not, and have never learned it. I was not
surprised then, when, after a little polite leave-taking at the end of
an act, and the gentlemen left their ladies in the box, to see Harry
and friend leave their seats, and saunter out. Divining that the
gentlemen had gone into the refreshment-room, I followed, disguising
myself as I went out, by the assumption of a pair of spectacle bows, to
which was attached a false nose quite unlike my own, in order that
Harry might by no means discover me. I arrived in the refreshment-room,
and had selected out my friends of the box before Harry and his friend,
or "pal," came in. I had prepared my mind to expect some peculiarly
stealthy, circumlocutory proceeding upon the part of Harry. Perhaps he
would come only to "watch and wait" still longer; perhaps he would find
there somebody, also, who knew the gentlemen of the box, and get a
formal introduction. Indeed, I had conceived a half dozen modes of
operation on his part, when, to my astonishment, Harry, having first
cast a searching glance over the room, and giving his "pal" a knowing
touch on the elbow, rushed, with all smiles upon his face, up to the
apparently elder of the gentlemen of the box, who were at this moment
lifting glasses of wine to their lips, and exclaimed, "Pardon me, Mr.
Le Franc; but how _do_ you do? I am exceedingly glad to see you! How
long have you been on from New Orleans, my dear sir?"

The gentleman addressed looked with astonishment upon the elegantly
attired Harry, whose face was the symbol of the frankest honesty and
most certain refinement, and evidently "taken" by Harry's manner,
replied, "My dear sir, there's a mistake here, for my name is not Le
Franc; and truly, sir, I can never have known you, for I surely do not
now, and if I had I should never have forgotten you."

"Upon my honor," said Harry, "I thought you were a Mr. Le Franc, of New
Orleans. You look just like him, with whom, and others, I went on an
excursion up to Donaldsonville, three years ago, at the invitation and
expense of Bob McDonald."

"Bob McDonald? Why, he's my cousin, sir. If you know him, give me your
hand. My name, sir, is William Hale, of Savannah, and this is my
cousin, Mr. Clemens, of Mobile" (turning to his friend), "Mr. ---- Ah!
excuse me, but you have not given me your name, sir, I forgot."

Fully pleased, Harry pulled out a card case from his vest pocket, and
presented to Mr. Hale a neat card, inscribed:--

                      =HENRY CLARKSON DUBOIS=

                            ATTORNEY AT LAW.

        _Specialty--Dealing in Real Estate, Effecting Loans, and
                     Securing Advances on Cotton._

                                 Office, 34 Pine Street, N. Y. City.

"Pardon me that I give you my business card; I find I have no other
about me."

"Ah, Mr. Dubois! I am sure I am very glad to know you as Bob McDonald's
friend. Tell me when you last saw him. How was he? Jolly fellow--isn't
he? Take some wine with us? and your friend, too; he'll join us?"

Harry was nothing loth to accept the wine. He was making splendid
progress, he doubtless thought; and joining in the wine, he said, "You
asked when I last saw Bob. Well, when he was here in New York, three
months ago, on his way to Hamilton, Canada, he was my guest for a week,
at the Metropolitan, where I board."

"Just so," said Mr. Hale. "Bob wrote us at that time from Canada. I am
sorry I did not go on there when he was there. He was well as usual
then, I suppose, and just as full of the 'Old McDonald'" (for his
father was a great old sport) "as ever, eh?"

I saw that Harry was making smooth inroad into the affections of these
gentlemen, and wondered what would be the result. Mr. Hale treated to
cigars. Harry refused, saying, that with permission he would smoke a
cigarette,--pulling a box from his pocket,--commented on the habit
which he had learned in Cuba, when he was attached, as he said, to the
United States legation there, and quite took the Savannah gentleman
aback with his delicate manipulation of the dainty cigarette. Harry's
mastery of good manners seemed to completely win the Southern
gentlemen, and Harry's friend too, though less elegant than he, was no
"slouch" of a fellow in appearance.

The next act of the play had begun before the gentlemen had finished
their cigars and chat, and Mr. Hale said to his friend Clemens,
"Wouldn't Mary be delighted to meet so intimate a friend of her cousin
Bob? Mr. Dubois, I spoke of McDonald as my cousin; so he is by
marriage; but he is cousin by blood to my wife, and she likes him above
all her kin. Wouldn't you and your friend do us the honor to accompany
us to our box, where our wives now are?"

"With the greatest pleasure," said Harry, suiting the action to the
word, and away they started for the box. I lost no time in getting back
to my seat, on the way depositing my spectacles and false nose in a
side pocket.

From what I afterwards learned from Mr. Hale, he delightedly presented
Harry to his wife, as an intimate friend of her cousin Bob; and it was
evident to me that Harry was making as sure victory of the esteem of
Mrs. Hale, and the other lady, Mrs. Clemens, as he had of their
husbands. He laughed and chatted with the ladies to their evident
delight. They could not have heard much of the second act, so busily
were they engaged with him--gentlemen and ladies both. I noticed that
Harry was not lacking, on that occasion, in a good degree of
effrontery, mingled with his polite manners, which fact was assurance
to me that he had formed some plan of operations already, but what it
would be I could not conjecture. I saw more or less display of jewelry,
Harry taking a splendid solitaire diamond from his finger, and
evidently telling some story about it. But eventually, as the act was
drawing to a close, I discovered that Mr. Clemens had taken from his
finger a very costly ring, which, as the sequel proved, he had bought
at Anthony's the day before, for fifteen hundred dollars, to take as a
present to his brother, then studying medicine in Harvard College,
whither Mr. Clemens and his lady were about going. All was very
jubilant in the box as the act drew to a close, and there was a clatter
in the box--the gentlemen laughing, and the ladies shaking their fans
at them, as if half menacingly forbidding them to go out, evidently
begging them to stay, and so forth. But Harry, according to the story I
learned afterwards, kindly assured the ladies that he would return with
his new "charge" all duly and "soundly," which the ladies interpreted
to mean soberly, and they let them go.

Harry left the box, the last of the gentlemen, and as he did so,
foolishly waved his hand in parting, at the ladies; and the mystery was
at once unravelled to me, for on his finger was what I took to be, knew
to be, that new, flashing ring of Mr. Clemens.

I hastened to the refreshment-room. I saw at once the flush of victory
on Harry's face, and watched him intently.

He was very brilliant in conversation, and very generous; insisted on
"treating" all the while himself. Wouldn't allow Mr. Hale or his friend
to call for anything, etc.

The time for the next act coming on, the gentlemen, not a little
"warmed up" with the numerous glasses of wine they had taken, returned
to their box, and I to my place, replacing my spectacles in my side

I had been a little delayed in getting back to my place by a crowd
gathered around a lady who had fainted, and when I resumed my seat, and
looked into the box, what was my astonishment at not finding Harry
there. I saw that Mrs. Clemens was very serious about something, while
the rest seemed very much excited; meanwhile, Harry's friend seemed
engaged in some sort of wonder-looking protestations, for he _looked_
astonished, and was putting one hand very emphatically upon the palm of
the other. The whole thing flashed upon me. I saw that there was no
time to lose; and I left my seat, and proceeded directly to the
refreshment-room, in time to find Mr. Hale and his friend there,
eagerly inquiring of the bar-keeper if "Mr. Dubois" had returned there;
if he had seen him since they went up last time to the box, and sundry
other hurried queries. The bar-keeper had not seen him; no clew could
they get to him; and Mr. Hale said, "Clemens, you are 'done for,' sure.
That's one of those arch scamps we read of. He's borrowed that ring,
and we'll never see it again."

"Let's find a policeman, and put him on the track," said Clemens.

"Foolishness," said Mr. Hale; "no policeman can track that fellow. He's
too keen; besides, who knows but he'll take the train for Philadelphia
or somewhere. I don't believe he lives here. Here's his card, to be
sure, but who knows that it's not a fraud? Let's hunt the directory,"
and the bar-keeper brought forward the desired directory. No "Harry
Clarkson Dubois" was to be found in it. The gentlemen looked confounded
and dejected, and Hale said, "Well, Clemens, let's go back to the
ladies. They've more wit than we. You know what your wife said. If we'd
taken her advice perhaps we should have got out from here in time to
catch the villain," and so they sauntered back.

I did not feel like making myself known to them. They might take me,
perhaps, as Harry's coöperator, and so I silently watched them leave.
Turning the matter over in my mind a moment, I resolved upon the best
course to pursue. Harry must be come upon that night if I were to
succeed with him, I saw. I had known his lodging-room three months
before, but had heard he had changed quarters; where to hunt him was
the point. I bethought me of a boarding-house keeper in West 13th
Street, with whom Harry once boarded, and who, not knowing his real
character, had great respect for him, and whom, too, Harry evidently
really respected, for I had been told that he always spoke of her in
terms of admiration. I fancied she would be as apt as any one to know
where were his quarters, and I took a carriage, and drove immediately
to her house. Fortunately she was at home; and on inquiring of her if
she could tell me where I could find Mr. Dubois the next morning, for I
did not let her know my haste, she said that she guessed I'd be most
apt to find him in his office in Pine Street, No. 34; that he had
applied to her for board two days before, with which she could not
accommodate him for a week or so to come; so he said he would sleep on
a lounge in his office, and take his meals out till she could give him
quarters, and that the day before he sent up for blankets, with which
she had supplied him.

My plan was complete. Hurrying away from her house, I ordered the
driver to push straight for my rooms, where, arming myself completely,
I drove on as far as the post office, when, ordering the driver to
await my return, I alighted, and proceeded to 34 Pine Street. As it
chanced, next door was the office of my friend, the late Simeon Draper,
and I was not a little pleased to find a light there, and one of his
clerks and another man looking over some papers, as I saw through the
window. Tapping on the door, it was readily unlocked, and I said to the
clerk, who recognized me, "No questions asked; but let _me_ inquire if
you are going to be here for fifteen minutes longer?"


"Yes, for an hour, perhaps."

"Well, I may call again."

"Do so--are you after a 'bird'?" asked the clerk, with a knowing wink
in his eye; for he very quickly divined that I was on some detective
mission; for Mr. Draper had been a frequent patron of mine, and often
sent this clerk to me on business.

I closed the door, and ran up two flights of stairs to "Dubois's" room,
and immediately rapped upon the door.

No noise within--all silence! Had the bird flown? I thought not. I
believed he was there. Again I rapped.

"Who's there?" asked a half-sleepy voice.

I replied, "O! you're asleep, Mr. Dubois--are you? Well, no matter.
It's a case of exigency. I knew you were here; saw you as you came in;
and there's a man fainted away in Draper's office, and I'm alone with
him, and want you, if you will, to watch him while I run for a doctor.
Don't mind to dress yourself more than half--come quickly," and I
started away rapidly down stairs, and returned as rapidly, and rapping
on the door again, exclaimed, "Get ready, and run down as quick as you
can, while I go for a doctor. The door's unlocked; but see here, he may
revive, and want some stimulus. Here's the key to the back closet.
There's a bottle of brandy there. Here, take it."

The unsuspicious Harry opened the door slightly to take the key, when I
pushed in. On his finger gleamed that very ring. He was but half
dressed, coat off, a muscular fellow, and just in trim for fighting. I
saw the situation, and pulling out a pistol, clapped it to his face,
and extending my left hand, said, "It's no use, Harry; give me Mr.
Clemens' ring without any noise, or I'll call the officers at the door

Harry was never before so confounded; protested he had no ring but his

"We'll see," said I. "Mr. Hale will be here in a moment. If he comes,
it's all day with you. He can identify the ring, and--so--can--I. Give
it to me at once!" I exclaimed, with a stern voice.

Harry saw that I knew all about it, and yielded, begging me to not
expose him. I assured him I had no care to do so; but should exact of
him the expenses I had incurred for the carriage, which, at that time
of night, would be about fifteen dollars; which he quickly took from
out a large sized roll of bills from his inner vest pocket. The gas he
had lighted when he rose to dress, was turned on at full head, and
gleamed like a spectre through the room. I examined the money to see
that it was not counterfeit, put it in my pocket, and bade Harry "good
night," telling him I guessed the man in Draper's had recovered by this
time, and that he needn't trouble himself to go down.

I drove to my rooms, paid the driver, and having deposited the ring in
my little safe, went to bed, and pondered on the next step--the finding
of Mr. Clemens next day. I arose rather early next morning, and went in
search. I expected to find him and his friends at some of the prominent
hotels; but they were not there to be found, but had left the St.
Nicholas some three days before, and where gone nobody knew. But the
coachman would know where he took them. After waiting hours to find the
coachman, I at last learned that they had all gone to a house in
Madison Square, to which I proceeded, and found it the private
residence of one of our prominent citizens. The parties, therefore,
were evidently of the _elite_, and were to be approached delicately.
Perhaps they hadn't told their friends of their loss, and from pride
might not want it known. How should I proceed? Well, I rung the bell,
and inquired of the servant if a Mr. Clemens was stopping there; and
learned that he was, but that he and his wife had gone out, and would
not be back till evening. "Was a Mr. Hale there?" "Yes; but he, too,
and his wife have gone with Mr. and Mrs. Clemens." I didn't want the
ring about me. I had pressing work to do that day and that evening; in
fact, I hardly knew whether I should have time to call that evening or
not. So I asked the servant if he could provide me envelope and paper,
for I would leave a note for my friends. I was ushered into the
library, and given the due materials; and addressing a note to Mr.
Hale, which ran much as follows:--

    "SIR: I have not the pleasure of your personal acquaintance,
    but the fact that I am the _true_ friend of your cousin, Mr.
    Robert McDonald, of New Orleans, will be all the assurance, I
    presume, that you will want of my being entitled to an audience
    with you. I have called to see you upon interesting and
    important business, and finding that you are not to return till
    evening, I beg to ask you to expect me at half past eight
    o'clock. Do not, if you please, by any means fail to be at
    home. I would also be pleased to meet Mr. Clemens; and I trust
    you will not consider me impertinent (and you will not when you
    come to learn my errand), if I ask also to meet Mrs. Hale and
    Mrs. Clemens at the same time.

    "I would prefer to meet none of the family residing here, but
    yourselves alone.

                                  "Yours, very respectfully,

                                                      "---- ----."

I hurried through my business for the remainder of the day, and a
little before half past eight was duly at the house on Madison Square.

Being admitted, I called for Mr. Hale. He came to see me in the hall;
looked at me mysteriously; was very civil and polite, but coldly so. I
said, "I left a note here to-day for you."

"Yes, sir, I received a curious note, and don't know what to make of
it. Please explain your business. We are strangers, and you will excuse
me that I am always cautious with strangers, whoever they may be."

He had evidently taken the lesson of the night before to heart.

"But," asked I, "are Mr. and Mrs. Clemens ready to receive me, as I
requested in my note?"

"Yes, and Mrs. Hale too."

"Can I see them all immediately, for I've but little time to spare?"

"Yes, sir," said he, quite rigidly; "follow me, sir."

I followed him to a small side parlor, where sat Mr. Clemens and the
two ladies.

"This is the gentleman who left the note here to-day, and says he knows
Bob McDonald," said Mr. Hale, as he bowed me to a chair, and cast a
furtive glance at his friends as he spoke McDonald's name.

"Pardon me, sir," I broke in. "I did not say that I _knew_ Mr.
McDonald, but that I was a 'true friend' of him, as you'll observe on
looking at the note, if you have it, and as I guess I shall prove."

"O, then you don't know my cousin, Mr. McDonald?" asked Mrs. Hale. "I
am glad you do not, sir, for I was beginning to fear you if you did.
We've seen one of cousin's friends here of late to our regret."

"Well, ladies and gentlemen," said I, "I'll make my story short. You
have, indeed, had occasion to regret meeting one of Mr. McDonald's
pretended friends. Perhaps he does know him too, personally. But I do
not; and I am a 'true friend' to Mr. McDonald, in that I would serve
his friends as he would desire to have me, if he knew your late loss."

There were glances from the eyes of each into those of the others--a
momentary silence and wonder-looking--when Mrs. Clemens tremulously
exclaimed, "Why, sir, do you know all about it? Have you found the

"Foolish woman!" said Mr. Clemens. "How do you suppose anybody could
find what wasn't lost--only stolen?"

"But I have something here for you, sir," said I, as I took the ring
from my pocket, and held it up in the light.

"The same!" "That's it!" "Where did you get it?" "Did he lose it, and
you find it?" "How glad I am!" etc., burst from their excited lips.

"Be calm, and I'll tell you all about it," said I; and taking their
seats, for all had risen to their feet, they listened attentively to my
story. I told them my business; how I came to notice them; all that I
did--all except what transpired in Pine Street, making a short tale of

I had handed the ring, as I commenced my story, to Mr. Clemens, who
placed it upon a book lying on the table, where it lay throughout our
discourse, which was carried on for nearly an hour. Near the
conclusion, Mr. Clemens said, "But after all this I do not feel that
the ring is yet justly mine. You have earned a part of it, at least,
and I wish you to tell me how much I shall pay you for your trouble. I
should have lost the ring wholly but for you, and I am willing to pay
you half its value, seven hundred and fifty dollars."

"O, no," said I, "I could not for a moment consent to take so much. In
fact, I would have no right to."

"Well, name the price."

"If you give me fifty dollars I shall be satisfied."

"No such paltry sum, sir," said the generous Southerner. "You shall
take double, yes, four times that, at least."

"Yes," said Mr. Hale, "and I'll gladly pay half of it, or the whole of
it, or double it, and make it four hundred."

But I insisted upon only one hundred; and paying me that, Mr. Clemens
restored the ring to his finger, saying, "The next time I allow a
stranger, no matter whose friend he is, to trifle with my property, I
shall _know_ it, I reckon. It's been a good lesson, cheaply bought, for

Business over, these cheerful people insisted upon entertaining me till
a late hour, and I recited to them some quaint instances in the
detective's life; but they could not but think that their adventure in
New York had been the most remarkable of all.

I dare say that the lesson they learned that night will serve them
through life; and although their loss was so stupidly occasioned that I
presume they keep it secret as to themselves, I've no doubt they
sometimes tell it, in the third person, as a warning to their friends
who may be "going abroad, travelling."

It is a trite saying, that "'tis not all gold that glitters." Everybody
has heard it, and repeated it, but few only profit by it.


              THE MYSTERY AT NO. 89 ---- STREET, NEW YORK.



"Kleptomania," the delicate term of modern coinage from the old Greek,
which is used to signify a passion for thieving under peculiar
circumstances, and is mostly used when the thief is a person of some
importance and of moneyed means, so that the lust for gain is not
supposed to be his prompter to the "offence against the statute in such
cases made and provided," indicates a moral "dereliction" which not
only attacks the wakeful subject, but sometimes infuses itself into the
dreams of sleepers. Many women in a state of pregnancy are said to be
liable to this disease, so to term it, who, in any other state, would
be horrified at the bare mention of the crime of theft. They exhibit
great adroitness in their man[oe]uvres when under the influence of the
disease, and possess a boldness, too, of which, in their strictly
"right minds," they would be utterly incapable. Such establishments as
Stewart's great retail dry goods store expend large sums of money
yearly in the employment of detectives to watch the customers, to see
that they do not slyly purloin such goods as they may easily secrete in
carpet-bags, in their pockets, under shawls, or under their dresses,
and so on. Not a small number of these would-be thieves are
kleptomaniacs, and mostly women suffering under diseases peculiar to
the sex, or women in a state of pregnancy, whose blood is more or less
driven in unusual quantities into the head, and stirs there passions
and desires which they never so feel at other times. The philosophy of
this thing would be a pleasant matter of study, and falls legitimately
enough into the line of a detective's life to investigate; but here is
not the place for its discussion at any great length.

I may run some risk in the narration of this tale, of trespassing upon
the feelings of some persons who might prefer that I say nothing about
it; for the facts were known to a large circle of highly-respectable
people, mostly relatives of the "chief person of the drama," who would,
perhaps, prefer that the matter should rest in peace, and go out in
oblivion by and by. But I will endeavor to be delicate and courteous
enough, in the avoidance of names, and in my general descriptions, to
offend no one of those relatives who may read this.

There are a great many people who have a natural tendency to
superstitions of all kinds. They have excellent common sense, for
example, in everything except in matters of a religious nature. A
family of such people may be divided into religious partisans of the
bitterest stamp; the one may be a Baptist, for instance, and believe
that all the rest, who disagree with him, must be lost. Another member
may be a modern "Adventist," deny the doctrine of the essential
immortality of the soul, and think his brother, who does believe in it,
guilty of a proud and sinful assumption and godless vanity in so doing.
Another may become an English churchman, and gravitate from that
character into the Roman Catholic church, and feel that all the
rest,--the Baptist, the Adventist, etc.,--must "perish eternally,"
unless they come into the fold of the Roman see. And still another may
be a modern Spiritualist, and believe in the return of "departed souls"
to earth, to commune directly, or through "mediums," with poor mortals
here, etc. It seems to depend very much upon how the superstitious
element in each member of such families is first or finally addressed,
as to what each may become.

The reader will please conceive of an old, respectable family of
Knickerbockers, into whose veins was infused a little Yankee blood,
imported from near Boston, Mass., a family whose sires held in the past
high rank and official position in the state and nation--a family not a
little proud of its far-off Dutch and English stock--reared in wealth
and luxury, well bred, of course, at home, and well educated, both the
males and the females; with a large amount of landed estate in various
parts of the country, and blessed with a plenty of houses and building
lots in the cities of New York and Brooklyn; and, in fact, I have been
told that their property could be pointed out all along the road, from
Jersey City to Morristown, New Jersey. In fact it was by the possession
of city lots, and the constant increase of value thereof, that the
family acquired the larger portion of their estate. Add to this that
the relatives of the family are mostly rich, and that such of them as
are not rich, belong to that highly respectable, humdrum sort of
people, who are here and there found in the midst of the stir and
bustle of New York, who persist in representing old notions, old modes
of doing business, and whose chief pride exercises and delights itself
in talking over what their fathers did, who their grandfathers were,
etc., or in preserving, perhaps, some legend, that when Washington had
his residence near Bowling Green, their grand-uncle, or some other
relative, was a welcome visitor there. It is necessary to bring to the
mind's eye this class of people in order to comprehend the commotion
which bestirred them at the time when I was called to "work up a case"
in their midst.

One day, in the last "decade," I was waited on by a very proper old
gentlemen, neatly dressed, with long white locks smoothly combed,
hanging over his shoulders. The old gentleman possessed one of those
passionless faces, so difficult to read, unless you can get a chance to
peer down the eyes. He wore his gloves just one size too large; a
little too independent to conform to the fashion of tight gloves, and a
little too aristocratic to go without any,--(although I think a
poor-fitting glove no ornament, to say the least),--and walked with the
short, dainty, quick step of the men of note of the last century; he
was tall, that is, about five feet and ten inches in height, rather
slim, though he evidently had been a man of quite robust form.

But some name I must have--and what better can I substitute for the
real one than Garretson? I might have chosen Paulding, or Van Wyck; but
I may wish to use them yet in this. Well, such a looking man was Mr.
Garretson, as he came one day into my office, bearing me a note of
introduction from an old skipper who had his office in Pearl Street
then, near Wall Street. The note, it appeared, was written at Mr.
Garretson's, on peculiar family note paper, and bore the Garretson coat
of arms, and would, I presume, have been sealed with the Garretson
"stamp," and a pile of sealing-wax as large as one of the lead drops on
"bulls," which the Pope attaches to deeds of excommunication, or of
convocation of councils, if it had not been a note of introduction, and
therefore not proper to be sealed; for the Garretsons were never known
to do anything which was not proper, not suitable to their rank, and so
forth, to do. The old gentleman stared a little as he entered my
office, evidently expecting to find its appointments a little more to
his taste, instead of finding "everything" in the office, and nothing
in order; and asking if such were my name, and being answered in the
affirmative, he daintily handed me the note.


"Be seated, sir," said I, as I took it; and pointed him to a seat near
the window, which looked out on the public street, and the only empty
seat in my office save mine, the rest being filled with books, papers,
coats, hats, shackling irons, some old disguises, masks, etc., which I
had that day pulled out of a trunk to give them an airing, and had
scattered about. As I read the note, I looked at the old gentleman, and
found him looking out of the window, as if he were uneasy, and was
questioning in his mind what manner of man was he whom he had come to
visit and consult,--for so intimated the letter of my old friend, the

I finished the perusal of the note in a minute or so, and stepping up
to the old man, offered him my hand, with the usual salutations, and
drawing my chair near him, sat down.

"Well, Mr. Garretson, our friend has intimated your business with me. I
am at your service."

There was quite a long pause, when the old man brought his cane down on
the floor between his legs, rested his hands upon the head of it, bent
over it a little, and began:--

"Really, Mr. ----, I was thinking why, on the whole, I had come here;
for the more I think, the less do I believe that you can give us any
assistance. We've tried everything ourselves."

"Yes, sir, perhaps I cannot assist you; but if you will tell me your
story, I shall probably be able to tell you whether I can or not

"That's the trouble, sir; the question of probabilities in the matter,"
said he; "for my story is a peculiar one, and involves the disclosure
of matters which I should not like to tell you, unless you can
conscientiously say that you think you can solve one of the greatest
mysteries in the world,"--and here he paused.

"Why, sir," said I, "everything is a mystery to those who do not
understand it. I cannot assure you that I can be of any service to you;
but it is my business to unravel these matters which are mysteries to
most people, and however complicated your case may be, I dare say I can
cite many instances of as difficult ones, which have been worked out."

"I presume so," said he. "You are right. 'What man has done man may
do,' you know; but we've tried everything which seems possible to be
done, to solve the trouble."

"Doubtless all you have thought of as being practicable has been tried,
sir; but there is some solution of your trouble possible, sir, of

"Yes, yes; that's true--unless there is some superior power at work in
the matter. Some of my family and friends think there is."

"O, ho! Then to find out _that_ for a certainty would be a solution
worth having; but you can only discover that by first proving that your
affair is not operated by any ordinary power. Do you mean that it's
thought to be the work of disembodied spirits?"

"Yes, and I confess I am half-inclined to think so myself; and I almost
feel sorry that I have come to you so soon," said he, in a voice and
manner which revealed to me his superstitious proclivities quite

"O, well, sir," I replied, "it is not proper for me to press you to
tell your story now. You must be your own judge of the propriety of
doing so; but if you wish to, you can recite your case to me
confidentially, and I will give you whatever construction of it may
occur to me."

"Well, if the matter can remain a secret with you, if you do not see a
way to solve it, I will tell you, and I do presume that you may be able
to cast some light upon it. The case is this. I live at No. 89 ----
Street, as you already know from Mr. ----'s note."

"Yes, sir; I call the house to mind; have often noticed it as I have
passed along that street."

"Well, sir, now for some eight months I've been able to keep nothing in
our house of a small kind, and valuable nature, such as spoons, napkin
rings, all sorts of silver ware, jewelry, watches, ladies' dresses, and
my own clothing, etc., in fact, anything; it is all mysteriously
carried off. I say mysteriously, for we have kept watch, night after
night, and things would disappear right before our eyes, as it were."

"Well," said I, after a pause of some length, in which the old man
seemed to be pondering whether he would go on with his story or not,
looking bewildered, as if there was something he wished to tell me
about, but did not quite dare to, or was ashamed to tell. "Well, tell
me the whole story. How many persons are there in your family?"

"My wife and myself, three unmarried daughters; two married ones spend
much time there too; and two of my sons, unmarried. They are in
business; but I like to have my family about me--"

"Are these all?"

"Yes, except the servants. I have four maid-servants in the house,
besides my coachman and butler."

"Do you suspect none of these servants?"

"No; I've tested them in every way. They have all, with the exception
of one girl, been with me for from ten to twenty-five years. I called
the women maid-servants; two of them are widows, one has been a widow
for twenty years, and has lived with us for all that time, and the
butler has been with us longer. I would trust any of them as soon as I
would my own children."

"Of course, then, you suspect no one in your house?"

"No, no; there's nobody there to do these things. We've all watched and
watched, I tell you, and the servants are as much interested as we to
know who is the guilty actor, for they have lost many things as well as
the rest of us."

"You speak of one girl who has not been there so long as the rest. How
long has she been with you?"

"About three years."

"Has she a lover who visits the house?"

"O, yes; and he's been coming there for two years."

"Why don't he marry her and take her away?"

"My wife wouldn't part with her--will keep her as long as she lives, if
she can. She thinks she's the best servant she ever saw. We should
suspect her least of all. She has lost nearly every keepsake her lover
has given her, and some very valuable things which her mother gave her
on leaving Ireland, and the poor girl has nearly cried her eyes out
over her loss."

"Well, her lover, what sort of a man is he?"

"A hard working mechanic; works at the Novelty Works, and bears an
excellent name."

"Is he Irish, too? I suppose he is."

"No; he is an Englishman--a Yorkshire man, I think."

"Is he Protestant or Catholic?"

"Protestant to be sure. She's Catholic, though."

"Have you ever talked with him about your losses?"

"Yes; and he and Mary, the girl, have watched several times, sitting up
to keep my wife company, who was watching too; sitting up half the
night, and things would disappear then."

"So you have no reason for suspecting him. Well, the case _does_ look a
little strange, I confess," said I; "but I would like to have you go
into detail all about your premises; where the things taken were, who
were in your house at the time, the kind of locks you have on your
doors; what searches you have made, at what hours, or between what
hours, the things have been taken; for how long, in consecutive days or
weeks, things have been stolen; if there's been any cessation of these
pilferings for any length of time since they began; if you have ever
discovered any traces of anybody's having gotten into the house at this
or that window; what part of the house has been rifled the most,"--and
every other query I could then think of, I added.

This drew from the old gentleman a minute story of the whole affair. I
found the locks were the best; that he had a ferocious watch-dog loose
every night in the lower and middle part of the house, but excluded
from the chambers, on the servants' account, who were afraid of him;
that all parts of the house were rifled alike, and it seemed from what
he said that the thefts were accomplished from about the time of the
family's retiring until morning, for they had watched sometimes till
near morning, and then on rising would find something gone, mostly
things of value, too; but sometimes trivial things, such as the
grand-children's tops, etc., when they happened to be visiting there.
The relatives of the family had been called in to watch too; but things
went when they were there the same, and when the watch was most
complete as to the number of watchers, then it was that the most
valuable things were missed, and injury (evidently out of pure
malevolence) done to valuable furniture; and finally Mr. Garretson told
me that there had been two obvious attempts to fire the house,--and
this he uttered with tremulous emotions.

From all I could gather from him I could not make up my mind to any
conclusions upon which it could rest, and I told him I must visit the
premises, and make examinations for myself. But I could not go till the
next day or night, for that night I had engaged to meet some parties in
counsel upon an important matter; "but which," said I, to him, "was
more mysterious, a week ago, than anything you have told me, and which
has been worked out. Now we are to consult as to how best to get the
guilty parties into our hands, for we know who they are." This seemed
to encourage Mr. Garretson for a little, and we parted, I to call at
his house some time next day, at my convenience.

I went as appointed, and was presented by Mr. Garretson to his wife, a
fair-looking old lady, of the blonde school. Indeed, she was a
motherly, sweet woman to look upon, and had evidently drunken at the
"fountain of youth" somewhere; for although she was only five years
younger than Mr. Garretson, as I learned, she looked thirty years his
junior. Her face was a blending of the Greek and modern German in
style, nose aquiline, and head broad, and not lacking in height; a
pleasingly-shaped head to look upon; and there was all the mercy,
tenderness, and kindness in her eye and voice which one could desire to
find in a woman.

There was a sweet, unostentatious dignity, too, about her which
compelled respect. She gave me a long account of the household's
troubles, of her own watchings night after night, of the hypotheses she
had had about the matter, and how one by one they had been exploded;
and she and Mr. Garretson took me all over the house, even up into the
attic, among piles of old "lumber," such as boxes, old trunks, old
furniture, that had been set aside to make room for new, piled up with
hosts of things which almost any other family would have sent off to
the auction shops, or sold to second-hand furniture men. But she
explained that some of these things had belonged to her grandfather,
and other deceased relatives, and that a large old Dutch wooden chest,
with great iron clasps all over it, was brought over by Mr. Garretson's
ancestors from Europe. These she couldn't bear to sell, she said; "and
often," said she, "they afford me great pleasure, for when Mr.
Garretson and the girls are gone from home, I sit up here in this old
chair" (and she pointed to a large chair, the posts of which were large
enough each to make a modern chair out of), "and muse, read, and think
over the past, and dwell upon heavenly things to come."

In her talk, Mrs. Garretson became quite animated, and we waited up
there, listening to her stories about the old furniture and her
ancestors, quite a long while. I noticed that with the excitement of
the hour her face had become quite rosy, and that there was a peculiar
spot on each cheek, not unlike the hectic flush upon the cheeks of the
consumptive. But she was, apparently, in the full vigor of health; a
tall, but solidly-made woman, and evidently had no trouble in her
lungs. But the spots gave her face a peculiar expression, and withal
seemed, somehow, to give her eyes the look of subtle intelligence,
which I had not observed before. I found that although Mr. Garretson
was a sensible old man, well educated, and, withal, courtly, yet Mrs.
G. was the chief spirit of the house, and so I consulted her further
when we came from the attic. We visited each chamber, and looked into
each closet, of course; and the windows of the house in front and rear
were all examined, and I satisfied myself too that there was no easy
approach, and no way of getting in without great risk to life or limb
from the other adjoining houses; and I examined the basement as
thoroughly, talked with the servants, and finally with the daughters,
two of whom were then at home, and who came in from making morning
calls. One of these daughters had settled down upon the conviction that
the thefts were the work of disembodied spirits; but to my query if she
meant by these words "departed _friends_," she smiled, and said, "Not
exactly;" and went on to tell me her religious notions about "evil
spirits," as well as good ones, etc. The father fell in with her views
considerably; but the clear-headed old lady, the mother, in a kind way,
combated them with great force. But there was no answering the daughter
when she retorted,--

"Well, perhaps it is not the work of spirits; but will you tell me
whose work it is--who does it?"

Of course the family could have nothing to reply. They had exhausted
their powers to solve the mystery, and I confess I began to think a
particle less lightly of ghosts, hobgoblins, and "spirits of departed
men," than ever before. That dog, too, which was chained up below, and
was let loose of nights, was a savage-looking fellow, and it seemed to
me that he would catch and tear to pieces anything but a spirit that
might be prowling about the house.

I was at my wits' ends to conceive a theory which should throw light
upon the subject, or even to make anything at all like a reasonable
conjecture. But I could not help feeling that perhaps out of the
daughter's suggestion of "spiritual" interference might be wrought
something in the way of a solution of the vexatious mystery; and so I
brought up the topic in that phase again, and we all entered into a
general discussion.

It appeared that things had more frequently been missed when all the
outer doors and all the windows of the house had been closed and
locked, than at other times, when some of the upper windows especially
had been opened; more in the winter than in the summer time. The
articles taken, then, could hardly have been borne by "spirits" even,
through the solid doors, or the glass of the windows; and so I inquired
if it was sure that every trunk and every hiding-place in the house had
been searched, and was assured by all, father, mother, and daughters
that such search had been frequently made by them; and they explained
how they had gone to the bottom of trunks and boxes, and had "shaken
out sheets," etc., for in the early period of these thefts, it had been
conjectured that the things missed had simply been mislaid. The
daughter gave me her reasons extendedly for supposing the thefts the
work of spirits, and I had to confess that some of her reasoning seemed
good, "provided always," as a lawyer would say, that there are any such
existences as "spirits" at all. But the family believed in "spirits;"
whether they could or did communicate with "things on earth," or not,
was the whole question with them; but the mother's judgment seemed to
settle the question for the father and the other daughter, which was,
that these thefts were not committed by spirits; and to this point we
got during my tarry there that day, and it was agreed that I should
return in the evening and pass the night in the house.

I left Mr. Garretson's, and being a little weary, when I returned home
threw myself on my bed, and managed to secure about four hours' sleep,
which I needed in view of my prospective watching that night, and I
arrived at Mr. G.'s about half past ten o'clock. A room had been
prepared for me on the first flight, above the parlor, its door opening
into the broad hall, which room I took after a half hour's conversation
with the family. It appeared that things were missed equally on nights
when the gas was burning dimly about the house, as when it was shut
off; and I deemed it best to have a slight light burning in the halls,
parlors, and so forth, which was permitted. Bidding the family good
night (having concluded to not let the dog loose for fear, in my secret
mind, that he might attack me if loose, and I should be about the
house; but which thought I did not then reveal, saying only that he
might make a noise, and I could perhaps listen better if I heard
steps). I betook myself to my room, and drawing a lounge near to the
door, which was open a few inches, I stretched myself upon it, and
began to muse upon the probabilities in the case. There I lay. The
clock struck twelve--again it struck one--and I had no occasion to move
from my position, and began to conceive that possibly the "spirits"
wouldn't work with me in the house. A half hour more went on, when
suddenly I discovered the light in the hall go out. Quickly leaving the
lounge, I rushed into the hall, only to discover that it was total
darkness all over the house, save in my room. When Mrs. Garretson,
hearing me, stepped to her door, and said,--

"Is that you, Mr. ----?"

"Yes, madam. I saw the light go out, and I came to see what it means."

"O," said she, "I put out the light, for somehow, I found it
oppressive--the sense of it--and could not sleep, and I guess we shall
not be disturbed to-night."

A few more words were exchanged between us, when I retired to my room,
and there watched the whole night out, waiting for some sign of noise
in the house. But I reflected that Mrs. G. had been in different parts
of the house to put out the lights, and I had not heard her move. Had
she not put out the lights I should not have known that she had
stirred. How, then, could I hear spirits, or even mortals, so far as
their footfalls were concerned? Mr. G. got up early that morning, came
to my room, and begged me to go to bed and sleep, as he should be up
and about the rest of the morning, as well as the servants, who would
soon be up. They would have a late breakfast, or I could lie till
dinner time, if I liked, and get a good rest. He closed the door as he
went out, and I lay till called for dinner. At breakfast-time Mr. G.
had made his way to my room, and finding me "snoring soundly," as he
said, let me sleep on.

At dinner, it was disclosed that some three or four things had been
missed that night; among them a very valuable gold thimble, which the
daughters knew was left in a given place, and they were the last who
retired; and a peculiar, elegant, silver-mounted sea-shell, which had
been brought from the Mediterranean, and on which had been cut some
sea-songs in the modern Greek language. I had noticed this beautiful
shell myself. Where were these gone, and who had taken them? Mrs.
Garretson was sure that she was awake a good part of the night, and
could have heard anybody moving about the house, for with a screen at
their door, her husband and herself usually left their bedroom door
open. We canvassed the matter over and over, and arrived at no
conclusion. Finally, it was determined that I should stay the coming
night. And I left, and returned in due time. This night was one of
severe watching, to no purpose. Nothing was found to be gone, and I
watched still the third night, to no purpose. No noise was there, and
nothing taken; and I gave up the matter for a while, subject to be
called in again if Mr. Garretson thought best.

[Illustration: DISCOVERING THE "SPIRITS," AT NO. 89 ---- STREET, N. Y.]

Several days, and finally three weeks passed, before I was again
called. Meanwhile this case was constantly on my mind, no matter how
busily I was employed with other matters, some of which were almost as
difficult of solution as this. I could not yet come to any conclusion;
but I had resolved, that if I should be called in again, what course to
pursue. At the end of three weeks Mr. G. called on me, and said that
the "spirits" were again at work; had visited the house the night
before, and carried off several things, this time having evidently
tried to carry away some chairs, for they found two of the parlor
chairs in the basement hall, standing against the door. This was rather
too much for my credulity, that "spirits" should do these things, and I
went that night to Mr. G.'s with the determined purpose of meeting the
"spirits" in the operation of carrying off chairs, etc., for I
concluded I could see the furniture if the spirits were indeed
invisible. The room I had before was given me, and the household
retired,--I giving them no clew to the course I intended to pursue. The
dog was chained as before, and I had taken quiet notice of the location
of everything in the parlors, and had visited the kitchen (from which
things were frequently taken, even loaves of bread, for which I
suspected the "spirits" had no use), and taken notes there. I had
visited the dog in company with Mrs. G., and gotten into his good
graces as well as I could, and made him familiar with my voice.

The family retired, and so did I, but not to sleep. In a half hour
after going to my room, there being no light in the house this night, I
took a dark lantern I had secretly brought with me, and taking off my
boots, tripped down into the parlors, out of one of which, in the
somewhat old-fashioned house, opened a closet with shelves in it, at
the top, but with room enough for me to sit comfortably in it upon an
ottoman, which I placed there, and with the door slightly ajar, there I
sat. Of course I was well armed for any emergency, and my purpose was
to shoot anything like a "spirit" I might find prowling about, provided
I could get "sight" of the wretch. There I remained for two hours and
over, when, about half after one o'clock in the morning I heard
something like a person's stumbling against a chair. I listened
intently, and heard something moving very stealthily. There was no
light in the room, and so cocking my trusty pistol, and holding it in
my right hand, I with the other brought out from its concealment my
dark lantern, and threw its full blaze into the room, and there, to my
astonishment, I found a person in a night-gown, with a sort of tunic
over it. The size indicated Mrs. G., and I was just about to apologize
to her, when she turned about, and I saw that her eyes were closed.
There was a very peculiar and cunning look in her face, and she
concealed in her tunic a pair of opera glasses, and other small things,
which she took from the _étagères_ in the corner of the room. It
flashed upon my mind at once, of course, that Mrs. G. was the
troublesome "spirit" I was seeking, and I immediately turned the veil
upon my lamp, fearing that the light might disturb her operations, and
awaken her; for I suspected at once that she was in a state of partial
sleep, and was, in short, a somnambulist; and when in the condition of
one, affected with the desire to conceal things; romancing, in short,
in her dreams. I resolved to follow her, to see what disposition she
would make of her prizes; and so, when I concluded she had gotten to
the other side of the room, I brought out my lantern again, and
discovered her tripping lightly to the hall stairs, and I slowly and
softly followed. Up stairs she went, and up another flight, and finally
ascended the attic stairs. I followed, as near as I could, without
disturbing her, and with my light got the opportunity of seeing her
open the big Dutch chest, of which I have spoken before. She unlocked
it, and I waited no longer, but went down to my room, and stood within
the door of it waiting for her to return. She came down after some ten
minutes had passed, as stealthily and softly as she had gone up, and
there was playing upon her face, which my light partly turned on
revealed, that same covert smile. She passed on to her bed-room door
which was open, and must have glided around the screen, which stood
within the doorway, and lay down.

I withdrew to my room, locked the door, and went to bed, and slept more
soundly than I had done for three nights before,--the solace which
comes to mental anxiety is so much more soothing than the balm which
heals only physical pains. Breakfast was called at a late hour next
morning, and I felt perfectly refreshed from my sleep, and was in one
of my jolliest moods; and when I announced at table that I had, I
thought (as I cautiously said), fully solved the mystery,--had seen the
"spirits," and knew all about the matter,--there was no little
astonishment expressed all around the board. But I got the family in a
joking mood, and held them in suspense--in half doubts. Mrs. G. was the
liveliest of all, and said they could never be grateful enough to me,
never could pay me enough for what I had done, if I had really scented
out the culprits. They asked me all sorts of questions; but I was not
ready to explain, for I was in doubt what was the best course,--whether
I should tell the mother alone, or the father, or both, or all.

At last I decided upon a course, which was, to get the daughters and
mother away from the house on some errand; to tell the father, and with
him make search of the chest, and every other conceivable hiding-place
in the house, which thing,--the sending off of the mother and
daughters,--was readily accomplished after I had slyly taken the father
to my room, when the ladies were occupied with their cares and
pleasures, and told him that I wished he would ask no questions why,
but that I desired he would send out his family.

Fortunately they were projecting a visit that day to some friends in a
distant part of the city, and the old gentleman encouraged it; and
finally ordered out his carriage, and sent them off with the driver, in
great glee, in their expectancy of "the great revelation when we get
home," as the spiritualistic daughter expressed it.

They had not gotten well away before I asked the father to hunt up
whatever keys he could find in the house; and he was not long in
finding two or three bunches, and several other single ones besides,
and, without explaining anything, I told him to follow me, and
proceeded at once to the attic. A half dozen trials of the keys
resulted in the chest's yielding up its deposits. There we found all
sorts of things secreted away in old boxes placed within the chest, and
all covered with a blanket, and over all this small piles of time-old
newspapers, brown and faded. The chest was very capacious, and
contained a great deal of the silver ware that had been taken, valuable
little articles of _virtu_; a large quantity of jewelry, and all sorts
of small things which are ordinarily to be found in the houses of
wealthy people. These were all nicely laid away. Considerable order was
observed in their arrangement, which accounted for the hours of
solitary comfort which Mrs. G. told me, on the first visit to the
attic, that she spent there among the old mementos of the past. But
when we had gotten everything out of the chest, Mr. G. called to mind
many things which had been missed, which were not found there; so we
made the most scrupulous search into old trunks, and other things in
the attic, without much avail, finding a few things, however. At last,
in removing some old boxes which stood atop of each other, and against
the chief chimney running through the attic, we came across a
fireplace, which Mr. G. said he had forgotten all about. Long years
before the house had been extended into the rear yard (for it was a
corner house), by a small "L," in which the servants were provided with
rooms. Prior to that some of them had occupied a room done off in the
attic, the board partitions of which had been removed. It was then this
fireplace was in use. A sheet-iron "fire-board" closed it up, and was
held in place by a button. As I took hold of the button, and found it
moved easily, I said to Mr. G., "We shall find treasures here;" and we
did. It was quite full of household things; and here we found some of
the largest pieces of silver ware that had been lost. A full
tea-service, etc., together with a large roll of bank bills, and five
bills of old "Continental scrip," the loss of which Mr. G. had mourned
as much as that of almost all the rest, for they were pieces which
Alexander Hamilton had given to Mr. G.'s father, upon a certain
occasion notable in the history of the latter, and bore General
Hamilton's initials in his own hand.

We continued our search, and found other things, which it is needless
to specify. Then Mr. G. and I held a "council of war" as to what was to
be next done. We concluded that the servants must not be allowed to
know anything about the matter, and we had not concluded whether the
daughters were to be let into the secret or not. This was after I had
told Mr. G. of my solution of the matter, which I had kept secret from
him until we came to consider what was to be done with the things. At
first we thought we would at once carry them all to his bedroom, and
place them in a large closet there. But finally Mr. G. thought it would
be more satisfying to see his wife operate, himself; and we put back
the things as well as we could, and went down. It was arranged that I
should come back that night to watch further, and that Mr. G. should
tell the family that I wished to make more investigations, and that I
was not quite satisfied after all; which he did. That night I returned,
kept excellent watch, and Mrs. G., as fate would have it, left her
room, and went prowling about as before. At the proper time I entered
Mr. G.'s room, and awakened him; and, drawing on his pantaloons, and
wrapping himself in a cloak, he followed me and watched his wife's
man[oe]uvres to his satisfaction, and retired, before she had concluded
her work.

The next day, at breakfast, the family rallied me about the things
missed the night before, Mr. G. joining in the badgering, jokingly. I
played the part of a defeated man, half covered with shame; and before
noon Mr. G. had the family out to ride again. We hastily gathered up
all the lost and found treasures, and placed them in a large closet in
Mr. G.'s bedroom; he having made up his mind to give his wife, by
herself, a great surprise, and then tell her what he had seen, and
consult her feelings as to whether the children were to ever know how
the things were gotten back, or not.

He was anxious to have me wait till she came; and we managed, without
exciting the suspicion of the girls, to get together in the bedroom,
where Mr. G. opened the door of the closet, first cautioning Mrs. G. to
make no loud exclamation, and there revealed the lost treasures.

"See what the 'spirits' have brought back to us?" said he. "Mr. ---- is
the best 'medium for business' in the city. We must give him a
certificate;" and the old man "rattled away" with his jokes, while Mrs.
G. looked on with astonishment and delight.

"You must tell me all about it," said she. "How _did_ you find these
things? Who brought them? Who is the thief? How did he get in the
house? Does he come down chimney?" and a host of other questions.

"I'll tell you all about it to-night," said Mr. G. "It is a long story;
but first the girls must be called to see the lost treasures now
restored." And the daughters were called up. To their queries, uttered
amidst the profoundest astonishment, as to how, and when, etc., the
treasures were brought back, and who was the thief, and if it was some
Catholic, who had disgorged the stolen goods through the confessional,
Mr. G. only answered, slyly winking at the spiritualistic daughter, "It
was through the means of a first-rate 'medium' that the things were

"There, there," said the daughter, too serious to understand her
father's irony, "I could have told you so. What do you think now of
spiritualism, father?"

"O, I don't know," said he in reply. "There _are_ a great many strange
things in the world, that's a fact." But he would not promise to ever
tell them how the things got back, and the ladies went to assorting
them, and commenting on each article. It was a novel sight to see the
eagerness with which they grasped at this or that article as it turned
up,--the long-lost treasures found.

I left the house duly that day, and I understood from Mr. G., who
called on me three or four days after, that when he told his wife that
night what he had seen, and how she looked, and so forth, when moving
about so slyly, that she had a "great crying spell" over it, and did
not wish the daughters to be informed of the secret state of things;
and that for fear the somnambulistic state should come upon her again,
she tied her arm or foot to the bedstead, in order to be awakened if
she should attempt to get out of bed. But she had had no more attacks
of the disease.

"Perhaps her severe crying broke it," said he.

I made many inquiries of Mr. G. about his wife's habits in life, her
general health, her peculiar troubles, if she had any, by way of
resolving this mystery of the kleptomania connected with the
somnambulism; and from all I could learn, I believe that she was one of
the most conscientious and best of mortals in her normal state, and I
was led to believe that the kleptomania, if not the somnambulism, was
caused by diseases, though slight ones, peculiar to the female sex; but
why these came on so late in life, (for Mrs. Garretson was sixty-three
years old,) I cannot conceive, but leave that for the doctors to decide.





What the human race might have become without the love of the
mysterious or marvellous in its composition, would be a pretty subject
of speculation for the philosophers, but one which human genius will
prove perhaps ever unable to solve. There are three classes of human
beings,--or so I am apt to divide them in my "philosophy,"--the good,
and in different degrees, sensible; the crafty; and the simple and
weak, neither positively good or bad. These latter two divisions
comprehend the vast majority of mankind, made so, to a great extent, by
the institutions which the race has, in its ignorance, wrought out for
itself, and by which it is constantly cursed, until one by one it
outgrows, along the course of the ages, these outrages upon itself,
which itself has imposed. This process of outgrowing we call
_progress_, and so it is, perhaps; but it would be more satisfactory
progress if, when it overrides or abates one wrong or malicious
incumbrance upon a race, it could or would also avoid the establishment
of another equally bad. The love of the mysterious is, to a great
extent, the religious element in man. Some writers hold that it is such
to the full extent; but I am not about to decide that, even for myself
alone, much less for others. True it is, however, that in all historic
time this element, or whatever else one is pleased to call it, has been
the medium through which the intellectual and tyrant forces in the race
have subjected the weaker to their sway. The ancient oracles played
upon the superstitious in men in the government of whole races and
nations, and to-day the oracles of old are reproduced among us in a
thousand ways, and the religions of the past, in their symbolizations,
exist among us, and exert their influence, almost unconsciously to the

For example. That beautiful cult, or religion of old, sun-worship,--is
traceable in modern institutions, and the old fire-worship, so
wondrous, still lives in that word Purity (from the Greek word _pur_,
fire), which is the expression of our highest or deepest sense of all
that is morally perfect; and in the very steeples of our churches is
the old fire-worship symbolized; for the steeple is but a
representation of the old obelisks, which were themselves but symbols
of the tall shafts of fire which shot up from the top of some mountain,
like Sinai, when the worshippers built thereon the vast
_bon_-fires,--or good, i. e., _holy_,--fires to which the vast
assemblages poured forth their devotions. And in even the names of the
days of the week we preserve the memories of the old superstitions, and
to some extent the superstitions themselves--Sun-day, day devoted to
the worship of the sun, and so on. In Thurs-day, or Thor's-day, we are
kept in mind of the old Scandinavian god, as potent in the estimation
of his worshippers as the Jehovah of the Hebrews was to them, though a
somewhat different character.

Through all grades, and shades, and degrees the superstitious element
of to-day finds itself fed. The sublime and the ridiculous still exists
as of old, and the advertising columns of the public journals tell but
too plainly and painfully of the susceptibility of the masses to the
deceits and frauds to which the superstitious element in them subjects
them. The sorcerers are not yet extinct, and the prophets, as good as
most of those of ancient days, and magicians as expert as those whom
the greater magician, Moses, outwitted, are still to be found; and I
suspect these excel those of ancient times in one important, the most
important, art--that of money-getting. But they have an advantage over
their prototypes in that they have the influence of the public journals
of these days to widely proclaim themselves--to make their pretensions
heard by a larger audience. I suspect that many a reader of this would
be surprised to learn, could he be statistically informed, how vast is
the number of the victims of modern sorcery. These are not confined to
the lower orders, as many an intelligent and educated man, who has not
made the special matter of remark here a study, might quite sensibly
suspect. None of the conventional grades of society, whether the same
be measured by money, by the education of books, or what is called
"blood," or high hereditary social position, is lacking in them; and it
is remarkable that the victims from the educated circles are as much
more intense, generally, in their superstitions, as their superiority
in other respects to the uneducated is marked and distinguished. I
suppose this may be accounted for thus: Being once led into
superstition, the man of letters resorts to his pride of intellect to
sustain himself in it, and deepen his convictions; for although we
cannot exactly believe whatever we please,--for the character of
evidence must be a matter of some consideration with us, must have
weight with us,--yet when we are led on to a certain point, and have
averred our belief in any absurdity, we are disposed to admit its
logical consequences, however wide apart from good sense they may be.

In this narrative I have first to deal with parties of high social
position--of education, and much refinement, of course,--but descended
from a long line of ancestors more or less noted for their inclination
to believe everything which came to them under the similitude of
religion or superstition of any kind--anything which seemed to them
inexplicable; anything, in other words, mysterious to them.

A lawyer of my acquaintance--in fact an old friend, who had employed me
many times before, especially in the ferreting out of legal evidence in
criminal matters--came one day into my office with a broad grin on his
face. I was in pretty good humor, and was beguiling an hour or
two,--while I was awaiting the advent of a party who I hoped would
bring me some valuable news of the working of a little plot of mine in
the investigation of a case,--with Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. Of
course I was in good humor, enjoying that rare word-painter's faithful
pictures of American society as he found it; and my friend, the lawyer,
was of course enjoying himself, otherwise why that irresistible grin,
which, in my mood, stirred me up to outright laughter as he entered?

"What's up?" I said. "Deliver yourself _instanter_; for I want to hear
the fun."

"O, ho," he replied, "I've the jolliest affair to tell you of that ever
occurred in the line of my experience. I am counsel, advocate, and
judge in the matter, and expected to be constable, jury, and
executioner, all in one; for the whole thing, involving love and
lovers, 'potions and pills,' quacks, schemers, thieves, and everything
else, is left in my hands, and I've come over to divide the honors with

"Well, well; after your long opening, suppose you come down to the
points in the matter--'judge,' 'executioner,' or whatever you please to
call yourself in the premises."

"To begin, then, you must know that there's a part of the business
which you must not know at present, and that is, the _names_ of the
people I am about to tell you of. These people occupy a very high
position in society, and their case is the funniest thing in the world,
considering their rank, life-time associations, and the man's official
position in the world, or rather the one which he has held,--a very
high one under the government. You must understand that he is old and
wealthy, and that his wife is a young woman, comparatively speaking,
though she had arrived at that degree of maturity before marriage which
entitles a lady to the honors of an old maid. She is extremely well
educated, comes of a good family, and has been a successful teacher in
her day in a ladies' seminary. All things considered, she is, in the
general way, rather the superior of her husband. This much to begin
with, to give you a sort of inkling of how extraordinary the case is;
for if they were simply a couple of fools, or ordinary people, the
matter wouldn't have any spice in it."

"Well," I broke in as he paused, "go on, and satisfy my curiosity,
counsellor, now that you've whetted it up."

"Be patient," said he, "and I will, but I am always choked with the
comicality of the affair when I picture it to myself; and I was only
stopping to gather a little dignity, to go on reciting the serious
thing to you. The parties are very rich, and it's only a matter of some
five thousand dollars anyhow--a bagatelle for them. They are ugly about
it, considering the way they, or rather she, was duped,"--and here the
lawyer fairly roared, as he slapped his hand upon his knee, over the
thought of such people's being "taken in and done for" by the arts
which usually prevail mostly among the ignorant. But there is no
telling what the superstitious element in the mind may not lead to.

My friend went on to say, then, that about the time of the marriage of
the old maid in question with the rich old man, she had, in brooding
over her future, gotten it into her head in some way, that perhaps his
affection,--of which she felt pretty contentedly sure for the time,
however,--might wane and grow less, and she become but a slave to the
old man and his money. Brooding over this, she got quite melancholy and
"nervous." She really loved the old man, who was not only a man of
ability and honors, but was very kind of soul. Of course, too, his
great wealth was no objection to a woman who could appreciate the value
of a comfortable home, or enjoy the refinements of a luxurious one.

"I would not wish to intimate," said the lawyer, "that she took this
matter of wealth into consideration, even lightly; for I like to assure
myself once in a while that there are to be found a few women in this
populous vale of tears, who have considerations superior to the thought
of wealth; and, verily, this woman _looks_ to me like one of those."

But the woman got nervous. If his affection should fail, why, she would
become only a prettily-dressed bird in a handsome cage, with enough to
eat and drink, but without loving companionship; excluded, in fact,
from the society of her old and poorer friends, and, to use a religious
phrase, unhappy enough to be practically "without God in the world."
She hardly dared to mention to any of her particular friends the
dreadful thought that was knawing at her heart, and growing fiercer
every day, for fear they would ridicule her.

"Ladies having passed a certain age are supposed to be peculiarly
sensitive on matters touching love and marriage, you know," said my
friend, with a very knowing wink in his eye.

No, she had no friend to pour out her soul to on the very point, of all
things, the most dear to her. Her "intended" had exhibited some
peculiarities of character which she did not understand, and now, while
she was brooding over her especial grief, he was naturally enough more
eccentric than ever. Possibly he, too, was undergoing fears,--fears
that when he grew older, and older--and he was far in advance of her in
years,--that her affection would wane, and then all that would bind her
to him would be his money. Perhaps he had caught her disease
unconsciously. Withal the condition of things generally between them,
in their silent hearts, must have been anything but pleasant to both of
them. The lady prayed for light to know her duty to herself and her
coming lord,--in fact, to be taught from on high whether she would be
doing a wrong or not to him, to marry him,--for her fever had burned on
beyond the point of simple selfishness. The great question of duty and
right had seized hold of her mind, and she had become religiously
morbid thereon. But one thing she thought she knew for a
certainty--that she not only loved him now, but would continue to love
him, always. So she reflected that she should do no wrong to him in
marrying; and she finally got to the resolution that she would
patiently bear his coldness and neglect, and even his tyranny, if he
should display anything of the last, as a good Christian woman ought
to,--and the time set for the wedding was fast drawing near. But she
found this resolution of Christian fortitude under the condition of
unrequited love rather more than a good human nature could bear, or
ought ever to be asked to bear; and it got to be an awful burden to
her, meek and lowly though she was.

As the time grew shorter before the wedding, the lady's wakeful hours
at night grew longer and more burdensome, and her friends began to
notice their telling effect upon her countenance, and whole
constitution, in fact. Such of them as were indelicate enough (and who
ever knew many ladies, especially, who are not inclined to be
indelicate at times on matters of love and marriage, or rather towards
those indulging the one and contemplating the other?),--such, my friend
went on to say, got to poking fun at her a little; said the condition
she contemplated must be terrible, indeed, since it wore upon her so
much, etc.--all of which did not seem to amend matters much.

But finally, only three or four days before the time set for the
wedding, and not over an hour after her old lover had called, and
rolled away in his carriage,--he having seemed very gloomy that day,
too,--an old aunt of the lady came,--came from New Orleans to pass a
few days with her niece,--and she found the latter in tears. She had
heard of her niece's prospective marriage; and as she was a
demonstrative old lady, and very sympathetic, she both pitied her
niece, and spared no pains in attempting to console her, and finally
won her great secret.

"La, me!" exclaimed the old aunt; "do tell--_is_ that _all_ that's
troubling you so? Now, do take heart. I tell you we can get that sore
spot fixed up,--cured in a mighty short time. I understand all about
it. Fact is, I've had such an experience myself in my day, and I've
known others have the like, and I got it all made right, and they did
too, if there's any believin' folks; but some folks are curious
creatures--that's true, Mary," (for that's the niece's first name); and
she went on to tell her "as how" she didn't believe in witchcraft, or
in seers, or "clair-ry-voy-ants" (as she called them), or in
fortune-tellers, "either with the cards or without them," nor "in them
as sees into things through crystals, and such like," as a general
thing. But she did believe that some folks had a magic about them, by
which they could peer into the future, and prevent things happening
that might otherwise occur. She was a very garrulous old lady, it would
seem, and overwhelmed her niece with instances enough, which she had
"known" to prove valuable, of the mysterious "power of some people," to
establish a general rule in favor of all seers' pretensions.

The niece was just in the mood to believe in anything that seemed
likely to bring her any relief, and asked her aunt for her advice in
the premises, which was given, of course, and was to the effect that
they should find out a _good_ fortune-teller, and visit her next day.
But the time was short, and they had no acquaintances of whom they
could inquire. The aunt sighed deeply over the fact that New Orleans
was so far off; "for if it wasn't, we would go and visit old Aunt
Betsy"--an aged negro woman--"right off. She's always sure and certain.
I've tried her a hundred times."

"What, aunt! a hundred times?" asked Mary.

"Yes, yes, a full hundred times."

"Why, aunt, then I am afraid you do believe in fortune-tellers."

"No, no; I don't. I told you that I don't, generally speaking; but Aunt
Betsy is a wonder, if she is black. _She_ ain't any the worse for that,
I tell you, no matter what the rest of the blacks are."

Any one acquainted with the character of the people, who, at the South,
put their trust in prophetic old negroes and negresses, need no further
hint as to the superstitious character of Mary's aunt. They are a
peculiar class, the like of whom is not to be found in all the world
besides. They are weaker than the idolaters of the East, and are
generally a sensuous, if not sensual, class, they who worship these old
negroes, and there are a great many of them. The aunt was not only
superstitious, but enthusiastic--one of those magnetic creatures, who,
at times, exercise a good deal of influence--a sort of "psychologic"
power over others; and in Mary's state of mind, she was not much
disposed to resist the aunt's advisory suggestions. She needed sympathy
at the time, and was willing to accept it in whatever form presented.

With no one to inquire of as to a "successful fortune-teller," the aunt
and Mary consulted the newspapers, determining to select among the
advertisements the name of the "medium," or "sight-seer," or
"clairvoyant," or what not, who appeared to reside in the most
respectable quarters; and they were not long in determining, through
the columns of the Herald, upon a Mrs. Seymour, then residing in Grand
Street. This "Mrs. Seymour" was the wife of a crafty Irishman, of much
intelligence, and extremely good address, by the name of Brady. This
man was capable of concocting dark designs; and although his wife was
also a cunning person, and was not lacking in real skill and strategy,
yet it was generally supposed, as I learned on investigating this case,
that he was the subtle "power behind the throne" when any great cheat
or curious deviltry was performed by her. But she was a "canny" woman,
after all, and as mild and attractive, when she pleased to be, as she
was sharp and unscrupulous. Long experience had given her great
facility in necromantic arts, and the smoothness of her tongue was
something remarkable. It is supposed by most people, who are
unacquainted with these sorcerers, that they are both illiterate and
unintelligent. They are usually ignorant of books; but they are by no
means lacking in intelligence, cultivated and sharpened by a discipline
which books can hardly give.

"Mrs. Seymour" was the assumed name of the wife--her advertising
_sobriquet_--a name well chosen, since, unlike her real name, it did
not suggest her Irish origin, and therefore forbid Irish servant girls
from visiting her, and leaving with her a dollar or two dollars a time
for advice on the subject of their lovers, marriages, or a "new place"
to work. The Irish in this country, at least, have no respect for
sorcerers of Irish birth. The name, too, sounds not unaristocratic;
something substantial about it; has not the appearance of being
assumed, like those of "Madame Leclerque," "Madame Duponleau," and
other high-sounding aliases of some fat, dumpy English or Welsh woman,
or some dark weazen-faced Polish hag, whose real name is perhaps
Johnson, Jones, or Thomascowitch.

"Mrs. Seymour" was a middle-sized woman, not ugly of features, not
handsome, with a sort of mobile face, which could easily assume any
expression which her subtle, crafty mind might suggest. Her house was a
decent abode, pretty well furnished; and, in this respect, far above
the character of the houses which most "mediums" and fortune-tellers
inhabit, presenting a cosy, inviting appearance in the parlor. Mr.
Brady, a man of wholesome face and good address, was usually at home to
aid in entertaining visitors, especially ladies, who called upon "Mrs.
Seymour" professionally.

To "Mrs. Seymour" went the aunt and Mary, and at first had a "sitting"
with her, in order to test her capacity at fortune-telling. On entering
the house, they had first encountered the shrewd Mr. Brady, who
probably at once suspected that the younger woman was revolving
matrimonial matters in her mind, and having opportunity to speak with
his wife in private before she entered the room, told her, probably,
his suspicions. At all events, Mrs. Seymour had hardly sitten down, and
thrown herself into her accustomed trance, before she told Mary that
she had come there upon a question of marriage, and that there were
troubles in the way, and invited her to free her mind. The
simple-hearted Mary and the credulous aunt were taken aback at once by
Mrs. Seymour's sudden approach to the very subject on their minds, and
the aunt exclaimed, "There, Mary, I told you so!"

The ladies did "free their minds" immediately, and Mrs. Seymour begged
to be excused for a few moments. She said it was a case involving nice
points, and she wished to act cautiously; that in cases of the kind,
where the happiness of parties hung for life upon a decision which must
be so soon made, she was in the habit of taking counsel of her
"heavenly Father," and in her private oratory to approach him in
prayer. She started from the room, and then suddenly returned, and
said, "Ladies, perhaps you would like to see a beautiful '_prie-dieu_,'
which I have in my oratory; a beautiful present to me by the Duke of
Argyle, when I was visiting Scotland, in honor of a successful
clairvoyant discovery which, with the help of Almighty God, I was
enabled to make for him."

The ladies followed her up to the little "hall bedroom," so customary
in certain New York houses, and which was quite neatly fitted up. There
was the _prie-dieu_--a thing which these ladies had never seen, or
indeed heard of before. They asked "Mrs. Seymour" what it was for; and
she explained to them that it was a chair to pray in, and showed them
how to kneel and sit, and where to put the prayer-book.

Duly they withdrew, greatly edified by the pious, good lady's conduct,
while she tarried for a while to "pray," and came down at last to the
parlor with a very saintly countenance on--quite "illumined" in fact.
She had been inspired with counsel how Mary was to proceed with her
coming husband, in order to increase and secure forever his love. Mrs.
Seymour had learned all she needed to know from Mary's full confession,
spiced with suggestions by the garrulous aunt.

She had learned that Mary's coming husband was very rich; and she began
by saying, that on entering into married life, any great disparities
between the parties--in riches, age, accomplishments, etc.--were apt to
prove disastrous in the end. The rich husband, for example, would taunt
his poor wife sometimes with her poverty, and the young wife might
throw the fact of age and infirmity in the face of her old husband, or
either accuse the other of ignorance. All these things would bring
severe troubles in the end. But the greatest trouble frequently came
from disparity in social position--where a man or woman of high station
had married a partner of low station. In this case she was glad to see
that this trouble would not exist. The parties were of equal rank in
respectability and social surroundings. The husband's great riches were
the only thing to fear. Better marry a poor husband, and plod on with
him, and make one's own fortune, than marry a rich man whose love might
soon cool. There would come a domestic hell between the parties: among
low people, quarrelling, and absolute fighting, now and then; among
people of higher grade, a genteel indifference,--no ugly words, but
cold, cruel demeanor, etc.,--worse, a great deal, than actual physical
violence through which the angry passions would exhaust themselves, and
after which repentance and "making up" were frequent. But in the other
case,--in the higher grade,--no such thing would occur as "making up,"
and the most luxuriant home would become a prison, or a grave rather,
of the affections--a horrible life to lead, out of which there was no
escape for parties who valued public opinion, or who, as in the case of
a dependent wife, had no haven of peace to resort to, no means of
support--and much more said Mrs. Seymour, in her grave, effective way.

So solemn was she that the timid, fearful Mary cried, and the old aunt
became all of a tremor, and poured forth torrents of caressing words
upon poor Mary. But Mrs. Seymour relieved their distress to great
extent, by informing them that when at prayer, the "dear Almighty God"
(to use her own expression) had favored her with a vision, which she
had interpreted. There were many ways, she said, to preserve a
husband's or wife's love. All these ways were well known to the
scientific. They were always effective, were these various means, when
properly applied. She could have told them at once, without resorting
to counsel with her "heavenly Father," of what would probably be
effective in this case; but she was glad she had resorted to prayer
first, because, although she would have taken very much the same course
pointed out in the vision, yet she might not have been so thorough in
her counsel, and would not have felt such certainty or confidence in
it. The ladies lifted up their hands again, and hung with confiding
delight, and with believing smiles upon their faces, upon every word
Mrs. Seymour uttered. She told them, that in answer to her prayer, she
saw a group of angels descending from the heavens. They wore beautiful
robes of various colors. Here she stopped to tell them that it was a
popular fallacy to suppose that the angels all wore white robes; that
such a uniform would be inconsistent with Nature's usual course; that
the God of Nature loved variety,--infinite variety,--and therefore he
had exemplified it all through his works. The ladies were delighted
with Mrs. Seymour's eloquent words, and she went on to tell them that
she saw these angels decorating each other with amulets, and souvenirs,
and ornaments of all kinds, beautiful brilliants more dazzling than
earthly diamonds, etc., and she noticed that each ornament was blessed
by a beautiful priestess before it was passed from one angel to the
other, and when the latter assumed it she observed that his or her face
lighted up with a new and glorious expression of love for the gems;
that these angels were of apparently different degrees of age, which
suited Mary to hear, of course.

Thus Mrs. Seymour went on with her pious rigmarole, which she managed,
by her cunning imagination, to make very charming, and finally said
that, though the vision was easy enough of interpretation, yet, in this
case of great importance, she had prayed for an interpretation, and was
at once "impressed" with this solution. It would be wise for Mary, she
said, to put off all care from her mind, from the present moment, with
the belief that she should be happy with her husband, as would be the
case if she followed the advice; she would retain his love forever.
Marry him on the day appointed, be cheerful and kind, and have no
unpleasant forebodings, as she need have none, and then, as fast as she
could collect together all valuables which he had been in the habit of
wearing on his person, as ornaments, or carrying in his pocket, such as
watches, jewelry of all kinds, especially of the rich kinds, such as
diamonds, and all the money which he had _actually handled_ (for it was
necessary, she said, that he must have touched it, and it would not do
for her to get a draft from him, and go to the bank and draw it
herself, unless she should afterwards put it in his hands, and naively
ask him to count it for her),--all these things she was to get, and the
more of them and the greater their value, the surer would be the spell
which was to be worked. These things, as she procured them, she was
from time to time to bring to Mrs. Seymour, who would operate with them
as in the vision directed. The lady would then take them home and put
them in a box, and then Mrs. Seymour would visit her house and charm
the whole box, which the lady would keep, for a few weeks, as near
herself as she could all the while without inconvenience, and the spell
would thus be worked. The ladies looked in wonder, and believed. Mrs.
Seymour charged them fifty dollars for her counsel; but the ladies not
chancing to have so much in their purses, she consented to take
twenty-five then, and wait till after the marriage, and when Mary
should bring the first article to be charmed, for the other twenty-five
dollars. This was all fair, and pleased the ladies, who went away
happy, it seems.

The marriage took place. The old man having some estates in Canada,
which needed looking after, made his bridal tour in the now Dominion of
Canada; and with Quebec as his central point, travelled about the
province for some three weeks, with his new wife.

He was very happy, and so was Mary. They returned to New York duly, and
in the course of a few weeks Mary, now Mrs. Mary ----, visited Mrs.
Seymour, with her first batch of articles to be charmed. These were a
watch, a very elegant one, profusely ornamented with diamonds, which
had belonged to the old gentleman's former wife, but which Mrs. Mary
had discovered that he had sometimes carried, and a large diamond ring
which he had once worn, but which, on account of an injury to the
finger which it fitted, he had laid aside, with some trinkets of value.
Taking these to her "oratory," Mrs. Seymour pretended to have charmed
them, and then brought them back to Mrs. Mary, and told her to get a
box of suitable size, and place them in it, also the other things that
she should bring, to get them charmed. While Mrs. Mary was consulting
with her in regard to the box she should get, Mrs. Seymour happened to
think of one which she had, and which she would as lief give to Mrs.
Mary as not, and she went to her side-board drawer and brought a little
square-shaped enamelled _papier-maché_ box, neat, but cheap; she said
this would do, and it could be sealed so easily when it should be
filled. Mrs. Mary wished to pay her for it, but Mrs. Seymour would not
allow her to do so; and the box, with the watch, etc., in it, went off
with Mrs. Mary, who had paid Mrs. Seymour the other twenty-five
dollars. Mrs. Mary followed Mrs. Seymour's counsels as speedily as she
could, and was soon at the latter's house with the other matters of
jewelry, this time bringing a very valuable brooch, which was once the
property of the former wife; and Mrs. Mary had a piece of her own
cunning to tell Mrs. Seymour.

In order that the brooch might come under the rule of having been worn
on the person of the husband, she had pinned it on to his night-shirt
when he was asleep, and laid awake and watched it there for an hour or
more. Mrs. Seymour rewarded this piece of stratagem with her august
approval, and told Mrs. Mary that it would do just as well to lay the
things under his pillow, and if she found anything more which he had
not worn, to put it there. She suggested that whole sets of silver
spoons could be placed there at any time; which was a happy thought for
Mrs. Mary, who wished to get all the value she could into the box, and
she told Mrs. Seymour that there was in the house, but never used, a
set of gold spoons, a present from some of her husband's rich
relatives. In time these were in the box. But to make the matter sure
as to value, Mrs. Mary begged of her husband the sum of two thousand
dollars one day, when he had sold a piece of real estate in Brooklyn,
and realized some ten thousand dollars advance over cost. This money
was charmed and put into the box, and finally Mrs. Seymour was slyly
taken in a carriage to the house by Mrs. Mary, in order to put on the
finishing stroke, and seal up the box. She took her wax and a peculiar
seal with her; and Mrs. Mary and she, being duly closeted, the box was
nicely sealed up, with all the valuables in it, money and all,
amounting to about five thousand dollars. Mrs. Seymour then wished to
be left alone in the room for a few moments, while she prayed, and
invoked a peculiar charm on the box. Mrs. Mary, of course, consented.
Presently Mrs. Seymour came out of the room, handed her the box, and
went with her to the bedroom to see it properly deposited in its
hiding-place,--all this while the gentleman was growing better and
better, kinder and kinder, to his wife; and he was "splendid" to begin
with, she said. But this increased affection was attributed to the
charms. What would it not become if these remained near her there in
the box for two months, as Mrs. Seymour directed?

After two months, Mrs. Seymour would call, if Mrs. Mary had no occasion
to call her before, which she was to do, if her husband showed any
signs of failing affection, and would then open the box for Mrs. Mary;
for it was necessary, as a part of the work, that she should open the
box in such a way as not to break the spell. The two months went past,
and Mrs. Seymour did not call. Mrs. Mary sent for her to come, but
found that she had left that house--gone to Brooklyn to live,
somewhere. She tried to hunt her up, but unavailingly; at last, after
some three months and a half had passed, she heard she was in Boston,
and Mrs. Mary made an errand on there, her indulgent husband
accompanying her, and there she privately sought for Mrs. Seymour. But
she could not find her, and so let matters rest. But, eventually, her
husband telling some relative visiting him, about the gold spoons, and
seeking them to show him, failed to find them; and Mrs. Mary got very
nervous over it, and at last told him that they were not stolen, as he
suspected, but where they were; and after much mental struggle, told
him how they came there. He was delighted with her great desire to
preserve his love, for it was a most genuine case of deep affection on
his part; but he gently laughed at her, nevertheless, and declared that
Mrs. Seymour was a great cheat; that she had, by her chicanery, won the
fifty dollars; "and she found you and your aunt such easy disciples,"
said he, "the great wonder is, that she did not abstract more money
from you. But we'll open the box now, and get the spoons, and you'll do
what you please with the rest;" and they opened the box, breaking the
peculiar seals, and found----nothing but a few small stones and bits of
iron, done up in cotton-wool, to keep them from rattling, and weighing,
perhaps, as much as the contents supposed to be there.

It was evident then to the old gentleman, that the woman must have
brought a box with her on her last visit to the house, a fac-simile of
the one which Mrs. Mary had filled with valuables and money. The things
were of such a nature, that the old gentleman said it was of no use to
try to hunt up Mrs. Seymour and get them back. She would deny all;
besides, there was the risk of his wife's being exposed in her foolish
credulity, and he wouldn't have that known for ten times the value of
the property lost, he said. So they agreed to let it pass.

But the thing preyed on Mary's mind. She wrote to her aunt,--who had
then gone away,--a doleful story, and upbraided her partly for her
connection in the matter. The poor old aunt was sadly affected, and
insisted that some step ought to be taken to find Mrs. Seymour, and to
punish her; and Mary felt so too, and talked about it till the old
gentleman thought he would take some step about it, and he consulted
me. "I have devised some plans; but they are good for nothing, and I've
come over to tell you the funny story, and see what you think of it."

Such was the substance of the lawyer's tale; and we had a good laugh
over it, and contrived together what might be done. I told him it was a
hopeless case, pretty much, unless we could find Mrs. Seymour, and
these things in her possession, which it was absurd to expect, unless,
by inquiring of the parties who suffered the loss, I could learn more
about the things taken. We both resolved that the watch was too
valuable to be destroyed, and there might be other things saved, and
sold, perhaps, here and there. Accident might give a clew to the
whereabouts of Mrs. Seymour and the things.

The lawyer visited the parties, and got their consent to take me into
the case, and I visited them--learned what things were taken; examined
the box, and found on it a peculiar mark, which I copied exactly; and I
also got an accurate description of the watch, with the maker's name,
the number of the watch, and so forth. This was a superb affair for a
lady's watch, and was worth, at least, with its chain and diamonds,
eight hundred dollars. I concluded that it was not probably destroyed.
It had perhaps been sold or pawned; and I made close search in many
jewelers' establishments and pawn shops for it in New York, and not
finding it, advertised for it in the Boston and Philadelphia papers,
stating that the subscriber had such and such a watch, and would give a
thousand dollars for its mate, "No. 1230," if in good condition, and
added that it was known to be in this country. I signed "Henry Romaine
Brown, Agent for the Earl of Derby," and made an address in Liverpool,
England, and in New York. The object of this the reader can readily
see. I soon got a letter from Baltimore, and in consequence found the
watch. It had passed through several hands to the owner, the wife of a
Mr. Hurlbut, a large merchant. He had answered the advertisement out of
respect to the Earl of Derby(!), with no suspicion whatever that the
watch had been stolen. Mr. Hurlbut required the property to be
thoroughly proven as that of the old gentleman in New York, which it
was fortunately easy to do, as the bill of it from the importing house
had been saved. Still it was necessary to prove the theft, for it might
have been sold; and here was a chance for a lawsuit, which the New York
man did not want.

But Mr. Hurlbut was willing to advance some money, while he held on to
the watch, to ferret out Mrs. Seymour. "Perhaps she could settle the
matter, or had some relatives who could" he said. My client, too, took
courage, and resolved to spend some money in the matter, and I went to
work to find Mrs. Seymour. Meanwhile, through the peculiar mark on the
bottom of the box, I managed to find out where Mrs. Seymour had
purchased it, and learned, as I supposed before, that she had bought
two on the same occasion; and, fortunately, I found that she had, when
selecting the boxes, occupied a good deal of time, giving the clerk a
great deal of vexation, and he felt sure he should know her. Besides,
she had offered a counterfeit bill in payment for them; and when
informed that the bill was bad, had declared her surprise, and rummaged
her purse for good money, without finding enough into twenty-five
cents, which she said she would call and pay next day, and so was
allowed to take away the boxes. So the clerk thought he should surely
know her, although the lady did not call the next day. I tracked Mrs.
Seymour from her place in Grand Street, where her sign still remained,
and business was carried on by a younger medium, who assumed her name,
and divided the spoils with her, probably, over to Brooklyn, down to
Philadelphia, where she sold the watch, and up to Boston.

Brady, her husband, had gone the rounds with her. I searched every
possible place in Boston, and engaged a detective there. I had been
able to secure several photographs of the woman, and of her husband, in
New York; and with one of these, the Boston detective was able to make
her out, he thought, one day. He followed the woman, and at last
abandoned the "game," when he found that she was in company with people
of high character, and entered with them one of the finest residences
in Vernon Street; and, moreover, was told by a servant of the house
that she was a Mrs. "_Bradley_," from Portland, Me. He concluded that
he was mistaken. We finally learned Brady was not like "Seymour," an
assumed name, and that the husband had wealthy relatives in Boston; and
then conceiving that the detective might not have been mistaken in
supposing he recognized "Mrs. Seymour," we laid siege to the Vernon
Street house, till we satisfied ourselves that "Mrs. Bradley" and "Mrs.
Seymour" were one and the same. But how did she get there? Boston is
full of people, in high rank, who are spiritualists, and who keep
"mediums" for themselves, and do not visit the advertising mediums, to
be found there in such numbers, even to this day.

We traced Brady out too, and found him a chief clerk in a house on
Washington Street, in which his brother was a partner. My friend, the
detective, made his acquaintance, and managed to learn from him that he
was worth several thousand dollars. He had two building lots in New
York, which he had bought for a song, some four years before, but which
would be worth, he said, fifty thousand dollars in less than ten years.
My friend, the detective, wished to buy these, and they got on such
good terms that Brady, in the course of a few days, accepted his
invitation to "go down to York," on his, the detective's, expense, and
when there showed him the lots, and told him confidentially that they
stood in his wife's name, as he had failed in business some years

We thought we had enough materials together to commence the attack, and
my friend, the lawyer, managed to bring a suit in such a way that the
building lots were attached, and then wrote me at Boston to "go ahead."
I proceeded at once to the house in Vernon Street, and inquired for
Mrs. Bradley. She had, meanwhile, moved her quarters to the residence
of a distinguished clerical gentleman in Hancock Street, whose wife was
a spiritualist, and a "medium" besides. I called upon Mrs. Bradley
there, and having a private "seance" with her as a "medium," until I
thought I had studied her enough, told her that I was very much pleased
with the communication she had brought me from my "deceased wife" (who
was then living in New York, one of the healthiest and jolliest women
in the land, and likely to live, perhaps, till the "spirits" are all
dead); and that now I had a communication to make to her; and that I
did not wish to disturb her peace, or expose her conduct in life, and
should not do so if she kept quiet. She wanted to know "what in the
name of goodness" I talked to her in that way for. I told her it wasn't
I that was talking, that I was only the "medium" through whom Mrs. Mary
---- (using the full name now), of New York, was speaking, and that she
had come to ask her what she did with that little charm box, and its
contents, for which she substituted the box of stones and iron.

"Mrs. Bradley," _alias_ "Seymour," turned pale as a sheet, and _tried_
to swoon. She was a little too quick in the play, and hadn't declared,
as her true rôle was, that she didn't know what I meant; so she waked
up, and declared it; and I told her to be tranquil; that we had got the
property all attached; knew where the watch was, and had her properly
identified on the day she bought the _two_ boxes at such and such a
store. I looked her calmly in the eye while I said this; and she was
not at a loss to discover that I knew what I was saying.

"Now madam," said I, "all that we want is, that you save us the trouble
and time of a suit. We shall arrest you, and have you taken to New
York, and tried criminally, as well as prosecute the civil suit, unless
you are willing to settle the matter quietly; and I can't give you any
time. An officer is awaiting my call close by here;" (indeed, he was in
the porch of the house at the time) "and unless you are willing to get
your bonnet and shawl, and accompany me at once to Mr. Brady, and
settle this matter, we will arrest you, and take you where you'll be
kept safe till we get a requisition for you from the governor of New

"Mrs. Seymour" had had, as I knew before, more or less to do with legal
matters, and she saw the force of things at once. She accompanied me to
the store where her husband was engaged, the officer following at a
proper distance; and I managed to cool the husband's assumed wrath when
I came to tell him of the charges against her, he asseverating her
virtue and innocence in terms that savored of Milesian profanity.

"Mr. Brady," said I, "I am glad to see a man so brave a champion of his
wife; but you are only making matters worse. _She_ don't deny the
charges; the property is under attachment, and the officer is at hand,
and she will be arrested in less than five minutes" (taking out my
watch to look at the time), "unless you cool down and come to terms.
You, too, know all about the business, and would probably prefer to
escape arrest also--wouldn't you?"

He looked at me for an instant, then at his wife, and said,--

"Well, I suppose we'll have to give in for now; but I'll carry the
matter under protest, up to the United States Supreme Court before I'll
be trampled on."

This boast seemed to relieve him, and we all left the store and went to
my friend's, the detective's, office on Tremont Street, where the
preliminaries of a settlement were entered into. The watch we wanted
back at any rate; the rest of the jewelry was scattered here and there,
only that Mrs. Seymour had preserved a nice string of pearls, worth
some three hundred dollars. There was not much "higgling" over the
estimate of value of the various articles, and the two thousand in
money, of course, went in at its value. In all, the bill footed up
about thirty-six hundred and fifty dollars, besides five
hundred--(which was too little)--for the expenses we had been at.
Suffice it that those building lots in New York changed hands soon
after, "in due legal form," and that a thousand dollars in money
besides left Brady's pocket, and found its way where it could pay
"expenses," etc. The building lots have sold since for far more than
Brady's estimate of "fifty thousand dollars in ten years." The old
gentleman and his wife Mary were delighted with my success: of course
Mr. Hurlbut delivered up the watch for the price he paid for it, which
it was proper he should ask, inasmuch too, as Brady had given us the
money, or its equivalent for it, and more too, and Mrs. Mary said she
should carry it till her dying day, "to ward off mediums and sorcerers,
as the Puritans nailed horse-shoes to door-posts as protection against
witches"; and I venture she's faithfully wearing it now for that
purpose, and as a souvenir of the old gentleman, her good husband, who
is now dead.

I was so much pleased with the cunning and skilful address of Mrs.
Seymour, that I cultivated her acquaintance, and by a "close study"
managed to learn a good deal of her art, and came to a knowledge of the
great extent to which mediums are consulted by people of the first
classes; and was astonished to find how readily they fall, through the
superstitious element in their composition, victims to the sorcerer's
arts. It would require volumes to cite the instances which occur yearly
in New York city alone. Boston is not a whit behind in this,
notwithstanding she boasts herself the Athens of America; but, perhaps,
she so boasts because she worships so many different idols--has as many
gods as the Greek mythology embraced. In proportion to her population
her dupes of superstition are more numerous than those of New York.





I was sitting in my office one day, meditating over a case I had had in
hand to work up, for some four months, off and on. An hour before one
of the parties interested in the matter, and who had furnished
considerable money to press the investigation of the affair had left my
office in a state of dissatisfaction, evident enough to me, although
his interest compelled him to express in words his pleasure at the
course I had taken, and his hope that my theory of the case would soon
be worked into practical demonstration. But I fancied, nevertheless,
that he had secretly resolved to abandon the matter, or to abandon me,
and procure some one else to undertake the job; and I was conjuring in
my mind who this might be, whom he would secure to aid him; and
resolving myself into a happy state of mind that this point, namely,
that he could find nobody who could or would for the like slight
encouragement I had had, undertake the affair, and into a somewhat
unhappy state of mind on this other point, namely, that I had been
induced to enter upon the work upon too slight amount of facts, and
accusing myself of stupidity in so doing, I had resolved that I would
never undertake a like case, involving so much work, with such little
probability of success, for there are some things which may baffle the
oldest detective's skill as surely as the simplest peasant's brain. I
was in an ugly mood with myself, when there entered my office an
excited looking man, who accosted me--"You are Mr. ----?"

"Yes, sir."

"The very man that worked up that case for Coe and Phillips, two years

"Yes, sir; I suppose I am _the_ man," said I, emphasizing the article
"the;" "but what of it, what if I did?" said I, in a mood which I was
conscious was not very attractive, and with a look, I suppose, not
over-enticing, for the man "hitched" unpleasantly in his chair, and
seemed confused. "What of it? Why do you ask?"

He still looked disconcerted, but taking from his pocket a file of
papers, carefully thumbed them over, and drew out from them a letter of
introduction to me from Mr. Coe, in which Mr. Coe said that his friend
had an affair on hand in which he thought I could serve him, and he had
commended me to his friend.

"Ah, you are a friend of Mr. Coe? Well, I see this note is dated over a
month ago. Why have you delayed to bring it to me before?"

"O, I'll explain. I live in Cincinnati, and was here on business at the
time, stopping at Mr. Coe's. I told him my story, got this note from
him, and intended to see you in a day or two; but a telegram called me
home,"--(or "telegraph message," as he said, for this was before the
days when some happy genius coined the felicitous word "telegram"),
"and I have come again on business, and so have brought the note."

"Is it in Cincinnati that I must work, if I enter upon the matter you
may have to relate to me?"

"Yes, sir, I suppose so; in fact, yes, of course, for there the robbery
was committed."

"O, a robbery, eh? Well, I don't think you had better tell me of it.
It's too far away, and I have enough to do here; more than I wish I had
of the kind which falls to my lot these days, and you can get
detectives in Cincinnati who can afford to work for you cheaper than I

"There you are mistaken," said he; "I cannot get any detectives in
Cincinnati who can do me any good. I tried the best, and they were
baffled, and so I had told Mr. Coe when he recommended you."

"I am greatly obliged to Mr. Coe for his good opinion, but your case is
a desperate one, if the best detectives of Cincinnati have had it in
hand; and I suspect I could not do you the least good. You'll waste
your money, I fear."

The man looked for an instant as if he were shot; and then, suddenly
recovering himself, he exclaimed, with an energy and fierceness of
purpose which pleased me, "But, sir, something _must_ be done, and we
must spend all our ready money or go to the wall, at any rate; things
are getting complicated in our business, and we must fail in more than
one way, _if_ we do not succeed."

"You say 'we.' Are there others involved besides yourself?"

"Yes; my partners, two of them."

"I see that Mr. Coe has not told me your business, merely calling you
his 'friend.'"

"Yes, I suppose he thought best to let me tell you my whole story
myself; and I would like to do that, although you seem unwilling, sir."

I smiled, and said, "O, no, sir, not unwilling, for it is my business
to listen to all such things; but you found me in a grum mood when you
came. Have you never passed days in which you wished you were out of
your present business, and in some other that you envied."

"Yes, yes," said he excitedly; "and of late I've wished so all the
while, for reasons I shall give you."

"Well, go on with your story, I am a good listener."

"The whole matter is in a nutshell," said he, "so far as the crime
committed is concerned, and I'll tell you that first. We are bankers,
and have lost out of our safe ten thousand dollars in money, and
negotiable paper, securities, collaterals, and the like for over thirty
thousand more. We have obligations maturing; some have matured already,
and we have been pinched to meet them, and the rest we cannot meet
without these securities;" and then he went on to tell me when the loss
was discovered, etc.

"Well," I broke in, a little impatiently, "if you have _lost_ those
papers, what do you propose? To find them?"

"Yes, to get them back; that's what we want. The money has gone, of
course,--we don't expect that or any part of it,--but we must have the
papers--the collaterals; and here I must tell you, that about a week
after our loss we received a note from a lawyer in Cincinnati, saying
that he had been visited by parties claiming to reside in Kentucky,
asking him to communicate with us, and saying that they were ready to
deliver up 'those papers,' which they knew to be valuable to us, upon
our coming to the terms which they left with him to communicate to us
orally; that he did not know whether the story was all a hoax or not,
but if we knew what it meant, we might call on him, and he would
narrate the rest. I hurried to see him on receipt of note. He was a
stranger to me personally, but I knew him by repute as a lawyer of fair
standing, and a man of good social status. When he came to tell me the
offer which these parties made, which was to deliver up the papers
through their attorney--himself--for fifty per cent. of their face
value (for at this point I had only told him that I knew what the
parties meant, and had come to hear their offer), I asked, 'Do you know
for whom you are dealing? Do you know how these papers came into the
possession of the parties?'"

"No; I know nothing of them, more than I tell you. But explain to me
how the papers came into their possession."

"By robbery," said I; "those parties are burglars or worse."

"Robbery!" he exclaimed, "and the villains wished to make me a
middle-man in the transaction! Tell me all about it, and we'll see if
we can't turn the game upon them. Consider me your attorney; it shall
cost you nothing,--the scoundrels!"--and he brought his fist down upon
his table with a blow that made it quiver. "If I've got to that pass,"
said he, "that scoundrels dare approach me in this way, it is time I
give myself a close examination, and reform, if need be. Please to tell
me all about the affair."

"I told him the facts of our loss, and our situation; how the money and
papers must have been taken out of our safe by some one who had
obtained knowledge of the numbers of the permutation lock; and he asked
at once, as you will do, about the clerks, my partners, and so forth,
and said some one of them was the villain. But no matter for this now.
We laid plans which failed; and he concluded that after all, it must be
the work of some one in the office, but how to catch him, was the
question; and I cannot think that any of my partners or my clerks is
the man, for we have exhausted all schemes in trying to fix the crime
on any of them, and failed signally."

"Well, is that all you've got to tell me?"

"No; I've not told you my story yet but in part. When shall I begin

"When you please; but first tell me, perhaps, about your partners, and
your clerks, each by himself; who he is, how long he has been with you,
and what his age, his habits,--all about him."

So Mr. Redfield--(the reader understands always that assumed names are
given in these narratives, where there exists a proper reason for so
doing)--Mr. Redfield, as we will call him, went into a minute
description of the men, each by himself, and I confess I was baffled. I
said to him that it must be that some one of those was the guilty
party, yet that nothing he had told me would allow me to suspect one of
them for a moment; that my impression of the guilt of one of them was
solely the result of the common-sense reflection that somebody who
understood the safe-lock, with its numbers, must be the man who took
the money and papers: that was all. And in fact I suppose it was,
because the case at this point became so desperate, or difficult of
solution, that I undertook it all; for if I could have hit upon some
expedient which would seem to me likely to work out the problem, I
should, in my state of mind at the time, have given Mr. Redfield the
advantage of it, for a small counsel fee at most, and declined to go
on; but it was just enough unsolvable at this point to vex me, and
pique my pride. I did not wonder that the best detectives in Cincinnati
had failed, for I could easily see that the scoundrels had only to keep
these papers hid in some unsearchable spot, and exercise ordinary
care--indeed be quite careless--and never be found out, unless their
greed should at last betray them.

It was evident to me, from what Mr. Redfield said, that the parties had
become suspicious of the lawyer they visited, for some reason; for they
never visited him again, and neglected to answer a rather ingenious
advertisement that he published in one of the papers. But they had
again managed to communicate with Mr. Redfield, and repeated their
offer; and had sent him the form of an advertisement to put in the
paper, if he concluded to accept. But he delayed beyond the day they
named, unwilling to accept, and still hopeful of detecting the
villains, and getting back the full papers for nothing; and thinking
better of it, a day or two after, he had published the advertisement,
but they had not regarded it; probably, as I judged, because they
thought he had laid some plan to trap them. So when he went, "armed to
the teeth," he said, out to a lonely place, as indicated in their
letter, about five miles, to meet somebody, there to make further
arrangements, nobody came.

They were very wary then, and it was evident that they would, as they
threatened in their note,--for the writer represented that there were
two of them,--destroy the papers unless they got their price for them,
and in a manner, too, secure to themselves. They could "afford,"--the
wretches!--to lose the papers, for they had made ten thousand dollars
in money, at any rate, they kindly wrote.

I insisted that this mode of proceeding on their part indicated an
acquaintance with the bankers' business,--showed that they knew the
great value of these papers to the firm,--and that this was a further
reason for suspecting some one in the office. But Mr. Redfield
persisted in believing that the Cincinnati detective had settled that
point against my opinion.

Well, it was agreed that I should go on and take my own way to work up
the matter, and Mr. Redfield left. I followed him in a day or two, with
my first plans matured, and with all such implements, clothes, etc.,
for disguises which I thought I might need, and met him at a place
appointed. My first course was to go into the banking office, with
papers in hand of business to be done with the chief, Mr. Redfield; to
be delayed there with him talking a long while over the matter of loans
on some Western lands, and to engage his assistance in raising capital
for a manufacturing concern to be established at Minneapolis,
Minnesota. His partners were to be kept profoundly ignorant of my real
character, and one of them was to be called into our conference
regarding the lands, etc., whenever I indicated. This was the plan I
made for getting a chance to slyly study the clerks and the younger
partner--for it was out of the question that the older partner could be
engaged in the theft.

I went to the banking-house as arranged, called for Mr. Redfield, gave
him my name; "made his acquaintance," etc., rather rapidly; and while I
was doing so, cast a listless glance around me, and chanced to find the
chief clerk's eyes staring at me in a manner not merely of ordinary
curiosity. There was a gleam in them which I did not like, and in an
instant I changed our plan of operations, and said, "Mr. Redfield,
can't I see you in private?"--taking an easy-going look about the room,
and not neglecting to take in the clerk in the sweep of my eye. He was
writing, and there was a nervousness about the shoulders, a flush in
the face, and his lips seemed much compressed. "Guilt there," said I to
myself, as Mr. Redfield stepped into the private room.

The door was closed by Mr. R----, who asked, "Why do you change the
programme? What have you seen?"

"Enough," said I; "and now the question is how well can you play your
part? I know that a man in your office is the guilty party."

Mr. Redfield looked a little astounded at my rapid operations, and
replied, "Well, you are to work up the case according to your own
methods; but you surprise me."

"Well," said I, "let me alone, then; let's talk up the Western lands,
etc.;" and we did--I laughing outright, immoderately at times, telling
Mr. Redfield a story or two, which made him laugh in real earnest; and
after we'd fixed up a plan, he went out smiling, asked his older
partner to come in to see me, saying, "He's the queerest speculator I
ever saw; come in, and see if we can do anything for him." And the man
came in. We talked, could not get near a bargain, and I finally left
the bank, saying to Mr. Redfield that I'd "write in a week or so;
perhaps they'd think better of the offer."

I was not at a loss to see, by the clerk's countenance and manner as I
went out, that he was at ease again--which was all I wanted to then

Mr. Redfield and I met that night in a place appointed. He told me
they'd had much fun in the office over the "queer speculator," and that
his partner had no suspicion of my real business at all; and we entered
into a serious conversation. I told him that the chief clerk was the
guilty man in my opinion, and that I should proceed upon that theory,
and pursue it till forced to give up in that direction, and then drop
the matter; that there was no use of attempting anything without the
clerk in the programme.

We talked over the matter, and I learned where the clerk kept his
private rooms--for he boarded at a hotel, and roomed in a block of
business offices and dormitories; and what at first surprised me was to
learn that he had left much better rooms within a month or so, since
the robbery, and taken up with poorer ones. Mr. Redfield could give me
no information as to his habits, save what he judged and what the
detectives had reported--all good. But somehow I suspected that there
must be a woman involved in some way--a mistress, perhaps, whose
extravagance had led astray the clerk, whom we will call Childs, to
need more money than he could legitimately make. So I told Mr. Redfield
that we must search Childs's room and private papers, if he had any;
and it was arranged that Childs should be sent on business to Chicago
for two or three days. Mr. Redfield had no difficulty in arranging
that, and Childs departed, highly honored with his chief's confidence.

We managed without much trouble to get into Childs's room, where
everything but his trunks were first searched,--not excepting the
minutest scraps of letters in a wastebasket,--where I found evidences
of female correspondence. Further search among some books, on a little
shelf at the top of a clothes-press or "closet," revealed some more in
the same handwriting--sweet little _billets-doux_, longer letters,
etc.,--all passionate, very,--sometimes complaining, etc.

None of these had envelopes, and I therefore judged that they were
written in the city, and sent through the post office, and that Childs
probably always, at once, destroyed the envelopes. I should say that
none, except some evidently old ones, had envelopes. There was no date
or place, save "My little room,"--"Our dear boudoir," or something like
that,--and sometimes a further day,--"Thursday Morning,"--"Monday
Evening." It was evident to me that the charmer lived in the city
somewhere; and I had already made up my mind that she must be tracked
out as the first step, when, turning over a letter from this female,
the rich, passionate, burning language of which, well-expressed, had
led me on, I came to the conclusion, and found--"I have not received
pay yet for that article. R---- must not think that he can neglect me
as he did Hattie; I will be paid for what I write--something, at least.
I guess we shall have to visit him together;" and with very
affectionate words of parting, the letter closed. And then came a P. S.
"Every day I grow more uneasy about _those papers_. I wish you would
take them away. What if I should suddenly die, and they should be found
with me? You said they were very valuable--and you may lose them. I
should regret that. Come _to-night_, dearest."

Ah, ha! here was a literary lady,--a contributor to the story or other
papers,--wrote a good hand, and in good style of composition; was
evidently on loving terms with Childs. I was in doubt whether mistress
or only ardent lover; could not tell that till I should see her, if
then. She must be seen. How to find her? Easy enough, perhaps, but
maybe not. We left Mr. Childs's room in good order, and separated for
the night, I giving Mr. Redfield no more insight into the modes I
intended to pursue next day than necessary.

The next morning I started for the newspaper offices with a portion of
one of the letters I had found, made a proper story of wishing to
engage the literary services of the writer of the letter if I could
find her, but that I knew not her name; as her friend, who had given me
the portion of the letter to show her style, and had not yet given me
her name, had been called off to New York by telegraph, I
found,--wanted to find her that day.

At the first office I entered nobody could tell me anything. But on
entering the second one, and finding the associate editor, and asking
him if he recognized that writing, he looked up and smiled, as if he
thought I had a joke for him.

"I guess I do," said he.

"Well," said I, "there's a dispute about it."

"Let's see," said he, in a hasty, nervous way, snatching it from my
hand, and glancing at it again. "No dispute about it; that's our ----
----" (using her _nom de plume_, which I won't repeat, as she is
probably living, and many old friends might recognize her in this tale,
and learn more than they are entitled to know).

"Where can I find her?" said I; "I want to see her about some writing."

"All right," said he, making some marks on a paper, which I found to be
name of street and number of house. "There's where she was the last I
knew of her, two months ago. I think you can find her through that."

"Would you give me a note to her, as I am a stranger?"

"Why yes, such as I could. I don't know your name; but stay--no," said
he; "give me that paper again;" and taking it, he put his initials to
it, and the name of office and date of day. "That will be enough--good
as a more formal note," said he; and he caught up his pen, and
proceeded as if something was on his mind. "You must excuse me, sir; I
have a great deal to do to-day. Can I assist you any further now?"

I replied, "No; I thank you for your courtesy;" and bowed myself out. I
was as confident now that I should trap Childs as if the thing was
done; but there were two of them, and they must both be caught. Childs
could not be carrying on this correspondence with the lawyer and
writing to Mr. Redfield, that was patent. I would watch Childs that
night, and see if he went to the lady's residence. He did go, and as
they took a walk out, I saw her,--got a good view of her face, and made
up my mind that she was innocent of any intelligent complicity in the
matter. I liked her looks very much. She was one of those impulsive,
earnest creatures, who, when they love, love desperately, but who know
not how to hate, as some women know, who also know how to love
intensely,--a miserable class of women, in my opinion, although
novelists love to paint them, and these women themselves are ever
boastful of their twofold power of love and hate,--a mean boast of a
mean character of soul. I saw that she loved Childs, and I was sure she
respected him, and what I should do I knew not exactly; but following
them in their walk and back, and waiting till he left her, and went on
his way to his office, had given me much time to think, and I had
resolved upon a course which I thought the next day would see
consummated; when, returning to my quarters, I found a note from Mr.
Redfield, begging me to meet him at a certain place that night,--by no
means to sleep without seeing him. He would be there at such an hour,
and at such other hours till he met me. Something important had

I sought Mr. Redfield as requested; found that he had that afternoon
received a note from the parties, again requesting him to meet them, or
one of them, next day, at a place near Covington, Kentucky, and to come
prepared to "take up the papers, according to our offer," in the
afternoon, at six of the next day. Mr. R---- was greatly excited; said
that this was their "last call," as they expressed it; that the papers
would then be destroyed; "and that will be the last of our house," he
tremblingly muttered.

I had been looking the letter over carefully meanwhile, not at all
disturbed, for I felt that Childs would not long be out of our hands,
when I chanced to reflect that the paper on which it was written was
like some of that on which the lady's letters to Childs were written;
and I said to myself, probably he has supplied himself and her some
time with the same kind of paper; but this is not his or her
handwriting. "No, she's innocent," I muttered to myself; "I am
satisfied of that;" but the paper was like, and that, though a slight
thing, helped to steady me in my opinion of his guilt. I handed the
letter to Mr. Redfield to replace,--he having taken it from the
envelope before giving it to me,--when, placing it back, a small slip
fell out of the envelope as he turned it upside down.

"What's this?" said I, as I picked it up; "we must scan everything."

It was a narrow strip, and on it was written, "My dearest A----." (It
was the lady's name, as it proved.) I was astounded, for I had seen
Childs's writing, and this was like it for all the world. It was his,
indeed--so Mr. Redfield decided. But how came it in there? When Mr.
Redfield opened his letter it had not fallen out. He had cut the end of
the envelope. I took the envelope, and rounding it out, peered in, and
satisfied myself, from its shape, that the writer had done what I
frequently do, with the old-fashioned envelopes especially,--put in a
piece of paper to keep the gluten from sticking to the letter, as it
will, when wet and sealed, in many kinds of envelopes. In handling the
envelope, and opening it a little to put back the contents, this paper,
if stuck at all, had "chipped off." But how came the address there in
Childs's hand? Either the letter had been written in a poorly-lighted
place, or a careless or drunken confederate had slipped the strip we
found into the letter, without noting both sides. But really _how_ it
came there I did not care--it was there.

"Mr. Redfield," said I, "that clerk's game is up. Give me the letter;
ask no questions, but to-morrow morning, as soon as he comes in, make
occasion to send him off on business which shall detain him till into
the afternoon, if you can; or provide business for him here that shall
occupy him beyond noon-time. Better send him out of town. I want to get
over to-morrow noon."

Mr. Redfield said that fortunately he could send him out of town to see
parties about a mortgage, and he would send somebody along with
him,--his servant,--and tell him to be sure to not get in before two or
three. The boy will do what I say, and ask no questions and tell no
tales. My word is law with him, and Childs will have to walk back
twelve miles, or hire somebody to bring him in, for the boy won't come
till I tell him to.

Next morning I was up betimes. Childs was out early before going to the
office, taking a morning walk with his lady. He carried no bundle away
from there, and I tracked him to the office. I felt safe now: and now
for the final work, I thought, for I was sure that Redfield would pack
off Childs duly, and the coast would be clear. I had gotten possession
of the lady's name meanwhile, and proceeded to her boarding-place,
called for her, introduced myself, talked with her about literary
matters in my own way, not at great length, and was delighted with the
innocence of the girl. I had formed no fixed mode of procedure when I
entered the house, but I was resolved to wait till I saw her, and the
longer I talked with her the more convinced was I that she was innocent
and artless, and that a pretty direct way was the best to approach her

So I said, "Well, you'll pardon me, Miss ----, but Mr. Childs told me I
would be pleased to chat with you, and I have--"

"What! you know Mr. Childs? He's always saying flattering things of me."

"O, is he? Well, perhaps he didn't say anything especial to me, then;
but I was going to say that I called on business. He's going out of
town to-day, and he had to start earlier than he expected; just gone;
wasn't going till afternoon--"

"Yes, he told me he was going over to Covington in the afternoon," she
broke in.

"Yes," said I, "and he said that he wanted you to give me _those
papers_; said you'd understand what he meant. I am to meet him, and
this, he said, would be enough word for you" (handing her the slip of
paper, 'My dearest A----.') "He was in haste." She took it, blushed,
and said, "Yes, this is his writing. He writes nicely--doesn't he?
Excuse me, I will be gone but a moment," and she hied up stairs to her
room, as unsuspecting as a dove. I was surprised at the success of my
simple stratagem, but I had others behind it, which would have worked
had that failed. She came down stairs, bringing a nicely sealed package.

"That is what he wants," said she. "You will be careful of it, of
course, or he would not have sent you. You are his friend--a mysterious
man I've heard him speak of; and I must tell you," she said, laughing
heartily, "that I've told him I did not like that friend very well,
keeping him away from me so much."

"O," said I, "no harm I hope. Men have their business arrangements
together,--their speculations,--and can't always be as gallant as they

"O, I know it," said she. "I don't complain. I was only joking him."

It was evident to me that that woman had not the remotest thought of
Childs's being aught than as noble and pure as she; and as I took the
package, folded it in a newspaper, and left the house, I felt for her
to the bottom of my heart, so much so, that I at first resolved to not
tell Redfield how I had obtained the package, but to give him up the
papers, tell him to dismiss the clerk, get my pay, and leave; for I
thought it would break her heart to find Childs so great a scoundrel;
that perhaps he, finding himself foiled, would never be guilty of a
crime again; would seek some other spot, reform, and marry her, and
make her ever happy.

These thoughts I revolved in my mind as I passed on to my lodgings, and
when I got there I opened the package. Lo! all the papers, so far as I
could judge, and something more,--a letter or two, in a scrawly hand,
with some rude drawings of roads, a sort of diagram, on a page of one
of them. I deciphered the letters, and found that Childs's
correspondent spoke, in one of them, of that "little fool of yours,"
evidently meaning Miss A----; and said something else, which I knew he
would never have said had not Childs given him occasion. In short, I
saw that Childs's respect for her was feigned; that he was only fooling
her, and my mind changed towards him; besides, there was his
confederate, and we must have them both. I hurriedly repacked the
papers, proceeded to the bank, called Mr. Redfield into the private
room, and showed him what I had got. He was confounded, of course. I
said, "What shall we do with them?"

"Seal them, and put them in the safe for to-day. I want to arrest that
villain Childs now," said he, "for I understand how you've come by
these. We've no time to lose."

We went out after sealing the papers, and leaving them in the safe,
properly marked with my name--a deposit. As soon as we got out of the
office we made our plan. It was to take an officer, ride out on the
road on which Childs had gone, and wait for his return. But this would
take too long. No, we'd ride right to the place he had gone to, all of
us. We found the officer, took a two-horse carriage, and were on our
way very shortly--drove to where Childs was.

"How do you do, Mr. Redfield?" said Childs, surprised to see him.
"Couldn't you trust me to do the business? And so _you've_ come out?
Ha! ha!"

"No," said Mr. Redfield; "some friends of mine wanted to take a ride,
and I thought I might as well ride this way as any. Getting on well
with the business?"

"Yes," said he, "all finished; but I couldn't find that boy of yours.
He's gone off somewhere, and there's a part of the harness gone. Gone
to get it mended, I suspect, for coming out here he said it was weak in

I gave Mr. R---- a wink, and said, quietly, "That boy would make a good
operator--wouldn't he?"

"He'll do his duty," said he.

"Well, he won't be back yet," said Mr. Redfield to Mr. Childs. "Get in
here, and we'll all take a short ride. Mr. Wilson," said Mr. Redfield,
"you proposed to ride on the front seat when we returned; perhaps you'd
like to now?"

"Yes, I would," said I.

"Well, please get out, and let Mr. Childs take your place. Mr. Childs,
these are Mr. Wilson and Mr. French, friends of mine, looking about
Cincinnati for speculation."

I got out, Childs took my seat in back, under the carriage top--a sort
of half buggy and half coach. The officer was considerably disguised,
(because he thought he knew Childs, and that the latter knew him), with
a pair of blue shaded glasses and false grayish whiskers and hair.

We chatted on together, rode off a mile or two, when Mr. Redfield said
he guessed we'd return, and leave word at that place for the boy to
come as soon as he got his harness mended. "And you can ride back with
us, Childs," said Mr. R----.

Childs expressed his pleasure to do so. We returned to the place, left
the boy, and proceeded on a mile or two, telling stories, looking at
the land, etc., when Mr. Redfield gave me a touch with his elbow, and
looked into my eyes, as much as to ask, "Shall we not arrest him now?"
I gave the proper sign, and Mr. Redfield, stopping the horses, turned
deliberately around, and said, "Mr. French is an officer of the law,
Mr. Childs, and would like to have you give yourself up without any
fuss about it--wouldn't you, Mr. French? Do your duty."

"Yes, Mr. Childs, I am sorry to disturb the pleasure of such a ride as
we've had, but it is my duty to arrest you."

Childs was overcome with surprise, and said, "Yes, he would give
himself up, but he didn't know what for--anything to oblige Mr.
Redfield," and he gave himself up, and the officer thought best to
handcuff him, at which Childs turned very pale, with mingled anger and

"Now, Childs," said Redfield, "since you are secure, and the papers are
all back in the safe, and your lady, Miss A----" (for Redfield knew I
must have gotten the papers from her in some way), "has turned upon
you, you've nothing to do but make a clean breast of it. We want your
confederate, and you must help us to take him, or suffer alone. If you
wish to escape, you must turn state's evidence--that's all. He probably
has put you up to crime. You are not too old to reform, and may be
allowed to go, and suffer nothing but the penalty of dismissal from our
office; but you'll have to return the money you took, for I find that
you are regarded worth considerable property, and I presume your
confederate is."

Childs was so utterly taken aback that he had not a particle of courage
or address left. He consented to everything we demanded, and said he
would write to his friend whom he was to meet at Covington that night,
but for some reason he could not come, and ask him to come over at
night or next day to Cincinnati. When we got into the city, Childs was
taken to a private room by the officer, who had taken off his manacles,
and then manacled him again after writing the note, and telling us
where to find his messenger.

The man came over, and was under arrest before he had time to think,
and was taken to another place, and told that Childs had turned state's

"I always thought Childs was shaky," said the fellow, evidently not
quite so subdued as he might be; but we threatened him with the extreme
ends of the law, and he agreed to get money, and see that the bankers
were paid back all that had been taken if Childs would do his part, and
to clear out "down the river" (meaning to N. O.), and leave Cincinnati
together. It appeared that he had done the _work_ of the robbery,
Childs having provided him with a key, of which he had procured a
counterfeit, and having told him of the changes of the lock, and
selected a time when there was a good amount of money in the safe. He
said he could "work" better alone than with Childs.

I needn't lengthen out the story, except to say that Mr. Redfield got
back all the money too, and enough besides to pay him and me for all
our trouble; that Childs and his friend left for parts unknown, for Mr.
Redfield said it would hurt his bank, shake faith in it so much, to
prosecute the rascals, and expose the affair, or it would gratify him
otherwise to punish them: on the whole he would let them go.

I took care that Childs had no opportunity to see Miss A---- before his
departure, or even to write her, I think; and as I spent two or three
days more in Cincinnati, I thought, on reflection, she ought to know
the facts, and in a delicate way got opportunity to disclose them to
her, for which the innocent, sensible lady expressed her gratitude in
tears. She felt that she had escaped a villain's clutches; confessed
her ardent love for him, but told me that sometimes she felt as if
there was something bad in his nature; that he had given her much pain
from time to time; and though they were engaged, she sometimes had
thought he did not intend to marry; and now she could see that he had,
at times, taken advantage of her love to require her to do things for
him quite disagreeable.

"Why," she exclaimed, "if I had known that package contained stolen
things, I could not have slept in the room with it. He said they were
private business papers of his, and he did not wish to ask to have them
put in the bank safe, and thought they would be more secure with me
than at his rooms, for everybody could get in there in his absence who
liked; so I was glad to oblige him, of course."

But my conversation with this lady need not be detailed. She was not
informed how the slip, with "My dearest A----" on it, came into my
hands. Probably it did not then occur to her to ask. If her eye happens
to light on this article, she will now come at last to know how.


                      THE THOUSAND DOLLAR LESSON.



I had just returned from a trip to Detroit, and failing to find my
chief partner in town, strolled up to the St. Nicholas Hotel one night,
in July, 1863, and while sauntering about there, came across a
gentleman whom I had, a few days before, remarked in the cars, on the
Shore Line Road. He got on board at Painesville, Ohio, and by sundry
peculiarities of his dress, which was a particle "flashy," but still
neat and elegant, he attracted my attention. I was at a loss where to
place, or how to classify him. Sometimes I took him for a merchant,
then I thought he might be a lawyer, and again a young man of wealth
and leisure. Suffice it, I allowed myself to study him--I know not
why--so much that I was not likely to forget him.

Among the first persons I chanced to come across that day at the St.
Nicholas, was this young man, and curiosity led me to learn from the
bookkeeper his name, which I found to be Charles Purvis, of Louisville,

"Purvis?" I said to myself, "Purvis? The name is familiar, but where
have I known anybody bearing it?" and so I cudgelled my brains to
awaken memory, and at last called to mind a story told me by a brother
detective, in my way, on a time, up the Mississippi River, in which the
name of "Purvis" figured largely in a criminal transaction. "Perhaps,"
thought I, "this is the chap in question," and as I had nothing on hand
to do for a day or two, I thought I would take the young gentleman in
my charge--at a distance.

I left the hotel, determining to return early in the evening, and keep
an eye to the young man. I did so, and I found that he was not a little
"cheerful" in his ways about the bar,--treating, quite extensively,
apparent strangers, but evidently, after all, not much given to making
acquaintances. Finally, he left the bar-room, alone, and walked slowly
through the hall, with the air of one who has nothing to do, and was
reflecting how to amuse himself.

Near the front entrance of the hotel stood three men chatting,--men
whose characters the experienced are never at a loss to know at once; a
gentlemanly looking class, well dressed, of affable manners, and of the
greatest shrewdness of address; men whose colloquial powers are very
great at times, but who know how to measure every word, and adapt it to
the precise wants of the individual whom they may happen to address.
These were of a class always infesting the hotels, especially the
better ones, of the city, and whose business it is to "rope in"
strangers into the various gambling saloons.

Upon the approach of Mr. Purvis, two of these worthies, bidding the
other a cordial adieu for the evening, and addressing him in a style to
indicate that he was a man of unusual importance, withdrew up Broadway.
Still this courtliness was evidently intended to bear upon Mr. Purvis,
who was in hearing; and as he drew nearer the distinguished gentleman,
the latter addressed him, in a mild way, touching the weather,--

"A very pleasant evening, sir."

"Decidedly. You seldom enjoy a finer one here in New York, I suppose?"

"O, I don't know about that. The weather here is usually pretty fair.
Are you a stranger, sir, in New York, allow me to ask?"

"Not a stranger exactly, but not a resident. I have been here
considerably, off and on--enough to know the city pretty well, I

"That's my case exactly, for the last few years, though I formerly
resided here for a while. A pretty stirring place to get into, if one
knows all the avenues of business or pleasure, sir."

"Surely, but I have never had occasion to learn much of these."

"Well, I too have only a limited acquaintance here, yet I always find
my way around without much difficulty--generally going about with some
friends, of whom I have a few here, formerly from my native State,

"Ah, Connecticut? Do you know anything about Hartford? Perhaps you are
from there?"

"Yes, sir, that is my native place, and a pleasant little city 'tis.
Great deal of wealth and refinement there, sir."

"Yes, I know it. I had a cousin from Arkansas there, at Trinity
College, some years ago, and a gay boy, too, was Bill Sebastian" (if I
rightly remember the name he gave). "I visited him there during his
collegiate course, and spent a delightful week. Old Sam Colt was a
trifle gay--wasn't he? Well, we had a jolly time with him one night,
and several more of the jolly men of Hartford, in rooms at the old City
Hotel. You know where that is?"

"Of course; and it has witnessed many a festive meeting. The Trinity
boys always go there for their fun."

"I am glad to learn that you are from Hartford. I've thought I should
visit that town before I return. Do you intend to return there soon?"

"Yes, I may go up to-morrow, but I may remain here a day or two more.
Should you be going up when I go, I should be pleased to have your

"Well, stranger, I hope it will happen that we go up together, if I go
at all. And now let us exchange cards. My name is Purvis, as you see,
of Louisville, Kentucky."

The lounger fumbled in his pockets for a card to give to Mr. Purvis,
but finding none, half-blushingly announced that his cards were out,
but that his name was George Ellsworth.

"Ellsworth? Well, sir, you rejoice in a right honorable name. I've
heard my Uncle Throckmorton talk a great deal about one of the
Ellsworths of Connecticut."

It was evident to me that "Ellsworth" was making fast inroads into the
good graces of Purvis, and of the latter's character I was beginning to
be at a loss; for though I had from his name connected him at first
with a criminal transaction, yet his manner, in conversation with
"Ellsworth," did not seem to sustain my early suspicions.

Their conversation now assumed a lower tone, as Purvis had drawn nearer
up to Ellsworth, the two acting very like old acquaintances by this
time; so I managed to draw nearer them, fumbling over the envelopes of
some old letters I had taken from my pocket, and assuming to be in a
"brown study" over something.

"Well, isn't this a little dull, Mr. Purvis? I've been waiting here an
hour or so, expecting a particular friend along, with whom I was going
out for a while to look about. But he has been obliged to disappoint
me, I suppose," said Ellsworth.

"Yes, it is a little dull, as you say; a stranger, especially, is apt
to be very lonesome in a big city. Do you ever take wine, Mr.

"Seldom, sir, especially when away from home; but I don't mind a glass
now and then."

"Come, sir, accompany me, if you will. I would invite you to my room to
take wine, but unfortunately they're so crowded here they've been
obliged to put me far up. Suppose we go to the bar?"

"Well, if you please; but you'll pardon me when I say that I must not
indulge but once now. The night is long yet, and we shall have other
occasion, perhaps, to drink. I know how generous and impulsive you
Southern gentlemen are."

"O, surely, I know we are apt to 'go ahead,' like Davy Crockett, when
we are right, and when we are not, too; but come along, please," and
the trusting Purvis carelessly locked his arm in that of Ellsworth, and
they moved towards the bar-room.

My first intention was to follow them, but I hesitated, and waited
their return. They were gone a far longer time than necessary to take
one glass, and when they came along down the hall, rested but a moment
at the door, and stepped out down Broadway together.

"Ellsworth has his victim in sure training," thought I to myself.
"Where can they be going?"

Feeling confident that some mischief would be wrought ere the night was
passed, I followed on at proper distance, and saw the two lingering for
a moment before No. 477 Broadway. Ellsworth seemed more in doubt what
to do than Purvis, or less decided. By this time I had, by mingling
with sundry pedestrians, managed to approach near enough to Ellsworth
and Purvis to hear the latter say,--

"Well, if you think we won't obtrude, let us go up to see your friend
for a while."

"No, we shall not obtrude," replied Ellsworth, "but I was thinking if
we might not find some more agreeable place,"--but he turned and went
up the stairs, followed by Purvis.

In 477, at that time, was a half gambling hell, kept as the private
rooms of a worthless sporting son of a distinguished surgeon. I had
never been in the place, but had heard that many fast young men
gathered there to play cards for fun, and that sometimes a faro-bank
was run there for "amusement." Fearing that by some possibility
Ellsworth might notice me as the individual having stood near him in
the St. Nicholas so long, and suspect something if I went in alone, and
undisguised, I was resolving what course to pursue, when my friend,
Henry W----, a detective, came along. He was just my size, and wore a
blue "swallow-tailed" coat, while I had on a black frock. I took Henry
into the small hall-way, and said, "Business up; swap coats with me in
a minute; and if you've a pair of false mustaches with you, let me have
'em, Henry."

"I haven't mustaches," said Henry; "but here's something as good," said
he, pulling from the skirt of his coat a paper containing a fine
long-haired wig. (My hair was cut extremely short for the then
prevailing fashion.) The changing of coats, and assuming of the wig,
was but a moment's work, and with my promise to Henry "to report in the
morning," we parted, and I mounted to the sporting-room in a trice.
Walking in coolly, I proceeded quietly to the "bureau," and helped
myself, as is the custom in such places, to a small glass of wine, and
while drinking, took a survey.

There were my friends Ellsworth and Purvis, the former evidently
instructing the other about the ways and habits of such places. This
night the faro-bank was in operation in one room, and in another
several parties were playing at cards.

After a while I overheard Ellsworth say, "I never play for money, but
some one here, I dare say, will take a hand with you if you wish a
little amusement," and they sauntered into the card-room, where,
without trouble, parties were found to "make up a hand" at an
unoccupied table--Ellsworth declining to play, but taking a seat near
Purvis, to watch the game. The stakes were small, but during the play
Purvis lost a little more than the loose change which he had about him,
and was forced to draw a well-filled wallet from his side coat pocket.
I noticed a peculiar smile on Ellsworth's face as his eye rested on
that wallet; and from that moment I felt that I had work to do. I took
an apparently listless interest in the game, and kept my eye as much on
Ellsworth as I could. He seemed to be restless. Persons were coming in
and going out of the other room especially, and Ellsworth's face always
reverted to the door when he heard new footsteps or a new voice.
Presently his face brightened, and he got up, went into the other room,
took a glass of wine, and on returning, affecting to just then discover
a friend, exclaimed, "Ah, Williams! how do you do? How did you get
here? I was waiting at St. Nicholas for you for over an hour."

"Well, I was delayed--did not know where to look for you when I got
there, and dropped in here, I hardly know how; but, old fellow, it's
all as well now--isn't it?" giving Ellsworth a gentle pat on the
shoulder. All this was said in such a manner that Purvis might have
heard it if not too much engaged in his play; and he probably did hear
it; and the two worthies went arm in arm into the card-room.

"Let me interrupt the play for a second, gentlemen, if you please,"
said Ellsworth, taking Williams directly up to Purvis. "Mr. Purvis,
allow me to introduce to you my friend, Mr. Williams, the gentleman we
were waiting so long for to-night. Lucky--isn't it, he dropped in here?"

The usual courtesies of introduction were passed, Purvis assuring Mr.
Williams that he was very glad to make his acquaintance, and that the
game would soon be over, when he would be glad to learn more of his
"friend Ellsworth's" friend.

But who was this "Williams?" you are apt to inquire, right here. I did
not know Ellsworth, but I had seen Williams before. He was elegantly
attired, more so than Ellsworth, indeed, and nearly as mannerly;
though, to the practised eye, there was discernible in his face a lower
range of character than in Ellsworth's. He had more low cunning, and
was fitter to do deeds of positive criminality. He belonged to the
higher class of pickpockets, and I had known him under the name of
"Billy Seaver." I saw that the two were well met to work together.

Purvis and his party's game ending, Williams proposed to take a hand;
and a party being made up, Purvis continued to play, not neglecting to
take wine occasionally. On one occasion Williams, accompanying him to
the sideboard, I noticed the former turn suddenly about, as he said,
"Mr. Purvis, join me in claret this time,--an unfashionable drink, to
be sure" (with a most graceful smile). "I see that you take sherry
generally," and having suited the action to the word, had poured out a
glass, which he handed to Purvis, who took and drank it. I had no doubt
that Williams had skilfully "drugged" that dram; and my interest began
to deepen now that my observations would have to continue for several
hours. At length I united in a game with several new in-comers, and
posted myself at the table where I could easily watch Purvis and his
friends. He played on well for a while, but by and by I saw he began to
grow a little stupid. At this time Williams, who was a good talker,
entered upon the recital of many curious tales ("good stories," as they
are called among his class, but which were not so "good" as to bear
repeating here), and tried to keep up Purvis's waning spirits with
laughter and jokes. And so Purvis was kept at the board, while the drug
was constantly doing its sure and secret work. Purvis lost
considerably, and occasionally reverted to his wallet for supplies.

An hour or so went on, when Ellsworth, who took no practical interest
in the game, said to Williams, "Isn't it about time for honest people
to be a-bed? Hadn't we better go?"

"Just as you like; and I presume Mr. Purvis would like to go to his
hotel. I declare," said he, turning to the clock on the mantel, "it
_is_ later than I thought."

Presently the three sallied out. With some difficulty was it that
Purvis moved. They reached the sidewalk, and Ellsworth said, "Mr.
Williams, let's go up to the St. Nicholas with Mr. Purvis," taking
Purvis by the arm in a quiet way; and they started. The distance was so
short, that on reaching the walk from the stairs, where I overheard the
proposition, I thought I would not follow too speedily. They had not
gone on their way over a minute at most, when an alarm of fire on the
corner of Howard and Broadway arrested my attention, as I thought but
for a minute or so,--but time flies on such occasions, and it might
have been five minutes,--when, turning to look after my men, I could
not see them, but rushed on to the hotel. Not finding them there, I
sought the clerk, to learn if Purvis had taken his key and gone to his
room. He had seen nothing of Purvis at all, "since early in the
evening," he said.

Where could the scoundrels have taken him? O, they must have dropped
into one of the coaches standing at all hours of night near the hotel;
that was my solution of the matter, and I knew it would be folly to
attempt to follow them farther; and I had nothing to do but to withdraw
to my rooms and go to bed, and await the issue--clew to which I felt
sure to get next day.

I took the night clerk into my confidence sufficiently to tell him that
I suspected Purvis would be victimized, lose his money, and perhaps his
life; but conjured him to keep still, if he should chance to return
before morning; watch those who might come with him, and be sure to get
the number of the coach and name of the driver, if he should be brought
back in a carriage, and then find out if and how he had been "played
with," and to send me word: all of which he promised to do, entering
with spirit into the enterprise. I went home, feeling sure that the
clerk would give me an intelligent report if anything wrong happened.

Next morning, about seven o'clock, I was awakened at my rooms by the
clerk, who told me that, an hour before, Purvis had been pitched into
the entrance way of the hotel, in a state of stupidity so great that,
after a half hour's attempt to arouse him, they had sent for a doctor;
that instantly on hearing the noise of his advent, he had rushed to the
door, only to see a tall man running down street, while a coach, at
some distance off, was driving rapidly up; but whether the coach had
any connection with the matter he thought was doubtful. But he had
examined Purvis's clothes, which were much stained and soiled, and
found a cut in the right side, over his wallet pocket, but "not large
enough to let out much of a purse," he said. As the wallet was large, I
fancied that this cut had been made, possibly, as they left the
gaming-rooms, and not succeeding with that, had taken Purvis away to
"finish" him,--which was doubtless the case.

I dressed myself rapidly as possible, and hurried to the hotel. Purvis
had been carried to his room; and a doctor and his student, a tall,
good-looking, sympathetic fellow, were attending him. The doctor
administered some medicines as well as he could, and then performed
some quite vigorous manipulations of Purvis's body. The student said
that he was a native of Louisville, and knew Purvis's family very well,
and that he'd give five hundred dollars himself for the detection of
the scamps who had ill treated Purvis. He warmed up to great height on
the occasion, in true Southern style, generous and ardent. I took a
great fancy to him, and when the doctor left urged the student to
remain, which he gladly did. We watched by Purvis's side for an hour
and a half before he sufficiently recovered to recognize his Louisville
friend, and to answer me as to how much he had lost,--which was what I
most desired to know. Where he had been he had no memory of. All was a
blank to him; but he knew that the evening before he had a thousand and
sixty dollars with him--a thousand in his wallet, in the side coat
pocket, and the sixty in various pockets. He had paid a bill a day
before for parties in Louisville, and had so much left, only about half
of which belonged to him, the remainder belonged to the Louisville
parties; "which makes the matter a heap worse," as he said.

When I had learned so much, I set about laying my plans, within myself,
for catching Ellsworth and Williams. I had no doubt that they were
still in the city, so secret had been their operations, as they
probably supposed; and thinking I might need help, took into my
counsels, as far as I thought best, my young friend, the stalwart
student. He was all on fire for the work, if we should chance to come
across the enemy; and we started forth, he to arm himself at his rooms,
I to prepare myself, and we to "rendezvous" at the St. Nicholas in an

Coming together, I bethought me that perhaps Purvis's wallet might have
some private mark by which it might be identified; and we went up to
his room to inquire, and learned that the wallet was the gift of his
brother, and bore, under the principal clasp, in faded gilding, the
letters, "C. H. P., L'ville." The letters were quite obscure now, he
said. And we started on our search. I fancied I could readily find
Williams's lodgings, and that he would likely be there, in a state of
more or less sleepiness, and his compeer Ellsworth with him. But I had
counted without my host that day; and though we were constantly going
from point to point, in our investigations, nothing had we learned when
nightfall came, and we were very weary. Passing up Roosevelt Street,
having had occasion to go down to the Williamsburg Ferry, a tall man
brushed rapidly by us, whom I at once discovered to be Williams, who
suddenly dropped into a little filthy cellar oyster saloon, and we
followed. Williams had taken a seat at the remote corner of the dirty
room, and called for a stew. He looked haggard, as if he had, not long
ago, been on a tremendous spree. We called for oysters roasted in
shell, as likely to be the most cleanly in that dirty crib.

Williams was quite "nervous," and spilled the broth over himself
considerably, and I half conjectured that he, too, had been drugged. I
knew he must have taken the wallet, and that perhaps he had it about
him then; but I had no warrant to arrest him on the spot, but must
follow him farther. He arose, having finished his meal, and started
straight for the door, and opening it, was going out, when the dirty
Irish woman who kept the shop exclaimed, "Look here, mistur, is that
the way gintlemens trates ladies? Don't yer pay for yer vittals when
yer takes 'em?"

Williams, who hardly knew what he was about, had not, I presume,
intended to "beat" the woman (to use the slang phrase for cheat), but
he was maddened by the woman's gross manner, and turned upon her with
an oath.

"Be jabers," screamed the woman! "Gintlemen," turning to us, "will yees
see a poor honest woman, so there!" (the tears coming into her eyes)
"chated by the likes o' that dirthy blaggard? Ketch him, and hould
him!" (flourishing a big spoon, like a sword, in air).

My impulsive student friend needed no more encouragement, and quickly
catching Williams in his brawny arms, exclaimed, "Here, you scamp! pay
this woman before you go, or you'll stay here all night," pulling him
at the same time up to the little dirty counter, behind which the woman
stood. Half drunk, Williams, finding himself in a strong man's grasp,
was instantly quiet, and began fumbling for his money. In his search he
pulled out a silk sash--as it proved, a stolen one at that--from his
inner side coat pocket, when out tumbled a plethoric wallet with it.

"Be jabers, that's a fat one, indade!" said the woman: "the gintleman
has money enough to buy out old Astor and all his kin."

Williams, more intoxicated than I thought at first, seemed to take no
heed of this, and after he had managed to fish out of his pocket money
enough to pay the old woman, I took up the wallet, and said, "Here,
don't leave this; you'll want it."

He looked in amazement, as he started towards me, as he saw me
deliberately opening the clasp. There were the self-same initials
Purvis had told us of. "I will keep this, Mr. Williams," said I; "this
is what I am after.--Old woman, this man is a pickpocket.--Bolt the
door!" I exclaimed to my student friend, which he did instantly. "Take
charge of Williams while I examine the wallet; and you, old woman, keep
quiet; and, Williams, don't _you_ dare to make the least noise, or
we'll finish you here."


I made rapid search, and found in the wallet nine hundred and thirty
dollars (some of it Kentucky money), a lady's elegant gold enamelled
watch, and a chain which could not have cost less than two hundred
dollars, but which had been cut in some of the links--evidently a
recent prize of Williams. He would never tell where that watch came
from; and I advertised "A lady's watch, taken from a pickpocket. The
owner can have the same by identifying it. Call at No. -- Broadway,"
for several days, in the papers. But no one ever came to claim it, and
I gave it to a lady, who still wears it, subject to the owner's
reclamation at any time.

Williams saw that it was all over with him, but he protested that he
did not abstract the wallet; that the whole "job" was Ellsworth's; and
I was willing to believe this in part, for Ellsworth was the prime
roper-in. More anxious to catch Ellsworth than to punish Williams, I
agreed that if he would tell me the whole story truly, and where
Ellsworth could be found, I would, on finding the latter, let him,
Williams, off.

He told me the story in detail. They had taken Purvis, that night, over
to a place in Williamsburg, occupied by Ellsworth, and his "family," as
he pretended. Purvis was so stupid when they arrived there that the
coachman had to assist them to bear him into the house. Of course the
process of robbery was easy after that. But not having a good place to
keep Purvis, and that matter being dangerous, too, they had hired
another coach near morning, and brought him over to New York, Williams
coming alone with him. He would not tell me the coachman's name,--the
one of the night before,--but said he had "bled" them to the tune of
fifty dollars for his services.

He had been over to Williamsburg, and was on his way back, taking with
him the money, which he was to divide the next day, at a certain hour,
in a place he named in the Bowery, with Ellsworth, who would be there.

I did not credit his story, to be sure; but still I was there duly, and
found Williams, who pretended surprise as he came in with an officer
(into whose keeping I had given him,--having called him before we left
the shop,--on a charge of forgery, not telling him I knew the real
state of the case), at not finding Ellsworth up to his appointment. But
my story is running into too much detail. Suffice it that we got back
to the hotel as speedily as we could, and a more delighted man than was
Mr. Purvis, on the recovery of so much of his money, can hardly be
imagined. He gave the watch, of course, into my keeping, and in spite
of all my protestations, compelled me to receive a much larger sum than
would have amply satisfied me.

I pursued Ellsworth somewhat afterwards, visiting his "family" in
Williamsburg, but I could not get track of him for a long while, when
he turned up in another city, and I chanced to make him available in
the detection of sundry other rogues. But that story is _sui generis_,
and I must not mar it by a recital of a part here.

As for the brave medical student (whose name I have purposely
withheld), he became a fast friend of mine, and afterwards we had
several adventures together, some of which I purpose to relate, should
I at some other time feel more in the spirit to do so.

Enough to know now, that he is, for his years, an eminent physician,
with a large practice, in a district in the South, and married to a
most beautiful woman, whose acquaintance he made while once playing the
amateur detective. In some of these papers, perhaps, his name, if he
permits, will be disclosed. Had he given himself to the business, I
conceive that he could not have had a successful rival, as a detective,
in the world. The same knowledge of human nature which the detective
needs, cannot but serve the physician to great advantage.

Mr. Purvis said that if he had wholly lost the thousand dollars, the
lesson he had learned would have been cheaply bought.


                     THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING.



It is an astonishing thing to a detective, and ought to be to every
person of sense, it seems to me, that after the experiences of ages
"the-wolf-in-sheep's-clothing" still keeps on deluding people.
Everybody ought by this time to know the animal, and everybody does, in
a sense; but everybody has heard of him, and seen him somewhere along
the path of life, and either been bitten by him, or sorely frightened,
or something of the sort. Yet forever he is playing his wiles with
success with everybody; and his sheep skin is the same one he has used
ever since historic time began, and perhaps long before that. But I did
not take my pen to descant upon the blunders and stupidities of my
fellow-mortals, or to adorn this page with a lecture on morals and
hypocrisies, but to tell a tale in which, perchance, a "moral" will be
better "painted" by the facts it discloses than by my discursive pen.

I was called upon one day by the confidential clerk of a large
mercantile house in this city, and informed by him that he had been
sent by one of the partners of the house,--the other partners being
abroad, one in Europe, and one in the South,--in regard to the matter
of extensive robberies from their store; and it had been thought best
that I should be made acquainted with the chief facts before visiting
the house--as they supposed, of course, he said, I should wish to. I
told him (and here, for sake of brevity, let me give him a name, which
is correct only in the initial letters--Charles Phillips)--I told Mr.
Phillips that his policy was quite right, and that I would listen then
and there to his story. He went on to recount that, probably for a long
while, the house had been robbed of various kinds of goods, but that of
late, particularly, they had been greatly annoyed by missing large
quantities of the highest priced goods: their best silks, satins,
laces, etc., which, being costly goods, amounted, as nearly as they
could calculate,--in one month's loss, too,--to some eighteen hundred
dollars; "and of course," said he, "the loss may be more, for perhaps
we do not know all we have lost." He told me of plans which he and the
partner at home had devised to find out the thief or thieves, and the
watch that had been set, all to no avail. He had a different opinion
about it, he said, from the partner, who thought some of the clerks
must be the guilty parties; and it did seem so, sometimes, he said, for
the store was well watched nights by a trusty watchman, whom he himself
had watched as well, and felt confident that he could have no
confederates; and, besides, the things taken were not usually in reach
of customers--only the clerks could get at them. So he thought his
employer excusable, perfectly, for his suspicion that some of the
clerks must be the thief. Yet for his part he could not believe it,
inasmuch as he had known all the clerks so long,--five years, a
majority of them, and the rest of them, save three, who had been but
from two to six months in the house, for from one year up to three and
four; and he thought he knew all about them, and could not allow
himself to suspect any one of them. But, nevertheless, his employer,
who could not in his own mind fasten suspicion upon any specific
person, had fully made up his mind that some of the clerks were guilty,
and they were now going to wake up the matter, if possible, and "bring
things to a focus," as he expressed it.

I listened to what Mr. Phillips had to say, and inquired how many
clerks there were in the establishment, when he informed me that, aside
from himself, there were thirty-seven.

"Thirty-seven?" said I; "and you are not able to say that any one of
these is more innocent or less guilty than another, eh?"


"Well, then, we've a job on hand which may last for a good while, and
require not only time, but patience, and a good deal of money to work
out; for we might hit on the thief the first thing, but we might not be
able to identify him till we had been through with all the rest, and
satisfied ourselves of their innocence, you see, and it may cost your
house more than it would to suffer the losses, and let accident,
perhaps, hereafter disclose the guilty party."

"I have talked this very point over with Mr. Redding," (the partner),
said he, "and he says the firm must go to any necessary cost to find
the thief, and put a stop to peculations; that the house cannot, in
fact, long do business at this rate of loss, and he's made up his mind
to go into the matter thoroughly, and when he gets _his_ head set,
there's no moving him. The house must go ahead in this business, and
let you have your way about it."

I learned from Mr. Phillips that many of the goods taken were of a
peculiar kind, but after all, not to be readily identified, if the
private marks of the house were removed; "and any thief," said he,
"shrewd enough to steal from our store, at the rate the thefts have
been going on for the last few weeks, is wise enough, I dare say, to
leave nothing of a story-telling nature on the goods. He's probably
removed our private marks at his earliest convenience."

After our conference was over, and I had agreed to call at the store
the next day, in the capacity of a wholesale customer "from Buffalo,"
and Mr. Phillips was gone, I set myself to work at some theory in the
case, and found myself quite baffled at every point. I had not facts
enough yet in my possession to form an opinion; and as I prided myself
in those days, more than I do now, on my unerring skill in detecting a
thief by his countenance, I resolved to theorize no more till I had
gone through the house, and scrutinized each clerk's face. But that
night I talked the matter over with certain of my brother detectives,
for it was evident that there was work enough to be done, if we wished
to save time, for several of them. Each of my men thought the matter
could be easily solved. Some of the clerks were, of course, the
thieves, and they only needed to be "spotted" for a few nights at once,
and sure as fate the guilty one would be brought to light 'twas agreed;
but it didn't prove so easy a job, after all.

The next day I called upon Mr. Redding, it having been understood
between me and Mr. Phillips that he was not to recognize me before the
clerks, until after I might have been presented to him by Mr. Redding,
and then only cursorily. I handed Mr. Redding a note which I had
prepared, and as he did not know me personally, and was a little taken
aback at what I said in the note, I giving him sundry orders and
directions therein, his strangership to me was quite evident to the
clerks who chanced to be about when we met. Mr. Redding showed me all
the distinction that I required, and himself showed me through the
establishment. It was a long list of goods, indeed, that which I
prized, in every department; and we took our time, in order that I
might have the amplest opportunity to study each clerk's face, which I
did to my satisfaction, but to no certainty as to which one if any was
the thief. I thought that either my usual sagacity had fled me, or else
that the clerks were a singularly honest set of young men, and withal
exceedingly well chosen and clever.

I was at times tempted to suspect one or two of them; but I could not
tell why, and came to the conclusion at last that this temptation
resulted rather from my anxiety to "spot" some one, than from good
judgment; and I concluded that part of the business without having
arrived at any conclusion whatever as to the guilty parties. After this
Mr. Redding called his chief confidential clerk, Mr. Phillips, into the
counting-room, and we quietly talked over the matter. At Mr. Redding's
request, Mr. Phillips produced such a list as they had been able to
make of the goods lost, which amounted in all to quite an astonishing
sum; but of these things they could inform me of nothing which was very
peculiar in its nature--nothing the like of which other stores had not.
But I finally requested to see some of the richest silks, such as those
they had lost, and was taken by Mr. Redding to see them. I have a
pretty accurate eye for forms and colors, and I paid special attention
to a piece of silk, the like of which I had never seen, and the cost of
which was more than that of any other piece in the store. It was a
heavy silk--would stand alone, and had in it "ribs," after the fashion
somewhat of a twisted column, the pattern of which was perhaps borrowed
from a column in the court of some old convent, such as I had often
seen in Italy, where for a year I was occupied in that country
ferreting out some scamps who had fled there from Philadelphia, and who
were badly wanted to settle sundry accounts. With the association of
the "ribs" and the column, I was not likely to forget that piece of
silk. But other houses had the like, and I might not be able to
identify the piece as coming from Mr. Redding's store, if I should
chance to come across it in some retail store, at the pawnbroker's, or
anywhere else. Yet it might prove a clew, and I put my faith in it;
with what result, will be seen further on, for I cannot mar my
narrative by introducing it here.

It was quite evident to me that the thief must be some one or more of
the clerks; and I could not, on inquiry into the habits of the clerks,
so far as Mr. Redding understood them, or in any way, fix upon any one
of the clerks as more likely than another to be the thief. These young
men had been well selected; were smart fellows, each in his way.
Indeed, Mr. Redding thought that, on the whole, his house had the best
set of clerks of all the houses in the city, and although he was
convinced that some one or more of them (and he as well as I inclined
to the notion that there must be two at least) were guilty, yet he said
he would gladly give a thousand dollars if the guilt could be fastened
upon somebody without the store; for the house had always treated its
clerks as if they were the partners' own children in many respects, and
given the clerks rather better wages than they could get anywhere else,
and some unusual privileges. They had nearly all been long with the
house, and I thought that Mr. Redding seemed to suffer as much from the
fear that some of the clerks would prove to be the guilty party, as
from the loss of the goods themselves. In fact, he confessed that he
felt "chicken-hearted" about the matter, as he expressed it; but his
partners' interests as well as his own must be looked to, and so he was

I returned to my office, and set about immediate preparations on the
work. I was going at it that night, and I saw that there was no other
way than to take matters coolly, and work systematically. I sent for
some of my men, having apprised Mr. Redding that it would "cost
something" to work up the case, and that to do it within any
conscionable time I must set several men at work. He had given me quite
a wide range for expenses, saying that it would not do to be guilty of
any laches in the business for want of means; because, at the rate they
were losing property, with all their eyes open at that, they would soon
have to give up business.

I set my men to keeping their eyes on certain of the clerks whose
places of residence and names Mr. Redding had given me. He had not
procured the streets and numbers of all of them, but was to do so next
day. The clerks designated were carefully watched and followed, to find
out how and where they spent their nights, for it was my conjecture,
that whoever stole the goods was under the influence of some demon
passion; that he either gambled, and was deeply in debt, and stole the
goods and sold them, or that some wily woman had him in her power, or
some fiend of a man was driving him on in crime; and it was necessary
first to find out all about where these young men spent their time out
of the store.

I took my own place in the work, and having been so much about the
store that day, it was necessary that I disguise myself, as I did; and
I took my station on Broadway, near the store, and waited for the young
men to sally forth, directing my men to the boarding-places of some of
the clerks, with as accurate descriptions of them as I could give.

I had not long to wait before some of the clerks passed me, and I
selected two, whom I followed. Darkness was just coming on. They
stopped on a corner to lay out their programme for the evening, and
concluded to not go home to tea, but to go to a restaurant, where I
followed them, and remained there till they left; and when they came
out they went up Broadway, and stopping before a billiard saloon,
seemed to be debating the question whether they would go up or not; but
finally they went up the stairs, and I remained behind a few minutes,
and then followed them. Somehow, as I entered the room, and my eye fell
upon the face of one of them, something seemed to tell me that he was
the guilty fellow. The young men had already commenced a game, and were
busy with the bewitching balls. I lounged about, and finally got a
partner for a single game. The young men did not bet--only played for
sport, and at a seasonable hour left, not however, till I, having
observed that they would soon depart, had gotten down on to the
pavement before them. When they came down, they set off together,
walked some distance together, turned down a side street, and on the
corner of it and another street bade each other good night. One of them
went on to his boarding-house, and so I suppose did the other.

The next night I gave my particular attentions to those same young men.
They went over to the Bowery Theatre, and like sensible fellows, too,
had seats in the pit, in which part of the house I also secured a
place. They seemed to enjoy the play greatly, and one of them threw a
quarter of a dollar on the stage in lieu of a bouquet, in testimony of
his appreciation of the splendid representation of a mock Richard the
Third by the leading actor, and I fancied that perhaps I had found out
the young man's leading passion--his besetting sin.

When they left the theatre they proceeded to an alehouse, and after
taking a mug apiece of somebody's "best pale ale," sallied out, and
wended their way together homeward, till they came to the parting-place
again; and I followed the one whom I did not pursue the night before,
only to be led on a long distance up into Hudson Street, when the young
man applying his night-key to the door of a very respectable-looking
house, entered and vanished. I had begun to make up my mind that this
sort of work would not do; that these clerks were but like ten thousand
others, who, wearied by their day's work, sought recuperation in slight
dissipations, and, perhaps, questionable pleasures, such as billiards,
and comedies, and ales give. But I followed up some other of the
clerks, reporting every day to Mr. Redding or to Mr. Phillips very ill
success. The latter was particularly anxious to have me "go on, and
make thorough work of it;" and as the days went on I became much
attached to him.

My men, too, brought me their accounts daily, with as little success
towards the desired end as I myself had, and we were frequently on the
point of giving up the job. We concluded that perhaps several of the
clerks were engaged in this robbery; that they might have formed a
secret society among themselves, and that they probably had a safe
place to send their goods to, and a skilful "receiver," who would pay
them perhaps half price for the goods, but we could find nothing to
sustain this hypothesis. Two or three of the clerks were quite literary
in their tastes, and belonged to some debating club, I forget the name
now, but it was quite an institution at the time, and thither my men
had followed them, and quite fallen in love with the spirited manner
and eloquent speech-making of one of the clerks. Of course they
followed these wherever they went, and nothing could convince them that
these young men were guilty. One of the clerks was an inveterate
theatre-goer. He went every night to one theatre or another; but my men
found out that he usually had passes, and was, to some extent, a
dramatic critic, furnishing the reporters of sundry papers with notes,
and that in this way he probably got his passes, and so did not in this
way waste much of his slender salary. He neither smoked nor drank
liquor, and seemed to be always alone, careless of companionship; so he
was dropped as "not the man." Another of the clerks had, it was found,
a strange fancy for old books and antique engravings. He spent,
evidently, as little money on his person as would suffice to dress
neatly and well enough for his position, and put all he could have into
old books and engravings; and we found that he was well known by all
those strange men, who in these days mostly collect in Nassau Street,
and live among the rubbish and dirt of old, and for most part,
worthless books, driving keen bargains, giving little, and asking much
for some rare old folly of a book, or some worthless volume in which
some lord of the blood, or some royal sovereign of literature, like
Johnson or Addison, had chanced to write his name. The young clerk had
a business man's as well as an artist's eye for these things, we found,
and was said, by the old book-men, to make such excellent assortments
of engravings, etc., which he bound together, as to be able to realize
in their sale quite an advance on the original purchase. And so we
found merit instead of crime in him, and felt very sure that he could
be "counted out." But we had some singular experiences. One of the
clerks, as did indeed three of them, boarded in Brooklyn. This one was
a Sunday-school teacher, but he came over to New York one Sunday night
to attend a religious meeting, and being particularly followed that
night, he was found going into a disreputable "ladies' boarding-house."
Some of the clerks were Sunday-school teachers, especially certain of
them who were middle-aged, and married; but we discovered, in our
scrutiny of these clerks, that these older ones especially, had a habit
of taking their country customers and friends to see the sights of the
city at night, and that in order to beguile these persons, in other
words, to "show them proper attentions," they were not scrupulous about
forgetting their Sunday-school teachings, and taking these customers
into the most questionable dens in the city. In those days the vulgar
phrase "seeing the elephant" was more common than now, and included
participation in all sorts of small and impure vices. In my opinion,
this greed for trade, which impells the competing clerks of different
houses to show every possible attention of this kind to the young men
(as well as old, for often the old are worse than the young) who come
to the city to buy goods, has led to the downfall, the moral and
financial ruin, of thousands who would otherwise have led honorable,
and perhaps noble lives. But things in this respect are better now a
days than they were many years ago in New York. The great advance which
the fine arts have made in this country, even within the last ten
years, has had much to do with this improvement. The theatre is "a
thing of beauty" and attractive in comparison to what it used to be;
and everywhere scattered throughout the city are many matters of the
higher arts to attract and interest the stranger or frequent visitor
even, and so in a measure keep him out of harm's way. The Central Park
has been a great educator of the city people out of vices, and has an
elevating influence upon country people coming to the city, many of
whom "luxuriate" in a visit to it, instead of "dissipate," as in years
ago, in the dens of the crowded city; for in winter even, when the cold
is intense enough to make ice, joyous nights are spent in skating on
the Park pond, or in beholding the witching gayeties of the
accomplished skaters.

But the days went on,--I almost daily conferring with Mr. Redding, or
his accomplished chief clerk, Mr. Phillips, whose sagacity and
inventive genius pleased me greatly. He would have made--in fact was,
in one sense--one of the most shrewd and capable of detectives. There
was no avenue for the slightest suspicion which his keen brain could
not discover when Mr. Redding seemed disposed to give up in despair, as
from time to time I faithfully reported to him the empty results of my
own and my men's constant watching, or drew on the house, on different
occasions, for current expenses. Mr. Phillips stimulated him to further
endeavor, feeling, as he said, and as an honest man, in his capacity,
could not well but feel, that the responsibility on his part was
morally as great as if he were the pecuniary sufferer, and he continued
to bravely and nobly work in the interest of the house. But constantly
the peculations went on; and so mysteriously were they conducted, that
I believe it would have required no great amount of argument to
convince Mr. Redding that invisible hands took part in the thefts; that
the spirits of some old merchants, perhaps (not having forgotten their
greed of gain in the other world), were the authors and doers of this
wickedness; for he was half inclined to belief in modern spiritualism,
and the partner who was in Europe was an avowed spiritualist, his
daughter, a sickly young lady of eighteen or twenty years of age, being
a "medium." It was partly for her health's sake that the father had
taken her to Europe. Mr. Redding was confounded, as from time to time,
something more of much value, often of great value, was missed. Finally
he took up his lodgings for a few nights at the store, with an inside
and an outside watchman, and with an ugly watch-dog for a companion;
but this did no good, for valuables were still missed, and what was the
most perplexing thing, were apparently taken in the night. Mr. Redding
became sensibly weak, looked haggard, was restless and nervous, and his
family physician ordered him to suspend work. Mr. Redding had great
pride about this matter, and all the clerks were put under an
injunction of secrecy in regard to the losses, and I have reason to
think they faithfully respected the mandate. This secrecy was suggested
as a matter of pride as well as prudence, for Mr. Redding would not
have had his brother merchants in the city know of the troubles in his
house for anything. It would have led, he thought, to the financial
injury of the firm.

Finally, Mr. Redding was taken sick, and remained at home for three
days. On the second day he sent for me, and showed me an advertisement
he had caused to be put in the Herald, calling for twenty clerks of
experience in the dry goods business, etc. "None need apply who cannot
produce the best certificates of character, and come recommended by all
parties in whose employ they may have ever been." He named a box in the
Herald office as the place of address, and he already had sent his
servant to the Herald office, and when I arrived was opening one of
over fifty letters received. He showed me the advertisement and
responses with an air of pride.

"I have made up my mind that our salvation is in a change of clerks,"
said he. "The innocent and guilty must go alike. I will first dismiss
twenty,--fortunately, we make our contracts with clerks in such way
that I can do this,--and after twenty new ones are worked in, and know
our modes of doing business, I will dismiss all the rest, and fill
their places with new men. What do you think of my new plan?"

I told him that, as a _dernier resort_, it was probably wise, but that
fruitless though had been our work heretofore, I nevertheless wanted to
try further; and I proposed that he go on and make the acquaintance of
the new applicants privately, examine their credentials, and get ready
to receive them, if wanted, in due time; but that so great and sudden a
change of clerks could not but tend to confuse his customers,
especially as many of their clerks had been with him for years, and
they would inevitably take many of the customers with them; while he
could not be sure that the newly-incoming clerks would bring him any
trade at all. There was a wildness in Mr. Redding's eyes that day,
which looked to me precursory of insanity, and I felt that anything
like full espousal of his plan would excite him, and perhaps hasten the
wreck of his intellect. But Mr. Redding got better, and reappeared at
his store, and he told me when I next met him thereafter, that he had
no heart to turn away some of his clerks who had been so long his
companions, and he found it impossible to select the first twenty for

Mr. Redding communicated his plan to Mr. Phillips, and the latter, with
his usual sagacity, opposed it, suggesting several reasons, among which
was one which weighed much with Mr. Redding, to the effect that he
could be no surer of the honesty of the new clerks than of that of the
old, and that it was by no means certain that like losses were not
being suffered in other houses, and that some of these new clerks might
have been dismissed under like circumstances to those which suggested
the dismission of his own clerks, and he added, "If you were to dismiss
the clerks, you would be obliged, in honor, to give each one of them
the best commendation for faithfulness in business, and you could not
conscientiously refuse to add, 'for honesty and integrity.'"

"No, no; I could not do less; that is true," said Mr. Redding; "and
perhaps the new comers would bring certificates from employers situated
just as we are. I had not thought of that."

There was the greatest respect on the part of the under clerks
manifested towards Mr. Phillips, and I doubt not that if he
communicated this matter of the proposed change, and his opposition to
it, to them, that he won upon their gratitude and regard still further.
Mr. Phillips was indeed a model man in every respect. He had not only
great business tact, but he had the refined manners of a cultivated
gentleman, and was evidently considerable of a literary man withal, and
was, I was told, a very happy public speaker. He was, as I have before
observed, a man of ready expedients, of fertile inventive genius, and
it was difficult to see how the house could well get on without him.
But as the difficulties of the situation increased, Mr. Phillips began
to evince much wear and tear of mind, and he told Mr. Redding, that
though his contract called for two years more of service (it had been
three years before), he thought he should be compelled to ask that the
contract be rescinded, and he would withdraw from business for a while
and get rest.

Mr. Redding would hear nothing of this; but, of course, he could not
oblige, nor would it have been expedient if he could, Mr. Phillips to
remain, and so, to cheer him up, and secure his inestimable services
longer, he agreed to advance his salary from the beginning of the next
month by fifty per cent., and insisted that Mr. Phillips should give up
the old contract, and enter into a new one to that effect. This was an
unexpected turn of affairs for Mr. Phillips, and of course stirred his
deepest gratitude, and he entered with renewed vigor into the matter of
the detection of the thieves--himself offering, as he did, to forego
the pleasures of his nights at home, in the bosom of his charming
family, and occupying a couch at the store with the watchman. But this
lasted only a week, for the robberies were no less frequent during that
week than before; and Mr. Phillips began obviously to experience
something of the despair which had afflicted Mr. Redding when he slept
at the store. Mr. Phillips abandoned this course, and retired again to
his home for his nights' lodgings, "giving up all hope," as he
expressed it, and sorely vexed that he had entered into a new contract
on any terms.

Mr. Redding, waiting for his partner, who was at the South, to return,
and greatly tried that he could get no word from him, had resolved,
finally, to carry out his plan of dismissing all the clerks, and
obtaining new, when the partner suddenly came back, and being made
acquainted with the state of things, and feeling that Mr. Redding had
not pursued the wisest course, undertook to manage affairs himself, by
making each clerk responsible for all the goods within such and such
spaces, or in such and such lines of wares. This scheme worked well for
a few days; but the clerks revolted at it, as one after another
suffered losses, and his partner became as much perplexed as was Mr.
Redding. It was evident now that if one clerk was to be suspected of
creating the "losses" which occurred in his department, several were to
be suspected, and the partner finally coincided with Redding and Mr.
Phillips, who had finally given his judgment in favor of the plan of
thorough change, and they proceeded to put their plan in execution, by
dismissing ten clerks at first, and employing ten new ones in their
places, which was done.

The parting with some of the ten was quite affecting; but each bore
from the house the best possible written commendation, and all were
able, as I was afterwards told, to secure good situations in other
houses. But Mr. Redding and his partner, seconded by Mr. Phillips,
wished me to continue my investigations as I had opportunity, and
settled with me up to the time, and I must add, generously, thanks to
Mr. Phillips, who suggested that though we were all foiled, I was
entitled to more than I charged, for I had, he said, actually kept the
house on its legs by the moral support I had given Mr. Redding and him.

I tried to dismiss the matter from my mind, but the chagrin I felt at
having actually discovered nothing kept it constantly in memory,
although I was as constantly perplexed with other and pressing
business. I had by no means given up the matter finally, however; for I
had known too many cases before, where the desired knowledge or
evidence came only in accidental, or some most unlooked-for ways, and
that a long while after it was most wanted, to give up all hope of
solving this problem; and finally, some three weeks from the time to
which I last refer, light began to dawn. I was on a hurried mission in
a Fourth Avenue horse-car, on my way to the New Haven depot at 27th
Street, in order to identify, if possible, a man there held in
temporary custody, as the man whom I was seeking, charged with the
commission of a crime in New Jersey, when two ladies entered the car at
8th Street. Both of them would have been elegantly dressed, only that
they were "over-dressed," and sparkling besides with an abundance of
jewelry, which suggested vulgar breeding and sudden accession to wealth.

The car was already full, and as no one else stirred,--mostly
travellers with their bags, on their way to catch the train
Boston-ward,--I rose, and made place for one, which was immediately
taken, with a bow of grateful recognition of my courtesy, for a wonder,
by the better looking of the ladies. I do not know whether there is
such a thing as magnetic attraction or not in the world, but sure it is
that somehow I felt that lady to bear some important relation to my
business before I observed her dress particularly, and nothing could
have been further from my then present memory than that dress, and at
first I could not at once call to my mind where I had seen anything
like it; but suffice it that on slight inspection I discovered it to be
of the same pattern with the one I had seen at Mr. Redding's store,
with the twisted-column "ribs." I felt that, perhaps, here was a clew
at last to the whole matter, but I was on business of equally great
importance. The ladies, perchance, might be going out on the next
train, but probably not. They might stop short of 27th Street, and I
_must_ go there, and what should I do? I surveyed the passengers,
stepped to the front platform, and cast a look at a man there, and saw
nobody whom I could address, and we were making more than usually rapid
progress up.

I had half resolved in my mind to send word up by the driver to 27th
Street, and get him to stop, by giving him a dollar, and run into the
station-house, and say I would be up before long, and to follow the
ladies myself, when, at the next crossing, there came on to the rear
platform of the car as bright a black-eyed boy, of Italian parentage, I
saw at once, as could have well been found in the city. He had with him
a basket, in which he carried some valuable toys for sale. I took a
fancy to the lad, and asked him how old he was. "Thirteen," was the
reply, though he did not look over ten years of age. I asked him if he
wished to earn five dollars that afternoon. His eyes sparkled, as he
replied, "Yes." I inquired of him where he lived, the number of his
house, his name, that of his parents, and so forth, and took them all
rapidly down on my diary.

"Now," said I, "here's my card. I am one of the officers of the city,
and could find you out in any part of the city in the darkest night,
and I want to make an officer of you for a little while" (and the boy
looked up with proud wonder). "I will take your basket; you can come
for it to-morrow to my office, and here are two dollars for you to
begin with. I will give you the three dollars to-morrow, and you may
bring your father along with you, if you like. I should like to see
him, and may be, if you do well in the matter I am going to tell you
of, he'll let you go to live with me, where you can make a great deal
of money."

I had hit the right chord, and the boy was all ears. In a low voice I
told him of the two ladies in the cars, sent him to look at them,
without their seeing him eye them, and come right out. I told him that
I wished him to follow them, keeping at a distance behind, not let them
suspect him, and if they separated, to follow the larger one (the lady
with the peculiar silk dress), and if she stopped in stores or houses,
to wait till she came out, and not give up watching her till he was
sure she had stopped for the last time that day, and was at her home,
and to take the number and street, so as to be able to go and point out
the place to me. "Could he do this nicely, and not be suspected?"

The little fellow's pride was all aroused. He knew he could do it "all
right," and he would follow her into the night, he said, if necessary.
Then I told him where I lived, and put the number on the back of my
card, and told him if he got hungry or benighted to come and stay over
night at my house. The little fellow had probably never been treated
with such distinction before, for the tears came into his eyes. I had
hardly got my arrangements with him made when the bell announced that
somebody wished to get out at 22d Street, and forth came the two
ladies. I clapped his cap over the boy's eyes, that the ladies might
not get a glimpse at those wonderful "orbs" of his, and took him on to
the next street, when I let him off, with the injunction to "stick to
it, and give me a good report." I had told him to use his money for
rides in the omnibuses or cars, if necessary, and I would pay him; and
this seemed to make him still prouder.

I felt that that boy, whose name was Giuseppi Molinaro,--or what would
be plain Joseph Miller, in English,--would do his duty. The wares in
his basket, which I held, were worth considerable more than two
dollars, and I was sure he would come back to me, and that he had too
much pride to come back with a poor report; and I went on to 27th
Street, and fortunately identified my man there. Had I sent up word by
the driver, as at first I thought to do, the fellow would have been let
go, and would have soon been in Connecticut, beyond our reach. A
search, which revealed a peculiar scar on his left thigh, the result of
a successful combat with a couple of officers years before, revealed
the villanous bank robber and wily scoundrel in the general way, beyond
question, and notwithstanding he almost made me believe, by his
protestations of innocence in spite of my fine memory of forms and
countenances, that I had not known him eight years before. He, being
properly taken care of, I returned to my home, thinking that the boy
might come there in the night, as he did, and with an excellent report.
The little fellow had followed instructions to the letter, and I
indulged him in a detailed narrative of his exploits, which he gave
with all the spirit of his race. The ladies had led him a long chase,
but fortunately they had only resorted to cars and omnibusses, had not
taken hacks, and he had managed to keep them in sight; and, to cut the
matter short, he had tracked the lady in the peculiar silk evidently to
her own home.

I may properly stop here to say that Giuseppi's experience that day
gave him such impulse in the way of a detective's life that he finally
became an officer, and is to-day one of the most efficient young men in
his calling to be found anywhere in this or any other country. Indeed,
he has become rich in his profession--a thing not usual with detectives.

I had half suspected that these over-dressed ladies might be traced
into a house of ill-fame,--not that they looked altogether like
prostitutes of the most "respectable" class, but there was enough in
appearance to warrant a suspicion,--and I had rather dreaded such a
result of affairs, because such people are so facile in the expedients
of lying, etc., that if that which the lady wore were indeed the very
dress-pattern stolen from the store, it would be difficult to trace it
into the hands of the thief. But the boy had followed the lady into the
respectable quarter of 19th Street, near 8th Avenue, and I felt at
loss. I wanted him to stay, and go with me early in the morning to the
place, but he could not. He said his father might punish him, although
he brought home five dollars and should tell him his story. So I went
home with him, and told his parents,--he interpreting in parts,--what
the boy had done, and what I wanted. Mr. Molinaro was a very
respectable looking man, and followed the business of an engraver on
wood, as well as that of a lithographer also, and I took such an
interest in the family as in time brought the boy quite exclusively
under my charge.

Giuseppi returned home with me, and very early the next morning, before
but a very few in the city were stirring, he and I had taken notes of
the house in 19th Street. It was an easy matter, some two hours
thereafter, to learn from the nearest grocery-man, and a druggist in
the vicinity, the name and character of the occupants of the house in
question, and before two days had passed I had seen Mr. William
Bruce,--said to be an operator in Wall Street,--the gentleman who
occupied the place, enter and depart twice from that house, and had
recognized in him an old acquaintance. But I had not possession of
facts enough to warrant my making complaint against him, and so I
proceeded to Mr. Redding's to burnish my memory as to the kind of
articles which had been stolen from the store, keeping the secret of my
special desire from Mr. Redding. His partner, together with the
faithful clerk, Mr. Phillips, had gone to Cincinnati, to settle with
some house which had just failed, owing them quite an amount, and would
not be back under two days or so, and I had not the advantage of Mr.
Phillips's assistance in instructing me in what style of goods had been
taken; but I got as good descriptions from Mr. Redding as he could give
me, and the next morning found me at the house on 19th Street, properly
arrayed, with tools and all, in the character of a servant of the
Croton Water Board, wishing to examine all the pipes, faucets, etc., in
the house.

Sarah Crogan, as she gave me her name,--a buxom, laughing Irish
girl,--heard my story, and let me in. I told her to tell the mistress
that I should be up stairs after examining matters in the basement;
when she informed me that her master, Mr. Bruce, had gone off
travelling somewhere, and that her mistress went off the afternoon
before, to spend the night with a lady friend,--perhaps the one with
whom I had seen her in the horse-car,--so I took things easy; and with
a good deal of joking and merry-making with Sarah, managed to go all
over the house, and flattered Sarah with showing me a great deal of her
mistress's wardrobe, which was splendid indeed. (I confess I thought of
it with some degree of envy, when I reflected what poor dresses, in
comparison, a certain handsome and honest woman, who was the mother of
my own dear children, was obliged to get along with.) And better than
all, I identified, on some unmade-up dress-patterns, two of what I took
to be, and what proved to be, of the peculiar cards which Mr. Redding's
house attached to its goods, with secret cost-marks in ink. I had no
difficulty in securing these without exciting Sarah's suspicion, and
having made all the research I cared to, left the house, not without,
however, taking a cosy lunch with Sarah in the basement, and flattering
her, to such a degree, with the hope of future attentions from me, that
she agreed not to say anything about the pipe-repairer's having been
there. Finding a pair of scissors in Mrs. Bruce's bedroom, I had made a
few sly clippings from some of the unmade-up goods, and encountering
the peculiar silk dress, hanging in a large closet with a dozen more of
other styles, I had jokingly shut myself in, in a frolicsome way, with
Sarah, long enough to make a clipping from a broad hem in the inside of
a sleeve of the dress. I felt quite satisfied that Sarah would say
nothing of the Scotchman's having been there, for I assumed the rôle of
a Scotchman with her, which was by no means a bad dodge, as Sarah was a
North-of-Ireland lass, and no Catholic.

Duly in another garb, I was at Mr. Redding's, and told him my story. I
took him into his private office, and told him to be perfectly
reticent,--to say nothing to anybody, not even to his partner, or to
his faithful clerk, Mr. Phillips, when they should have returned, until
I should see him again; "for," said I, "the thief was one of your old
clerks, and Mr. Phillips's heart is so kindly and soft, and he
evidently thinks so much of the man, and will be so overcome with
astonishment, that his sympathies may become aroused to the extent of
interceding for him, or giving him a timely hint to 'clear out.'"

Mr. Redding could not comprehend this, but promised to obey me, upon my
saying to him that it was better always that there should be just as
few to keep a secret as possible, however tried and trusted any might

I knew that I should have to take things by storm, so, accompanying
myself with a policeman, in the proper badge and dress, I called on
Mrs. Bruce the next day, and sending for her, she came to the parlor,
when I told her that I had business with her husband, and asked where I
could find him. She produced the card of "William Bruce, Dealer in
Stocks, etc., 64 Wall Street," from a little pile in a basket near at
hand, which I took, and rising, thanked her, and started for the door,
as if about departing, my friend doing the same; but reaching the door,
I closed it. A slight pallor had been discernible upon Mrs. Bruce's
face, on her entry into the room, evidently caused by the sight of a
policeman, and it deepened as I closed the door, and said,--

"Mrs. Bruce, I am here with my friend, as an officer of the law, to
search your house. Your husband is not what his card purports here, as
you well know, but he is a clerk in the employ of"--(naming Mr.
Redding's house)--"and is a thief. The most of your splendid wardrobe,
which I had the pleasure of inspecting in your absence day before
yesterday, is the result of his thefts; and I am here prepared to take
possession of it--preferring to do so quietly rather than make any
noise in the neighborhood. I do not suppose that you have a guilty
knowledge of his crimes. He probably does not tell you of them,--and I
have no desire to do you any harm, or him either,--but the firm must
have back their property, or as much as they can get; and as I see you
possess a great deal of rich jewelry, I shall ask you to put the most
of that into my hands till your husband can settle with the firm."

She was perfectly stupefied through all this; declared that she had no
belief that Mr. Bruce was any other man than he pretended to her to be;
said she had had letters from his sisters living in Pennsylvania, and
that she believed he was an honest man, and would gladly give up to
officers of the law anything in her possession, if it could help him,
to do so.

The upshot of the matter was, that several large trunks left that house
that day, filled with rare goods and wares, and under the charge of the
Mayor's clerk (for I had arranged it with her that she might name
anybody to take charge of the goods). Sarah helped pack the trunks, and
rendered us great aid, all unconscious that I was the pipe-repairer,
her _quasi_-lover,--until just as I was leaving, catching her alone, I
whispered something in her ear, which brought her astoundedly to her
senses. She clasped my hand with a convulsive "squeeze," and looked
unutterably into my eyes, quite as tragically as a fashionable lover,
with her heart just a little broken for the twentieth time might have
done, and said "Silence!" in response to my utterance of the same word.

The goods were taken to a proper place of deposit, and Mr. Redding was
sent for, and succeeded in identifying some of them as surely having
been in his store,--the unmade-up ones in particular,--and a peculiar
shawl, of great value, only three of which his house had imported, and
he knew where the other two had been sold. Mr. Redding was very anxious
to have me proceed at once to unmask the clerk; but I told him that I
preferred to await, for some reasons, till the return of his partner,
and that just as soon as he returned I wished him to send me word, and
a carriage to take me, and say nothing at all to his partner till I
arrived. Two days elapsed and the message came. I was fortunately at
home, and took the carriage instantly, and was off for the house. I
found that the partner and Mr. Phillips had returned but an hour before
from a very successful trip to Cincinnati, and Mr. Redding and they
were in the counting-room congratulating themselves on their success.


"Well, Mr. Redding," said I, "I suppose it is time to tell you my
story. I am ready--"

"Stop," said he; and turning to his partner and Mr. Phillips, he said,
"I've some good news to tell you, also. Our friend here has been
successful at last, and discovered the thief, and we've got back many
of the goods. Go on, and tell us the story, for I don't know yet myself
who the thief is."

The partner and Mr. Phillips looked in wonder into our and each other's
eyes, and simultaneously said, "Yes, yes, let's hear; and first," said
Mr. Phillips, "let us hear the scoundrel's name, if you have it, and
then the rest of the story."

"Ah, yes, sir," said I, "that _is_ the point first. His name, Mr.
Phillips, is 'William Bruce, dealer in stocks, etc.' (so his card
says), '64 Wall Street.'"

Mr. Redding and the partner looked confused at the announcement (for I
had told Mr. Redding that it was "an old clerk" of his), and Mr.
Phillips, for a second, looked confused for another reason, which
confusion was somewhat deepened, when I turned directly upon him, and

"But Mr. Bruce has an alias, another name, and that is Mr. _Charles
Phillips_; and you, sir, are the scoundrel you inquired for!"

Phillips turned pale as a ghost, and tried to say something, but his
voice failed.

"Mr. Phillips," said I, "the house in 19th Street has delivered up its
treasures. They are all in my possession, together with your mistress's
pearls, diamonds, and watches, and everything valuable which she, as
your 'wife,' would permit me and the officer to take, and you are now
my prisoner, without the slightest possibility, on your part, of escape
from the full penalties of the law; and now I propose to send a
carriage at once for 'Mrs. Bruce.' She, I am sure, don't know of your
guilt, and would be happy to encounter her returned husband here in the
person of Mr. Charles Phillips, the time-old, confidential clerk of
this house."

Phillips reached out his hands imploringly to me, and begged that I
would not send for "Mrs. Bruce,"--said he was justly caught, and was
ready to confess all, without our going to the trouble of a trial, and
then commenced crying like a girl--hysterically.

The astonishment of Mr. Redding and his partner can better be imagined,
perhaps, than portrayed here. I never saw such a change come over a man
as that which Mr. Redding evinced. All his old strength seemed to come
back to him at once. He was inflexible and severe. He said but few
words, and these always to the purpose. His disgust for Phillips was
something sublime. "O, you pious hypocrite!" said he; "you d----est of
all 'whited sepulchres' that ever disgraced our common humanity! I am
more angry that I have been so deceived by your pious villany, than for
all the anxiety and sickness you have brought upon me. But, in your own
pious cant, as you have meted it to others, 'so shall it be meted unto
you,' you thief, libertine, and saintly class-leader!"

Mr. Redding's partner, on the other hand, was differently affected. He
cried, and said to Phillips, "O, Charles Phillips, how could you? I
know you must have had dreadful temptations. It was all that woman: she
spurred you on."

Phillips was silent for a moment; and I, who believed the woman
innocent of any knowledge of his crimes, waited anxiously to hear what
he would say in reply; and the hardened man had the magnanimity to not
shield himself behind the woman, but said, "O, no; she knows nothing of
my guilt. She has not prompted me to it directly, but it was to support
and to please her that I, without her knowledge, pursued my career of
crime. I am the wickedest 'whited sepulchre,' as Mr. Redding calls me,
that ever walked Broadway, or disgraced the inside of a church. But I
have got my punishment, in part, now, and I am ready, if you demand it,
to suffer the penalties of the law; but for my wife's and children's
sake, I could wish that I could compromise with you, and go away from
New York forever." (His family resided in Brooklyn.)

To cut the tale short, I will only add, that Mr. Redding unbent, in the
course of a day or two, sufficiently to let Phillips off, on his
promise to go at once to New Orleans, where he had relations, and never
show his face again in New York.

The goods were returned--made and unmade dresses, and all; and the
jewelry amounted to nearly enough to cover the best estimate of the
losses which we could make. Phillips made a full confession of how he
did things. He was sly and wily, and easily abstracted such goods as he
desired, and doing them up himself, sent them off by the porter, when
sending out other packages. One of the porters remembered to have gone
many times with packages for Mr. or Mrs. William Bruce; and he also, he
said, sent packages to various hotels, to impossible names, and marked
on the corner, "To be called for;" and being able to describe the
goods, if any query arose as to the propriety of giving the package to
him, always succeeded in getting it. It was thus he managed.

The house, at my suggestion, very generously furnished Mrs. Bruce with
three months' support, out of compliment to her giving up the goods
without resistance, and in order to give her time to turn about and
find something to do; for, though unmarried, by legal formula, to
Phillips, as Mr. Bruce, she supposed herself his legal wife under the
laws of the State, and was by no means a bad woman. Indeed, she was a
good woman at heart; and after in vain trying to get together a little
private school, as the widow of William Bruce,--for she insisted on
being called Mrs. Bruce,--she turned to dressmaking, and did very well;
and being a fine-looking, indeed, a showy woman, succeeded, in the
course of two years after Phillips's flight, in winning the affections
of a much older man than Phillips, but a wealthy and honest one; and
was duly, and this time, with much ceremony, married.

I did not meet Sarah Crogan again for over five years from the time I
last saw her at 19th Street; but she had not forgotten the Croton Water
Company's man. She had married meanwhile; but she vowed that it came
"nare breakin' her heart, so it did," when she discovered that the
"bould officer of the law" was her sweetheart of a day or two before,
and had but "thricked" her into letting him go all over the house,
"like a wild rover!"





In the summer of 185-, I had occasion to visit my brother, who was a
clerk in a wholesale grocery store of one Lyman, on Water Street, I
think, and who, being consumptively inclined, had, at Mr. Lyman's
suggestion, and through his kindness, gone to the town of Goshen,
Litchfield County, Connecticut, to spend a few weeks in the genial
family of Mr. Lyman's father, and taste the bracing air of the hills of
Litchfield County, so far-famed. So delighted was my brother with his
"country home," as he called it, that he wrote me as often as once a
week, and sometimes twice, varying his letters, in the enthusiasm with
which they were filled over the mountain scenery, the fresh air, the
excellent hunting, the rides and drives, with now and then a word about
a beautiful, mysterious lady, supposed to be from New York, and by some
supposed to be a widow,--a gentle, sweet, good woman,--who bore some
grief or other in her soul, as was evident, he said, but who, with
excellent good sense, kept her affairs to herself, and would not
obligingly recite the history of her life to the gossiping villagers of
that country town, who, like those of all other towns away from the
centres of business, and not even on the line of any great
thoroughfare, "must have something to busy themselves about," and
therefore mind each other's business considerably.

Goshen is reached by stage, a common country mail stage only, of the
cheapest pattern, running up from Litchfield, several miles north.
Litchfield itself being four or five miles from the station on the
Naugatuck Railroad, and reached only over a heavy and steep road, at
points almost perpendicular to the horizon, and withal a dangerous
ride, if the stage-horses are not kept perfectly in hand. I did not
know of this road, and the jolting character of the stages from the
station to Litchfield, and from Litchfield on to Goshen, or all the
alluring words of my brother's letters might not have seduced me into
acceptance, finally, of his invitation. But I went up to Goshen, and
once there, in the society of my brother, and some genial citizens to
whom he presented me, passed four or five days of my stolen vacation
most pleasantly.

The supposed widow--and who proved to be one in fact--had, at the time
I arrived in Goshen, ceased to be talked about so generally as before,
had won everybody's respect and kindness, and had taught the villagers
one good lesson--the value of little, rather than great curiosity,
about others and their business, by her impenetrable silence upon those
matters about which they had no right to know anything.

In her daily promenades with her little bouncing girl, of about five
years of age, she passed by the house where I stopped, and one day,
when my brother and I were taking the air along the public street, we
met her. My brother--who knew her, but not well enough to arrest her in
her walk, and present me--bowed to her, and on her turning up her face
to respond to his salute, I felt that I had never seen such chastened
beauty before. There was a slight evidence of a present, or the mark of
a former grief or suffering in that rich face, which only seemed,
however, to add to its beauty, or rather the soul-beauty which beamed
through it. I felt as if I would almost be glad if that woman were to
suffer some dire calamity, if I could only have the privilege of
relieving her from it.

Years before, I had heard the late Dr. Ives, formerly Episcopal Bishop
of North Carolina, but who had then become a Roman Catholic, lecture
one night in the old Tabernacle, on Broadway, New York. His discourse
touched upon charity. He said, among other things, in substance, that
God made some people miserable in order that others might cultivate the
sweet grace of charity in their own hearts, by administering to their
sufferings! I thought it a monstrous doctrine, and felt like throwing a
book, which I chanced to have with me, at the doctor's head. But when I
found myself imagining misery for that sweet woman, in order that I
might abate it, the doctor's discourse came back to memory with a new
meaning; and, in fact, I don't know but I could have seen a horse run
over her, breaking an arm, _if_ I could have been on the spot in time
to so far save her as to prevent a probable imminent death.

The reader may well judge that my emotions were not of a faint nature,
but such as it would be less improper for me to express here, perhaps,
had I not at that time been a married man, with one of the best of
soulful wives at home, longing for my return "from the country." But
strange thoughts sometimes rise in the greedy souls of men, and we
would love to possess, in order to make them happy, all the good beings
of both sexes in the world.

Mrs. Stevens--for so we will call her for the sake of a name--announced
to the family, with whom she was stopping a day or two before I was to
leave, that she was necessitated to return to New York in a day or two.
The family were astonished, because she had previously declared her
intention to remain a month longer. Of course everybody in the village
soon heard of her intended departure, and all begged her to stay. I was
a little surprised; but I said to my brother, "Her leaving so suddenly
has some connection with that grief which we remarked in her face.
She'll probably go by the same stage with me, and I'll learn more of

The morning of my departure came, and brother said he would ride down
to Litchfield with me, and we took the lumbering stage together,
confident that we should "take up" Mrs. Stevens on our way; but the
stage passed the house at which she boarded, without her! The driver
said she had started out before him, in a private wagon, with a
neighbor, who was going to Litchfield, and I felt easier; that I
should, in short, still be able to keep my eye on her, and learn her
evidently mysterious history, and possibly yet have the gratifying
opportunity of being of service to her.

We rode on. Stage-drivers in the country, with their two-horse teams,
have a peculiar pride in out-driving the one-horse vehicles which they
may come upon on the road, and our ordinarily slow old driver became
quite a Jehu that morning, and drove past two or three teams which we
overtook on the way, one of them being that which bore the beautiful
widow and her no less beautiful child, and we arrived in Litchfield
before them, alighting at the "Mansion House," the chief hotel of that
centre of country aristocracy--a centre once of the best talent in the
land, when Calhoun, and many other great men of the nation, were
students there, under such other great men as Judges Reeve and Gould,
of the once famous Law School.

Mrs. Stevens had received letters nearly every day, it was said, while
in Goshen, and it had been remarked that she had had letters as often
as every other day from somebody, evidently a man, who wrote a peculiar
hand, as the superscriptions showed. This, the family with whom she
boarded, and who brought the letters from the post office to her, had
said. My brother had occasion to carry up the letters for that family
once or twice, and had remarked the peculiar style of writing in the
address of letters to Mrs. Stevens.

We naturally went into the office of the hotel, and brother, carelessly
turning over the register, and noting the arrivals of the evening
before, called to me: "See here--here's a 'mare's nest,' perhaps. I
would swear that the man who writes so much to Mrs. Stevens wrote that
name," said he, pointing to an inscription--"C. B. Le Roy, New
York,"--made in a style which it would be almost impossible to
successfully imitate; as markedly singular as a style of writing could
well be. "I will swear it. What do you think?" asked my brother.

"Why, nothing, only that Mr. Le Roy is here, and that his coming
accounts for the sudden departure of Mrs. Stevens. We must get a view
of him," I said.

I had hardly uttered the words, before a man entered the room, and said
to the young man behind the desk of the office,--

"Is not that Goshen stage behindhand this morning? I thought it was to
arrive a half hour ago."

"Yes, sir, 'tis a little late this morning, but it has come," replied
the young man.

"Come?" exclaimed the man; "and whom did it bring?"

"Those two men only," said the clerk. The man inquiring was a
dark-complexioned, black-whiskered fellow, dressed a little _outre_, in
a dandy-sort of style, had a half-professional look, but something very
hard in the muscles of his cheek. He was evidently a little vexed at
the stage's having brought no other freight, and a little nervous
withal; and when in one of those spasms of nervousness in which men do
this or that, or what not, without consciousness, he raised his hat
from his head, I saw in him the imperious, heartless wretch, who could
do anything which his baseness might chance to incline him to. He could
play the merciless tyrant--if need were, cold-blooded, and without a
pulse of sympathy for any suffering: and I saw more. That head was one
never to be forgotten in its singular shape; a head that sends a thrill
of disgust through one; and I at once saw that "C. B. Le Roy" (for I
was sure the man before me was the man who had made the entry in the
strange handwriting), was no other than a very wicked, low-lived
lawyer, of whom I had had occasion to know something; but the name Le
Roy was assumed. At last the wagon came, and Mr. "Le Roy" was on the
piazza in time, having been pacing the hall, evidently making up his
mind to do something, he knew not what--something desperate, perhaps;
and he bounded across the "walk" in front of the house, reached out his
hand to Mrs. Stevens, caught the little girl in his arms first, and
handed Mrs. Stevens to the ground.

I happened to be watching the scene. The lady's face, on which for a
moment was a forced smile, betrayed terribly conflicting emotions in
her soul, as she passed into the hotel parlor behind Le Roy, who led
the little girl playfully by the hand.

"That Le Roy is a villain," said I to my brother; "and that woman is in
some way in his power. There is no attraction between them. She hates
him. But he has her in his grasp. If it were not that the Goshen people
think they know she has not much money, I should believe that he either
has funds of hers in his possession, or that he is doggedly persisting
in wringing them from her."

"O, no, brother," replied my brother. "You detectives are always
looking out for evil. I don't like that scamp's looks myself. I guess
he's a bad fellow; but why not put the most natural construction upon
the matter; that is, that the fellow is in love with that beautiful
woman, as almost every other man in the world might be; for there isn't
one in ten thousand like her; and that she, like thousands of other
women, loves a scamp. They have met here evidently by appointment. He's
going to take her home."

"But didn't you see how she looked?" I asked.

"Yes; but she's a prudent woman; wasn't going to exhibit her affection
outdoors, where she might be discovered by a dozen; besides, that
neighbor who brought her might have an unpleasant story to tell. I know
him and he's as gossipy as an old woman; she knows him, too, of course."

"But my opinion is formed, brother," said I. "I shall keep an eye on
them, and I'll let you know in time, all about it. I haven't told you
yet that I know that scamp. I detest him. He is no less than ----;" but
my brother chanced not to have heard of him, and so the conversation
dropped for the moment.

We were obliged to wait for the stage to the station for some two
hours; and Mr. Le Roy and Mrs. Stevens sallied out with the little
girl, to enjoy the fine air, perhaps, of the morning, and sauntered
down "South Street," so I think it is called; a fine broad avenue,
lined with beautiful elms, and on which are many of the residences of
the principal "nabobs" of that old town of Litchfield, which somebody
has facetiously termed "The Paradise of Loafers"--elegant ones. In
summer, many people from cities, far and near, spend weeks and months
at Litchfield; and my brother and I followed along after Le Roy and
Mrs. Stevens, for I was bound to study him then and there as much as
possible. We noticed that all of the promenaders who were coming in the
opposite direction,--and there were several out that morning,--gazed
upon Mrs. Stevens with expression of wonder at her beauty; and then
seemed to look from her to her attendant with shrugs of the shoulders
and a leer of the eyes, as they instinctively read his true character.

There is a magnetism about the coarser villains, a something
indescribable and individual too, not of the same kind and degree in
all, which discloses their real nature, however much they may try to
hide it. As well might a short man hope to appear tall. But the great,
successful villains, the keen men, who succeed by their genius, and not
so much by force, constitute another class; genial, affable, often very
delicate and refined in their appearance, attractive in short,
especially to women. Indeed, they seem to work a spell over nearly
every woman they meet. Le Roy was one of the coarser class, whose
villanous natures the tailor's art cannot hide, however neatly they may
be dressed,--and he was much adorned that day.

We followed on behind Le Roy and Mrs. Stevens at a respectful distance.
Occasionally Le Roy cast a glance behind; but we were occupied with our
own fun and laughter, or were busily engaged looking at this or that
place, or distant scene, whenever he did so. The conversation between
him and her was apparently one of an intense nature, he gesticulating
considerably, in a forcible manner, and I noticed that when she turned
up her face to look at him, as she did when evidently answering some
question of his, there was visible a painful expression of fear of
something, and I was sure it must be of him.

She kept a little space between herself and him, leading her child on
the side nearer him or when the child at times ran on before, I
observed that she "sidled" away from him, as if too near approach were
pollution. I thought her manifestations unmistakable; and there was in
his actions something which was as readily translatable, to the extent,
at least, that he felt he had an important victim in his power; and so
he had, as the sequel proved; but not so surely as he thought--the

Le Roy and Mrs. Stevens continued their walk far down the street, and
turned about to go back. I said to my brother, "Engage his eyes as we
meet, and I will study her face." Soon we met. Brother stared him so
directly in the face as to secure his whole attention. He seemed to
wince, my brother said; and I looked into the face of Mrs.
Stevens,--how beautiful!--and I was conscious that I must have
expressed a deep sympathy, for I felt it. Something told me that she
felt it, too. There was a slight flush upon her cheek, and a kindly,
prayerful look in her eye, like one needing sympathy, and we passed
each other.

"You are right," said my brother, as we got well past; "that man _is_ a
villain, without doubt. I don't think it is love, or even a desire to
possess that woman for himself, which moves him; there's a 'wheel
within a wheel,' here somewhere."

I asked my brother to describe to me minutely then the looks of the
villain as we passed him, for I had half a fear that he might suspect
we were watching him. But from what my brother said, I concluded that
the fellow was not suspicious of us. They returned to the hotel in due
time. He dogged her every step, and she kept aloof from him as much as
possible. Finally the time to depart came, and we took the stage
together, my brother bidding me good by, shaking my hand with a firm
grasp, just as the stage started, and saying,--

"I hope you will have the best success."

There was a fervor in his tone, coming from his good heart, which
strengthened me, and moved me to stronger resolves than ever to ferret
out the iniquity which I knew Le Roy must be engaged in.

Mrs. Stevens took the back seat, with her child next to her, and Le Roy
crowded in at the other end of it; and although there were only another
man and myself as passengers besides, I took the front seat, facing
them, in order to have opportunity to study them as quietly as possible.

Le Roy attempted conversation at various times. The lady answered him
in monosyllables--not inclined at all to carry on the conversation. She
seemed to me to be hopeless; looked like one who would rather not be
than to be, and quite frequently looked down into her child's eyes with
gleams of evident pity, and would then turn away her head, and express,
what I took to be, despair.

An unfortunate circumstance took place just as we had passed a few rods
down the ridge of the great hill, or mountain, which divides Litchfield
from "Litchfield Station." There had been a terrible shower the day
before,--one of those sudden rains, which come on, gathered up by a
fierce wind, and pour down in torrents. The road was badly gullied, and
men were there repairing it, having scraped great heaps of earth into
the road, not yet spread.

"Can I get by?" asked the driver of the coach of some of them.

"Yes, go ahead; Seymour's team just went along."

The driver pushed on, not checking his horses sufficiently, and coming
upon a heap in which was concealed a large stone, the stage toppled,
trembled for a second, and we went over, amidst the screams of Mrs.
Stevens and her child, and the affrightened groan, "O, O," in a mean,
cowardly voice of Le Roy. There was a momentary plunging of the horses
and dragging of the stage. The men on the road were at the coach in a
moment. The stage had fallen over on the side on which Mrs. Stevens
sat, and Le Roy was stepping on her in his attempt to get himself
upright, without an apparent particle of consciousness of her presence.
Being thrown on my knees, I pushed him upward with my hands, saying,--

"You'll kill this lady, and her child" (who, fortunately, was lying
back of her mother, out of harm's way, however); "why don't you take
care, sir, what you are doing?"

The brutal eyes of the man looked at me with wrath.

"I'll mind my own business, sir," said he, "without your interference!"
I pushed him up still harder, and looked at the same instant into the
beautiful suffering face of Mrs. Stevens. She gave me a knowing look,
as her face was suffused with contempt for the brutal remark of Le Roy.


In aiding her to get out of her painful position, which I did as soon
as Le Roy was out of the way, I saw that I had won her respect, and I
thought, too, something of her confidence. The stage was uprighted, and
went on to the station safely enough, where I, alighting first, gave
her my hand to help her out, and took out her little girl; and at once,
with a bow, and steady look in the face, of that sympathy I felt,
turned away, for I saw that Le Roy was angry, and I thought he would
vent his anger upon her. I kept out of his sight till they had taken a
car of the train which now came down the road, and going into the rear
of the same car, and on the opposite side, where I could see her face
to advantage, took my seat a little in the rear.

Much did Le Roy try to talk; but Mrs. Stevens was not to be provoked
into much conversation. The little girl, who sat in the seat before
them, and facing them,--her seat having been turned back,--was
constantly looking at me; and at my distance I got up a childish
"flirtation" with her, which seemed to annoy Le Roy. He looked back
several times only to find me smiling, and tried to smile, or pretended
to, himself; but such a man can never smile warmly. We arrived at
Bridgeport, where we had to tarry but a short time,--half an hour,
perhaps,--before taking the New York train.

I saw that Le Roy had gone out, probably to get a strong drink at some
saloon, opposite the depot, there; and I entered the ladies' room, and
diverting the child for a moment, with some other children, so as to be
able to speak a word to the mother, I said, "Madam, I am a detective
police officer. I see that you are in deep trouble of some kind. I do
not wish to know what, now; but here is my private card. That's the
number of my residence. If you ever need aid, come to my house, and if
I am not at home, see my wife, and arrange with her as to where you can
find me. I am not, madam, seeking business; I will gladly serve you
without reward."

"O, sir, I thank you; may be I _shall_ want you," was uttered in reply,
in tones, accompanied by a look, too, which told the deep grief of her

I had hardly time to get away when Le Roy came back. In choosing my car
for the train to New York, I watched them again, and took the same car,
but failed to secure so favorable a position, although I kept them in

Having given my trunk into the hands of the solicitor for the express
company, who passes through the cars when near New York, I took a
carriage, and ordered the driver to follow the one taken by Le Roy and
Mrs. Stevens, and to keep at a respectful distance. We followed on; at
last they alighted, Le Roy resuming his carriage, and driving on.

Knowing now the lady's residence, it was no trouble for me, in a few
days' time, to learn her history, so far as generally known to her
friends. She was a teacher, formerly from Vermont, and had married a
Mr. Stevens some years before,--a man supposed to be rich,--the son of
a very wealthy man. During her husband's life she had been well cared
for. He had gone abroad for some reason, had died in Europe something
like a year or so before, and she was, obviously, now comparatively
poor. This was the substance of all I could learn. On my arrival home
that day, I told my wife about Mrs. Stevens, what I had seen, etc. Her
interest in her became as deep as mine, and often afterwards, for a
long while, she would say, "I wonder what has become of that poor Mrs.

The duties of my calling constantly connecting me with other people's
miseries, had, after a lapse of a few months, quite driven Mrs. Stevens
from my mind. As she had not sought me, I inferred that her troubles
had been settled; and so she had vanished almost from memory, when, one
day, on returning home, I found that a lady had been to my house, told
my wife of the sufferings of a Mrs. Stevens, who had my card, on which
she had written "Detective officer." This woman knew that Mrs. Stevens
was in great affliction; that she had been oppressed for months, by a
wretched man by the name of Le Roy; that there was something wrong;
that Mrs. Stevens was to soon marry this fellow, although the woman
knew well enough that she could not and did not like him--in fact hated
him, for they had overheard some words between them. Her sympathies
were so great for her that she wanted somebody better able than she,
she said, to find out the trouble, and save Mrs. Stevens.

I asked my wife, on her telling me where this woman lived,--in the same
building with Mrs. Stevens,--how the woman looked, how she was dressed;
for I was surprised at finding her in that quarter of the city. "O,"
she said, "plainly, poorly, but neatly dressed--looked like a
sempstress." And I at once saw that misfortune had been playing with
Mrs. Stevens, she having gone down from a somewhat elegant
boarding-house into a respectable but poor quarter.

My wife had told the lady that I would look into the matter; and that
night I made haste to visit her, calling on the other lady first, to
find whether I might obtrude upon other callers. I found that I might
call without intrusion; and Mrs. Stevens expressed great pleasure at
seeing me. After a few words had passed, I told her I knew she was in
trouble, and asked her why she had not demanded my services, which were
ever ready for her.

"O, sir," said she, "my troubles took such a shape that I knew you
could not help me--nobody can. I am driven on by despair; but for my
child, I think I should have long since committed the crime of
suicide," and the tears streamed from her eyes.

I was so convulsed with sympathy that I could hardly speak, but
mustering as firm a voice as I could, I said, "Madam, have hope. There
never was a case so desperate yet, but some chance of escape might be
involved in it. I do not wish to pry into your affairs, but I know you
are suffering wrongfully, and I could wish that you might tell me
enough to enable me to see if I cannot help you; and let me say here,
that I know enough already to be aware that your chief trouble is in
some way connected with Le Roy."

"Le Roy!--do you know him? "she exclaimed. "Ah, I forget. You know him,
of course; but do you know any more about him than travelling with him
that day--and what do you know?"

"Yes, I know him as a miserable villain,--heartless and coarse."

"I think you must know him, for he is all that you call him. That he is
heartless and coarse, repulsive and tyrannical, is true. I do not know
that he is criminal; but I fear he is. Do you know?"

"Yes, he is; as such a nature could not well otherwise be--"

"O, then my condition is worse than I thought," said she, sobbing.

I consoled her all I could, and in the result induced her to acquaint
me with her story,--and it was a fearful one, in many respects,--which
I shall not here relate; bad enough, as you will see, in those which I
shall tell. It was, in brief, this. She had married privately the son
of a wealthy man, who had intended that his son should form an alliance
with the daughter of an old schoolmate of his, a wealthy New York
merchant, residing in Brooklyn. But the young man could conceive no
affection for this young lady--revolted; declared that he had a right
to choose a wife for himself. His father, who had intended to get him
up in business with a large capital, being angry with his son's refusal
to even attempt the alliance he desired for him, turned him off with
only a comparatively small amount of money, and threatened that if he
ever married anybody else but the girl he desired him to marry, he
would cut him off in his will. The son, falling in love with the lady
in question, married her privately; and it so chanced that Le Roy,
happening to be at the minister's house, calling on a servant girl, at
the time of the marriage, was called in with the girl as a witness. The
son, Mr. Stevens, had gone to Europe, and died there. But, just before
his death, his father had died intestate, and the son's child became
entitled to her part--a fourth, if I rightly recollect--of a large
estate; but there was no evidence of the marriage save that which Le
Roy could furnish; as the servant girl had gone nobody knew where. An
advertisement in the Herald had failed to find her,--she might be
dead,--and the minister who performed the ceremony could not identify
Mrs. Stevens. But Le Roy, when hunted up by Mrs. Stevens, recognized
her, and seeing here a chance to make money,--she having unfortunately
told him why she needed his testimony,--refused to swear to his
signature unless she would marry him, pretending at once to fall
violently in love with her. And the poor woman had gone on resisting
his offer of marriage, till at last driven to almost distraction, and
mourning over the future of her child, she had consented, for her sake,
to marry the wretch. She had told him that she would try to become
guardian for her child in the Surrogate's Court, and would save all she
could from her allowance from year to year for him. But the father
having died first, and the son having right, therefore, to a large
amount of personal property, which would become in good part his
wife's, if the estate should happen to be so divided that she got other
than real estate for his share, the scamp saw that he would likely have
the handling of the funds, so deemed that he might possibly induce her
to give all to him, to get rid of him--would not yield the point. Marry
him she should, or she and her child might starve.

At last, having been constantly dogged by him in the city,--he having
written her letters almost daily while at Goshen,--having followed her
as far as Litchfield, and written her a letter compelling her to return
to the city, that he might have more immediate communication with her,
she, to save herself from poverty, and from the greater motive of
preserving her child from want, and to secure her just rights, had
consented to marry him within a week. Every day was adding to her gloom
and distress. She loathed the man; but she saw no way out of the
trouble but to marry him, privately, whereupon he was to go forward and
swear to his signature, his presence at her marriage to Mr. Stevens,

The widow cried bitterly. I sympathized deeply with her. I could see no
way out of the dilemma; but I reflected that one might possibly be
hunted out; and I said to her, "Madam, don't give up hope till the last
minute. We've time to work a little yet. Something will turn up to aid
you--be sure of it."

"O," said she; "O, I hope, I pray there may; and--yet, O my child! my
child!--O, I fear I am doomed!"

I consoled her all I could, and left her, agreeing to return duly.
Getting out upon the street, and taking a few listless steps, I
conjured my brain for an expedient. At last I resolved to devote myself
to the work of freeing that woman at all hazards; and instantly I had
firmly fixed that resolve, I felt (for some reason which is inscrutable
to me, unless the doctrine of our having "guardian angels" is true),
that a new power of thought possessed me; and I seemed to see the
straight way out of this difficulty at once; and although it did not
prove a way of thornless roses, exactly, I did see it pretty
clearly--for I hit upon a man who proved able to give me just such
information as I wanted; and I went straightway to my old friend,
Jordan Williams, formerly a detective, and who, I thought, knew Le Roy.
I told my story in confidence to Williams, and said, "Now if we can
manage in some way to get Le Roy into limbo for some of his misdeeds,
we can frighten him out of this scheme, and make him give the requisite

"Yes, yes," said Williams, "and although I am no Jesuit, yet if ever
the 'end justified the means,' whatever they are, it would in this
case. Le Roy is guilty of a thousand crimes, but he has some sort of
influence with the courts and officers, and we could not get him up on
any former crime. He must be guilty of a fresh one. Let's see; let me
manage this part. They are to be married within a week? Well, I saw Le
Roy day before yesterday; he looked rather seedy for a bridegroom. He
asked me then if I could loan him a little money, which I of course
refused to do. Ah, I have it; he must want a suit of clothes, and other
things; I'll fall in his way to-night, and if he asks for money, as he
will, I will give him a check for fifty dollars on my bank. I have
three thousand dollars and over, there, now. My habit is to always make
figures (I hate to write out the full words,--you know I don't write
over well),--and then fill up the blank with a line. On the back I'll
put the figures $500. He'll see that, and I'll leave a little space
after the figures $50, on the face, for another 'nought.' I'll have a
witness to the size of the draft, before I hand it to him. He'll surely
never let such a chance go. He'll want five hundred to splurge with on
his bridal tour, you see, and he'll think he can make it all right with

Williams's ingenious plan worked. Le Roy wanted one hundred dollars.
Williams declared he would not let him have but fifty--he must borrow
the other fifty elsewhere; and he wrote out a note for fifty for Le Roy
to sign, payable in ten days from that time, as Le Roy wished it, and
gave the check to him, having first shown it to a friend, who put a
private mark on it.

Le Roy fell into the trap. Next day the five hundred dollars were
drawn--early, too; for only late in the morning Williams went to the
bank to draw out his deposit, in order to learn whether the draft had
been presented. The bank, of course, in rendering his account, debited
him, among other things, with the five hundred dollars, at which he
expressed astonishment and indignation, as was his right to do, and
refused to settle with the bank that morning, and they held on to the
draft of course.

Williams lost no time in communicating with me, and I hastened to the
widow's; told her to be a little more yielding to Le Roy; to put on a
more pleasant face, and to abide the result, with the assurance that
she was to be delivered from the clutches of Le Roy at last; giving her
some money to assist her in her distress. I advised her how to proceed
with the arrangements for the marriage; went home and instructed my
wife, who took as much interest in poor Mrs. Stevens's fate as did I;
put her in communication with Mrs. S.; and it was finally arranged that
the wedding should take place at a cousin's of mine, who occupied a
house in a very respectable portion of the city, and who, and whose
wife, were let into the secret so far as proper. Mrs. Stevens was to
represent this lady to Le Roy as an old friend of hers, whom she had
come across of late, and who was assisting her.

Mrs. Stevens was all this while kept profoundly in the dark as to what
course was finally to be pursued; and notwithstanding she borrowed much
confidence from my perfect confidence, yet I could see that she was
nervous, and feared a little that after all she might be victimized to
Le Roy.

I saw to it that the legal portion of the matter was properly attended
to. Williams settled with the bank under protest, alleging that the
draft was a forgery, etc., the cashier agreeing to identify Le Roy when
called upon; and at the last moment he was let into the secret that Le
Roy was to be arrested on the night of the proposed wedding, and with
Williams was duly on hand at the house, and properly secreted.
Officers, two of them, were engaged to follow Le Roy, and at a given
signal from me, were to enter the house. Mrs. Stevens had been allowed
the choice of a minister; but the people of the house thought best to
secure the minister of the church which they attended. Le Roy came in a
carriage that evening, in great style. He was going to take the next
train to Philadelphia, with his bride. He was as well arrayed as the
great house of Devlin & Co. could dress him, and had probably borrowed,
or by hook or by crook had procured a valuable diamond pin; and looked
like a--well, a polished scoundrel; but he could not hide the intrinsic
villany of that face. The cashier of the bank was a notary public, and
had, at my request, brought along his seals and stamp. I should add
that my cousin had invited in several friends, who came in partial
evening dress, making quite a lively party.


I was flitting about, making myself generally useful, and so disguised
that Le Roy had no notion who I was. The time appointed for the
ceremony drew on. Poor Mrs. S. was in a flutter. Le Roy tried to sooth
her, took her aside and talked to her a little; put her arm in his;
looked very proud, but a little provoked, as if he feared that at last
she'd fail him--faint away, perhaps. The hour came, the attendants
began to draw into order, and the minister, too, put on his gravity,
asking that the parties to be married take their place, and Le Roy
stepped forth to lead up Mrs. S., who sat at the end of the long
parlors. Full of pride was he, suddenly to be humbled. As he approached
her, I cast a glance at puzzled Mrs. Stevens, tripped to a side window,
gave the appointed signal, and the door-bell rang with great fury, as I
had ordered. All the people present were startled, and on the _qui
vive_ to know what such a call could mean.

"A fire somewhere!" "Is this house on fire?" "O, dear! What can it
mean?" was ejaculated, etc., etc.

Meanwhile the servant had rushed and opened the door.

"Does Mr. ---- live here?" asked the officers.


"Is he in?"


"We wish to see him."

"Take seats in this room," said the servant. "He'll be down presently.
There's a wedding going on up stairs."

"We can't wait--call him;" and the servant ran to call him, and the
officers pushing on after him, entered the room. Le Roy was talking to
his expected wife, and, facing the door, I was there, and giving the
officers the secret hint, they exclaimed,--

"Our man, by Heavens! Mr. ---- (my cousin), whoever you may be, you
must pardon us; but Mr. Le Roy, here is our prisoner. Sorry to break up
a nice party; but, Le Roy" (proceeding to collar him), "we've hunted
you out; been after you all day; a pretty man to be married; better
have arranged your funeral."

The ladies screamed, and said, "O, O!" Mrs. Stevens sank back upon a
sofa, half fainting at the joy of her delivery, but not seeing yet how
it was to be accomplished; and Le Roy stormed at the "outrage."
"Villains," said he, "what's your charge?--rascals, come to extort
money, I suppose;" but his boastfulness subsided, as one of the
officers whispered quite shrilly in his ear, "Williams is after you for
the five hundred dollar forged check. We've got you, and there's no

The minister was the most confused man I ever saw--quite lost his
self-possession. I pointed the officers to a room, whither they took Le
Roy, whoso astonishment on encountering Williams there cannot well be

"You villain!" exclaimed Williams. "How dared you to abuse my
kindness--you dog? You've no fool to play with. I've caught you, and at
last you shall suffer for your crimes as you ought." A tap on a door,
leading into an adjoining room, and the cashier entered.

"Who's that man?" asked Williams of the cashier, pointing to Le Roy.

"Mr. Le Roy, the man who presented this check. The teller was out, and
I occupied his place so early in the morning."

"And I," said I, stepping up to Le Roy, and removing my slight disguise
of full whiskers, revealing the side whiskers I was accustomed to wear,
"Do you know me?" (He did at once recognize me). "What do you think now
of your ability to 'attend to your own business,' as on that day the
stage upset in Litchfield?--Officers," said I, "take away your man.
He's good for five or ten years, if not fifteen, at Sing Sing."

Le Roy turned pale--stammered out something, and sat down--saw he was
caught. I motioned the ladies away from the door, and asked to be
allowed to close it, desiring the officers, too, and all but Williams,
to go into other rooms, and closed the doors. "Le Roy," said I, "I am
master here. I understand the whole matter of your villany with that
woman. You have only one means of escape. Here's a writing I have
prepared for you. I'll read it." It was a simple statement that he
recognized his signature to the marriage certificate of Mr. and Mrs.
Stevens; that he saw the servant girl sign hers; that he was called in
as witness, being there visiting the girl; that he not only saw her
sign the document, but that he had read many notes from her, and knew
her handwriting, and that this signature was hers; in short, a succinct
statement of all the facts I could get hold of in the matter of the
marriage. "Sir," said I, as I finished reading the document, "tell me
if that is all true." He tremblingly said, "Yes." I opened the door,
and asked the cashier to come in, in his character as notary public;
got pen and ink for Le Roy, and asked him to put his signature to the
statement. It was a perfect fac-simile of that subscribed to the
marriage certificate. The notary, at my request, put him under oath,
Mr. Williams and I having left the room for the time, so that the
notary could properly state that he acknowledged the signature to be
made by him without fear, and not under duress, etc. The notary gave us
the signal to return, and I went into the parlor, found Mrs. S., and
said, "It is done. He is caught. You are saved. The property is yours."

She did not faint away, as many a woman might, though she trembled with

"Let me take you before the wretch," I said. "I have not done with him

Mrs. S. took my arm, and accompanied me. Entering the room, I closed
the door behind me, only Williams and the cashier being there, and
proceeding to Le Roy, I said, "Your victim is safe, you villain--and
now we have but one thing more for you to do. You must consent to be
handcuffed, and taken to private apartments by the officers, and there
kept till to-morrow, or you must go to the tombs at once. The forgery
is proved upon you, and there is no escape but one; that is, go to the
surrogate's office to-morrow, and swear to your signature, as you have
done here. I have taken the precaution to put you on your oath, and
secure your signature for comparison at this time. You see you are

"I will, I will!" said Le Roy, trembling. He hated the thought of
imprisonment. He had suffered it once for two years, and nearly died of
the confinement. "But there's one thing more yet. You must deliver to
Mr. Williams, or the cashier here, whichever you please, all the money
you have saved out of the five hundred."

"I will, I will!" said he, with alacrity; and drawing his wallet,
pulled forth a roll containing two hundred and ninety-five dollars of
it, which was given to the cashier, who identified it, marked it, and
put it in his pocket.

Le Roy was immediately given into the hands of the officers, and taken
to their apartments for the night. We paid his coachman his charge, and
sent him away.

There was rejoicing in that house that night, not over nuptials
consummated, but broken; and a happier being never lived than seemed
Mrs. Stevens. "Not only that my child is safe," said she, "from penury
and starvation, but that I have escaped the presence of that loathsome

The cashier went home. Mrs. Stevens, Williams, and I had a conference,
in which she gladly agreed to pay Williams for his loss of over two
hundred dollars, or rather that of the bank, for it was the bank's in
fact; and we dismissed her, Williams consenting that, though we had
promised Le Roy nothing, yet if he went forward and did all he promised
next day, faithfully, it would be no great crime to not have him duly
arrested and tried, considering, too, the way in which he was caught.
But after all, though, he went forward, and did as he agreed, and ought
to have done, we made complaint, and lodged him in jail, where he
remained for some three months; when, no one appearing before the grand
jury against him, he was released, not, however, till I had visited
him, and given him notice that he must leave New York forever, or we
would re-arrest him; and he fled, greatly to Mrs. Stevens's relief.

What became of Mrs. Stevens; how she became an inmate of my house while
the estate was being settled; how happily she is now living, and many
things which I should delight to relate regarding all this matter, have
no particular relation to a detective's life and duties; and so I end
this, the really most interesting affair of my life, with the simple
prayer that, if there are in the wide world others as horribly
persecuted as was Mrs. Stevens, as happy deliverance may come to them,
as was that to her.


                           THE MARKED BILLS.



It is of an occurrence, which took place seven years ago this very
month in which I am writing this sketch, that I propose to tell the
tale--at midnight; having been unable to sleep much of late, and having
now risen from my bed, taken my pen, and set myself at work, with the
hope that some continuous mental labor may bring on drowsiness by and
by; which, by the way, will not, I trust, affect or infect my narrative.

Seven years ago, then, this month, my partner was called on to go into
his native town in the southern portion of Ohio, to assist in ferreting
out the perpetrators of sundry highway robberies, burglaries, etc.,
that were constantly taking place there, and whom it baffled the
sagacity of the citizens of the place, and several constables, deputy
sheriffs, detectives from Cincinnati, and so forth, to detect. As a
_dernier resort_, the villagers had made up a purse, and appointed a
committee to proceed to New York, and wait upon my partner, with the
whole story of the countless robberies, and see if he could not lay
some plan which should prove successful in the arrest of the villains.

My partner had left his native place in his sixteenth year,--a more
than usually bright boy,--had wandered South, working out his own
fortune by slow degrees; studied law, and been admitted to practice at
Washington, Texas; tried practice for a year or so with some success,
but disliked the profession; went to Galveston; made the acquaintance
there of an iron-founder and machinist by the name of Hunt, if I
rightly recollect, who, taking a liking to him, employed him in his
office. My partner having excellent mechanical ability, passed much of
his time in the work-rooms of the machine department, and became quite
a skilful operator. One day some persons of foreign birth applied at
the machine-shop,--as there was no other place in Galveston where they
could get the work done,--to have some three or four keys made after
certain patterns which they provided. The work was done for them, and
in the course of time it came out that these keys had been used in the
commission of an extensive burglary at San Antonio. One of the keys had
been lost, and by chance bore a peculiar mark--a sort of monogram,
which Mr. Hunt caused to be impressed, when proper, upon any work which
was issued from his establishment. The key being new, and it being
evident that the skilful burglars must have had long acquaintance with
the premises which they invaded, a sheriff of San Antonio surmised that
the keys must have been made somewhere in Texas, perhaps to the order
of some old residents of that State. In fact, he had his eye of
suspicion upon some persons who had long borne unenviable
characters.--In what place were these made more likely than in
Galveston queried he? So he sent the key to a sheriff of Galveston for
his inspection, and asked him, if possible, to find out who made the
key, and for what description of person it was made. The sheriff of
Galveston instantly recognized Mr. Hunt's monogram. Taking down a pair
of handcuffs which hung upon a nail in his office, said he to the
messenger, "See here! These were made in England, but I had occasion to
get Hunt's establishment to repair them a little, six months ago, and
there, you see, (pointing to the monogram), he put on his stamp."

It was only the matter of a walk of ten minutes to Hunt's
establishment, and as many minutes more spent in getting a detailed
account from the workmen and from my partner--Hunt's then clerk--of the
personal appearance of the two men who ordered the keys, when the
messenger became convinced that the suspicions of the officers at San
Antonio had fallen upon the wrong persons; and he thought he knew the
real parties,--comparatively very respectable people,--one a well-to-do
and educated middle-aged planter, living a little outside of San
Antonio,--and so it proved. The parties were arrested and tried. My
partner was called as a witness to identify them. The trifle of a lost
key, and the little monogram almost carelessly stamped on it by the
mechanic, having led to such results, touched the romantic, speculative
nature of my partner, and he was never easy after that till, in the
course of time, he had found his way into the business at New Orleans,
from which city he finally came on to New York to reside.

Mr. Hunt kept up a correspondence with him for years, always trying to
get him back into his employ, making him excellent offers, but he never
returned to him, save on a visit. Now it happened that Mr. Hunt was a
native of the same village, or its vicinity, in which my partner was
born, and on his summer visits there,--which he made nearly every
year,--he had often descanted upon the great talents and ingenuity of
my partner. Thus was it that the committee came to wait upon him. But
it was impossible for him to go there with them, or visit the place for
a long while, for he was to take steamer the day but one thereafter for
England, at the instance of Commodore Vanderbilt, to aid in
investigations into some transactions in which it was believed that
certain American scoundrels, whom my partner knew, were involved.

We had been introduced to the committee as the partner of the firm, and
we had listened to a portion of the story, when my partner announced
the fact of his intended visit to England, and added; "But, gentlemen,
that need be no loss to you, for my partner here can be of as much
service to you as I,"--being, in his kindness, pleased to add,--"and, I
think, probably more. If you please to accept him in my place, I am
sure you will suffer no loss. He will track out the villains if anybody

The committee expressed their great regrets at not being able to secure
my partner's services, but said they would tell us their story in full,
and if, after hearing it, I thought I could be of service to them, they
would like to have me go out there.

He listened to their recital of the numerous burglaries, robberies from
the person, and so forth, with great patience, each of us asking a few,
but a very few questions, at different points of their narrative. Long
before they got to the end of the doleful story, and after having asked
not over a half dozen questions at most, my partner, I clearly saw from
his manner, had formed his theory, and I saw that he thought it an easy
case to work up.

When the committee had finished, my partner said to them, "Gentlemen,
excuse us for a few minutes. I wish to consult my partner," and rising,
stepped into the next room, whither I followed him, shutting the door
behind me, when my partner, clapping his hand with an air of victory on
my shoulder, whispered to me, "An easy case, old boy, eh? I suppose
you've worked up the theory by this time? Don't you see straight
through it?"

"No, I confess I don't see through it all; but I've got some glimpses
of light."

"Well," said he, "I've told you about that San Antonio case, which
first started me into the detective business--haven't I?"

"Yes; but I don't see the bearing of that on this exactly!"

"Don't see? Why there was only one peculiar feature about that, and
there's the like in this case, if I am not mistaken; that is, these
robberies are perpetrated, not by old, skilful burglars, but by raw
hands, comparatively, who reside right about there, and are probably
'respectable citizens'--teach Sunday-school, likely enough."

With this from my partner, which struck me then as the true theory, we
analyzed the stories of the committee in the light of it, and became
perfectly assured that the theory was right, and were about proceeding
to the next room to talk further with the committee, when my partner
said, "See here, we mustn't tell these men our theory. Who knows but
some of them,--O, that can't be; they are too old, too clumsy, not
alert enough, and too honest too, for that,--but some of their
relations, their sons or nephews, perhaps, are the villains who are
doing all this work! No, we mustn't tell them." So we hit upon what we
would say.

Stepping into the room where the committee sat, looking as sedate and
sombre, by the way, as if they were judges sitting upon some complex
trial for arson, murder, and what not, they looked up, and one of them
asked, "Well, gentlemen, what conclusion have you come to?"

My partner quietly replied, "We have worked out our theory."

"Pray tell us what it is?" exclaimed one of the committee, his face
lighting up as if scales were falling from his eyes, and he was to be
suddenly extricated from the "mystery of darkness."

"Well, gentlemen," he responded, "my partner and I have satisfied
ourselves that we are on the right track. In our business, you must
know, one case is often suggestive in unraveling another. We get to be
able to track old offenders, as the Indian tracks his enemy through the
forest. It would take me too long to explain the whole mystery to you.
But you may be sure that we've got hold of some of the right 'ear
marks' of these villains, and my partner is not only willing to
undertake the case, but I am confident that he will work it out all
right. This is all I can say to you on that point. Shall he go ahead?"

"Certainly, certainly," responded the committee, one after the other,
"if _you_ think it can be done; our neighbors must have relief from
these outrages."

"Well, one thing I wish to enjoin upon you, gentlemen. In calling a
public meeting, and appointing you as a committee to come publicly to
me, your citizens have taken false steps. Your business ought to have
been kept private--known only to a few of you at most, and that in
positive secrecy. Now the first steps toward undoing this false one, is
for you to report, on your arrival home, that you couldn't get me; that
I was on the point of starting for Europe; but that you told me your
story, and I said it was all the work of some old burglars, whom the
police had driven out from this quarter, and that there was probably
connected with them an old London burglar by the name of 'Jerry Black,'
or who bore that name once, and is now supposed to be living in
Cincinnati; that I said further that 'twas a very hard case to work up,
these old burglars understanding their business so well, and that the
best way was for your citizens to defend their houses and themselves as
well as they can, and wait for some accident to disclose the robbers,
for 'murder will out' sooner or later."

The committee replied that they would heed the advice perfectly.

"Now, then, for the special injunction, which is this. Talk as little
in general about your visit here as you can, each of you; but do you
each be careful on this point, namely, not to mention the fact that you
met my partner, or that I have one at all. Indeed, you can truthfully
say that I have no partner, if anybody there should happen to have
heard that I have; for although we are partners in the sense of
companions, and coöperators sometimes, yet we are not 'partners' in the
legal sense of that term, though we call each other so, in the style of
the profession. Remember this!"

The committee promised to do so, and we went on talking together,
laying our plans to the extent that I should duly visit the place; that
none of the committee was to recognize me if he met me in his walks;
and that I should probably appear there as a Cincinnati merchant; for
the detectives of the best repute in Cincinnati had already visited the
place unavailingly, and it would not be suspected that poorer ones
would be employed from Cincinnati. I made inquiries of the committee
about the various businesses transacted in the place, and asked the
names of the other leading citizens, for the committee were all of them
of the "heavy men" of the place. Learning all I thought of use of these
gentlemen, I promised to appear, if my life was spared, in due time,
and not at a late day at that, in the town and go to work; and the
committee left.

It was a useless promise which we exacted of the committee that none of
them should recognize me when in their village; for when they came to
the office I had but a little while before returned from an expedition,
in which I had worn a simple but effectual disguise. That removed, and
my coat exchanged for another one in my closet, a few minutes after the
committee left, they would not have recognized me had they returned at
the time.

Duly after the departure of my partner for Europe I was on my way to
Ohio. Before he left we had talked up the matter in all the possible
phases it could present, and among the last things he said to me, on
our way down to the steamer, was, "That case _may_ bother you; but it
seems to me now as easy as going down hill. We have the sight of it,
and if the committee report as I instructed them, you'll succeed at
once. In your first letter to me" (which, by the way, it was agreed
should be sent by the next week's steamer) "I shall not be surprised to
learn of 'victory won.'"

"O, no, impossible; you forget the distance."

"Yes, truly I did. Say, then, by the next letter," for he expected to
be gone for some three or four months, if not longer.

"But," said he, "don't let anything deflect you from our theory,
whether you succeed in that time or not. It _will_ work out on our
theory some way, at some time."

I bade my partner good by, as the ocean steamer started on her proud
course out into the bay, and returned to my office, to perfect my plans
in detail for the work before me, and was, as I said before, duly on my
way to Ohio. My first point was Cincinnati, where, arriving safely, I
set myself about becoming acquainted with names of streets, then
localities, public places, names of many citizens and their
business--in short, I "booked" myself up in regard to Cincinnati, in
order to be "at home" whenever talking with the citizens of the village
to which I was going, and who would soon be told that I was from

Leaving the latter place, I made my way to the village in question,
arriving there towards evening, on a lumbering stage-coach,
through--literally, not "over"--the deep clay-mudded roads, and
alighted at the principal hotel of the place. The night before, or
rather on the morning of the same day, for it was between the hours of
one and two A. M., a citizen of considerable standing had been robbed
on his way home from a house a little out of the village, where he had
been to watch with a sick friend, a farmer. Being relieved from
watching about one o'clock, and his wife wishing to take the early
stage which left at the inhospitable hour of six, on the road towards
Columbus, whither she was going, he thought to return. For a week or
two the robbers had ceased from their theretofore almost nightly
outrages, and it was with a sort of smile of contempt that Mr. Hiram
Perkins,--for that was the citizen's name, replied to an old lady
nurse, as he was departing, and who asked, "Ain't you afraid of the
robbers, Mr. Perkins?" "O, no, 'aunty' they won't touch me; besides, I
guess they are all dead now, 'aunty.' We haven't heard 'em peep for a
week or two--gone off to some better land."

But he encountered them, nevertheless, and lost four hundred dollars,
and something over, which had been paid to him the evening before, at a
time too late to make deposit of it in the little village bank, and
which he had been foolish enough to not leave at home.

This amount of money was the largest which the robbers had yet secured.
They had effected the robbery, to be sure, of some negotiable bonds of
considerably greater value; but this was an extreme case, and was, of
course, at the time of my arrival there the chief topic of excitement.
Added to the robbery, was the fact that Mr. Perkins, who had made stout
resistance, had been severely beaten, and though not fatally bruised,
was lying quite feverish in bed: such was the report.

I had had a room put in order for me, neglecting to put my name on the
dirty little register of the hotel, where I observed that everybody who
could write, and who stepped in to the "tavern," was in the habit of
writing his name, and putting after it "City" (that was the town where
I was),--a custom, probably, introduced by some joker, who had been to
Cincinnati, and seen names registered in that way there.

But when I came down from my room into the "office," or "bar-room,"
properly speaking, the young clerk said to me, "Would the stranger
enter his name?" I had reflected, meanwhile, that I must see this Mr.
Perkins, and had changed my original plan of proceedings a little, so I
entered my name as "Dr. H. H. Hudson, Cin.," with a somewhat bold dash
of the pen, and soon after found myself on the street, seeking the way
to Mr. Perkins's house. While in the hotel I encountered, and had quite
a long talk with one of the committee who had visited us in New York.
He kept his promise, and did not "recognize" me, and perhaps he would
not if he had known me. He told me the whole story of his visit to New
York; what the detective said to him, and the rest of the committee;
and, said he, "He was right when he said they were old burglars who
were committing these outrages, for nobody but men hardened in crime
could have robbed Mr. Perkins, as they did last night;" and when I went
out of the tavern, after registering my name, to seek Mr. P.'s house, I
encountered my committee-man. Again, as I was loitering on the street,
hardly knowing what to do to learn the way to Mr. Perkins's, he had
evidently looked on the register after my departure from the office or
bar-room, for he accosted me.

"Ah, again! Happy to come across you again. Dr. Hudson, of Cincinnati,
I hear?"

"Yes, sir," I replied; "a doctor by profession, but retired somewhat
from practice."

"Yes, yes; yours is a pretty hard life, that of a doctor, sir. I
suppose all you doctors in the city retire as soon as you get rich,"
said the facetious committee-man.

I replied, "that I had not retired from business exactly, for I was
engaged more or less in speculation; but had always pursued the course
of registering myself as a doctor at hotels, for I found that I
generally got better treatment than when I registered in my plain name."

"Well, sir," said he, "I was thinking of going to call at friend
Perkins's, and see how he's getting along. He's pretty low, I fear. As
you are a doctor, perhaps you would like to accompany me. You might
suggest something for his comfort."

I accepted the invitation with a half-reluctant manner, and we walked
on towards Mr. Perkins's house, my friend, meanwhile, telling me all
about Mr. P., his wealth, family affairs, etc. We were bidden to enter
the house on knocking, and the committee-man was invited into the
"bedroom" to see Mr. Perkins, from which he came soon out, and said,--

"I dare say you'd like to see Mr. Perkins. He is pretty severely
bruised; but says he's better, and shall be out in a day or two. I told
him I had a friend along with me, Dr. Hudson, of Cincinnati; and he
says he don't need a doctor, but that he shall be glad to see you as a
gentleman, and friend of mine." So I accompanied my friend to Mr.
Perkins's room; and had hardly been presented to him before I made up
my mind to take him into my counsels, for there was a certain frank
nobility in his countenance, and an intelligence which quite won my
esteem on the instant.

We conversed about the robbery, and, after that, about various topics
of the day; and the more we talked, the more I liked him. By and by the
committee-man recollected an engagement; said that he must go, but
didn't want to interrupt Mr. Perkins's and my conversation; "for,
doctor, I perceive," said he, "that you've made him very cheerful,
without pills even. Sometimes I think there's more in a doctor than in
his medicines," said he, with a very arch smile.

"O, no," said Mr. Perkins; "if you must go, you needn't take the
doctor. He's a stranger here, and 'tisn't late yet, and he can find his
way back easily enough."

And so I staid after the committee-man went out; and I talked with Mr.
Perkins more about the robbery, and the burglaries, etc.; but I could
get no occasion for private conversation with him, as the bed-room
door, opening into a "sitting-room," was constantly open, and the
sitting-room generally occupied by one or more persons, females, or
else they were flitting back and forth; so at last I told Mr. Perkins
that I had come to him on some business in regard to which I should
like to consult him in the morning a little while, if he were well
enough. He very kindly consented, and I departed.

On returning to the hotel, I was accosted at once by a gentleman,
around whom stood a dozen other eager ones. "Doctor, you've been over
to see Mr. Perkins, we hear; how's he getting along? Recover soon?"

"O, yes," said I; "he'll recover speedily if he is left quiet for a day
or two. The neighbors, I hear, are running in to see him a great deal;
but I think I shall order that nobody be admitted for a day or two."

Fortunately, Mr. Perkins's family physician had at this time gone to
the funeral of his mother, whose home had been somewhere in
Pennsylvania, and Mr. Perkins would not call either of the two other
"doctors" of the place, styling them "blasted quacks." So that I could
very properly say that.

I listened quite late that night to the villagers' talk about the
robberies. Every new man who came into the bar-room had something to
tell, and everybody had a theory; but they all declared that the
burglars were old heads at the business--hard to catch, "as that New
York detective told the committee," they said. Things were working
well, and I finally retired to rest, and slept very soundly, to my
surprise; for strange beds generally vex me, and keep me awake.

The next morning I called on Mr. Perkins early, and found him quite
comfortable; asked him to order that neighbors who might be coming in
to inquire for the state of his health, should not be allowed to enter
his room; and though surprised at first at my request, he granted it,
and I felt secure of a good, uninterrupted talk with him. I sounded
him, to my satisfaction, in that he was a man who could keep a secret
profoundly, and then made known my business to him. He was glad I had
come, he said, and he would give me all the information in his power.

I inquired of everybody and everything in the place which could have
any bearing on the matter in hand; learned the size, tones of voice,
style of language, as far as he could remember, of his assailants, the
highway robbers; gathered from him all I could of what had been
overheard from the robbers' lips on various occasions; and I learned
one especially important matter of him, which was, that one of the
robbers was dressed in "a loose sack, like," and that in his contest
with him, he thought that he felt that one of his hands, off from which
a glove became slipped in the fight, was callous on the back. This he
had not laid up in memory, but my questions called it to mind. At this
point I developed my theory that the robberies were committed by
residents of the village; and told him that they were not what
professional robbers would call "good work," skilfully done; and then I
asked him,--

"Now, Mr. Perkins, do you know any man in or about this place who has a
scarred, hard hand, such as you describe?"

"Yes; but I would not dare mention his name in this connection, for he
is an innocent, elegant young gentleman, very mild in his manners; came
here a few months ago with the best recommendations from a clerical
friend, an old schoolmate of mine, in Massachusetts, and bore a letter
to me from him. O, I won't allow myself to name him; it would be too
bad," said he.

"But," said I, "the greatest scoundrels steal the livery of heaven to
serve the devil in, you know; and I am here to work, and you want the
full truth to come out, hit where it may--don't you?"

"Yes; but it can't be this young man: and yet the villain was about his

"And wore a 'sack, like,' you say. Do you know if this young man has
any such garment?"

"O, no, it was quite like a hostler's work coat. He hasn't anything of
the sort."

"Well--no matter: please give me his name, and tell me all about him.
What is he doing here?"

"Teaching music, principally; teaches most anything--the languages,
especially French; says he has lived in France a while; but 'tain't
he--and--if 'twas, I don't know but I should forgive him, if I knew it,
as far as I am concerned, and let him go, or send him off; for he's
engaged to a beautiful niece of mine, and first made her acquaintance
here at my house. They had but just left when you called last night,
and were full of sympathy for me. He is very active in devising plans
to catch the villains, and has been out frequently with others, keeping
night watch."

"Were there any robberies on the nights of such watching?" I asked.

"No; but I never suspected there would be, when so many were watching."

"Yet," said I, "from what I learn, the robberies have been very bold at
times--early in the evening, when people were abroad."

"True," he replied. "I didn't think of that before. I wish I could have
got at the scoundrels' faces that night; but their caps were securely
tied on, and their faces blackened."

"They were white men, you are sure, then?"

"Yes; no doubt of that."

Finally, I persuaded Mr. Perkins to give me the man's name, as he knew,
of course, I could now find it out by inquiring of somebody else, if I
thought prudent to inquire.

We talked over the matter still further: and Mr. Perkins agreed to keep
to his bed for two or three days. I was to reconnoitre, and report to
him what I found out, and we were to consult together, and I left. I
avoided making the acquaintance of the young man in question, although
I had twenty occasions for so doing for a day or two; but on the night
of the third day after my arrival another burglary took place, of
considerable amount, and there was evidence, too, of an attempt at
arson. In listening to the investigation of the burglary, I thought I
saw that the young music teacher was as likely as anybody to have had a
hand in it; and was confirmed in my suspicions by his manner, when I
heard him talk it over next day with some friends at the hotel.

I managed to get near him, and spoke of the robberies as the most
daring outrages, and suggested that there must be a gang of
villains--old offenders--secreted near the village somewhere, or else
they must, if coming from abroad, perform herculean feats of riding.
But he told me he thought my theory was a mistake, as no strange horses
or teams had ever been discovered in or near the village on the
occasions of robbery; and entered very intelligently into the question,
declaring at last that the villains must be caught if he himself were
obliged, with others, to lie in wait for a year. There was something a
little bombastic in his style as he said this, which confirmed my
suspicions of him more and more. He told me he had heard of my
attendance upon Mr. Perkins; was glad he had such skilful care, and
that he seemed improving; and as he resorted there much himself, had
hoped to meet me there, but had not happened to; was glad to have made
my acquaintance, etc.; all of which was uttered with a very innocent,
and indeed pleasant air, yet I suspected him, somehow, only the more.

Mr. Perkins kept apparently ill, and I visited him regularly. Two
nights after my interview with the music teacher, as related above, I
was going home from Mr. Perkins's to the hotel. (I should mention that
the teacher, whose name in the village was Henry Downs,--but not his
true name,--had called at Mr. Perkins's, and left a quarter of an hour
before.) Going to the hotel, as I have said, I passed two men standing
beside a large tree on the line of the sidewalk. The evening was very
dark, and I only saw them when within six feet of them, perhaps, and I
heard one of them say, "Ah, ha! the old fool is unsuspicious; we'll get
another chance near home. A good night to-night, eh?" The voice was
unmistakably that of the teacher, and I inferred that he alluded to Mr.
Perkins. "Hush," I heard the other man say, as I approached in passing
them; and I saw that the other man had on a "sack-like," such as Mr.
Perkins had described. Of course I was now fully confirmed in my
suspicions, and devised various plans to trap the villains, but nothing
I could think of seemed likely to me or Mr. Perkins to prove practical.
At last we hit upon this as a first step. I was to get ill enough to
keep my room as Mr. Perkins got well. He was to visit me in turn, and
was to consult the committee, who were greatly vexed all the while
among themselves (as it appeared afterwards) that that 'rascally New
York detective did not come on.' Mr. Perkins was to report me as a man
of much wealth, with quite a sum of money, which I had brought
intending to speculate, but having looked around, and not being
satisfied with any real estate for sale there, was going away as soon
as I recovered. This was noised about, and a week or so passed before I
got up and was ready to go. Mr. Perkins, in the mean while, had come to
my opinion that the music teacher was indeed the villain, and believing
it his duty to expose him rather than shield him on his niece's
account, entered quite spiritedly into my plans.

The music teacher was more attentive to me than ever when I met him,
after it was said that I was rich; and at a little party which Mr.
Perkins gave me the night before I was to leave, the teacher was all
attention to me. It was given out that I should leave the next night,
on the way north of the village, to call on a relative living about
twenty miles from that village. I must be there, it was said, that
night, to meet my friend from whom I had had a letter, and who would
leave by the stage the next morning after; and for the next day Mr.
Perkins and I had a ride of twenty miles and back to take in another
direction to look at some mills in which he was persuading me to take
an interest. Mr. Perkins was to loan me his horse for the night trip.

The ladies present said, some of them, that they hoped Dr. Hudson would
not think of going in the night. "Just think of the robbers." I replied
that robbers never touched doctors; that doctors never had any money
about them; that they would not take my pills, I presumed, if I were to
prescribe them regularly; and so we joked over the matter.

The next day Mr. Perkins and I, having ridden out of town, returned
after dark, and after a good supper at his house, I paid my bills at
the hotel, took his horse and sallied forth on my "night visit." I had
not ridden over three miles, and was passing along a dark avenue lined
with trees, when suddenly two men appeared before me, each grasping at
a rein, and one presenting a pistol as near my head as he could reach,
exclaimed, in a husky voice,--

"No noise, you old villain! Dismount!"

"Stop, stop!" said I, in a low voice. "Have mercy! What do you want of

"Nothing of _you_--but your money," answered the husky voice. "Get off
your horse quick, or I'll blow your brains out."

"I will, I will!" I whispered, with a voice that intimated trepidation,
"but my leg is a little lame. Give me your hand to help," and extended
my left hand, which he took in his left, still holding the pistol in
his right. He had to extend his left hand quite high to help me, and I
could not only feel, but see the scarred, hard hand--the same which Mr.
Perkins had felt, and a like of which deformed the otherwise handsome
music teacher. Of course his face, as well as his comrade's in crime,
was muffled.

Having dismounted, they insisted on my giving them all my money. I
consented without resistance, and pulled out my wallet, and handed him
fifteen dollars--a ten dollar and a five dollar bill.

"Give us the rest," said the husky voice.

"Gentlemen," I said, "I have no more."

"It is a lie, doctor," said the husky voice. "We know all about
you--we've watched you, and know that you brought hundreds of dollars
to the village below."

"I did," I said; "that is true enough; but my patient, Mr. Perkins, and
I took a ride to his mills to-day, and when there I invested what I
had, all but enough to pay my bills about here and get back again."


"But we must search you."

I said "Very well," and they did search me most thoroughly, and took my
bull's-eye silver watch (not very valuable in itself, but the gift of
an old brother detective, who had since died. Said he, as he gave it to
me, "Don't let anybody rob you of that," with a laugh; and I thought
how funny it would seem to him, were he alive, to find _me_ parting
with it under _such_ circumstances).

The robbers let me go, saying they had no use for the horse, and bade
me have more money about me next time. Said they'd been called pretty
severe and cruel on certain occasions, but that they were gentle enough
with folks that didn't make foolish resistance, etc. Indeed, they tried
to be jocular with me; and I submitted to their course, and joined in
it, as the best way. They bade me a hearty good night, but enjoined me
not to stop anywhere and mention my loss till to-morrow, or they'd find
some way to dispose of me if I did, with like threats; and then darted
off into the side fields, bidding me to "go ahead," however; and I rode
on for some three miles, but fortunately, when riding with Mr. Perkins
that day, I had noticed a cross road, which would lead into the road on
which he and I had come out of and returned into the town. I was
meditating, at the time I came upon it, what to do. Should I ride back
furiously over the road on which I was robbed, the villains might
waylay me again, for, perhaps, they were not far off--may be were
watching. Perhaps they might fire upon me; but luckily here was the
cross road, and I darted down it, and found my way back into the
village by the old road, and you may be sure that my horse, if horses
have memories, did not soon forget that night's race, for I put him to
the top of his speed. I alighted at the barn of Mr. Perkins, and
fortunately found there his "hired man," who clapped the horse into the
stable at once, and I then felt secure. Getting access at once to Mr.
Perkins, I narrated my adventure. He was not astounded at what I had
learned, for he had for some time believed, as I, that the music
teacher was the man, but he was confounded that the villains let me off
so easily.

The next thing was to catch the scamps, and make the evidence against
them sure; and Mr. Perkins, at my suggestion, sent his man out to call
four of the most trusty citizens, two of whom chanced to be of the
original committee who waited upon my partner and me in New York, to
come to his house at once. To them, when they came, was intrusted his
plan. "Dr. Hudson" was now announced as the partner-detective whom they
had seen in New York. He, too, had been robbed, and he knew who were
the robbers--or one of them! Greater astonishment than these gentlemen
evinced at this disclosure could not well be expressed. But we did not
speak to them of the music teacher. They were to remain at Mr.
Perkins's till we should call them. Making some change in my dress by
aid of articles borrowed of Mr. Perkins, and of my countenance by
assuming a pair of false whiskers which I had brought with me, besides
a hat very unlike what I had been wearing in the village, and Mr.
Perkins disguising himself, we went forth, and placed ourselves where
we could readily perceive any comer to the house at which the music
teacher boarded. Patiently we watched. Two hours or more went by, when
a man came from the opposite course by which we expected him, and,
proceeding to the door of the house, evidently lightly tried it--could
not get in; went around the corner of the house, noiselessly raised a
side window, and as noiselessly mounted in. I was not over thirty feet
from him as he entered, and notwithstanding the darkness, I felt sure I
knew him, though he did not wear the sack. Mr. Perkins had seen his
stealthy entry, too, from another point, and in a few minutes we came
together, I having meanwhile slid up by the side of the house next to
the window, and heard the in-comer open or close a window above. He had
already gone to his room, which Mr. Perkins had told me was at the back
of the house. He knew the way to it--had called on the young man there.

We proceeded at once to Mr. Perkins's, instructed our waiting friends
what to do,--for we might need aids,--and asked them to follow. No man
was to speak a word, but do as he was bidden.

My dark lantern was lit and deposited under my cloak, and we went out,
along down the street, across another,--down another a little way, and
I saw that the citizens were occasionally looking wonder into each
other's eyes, as much as to say, Where are we going? We arrived at the
house, entered the yard. Mr. Perkins, by our arrangements, was to take
and post two of the men under the villain's window, to catch him in
case he should try to escape, to one of whom he gave a pistol, saying,
"Catch any man who tries to escape out of this house. Shoot him, if

Up to this point not a word had been said to them of the music teacher.
We had thought best to not knock for admission, of course; and I got in
at the window where the villain had entered, proceeded to the little
hall, unlocked silently the front door, and let in Mr. P. and the two
other men. "Follow me softly," whispered Mr. P., and he led to the
villain's room.

An hour had passed since we saw him come in, and we concluded he'd be
asleep, as he was. We carefully tried the door: it was locked by a
button. Mr. Perkins whispered to me, "Shall we rap, and catch him when
he rises?"

"No, no," I answered quickly; and with a dash against the door with my
shoulders, easily effected entrance. The villain started wildly. I
threw the dazzling light of my dark lantern into his face, and rushed
upon him in bed, clutched his throat, and cried, "Seize his clothes,
and everything in the room! This is the man. Open the window, and call
in the others to the show;" and Mr. Perkins did so.

In an instant the two men had found their way up to the room; and, in
fact, the whole household was by this time aroused. We made speedy work
of searching the wretch's clothes, and among other money found the five
dollar bill taken from me. Without explanation, I passed it to Mr.
Perkins, who recognized a peculiar mark we had made upon it, its date,
etc. But the ten dollar bill was found in the villain's trunk, together
with quite a sum of money. Mr. Perkins recognized the marks we had
placed upon that: the watch was not to be found.

The teacher was a lithe, muscular fellow, and would have given me,
alone, much trouble to hold him; but he was overwhelmed, and did little
else but groan. We at once told him of the marked bills, etc., and
pointed out to him that his best course now was to expose his
accomplice or accomplices; that the bitterest curses of the law would
fall upon him if he did not.

The pale, trembling fellow, a real coward at heart, as many such
villains are, made his confession on the spot, notes of which were
taken down by me, and by one of the committe-men in his diary. He told
us that his accomplice was----, a son of a pretty well-to-do farmer,
whose name I cannot mention, and whose relations still reside in the
village--most estimable people, which is the reason why I have
carefully avoided mentioning the name of the place.

When he named his accomplice, one of the committee-men groaned audibly
(I should say that we had kept the inmates of the house out of the room
during this confession), for the accomplice, it appears, was that
committee-man's nephew!--a much-esteemed, industrious young man, led
away by the brilliancy, dash, and superior education of the music

But where was the watch? The teacher told us. Under a barn belonging to
his accomplice's father, and not ten rods from his residence, was a
place of deposit for such things as they could not readily dispose of.
Indeed, they had disposed of but little: there he thought we could find
it, and there, next morning, we did.

But here was a complication. The nephew must be saved if possible, and
Mr. Perkins could not bear the exposure which would involve his niece
in disgrace, and we were nonplussed what to do.

We arranged, finally, that since the inmates of the house did not
_know_ for certainty that this teacher was the villain, that we would
let it go abroad that we had all been out, together with the teacher,
watching the villains; that the teacher had suffered a severe fall when
getting over a high fence, and that we had come home with him--all this
upon the condition that the avails of all his robberies should be
restored to the rightful parties, and that he should allow Mr. Perkins
to go and draw, on his order, all his money in a certain bank in
Cincinnati, where he said he had at the time twenty-eight hundred
dollars, which we found to be true; and that he should in the end
accompany me to Pittsburg, Pa., which he declared to be the theatre of
his first essays in crime, and where he said he was willing to deliver
himself up to the authorities for old offences; for he was as penitent
a man, in appearance, as I ever saw, and said he would rather go to
State's Prison for life, than be longer pursued by terrible temptations
to crime.

One of our party was left with him that night, armed, and bidden to
shoot him if he attempted to escape; and the rest went forth. We found
the place of deposit under the barn, removed everything therefrom to a
safe place, and next morning Mr. Perkins called on the young farmer,
took him out to the barn, and showed him my bull's-eye watch.

"Did you ever see that, sir."

"No," said the young man.

"No lies sir," said Mr. P----; "we are going to do you no harm. The
villain" (the music teacher) "has told us all about it. We have removed
the things from down there" (pointing to the place of deposit), "and
you are caught, beyond hope of escape."

The young man turned pale, fell over upon Mr. Perkins's breast, and
groaned out, "O God, that villain, as you call him, has ruined me! I
could not resist him; he dragged me along against my will. I have
suffered tortures of conscience. I cannot resist him! O, spare me!"

"Yes, yes," said P----, affected to tears by the young man's
sufferings, "I believe you. You have been under a spell. We will see
what can be done for you. As for myself, I forgive you."

That day there was a private conference of the discovering parties at
Mr. Perkins's house. The whole matter was discussed, and it was
concluded that the villain should suffer his just punishment in
Pennsylvania rather than in Ohio; that he should leave with "Dr.
Hudson," and be no more heard of there; that the young farmer should be
allowed to repent; and that so many of his relations, the committee-man
with the rest, should not be put to the disgrace of his public
punishment. He was sent for, and came; and a more harrowing case of an
accusing conscience than was his, imagination, in its wildest flights,
could hardly depict. I felt for him to the bottom of my soul. The
teacher, who was so watched that he could by no means escape, was sent
for too, and when he came, the poor young farmer looked at him with
bewildering horror. The whole matter was discussed before him, his
order duly made on the bank, and Mr. Perkins departed next day to draw
the money. Meanwhile it was arranged that the other property should all
be brought and deposited in Mr. Perkins's barn at night, with a note
accompanying it, that the robbers, having no use for it, wished it
distributed to those to whom it belonged; which, becoming known to the
villagers, there was a throng for hours at the barn next day, --one
recognizing and claiming this silver spoon,--some old watch--this watch
chain--that silver snuff-box (with the snuff and the veritable "bean"
in it), as the owner said, and so on and so on, together with a few
valuable books, all small articles, and many of them ladies' ornaments.
How they came to the barn, is, I suppose, a mystery still to the

Mr. Perkins returned with the money, was paid back all that had been
robbed from him, and the teacher insisted that he should take a hundred
dollars more. The teacher paid his bills in town, being all the time
closely watched by some two of us, and the residue of the money was put
into my hands. A strict oath of eternal secrecy was taken by Perkins
and the other four gentlemen, on account of the penitent young farmer.
(I wish I dare to tell what has become of him, but it might lead to his
identification. Suffice it that he was, when I last heard about him,
only a year and a half ago, regarded as the finest and best young man
anywhere to be found. He had married a niece of Mr. Perkins, by the
way. And here, perhaps, I ought to say that "Perkins" is not the proper
name of my friend, but one I have used for convenience; for it would be
a wretched thing to do to give any clew to the young farmer's

Finally, all being settled, the music teacher consenting to the
suggestion of the committee that I should be paid out of his funds one
thousand dollars, then and there, and I keeping the rest of his money,
we bade our friends good by, and started on our way to Pittsburg. I had
no trouble with the teacher on my way to Cincinnati (it was given out,
by the by, that he was going to study medicine with "Dr. Hudson"); but
when we arrived in Cincinnati I took him aside, told him he was my
prisoner, and that I would give him a disguise, so that he need not be
subject to shame in case we encountered, on our way, anybody he might
know; but that he must submit to be manacled in travelling with me
farther, for I feared he would escape. He consented to this.

I started with him from Cincinnati to Pittsburg, and arriving there,
placed him in charge of parties at the hotel where I stopped. He wanted
to write some letters, he said, and I let him do so. One of them was to
the lady he had left behind, Mr. Perkins's niece. The letters could not
go till the morning's mail, and I could not, of course, let those to
others than the young lady go without reading them myself, for they
might mean mischief. Intending to take proper legal proceedings the
next day, I had him placed in a small room leading out from my
sleeping-room, and without a door except that into my room, and with no
avenue for light, save a small window at the top, divested him of his
clothes, which I put back of my bed, and caused my door to be guarded
outside all night. I suppose I slept with unusual soundness, for I
heard not the slightest noise from his room. On awaking in the morning
I called to him. There was no answer; and I jumped out of bed, and went
into his room, only to find him hanging, cold and dead, from a clothes
peg in the side of the wall in the room! He had somehow managed to
strip a piece from a sheet without awakening me, rolled it into a small
rope, and hung himself by this peg. He proved himself a young man of
spirit in his last act; for his legs were bent up to keep his feet from
the floor--the rope being too long, or having stretched evidently.

Such was the end of the music teacher; and not the least interesting
fact touching him was, that he was from one of the first New England
families, well educated, expelled college in his second year for some
"romantic conduct" which bordered on crime, and was shunned by his
high-toned Puritanic relations,--mercilessly treated, in short,--and to
this fact, I conceive, may be attributed his downfall in part. Mercy
and forgiveness, bestowed at the proper time, are among the best
preventives of a course of crime once entered upon.

The music teacher's letters were never sent to their intended
destinations. That to the young lady was very kindly, telling her that
his love for her was an infatuation, from which he had broken away;
that they were not suited to live together after all; that she would
probably never hear from him again, for years at least (!), and that he
hoped her every joy. I did not think it best to forward it to her. She
married, in a year or two after his "desertion," to a fine man, so "Mr.
Perkins," when I last saw him, told me, and was very happy, and still
in blissful ignorance of the fate of the "heartless" but brilliant
music teacher, and finally brave (?) suicide.





"Sir, can you come right down at once to the ---- Bank?" (It was and is
in Wall Street.) "Mr. ---- (the president) wants to see you if
possible," exclaimed a messenger, one day, less than ten years ago, as
he bolted into my office in great haste; and this was the opening to me
of a case in which I did, perhaps, more hard work than I ever performed
in working out any other case.

"No, I can't go now; don't think I can get there to-day. I've too much
to do; but what's the trouble?"

"O, dear, I can't tell you that. I only, know that Mr. ----, the
president, is greatly excited, and he told me to be sure to bring you
now; to hunt after you if you were not here, and bring you at any rate."

"Well, if it is so urgent a matter, I must run down there for a
minute--say that I'll be there in a half hour, if possible; if not, in
an hour, say. I've documents here that _must_ be finished and sent off
before I stir," said I; and an hour or so brought me to the bank,
between four and five o'clock of the afternoon. It was closed, of
course, for banking purposes, but the watching janitor hardly waited
for ordinary ceremony before I was half-dragged into the entrance-way.
The president at once took me to the private or directors' room, and
told me that a half hour before sending for me they had missed a bag
containing ten thousand dollars in gold, that every search had been
made for it, and that one of the clerks thought he recollected
something having been said by somebody that day about that bag. He even
thought somebody had taken it up or out in his presence, but his
impression was like a dim recollection of things passed twenty years
ago, and this was all the president could say about it. The making up
of the books, balancing accounts, etc., had kept the clerks after
banking hours, as usual, and he had sent for me as soon as possible,
thinking that I might devise some theory to account for the lost gold,
and that promptness was the best course.

I asked if there had been much business done there that day, and I
found that they had been unusually occupied. I learned the location of
the bag in the big safe, and saw that no thief could have come slyly in
and got to the safe without being detected, so numerous were the
clerks, some of whom were constantly behind the desks, back of which
the thief would have to go. There was no clerk whom the president dare
suspect. They were all well tried young men, in whom every confidence
had heretofore been reposed, and who had ever proved worthy of the
trust placed in them. Besides, none of them, except at noon, when they
had gone out to lunch, not singly, but two together at least, had been
out of the bank since morning, and it was sure that the bag was in the
safe that morning. In fact, it had then been brought there from the
vault, with other moneys; so that to suspect any one, rendered it
necessary to suspect another in concert with him. Moreover, if one had
been in concert with a thief, who had come in to receive the bag, he
could hardly have taken the bag out without some one's noticing him.

With these reflections and my examinations, I candidly told the
president that it would cost too much to work up the case on any theory
which I could conceive of; that his only hope was in waiting for
something to be disclosed by accident, perhaps; but that he probably
would never hear of the money, or know any more about the matter than
he now knew, unless this suspicion of mine should happen to be correct
(but how could we be sure of that?), namely, that the abstraction of
this gold was the work of some bold thief, who, having studied the
place, and giving himself a clerkly style, had suddenly dropped in when
the bank was full of customers and the clerks much occupied, and passed
himself off for one of them for a few seconds, taken the bag, and
walked off with it as coolly as he came in.

But the president, and I too, after surveying matters again, conceived
that an impossibility--"almost"--still there _was_ the barest
possibility that such might have been the fact. But if it were, how get
a clew to the thief? How ever identify one dollar, or rather a single
one of the ten dollar pieces? (for it was all in ten dollar pieces, in
rolls: a heavy bag to snatch and carry away unperceived). There was a
serious difficulty in that.

Of course I made the minutest inquiry as to the style of the bag, and
was shown three or four which were said to be exactly like it, and took
down upon my diary a copy of the special marks upon these. But I kept
thinking all the while that it was folly to do this; and I dismissed
reasoning upon the subject, and thought I might as well "trust luck" as
to refuse to, especially as the president, in his urgency, said if I
would "scour the city thoroughly," he would pay me so much a day for my
time, for a given number of days, and that if I found any of the money
I might have half of it besides. I told him his offer was hardly
acceptable professionally; that I had my certain charges for my work by
the day, dependent in amount a little upon the nature of the case, and
that that would satisfy me; and that although I had about as much
confidence in finding out the thief, or discovering the money, as I
would have in labelling a plank "Philadelphia," and throwing it into
the bay at ebb tide, with the expectation it would float directly to
the "City of Brotherly Love," and land itself duly; yet I would try.

"Well, that's all I can ask. 'Try' that's the word," said the
president; "and allow me to say that I know that _means_ something with
you, and I cannot say why I feel a confidence that you will succeed,
for everything seems to be against us. Yet I _do_ feel that success in
part, at least, will be yours. We shall hear where that money has gone
to, even if we cannot secure a dollar of it. But there must nothing be
said outside of the bank. I cautioned the clerks before you came; for
in my whole life I have never been more ashamed of anything than of
this loss, whether it is the theft of one person, clerk, or what not,
or another: and if it should be the fact that this is only one of those
bold robberies which have sometimes taken place, I should feel more
chagrined than ever."

So I was to keep the matter a profound secret, at any rate; which is
the reason why I may not at least introduce a name or two, which I
should, for some reasons, be pleased to make public.

It is not a wise thing for a bank to make known to the public a loss of
the kind. It looks like negligence in the conduct of its affairs. The
public, too, would be disposed to think, even when the truth is told,
that the statement is intended to cover the fact of a greater loss, or
that a defalcation for example, instead of a robbery, has taken place.
There is nothing like an _esprit de corps_ among banks. Each acts for
itself,--mercilessly, as regards every other bank,--unless, perhaps,
when some question of a proposed general tax, which may be thought too
high, is mooted; and each must look out for its reputation for
soundness with scrupulous care.

Time went on, and, engrossed in other affairs, I paid but little heed
to this, comparatively, though I did "try." My first step was to visit
several of the rag-gatherers and purchasers about the city, and offer a
large reward to each of them should he chance to become possessed of a
peculiarly marked bag (which I described), in such a manner as to be
able to trace its history into his hands. In this way I made
"detectives" of quite a number of persons. I suspected that the thief
would, of course, destroy the bag, yet I thought it possible that, in
the flush of his success, he might throw it by, and that with other
things--old papers perhaps--it might get to the old rag and paper men's
hands. Besides, I visited certain points where thieves resort, and
certain gambling saloons, with the intent of seeing if anybody there
was peculiarly "flush" with gold, and I secured the assistance of
certain brethren of the profession to the same end. But I could learn
of nobody who seemed to have had a "windfall" of late, and it was so
long before I got the slightest report from any of the rag-men, that,
when I did, I suspected that the money would be dissipated, or so
"scattered to the four winds," even if it led to the fastening of
suspicion upon somebody, that I had but little impulse to pursue the

But finally, a dealer in rags sought me, saying that he had come across
the bag in question, he thought, but that it was not in his possession,
and he had not thought it best to try to get hold of it till I had seen
it. It was in an up-town carriage-house, the latter belonging to one of
the old aristocracy, and he suspected the bag belonged to the coachman.
He had been called into the house, in the prosecution of his business,
to buy several bags of old rags, paper, etc., and as the rags, old
clothes, etc., were promiscuously thrown together into the bags,
without reference to color or quality, it was difficult to put a price
upon them; the white ones predominating, the housekeeper would not sell
them for the price he would give for unassorted rags, and so the bags
were taken to the carriage-house, to be assorted and weighed there.
While engaged with the stable-man and one of the servant girls in
running over the rags, his eye happened to light upon a bag tied with a
string, and hanging on a peg, which he saw, by a peculiar mark, must be
like the one I had described to him so long before; and he asked the
stable-man what was kept in that bag hung up so nicely, and got the
reply that it held some of the coachman's knickknacks; and he thought
best, to make no further inquiries then; but, putting his hand upon it,
he found it held several things which "felt hard, like iron;" and this
was all he knew about it, save that he, at the time he felt of it, took
occasion to examine the marks upon it further, and felt assured that it
was just the bag in question. He was quite enthusiastic over his
discovery, and wished me to go at once, and look for myself.

But I could not leave that day, and making an appointment with him for
the next day, met him as agreed, and proceeded to the carriage house.
Fortunately we got in, without being under the necessity of asking to
have the gate opened, as we watched an opportunity when the carriage
was about being driven out. My friend the rag-man engineered the
_entree_ under my instructions, referring to his having assorted rags
there a day or two before, and easily got on the good side of the
coachman, while I looked after the bag, which my friend had told me
where to find without trouble. I made up my mind instantly that that
was the bag in question, and sitting down lazily on a box in the
carriage-house, got into a good-natured talk with the coachman. It was
easy to be seen that he was an innocent enough fellow, and could never
have been guilty of the robbery, or of complicity therein. But I was at
a loss to know how to approach him on the subject of the bag. At last I
got up and walked about, and surveying the things,--various carriages,
light buggies, harnesses, etc., in the barn, which the coachman was
pleased enough to hear me compliment on their order and neatness,
etc.,--I at length listlessly approached the bag, and taking hold of
it, said, "Well, that's a funny mark--coat of arms, I 'spose?" giving
the coachman a slight wink.

He laughed in his easy-going way, and said, "You're disposed to joke, I
see. No, that's not _my_ coat of arms; I could not afford it--he! he!
he!--but it's my bag, I confess."

"I've got one just like it at home," said I; "pretty good bag to wear.
I wonder where a fellow could get another like it?"

"I don't know. I got that off a heap of rags, in a cart that was
standing on the corner here one morning, two or three weeks ago,--gave
the boy six cents for it. Don't know where you could get another."

"What will you take for it?"

"He! he! _hee!_" exclaimed the coachman, bursting with laughter, as if
I had said a comical thing. "Why, do you take me for a rag-dealer? he!
he! he! I wouldn't sell it for nothing; but do you want it much?"

"O, no, not much, but I should like it? want it badly enough to pay you
for it--what you've a mind to ask."

"Wal, I'll give it to you. I thought that morning I wanted it to put
screws and bolts in, but I've got a nice stand here since, and I can
throw 'em in the drawer," as he pointed out the "stand," and proceeded
to take down the bag and pour the bolts, etc., into the drawer, and
handing the bag to me, said, "Here, I'll make you a present of this
'ere thing,--he! he! hee!" I took it, of course, and thanked him.

Having got the bag into my possession, I asked him if he ever saw the
man before of whom he bought the bag.

"'Twasn't a man, but a boy, that goes by here, every few days, with a

"Would you know him anywhere you might see him?"

"Yes, he's got a curious look about him that everybody would remember."

"You've seen him often?"

"Yes. I have seen him go by here ever so many times within a year."

"Well, I want to find him; and can I hire you to go with me to-day and
pick him out? I'll take you among the rag-pickers, and I will pay you

"He! he! _hee!_ That's funny that you want to find that nasty-looking
chap. Yes, I'll go with you now,--in ten minutes, if 'tain't too fur."

"We can go in an hour; but perhaps 'twon't be the best time to find
him. He may be out, and we shall not know whom to inquire for; and if
we get on track of anybody that we think is he, may be you'll have to
go again to-morrow. They'll tell us when he'll be apt to be found at

"I'd know him by his dog, say nothing of himself," interposed the
coachman. "Yes, I'll go;" and the coachman got ready, and we started
off for Sixty-second Street, where there were then a number of low
houses, occupied by rag-pickers. I thought I would go up instead of
down in the city, as the coachman said the loaded cart of the rag-man
was headed that way. We took a Fourth Avenue car, and had not gone more
than half way to our point of destination, when the coachman, who was
standing on the platform, having given his seat to a lady, violently
pulled the bell, and called to me: "See here, mister" (for I had given
him no name as yet), "here's the very fellow we're after;" and I got
out with him, and he ran to catch the rag-man, whom we had just past,
and I came up as he had stopped him.

"This is the man, and that's the tarnal striped dog I told you of. See
here" (to the rag-man); "this man wants to see you."

The rag-man looked at me with wonder and some expression of fear. "Let
him see me, then, if he wants to," he muttered; "no _great_ sight, I

"Yes, I wished to see you a minute," said I; "and I wanted to talk with
you. I won't hinder you long, and will give you twenty-five cents an
hour for the time I hinder you. Here, take that to begin with,"
slipping a new twenty-five cent piece of silver into his hand. The
rag-man's eyes glistened, and he looked up with an air of mingled
surprise and gratitude.

"Your route" (for all these fellows have routes of their own, which
they observe with as much honor among themselves as bakers and milkmen,
never trespassing on each other),--"your route lies, when you go up,
along such and such streets?"--naming some.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, did you ever see this man before?" pointing to the coachman.

He eyed him carefully, and replied, "'Pears to me I have; but I dunno."

"Well, did you ever see this bag?" I asked, taking it from my pocket,
and handing it to him.

He looked at it but an instant, and said, "Yes; and I guess that's the
man that give me six cents for it; yes, that _is_ the man."

"Well, my good fellow," said I, "I want to find out where you bought
it. That's what I hunted you up to inquire about. I want to find the
man that sold it to you."

The rag-man's memory was good, and he told me where he got the bag. It
was among the last things he purchased the day he sold it to the
coachman; and there was something about it peculiar, in this, that the
rag-man, grumbling a little at the price he had paid for a few pounds
of rags,--some few cents,--the old woman of whom he bought them threw
that in, and told him to "go 'long."

I dismissed the coachman, offering to pay him for his time, but he
would take nothing; and I went on with the rag-man and his striped dog.
But it was slow work, and we had some distance to go; so I assisted him
in getting his cart and dog housed in a livery stable on our course,
and took the cars, and soon found the old woman, a gatherer up of old
odds and ends, living in Bayard Street, just out of the Bowery. She
traded a "good deal," she said, "with William, here" (the rag-man),
"off and on."

I brought the matter of the bag to her notice. She remembered it well;
and the next thing was to ask where she got it. That she could tell me,
too. She had a daughter living in a building in Pine Street, below
William, and it was she who sold it to her mother, with a lot of old
rags and papers. "It comed to me," said she, "in the pile I had from

On inquiry, I found that the purchase had been made, as near as I could
calculate, about three days after the robbery. I employed the old woman
to go down to introduce me to her daughter, whom I found to be a very
good, honest woman, who got a living by cleaning down-town offices,
while her husband did a little private watching, now and then, and
helped "along shore" a little.

The woman being introduced to me by her mother, who said I was an old
friend of hers (as I had asked her to; for I had given her some slight
hint of why I wanted to learn where the daughter got the bag, and had
paid her beforehand for her time in waiting on me), made ready reply to
my queries.

"Yes, yes; now I do remember," said she, scratching her forehead in a
peculiar way with her stubbed fingers, "where I got that; it was that
sassy brat in ----'s office gin it to me."

"Where's that?"

Her reply gave me the number of a broker's office in Wall Street, and
things began at once to shape themselves in my mind. If I had not been
a detective, I might have been surprised; but it was easy now to form
an intelligible theory. I did not know this man, and made no inquiries
about him of the woman; but I asked her how the boy came to give it to

"He ain't a young boy," replied she; "he's full-growed, and has got
whiskers,--side whiskers,--but he's full of old Ned, and acts like a
boy, poking fun all the while; and I call him a boy. Well, he gin it to
me one night,--let's see,"--and she went over the list of names of
offices where she had worked, and said, "Yes, it was Friday,"--fixing a
time just the day after the robbery. She was there, it seems, just
after business hours were over, to clean the room. Her day there was
Saturday, generally, instead of Friday, and she went three times a week
usually, and washed and mopped. Being a jolly woman, she was bantering
with the "boy" (clerk), as she called him, who had staid to lock up
after her. The clerk had thrown some old papers upon her, which he gave
her to carry off, and she'd made a wad of some of them, and thrown them
back to him; and so they had "smouched" each other,--as she termed that
sort of play,--when just as she was going out, the clerk seized this
bag from under the counter, and threw it, rolled up, at her head. She
seized it, and said, "Thank you; this will do to bile puddings in; I'll
take it."

"Take it, Sarah," said he; "and we'll call it quits for now," as she
left the office.

That was her circumstantial account. I was glad, of course, to find her
memory so clear. There was no mistaking that evidence. The next step
was to make the acquaintance of that boy, or clerk; and to do so, I
went next day into the broker's office to get some money changed. The
clerk was in; and after doing my business, I got into some conversation
with him,--for I had taken an early hour when I knew there would be few
customers in. I found him apparently an excellent young man,
good-hearted, intelligent, and honest, I thought. His employer was not
in; but I called at a later hour of the day, having watched the
premises, and seen the clerk go out on some errand, and got some money
changed by the broker; and I studied him as well as I could. He was a
wiry man, of medium size, with much determination in his face,
indicated particularly by one of those protruding chins, which disclose
not only force of character, but the ability to do mean, desperate

My mind was made up that the broker was the man who stole the
money--such was my fixed opinion; and now how to trap him. The clerk
was an honest young man; of that I was quite satisfied. The broker
could not, I thought, be doing a large business, and his face did not
indicate that liberality which would allow his giving his clerk (and he
had but one, in his little basement den of an office) a large salary,
and I made up my mind that the first step was to get the clerk out of
that office into some other place, by giving him a larger salary.

At this juncture of affairs I sought the president, and told him that I
had traced the matter into a Wall Street broker's office; but did not
at that time tell him where; that there was a clerk in the office who
was evidently a very nice and efficient fellow, and that I wanted to
get him out of there as the next step; that he was surely a good
penman, and probably a first-rate bookkeeper; and he must find a place
for him, and I would try to get him out.

To this the president quickly consented, and told me to call next day,
and he would have some place or other for him, among some of his
friends. We discussed what a clerk probably got a year in such a place;
and decided that two hundred dollars more would be bribe enough for
him. "And I'll do better than that for him, if necessary," said the
president. "Now tell me who this broker is, if you please."

I declined to tell him then, for I wished to get my evidence a little
more certain. I called the next day as he told me, and found that he
had been active, and had secured three or four places for the young
man, should I find it necessary to get him into one. I lost no time in
coming upon the young man that day, as he went out to his customary
lunch, and walked along with him, managing to address myself to his
jocose nature, and we sat beside each other on stools at the
restaurant. I went out with him, and a part of the way to his office
with him too, when, stopping suddenly, I said,--

"I must go another way; hope to meet you again;" and drawing my
handkerchief suddenly from the outer breast pocket of my coat, as if to
wipe my mouth, flirted out with it some tickets, three of them to
Wallack's Theatre, with which I had prepared myself for the purpose.
These were "complimentaries," with which I was not unfrequently
supplied, in view of some services I had once rendered Mr. James
Wallack, in a matter involving no small amount of jewels, etc.

I picked up the tickets as they fell to the pavement, and, said I,
"This is providential for you, perhaps. I see you like fun; there's a
good comedy on to-night; would you like to go?" handing him one of the
tickets. "And here's another; may be you'd like to take your lady."

"Ho, ho!" said he, "that's generous; but I won't take but one, for I
haven't any lady to take."

"Well, give one to some friend, and take him along;" but he declined,
and the upshot of the matter was, that he agreed to meet me at the
Metropolitan that night, and go with me. I told him to keep his
tickets, and bring along any friend. But he came alone, and I was glad
of it. The play was excellent, and between acts we discussed it. I
fancied I had gotten well into his good graces before it was over; and
when it was, we walked out, and along Broadway together, and stopped
once or twice and "lemonaded." The young man was temperate, as I was
glad to find--all the better witness--and before he reached home that
night, I managed to find out all about his salary, etc., and had told
him that a young man of his parts ought to have a better place. He felt
so too, of course; but said it was hard to find, as he had no friends
to help him. Unfortunately, he said, all his relatives in New York were
of the medium class of people in money matters; and his father, who was
a Methodist minister, and had some influence with his people when
living, had died some five years before, and these church people had
pretty much forgotten them.

I found that, from the latitude the president had given me, I could
offer the young man a salary that astonished him. He said he could
leave his employer at any time, with one day's notice, for there were
calls every day for employment by clerks. Suffice it that in four days
from that time I had the young man installed as bookkeeper in a house
where he got nearly double his former salary. Besides, in my going
about with him, I had fished out facts enough in the career of the
broker, his old employer, to convince me that he was all I had taken
him for.

Finally, I went back to the president, and told him whom I suspected,
and what my evidence was, and that I had not yet said anything to the
young man about the bag or about him; and we arranged it that the young
man should be invited to his house by me the next night; which was
done, and he accompanied me. The president had prepared a room for a
private conference, and after I had introduced the young man to the
president, and informed him that he, and not I, was his benefactor, to
whom the young man expressed his gratitude, I took up a paper from off
the table on which I had placed it, and under which I had slyly tucked
the bag. I had gotten the young man seated near the table. As I lifted
the paper, and noticed the bag with its peculiar mark on it, I said to
the president,--

"Beg pardon, Mr. ----, but this singular device excited my curiosity;"
and I took up the bag and looked at it. "Allow me to ask what it is."

"O," said he, "it's a sort of private coat of arms. 'Tis a little
curious, isn't it?" and he commented on it; and I, as a matter of
politeness, passed it to the young man, asking, "Did you ever see
anything like it before?"

"No, not that I know of," said he; "and yet there's something familiar
to me about this bag," and he turned it over. "No, I never saw this
device upon anything!" and he laid it down, and the conversation
dropped on that point, and we fell into conversation about his old
employer, the amount of his business, his habits, and so forth, and it
was easy to see that he had no great respect for him. Finally I led on
to the matter of having seen the jolly scrubber there, the woman Sarah,
to whom he had given the bag; and finding she proved to be all right, I
said to him, "Sarah gave me that bag, and that bag got you your present
place, through the kindness of Mr. ---- here."

The young man looked astonished, with a question in his eye, as if
asking me to explain----.

"Well, I will explain. You remember one day (fixing the time), that,
after office hours, when she came there to scrub, you and she got into
a frolic, and threw things at each other?"

"O, yes," said he, "very well; and I hauled the bag out from under the
counter, and threw it at her."

"Just so; that's her story too. And now I wish to ask you if you knew
how that bag got under the counter?"

"Why, certainly. Mr. ----" (his employer, the broker), "took it out of
his pocket a day or two before, and tucked it under there."

"What was his condition that day? that is, what was his health?"

"O, that was one of his nervous days, and he was much excited."

"What did he place this bag with there--what's there?"

"There's a shelf there; and the day I gave it to Sarah, I had been
putting some papers there, and pulled it out, and remembered it."

"Then he wouldn't be apt to see it, to remind him of its being there?"

"No, sir, not unless he stooped down to get something there."

It was evident to me, then, how the broker had forgotten it. We managed
to make inquiries enough to satisfy ourselves that the broker was much
excited at that time, and that he about the same time had made purchase
of some building lots in "East New York," on Long Island, for he
speculated in real estate somewhat, and was a pretty close man, and
"rich enough," as the young man thought.

We had obtained all the evidence we were likely to, and the young man
and I left, he being in ignorance of how and to what end we had gotten
that bag there. The next step was to get at the broker. We examined
into his real estate, and found the young man right in his
judgment--the broker was well off. We laid many plans; and he wanted to
secure the money, and it wouldn't answer to do things by halves. Our
broker was a desperate man, but a nervous one, and I thought the best
way was to take the lion by his mane. So, stalking into his office,--I
being well armed,--I invited him into his little back room, having
placed the president near the office, to come in a minute after me. I
engaged the broker in conversation for half a minute, and then suddenly
pulling out the bag, asked him (nodding my head towards the other
little front room where the new clerk was); and saying, "No noise,
unless you are disposed to make it," I asked,--

"Did you ever see that before, sir?"

He reached his hand for it, turning pale.

"No, I never saw it."

"Do you know whose it is?"

"No, I don't," half stammering, but with an air of decision. Luckily,
just at this time, the president stalked in.

"Here's a man who will tell you whose it is," said I; and holding it up
to the president, I asked, "Whose is this bag?"

"Mine," said he; "but the gold that was taken with it was the ----
Bank's," as he eyed Mr. ----, the broker, sternly; "and you are the man
who took it."

"I protest," said the broker, "that I never saw that bag before;" but
his manner showed guilt.

"Well," said I, "that's a question of evidence. Excuse me for a moment,
and be calm;" and I stepped to the door, and nodded to the old clerk to
come in. He came, and the broker's astonishment was evidently great.

"Did you ever see that before? and where did you first see it?" I asked
of the clerk.

"In Mr. ----'s" (the broker's) "hands."

"Where did he take it from, and what did he do with it?"

The young man told his simple story; and I told him we would relieve
him, and away he went, still ignorant of the theft, but probably
wondering what it all meant.

I then said to the broker, "You are most thoroughly caught. That young
man is only one of our witnesses, and he does not know of your theft
yet. You are surrounded on all sides, and I advise you to send your
clerk out on business, and settle up matters here at once. We want the
money back, and pay for our time."

There was a momentary struggle in the broker's heart. He was very pale,
and his firm set chin quivered for a moment. He evidently took in the
whole situation of affairs; but I thought I would not leave him wholly
to his unaided reflections, and I remarked, for it was all clear now,
of course, how the thing had been done:--

"From the hour that you personated a clerk, and coolly walked behind
the desk and took the money, you must understand that you were
known--recognized; but we needed further proof to convict you. The bag
has supplied that," (and I saw, as I spoke, that a light went over his
countenance, as if some purpose of his soul had suddenly changed). "Had
we followed you up at once, and found this gold, we could not have
identified it; and we have followed you, therefore, with tireless
patience, and would have pursued you for a year yet. You see your
condition. We do not wish to prosecute you criminally, unless you force
us to do so. You may have stolen the money under a pressure, or in some
hour of temptation, which would never come again. We want our money and
pay for our time, as I have said; and we do not propose to delay at
all. Do you understand me?"

The broker quivered for a moment. There was a struggle of pride in his
soul which he gratified with an oath, which I will not repeat here,
condemning his folly and himself to the "bottomless pit," and then he
sank back in his chair, and tears filled his eyes.

"Gentlemen," said he, "I give it up. You are very lenient. That gold
has cursed me every day. I was a madman that day. Had been drinking a
little. It was only one stout glass of brandy, though, for I seldom
touch a drop" (which I know to be true). "I had a month before read a
story in a London paper which ---- sent me" (naming a well-known broker
of Wall Street, who had gone to Europe on business), "narrating the
like exploit of a bold thief. I found myself often thinking of his
daring, and that day the fiend got hold of me. It was but the work of a
moment. I was near the ---- ---- ---- Bank. I stepped in, and saw many
there; stuck my hat in here" (within his vest, a small slouched hat);
"and before I knew it, the thing was done. There's my confession. Do
with me what you please. I have often resolved to restore the money;
but I have as often failed, for fear that somehow I'd get found out."

"Well, we are satisfied," said I; "and all we want is what I have

"Of course it shall be done; but for God's sake you must forgive me,
and forever conceal my name, for I never can do such a thing again. I
have suffered too much from it."

"The matter has been concealed from everybody except the clerks in the
bank, who are pledged to secrecy; not even your own clerk knows that
any money has been lost, and nobody but Mr. ----" (the president) "and
me has any suspicion of you. We wanted to get the money more than we
wanted you."

"I am ready to settle now," said he.

But he had not on hand all the money we wanted; but before two hours
were over proper deeds, in due legal form and execution, conveyed to
the president, in personal mortgage, at least five times as much as was
needed to make up the deficit in cash. This proved the most lucrative
job for me which I ever "worked up," and the bank got back all its
money, with interest thereon.

It only remains for me to say, that that broker became an "altered man"
in some respects. I did not like his countenance, and I did not believe
his expressions of penitence fully. There was a dark, bad "streak" in
his nature, I thought; but he has committed no more robberies, I
suspect, unless they were done in his capacity of member of the Common
Council, to which body he was afterwards elected, having left Wall
Street, and entered upon other than the broker's business, and turned a
ward politician. But let not other thieves, therefore, nourish hope
from the example of his good (or bad) fortune.


                    $1,250,000, OR THE PRIVATE MARK.



The "battle of life" has so many phases, and my own experiences have
run in so many channels, and my knowledge of human curiosity is so
extensive, and my desire in these papers to gratify the same so great,
that I am at a loss, as I turn over my diaries and notes of other
histories of the past years to-day, what to select from my notes next;
for, whatever disposition my publishers may make of this in the
arrangement of these chapters, this is really one of the very last of
them all in the order of writing, and one of the very last in point of
fact, which I shall ever enlarge from my notes into current narrative.
But my notes are so full, that my friends, after I am gone, should they
desire to put before the world a supplement of these experiences, will
have but little trouble--that, simply, of telling the tales in their
own style. But it strikes me that the reader must feel, as he reads,
something of the interest I felt as an actor, in part, in the scenes
which it narrates.

Of the "battle of life," then, no phase can well be of so much interest
to the great majority as that of money-getting. This absorbs
everything, and is, in fact, the great source of nine tenths, at least,
of all human crimes. But "money-getting," as well as wealth itself, has
its "different sides,"--its positive and comparative, I might almost
say, negative characteristics. Wealth, in one locality, would be
comparative poverty in another; that is, the amount of money which
constitutes a man "wealthy" in a far off country town, would be sneered
at as a very trifle in this great metropolis, New York; would hardly be
enough to support the possessor for a year among the moderate livers of
the city, with their luxury and indulgences, which cost so much more
than those of the country.

I said that money-getting is comparative also. It is, in this sense.
The envious wrestler for the smiles of the "Money God" has not only his
positive work to do, but often feels it as much his duty to defeat
others as to win himself; as the driver of the winning horse at the
races often succeeds only by defeating his competitor's
horse--"breaking him up," for example, by some more or less honorable
mode--any mode which the rules of the race do not absolutely forbid. So
in this case I am about to recite--the most wonderful hunt, perhaps,
and the most exciting and long-continued, and replete with ludicrous,
solemn, dangerous, as well as joyful incidents, which ever
characterized any cause, and was carried on literally around the globe,
inspired and sustained by the desire of a man, a rich man, not to
profit by it himself, but to defeat his enemy and keep him poor, that
he might not become a competitor with him, as a man of wealth, for the
smiles, adulations, and sycophancies of the peasant, and small farming
and mercantile population of a little town in England.

The name of this strange man was James William Hubert Rogers, which he
always wrote out in full, with true English pride, even when
subscribing the shortest letter, as well as a five thousand pound
promissory note. He reminded me in this of sundry gentlemen I have met,
of our sister city, Boston, who, proud of the "Athens of America," take
greatest pains in entering their full names--though frequently the
initial of the first, and the middle name, if any, in full, in the
dandaical style--in hotel registers. "J. Adams Bromfield," "H. Gray
Otis Ticknor," with BOSTON "displayed" (as the printers would say) over
as much space as possible, as if it would surely reflect credit on the
person himself.

James William Hubert Rogers was a peculiar man. I have thought that his
history, even the comparatively little I know of it, would be one of
the most interesting biographies ever published; but I do not intend to
give more of it here than will be necessary to make this narrative
connected and clear. Mr. Rogers had been brought up in moderate
circumstances, educated to mercantile life in a small way, in a country
place in Yorkshire. Prior to being apprenticed, at seventeen years of
age, to a merchant, he had constantly attended school from about the
age of six years; and whether at the "infant school," or the private
classical school of some pretensions, had been as constantly attended
by a bosom friend, just "one day and one hour older" than he, as their
respective mothers were wont to tell them. This person's name was "Ned"
Hague; (whether he, too, had a list of other cumbrous names I never
asked, but I presume he had, and I wonder such a burden does not spoil
the disposition of children--perhaps it does.) James and Ned played
together, romped, studied, and all that together; as children, were
inseparable, in short. The one, "Ned," was described to me as a very
handsome fellow, and very athletic. James was equally athletic, but was
less handsome in face; in fact, though his features were all well
enough formed, and there was a hardy look about his face, yet there was
a something in his expression of countenance which was at times very
repulsive to me; a dogged, unfeeling look, not simply spiteful, but
somehow of unwearying, cool-blooded vengeance; yet he was always kind
and generous to me throughout our acquaintance. "Ned" came into the
world under a little better auspices than James, that is, his parents
were a little "better off," and lived in a house which they owned, a
little more stylish than that which James's parents occupied, but
rented. However, James's father was a better business man than Ned's
father, and earned a larger salary. So things were balanced; but James
confessed to me that he used, on account of the better house, to be a
particle envious of Ned's condition in their childhood, but this was
all the ill-feeling he ever had towards him in those days. But James
went to mercantile life at seventeen; and a year after, "Ned," having
quite an aptitude for writing, connected himself with a small
provincial newspaper. The young men continued their intimacy, which was
carried into their love affairs as well as into everything else, until
they arrived at the age of twenty-three, when there came an
"interruption" of their mutual affection, which finally degenerated
into mutual dislike, and upon the part of James, whom we will now call
Mr. Rogers, into unforgiving, implacable hate. What was the precise
cause of this I was never informed in detail, but I learned the general
facts from a friend of Mr. Rogers's, whom I met in England some two
years after I first made his acquaintance. From all I could gather,
there was really no sensible reason for the great enmity which came to
exist between these men. But this is not a part of the story, properly,
and I must pass it over.

Years went on, and Mr. Rogers and Mr. Hague continued to live near each
other. The latter abandoned his steady connection with the newspapers,
though he continued to write for the press more or less, and went into
business with an old apothecary, and finally succeeded to his whole
business at his death. He was more fortunate, for years, than was Mr.
Rogers, who, however, managed to live comfortably, and to add
considerably to his possessions. During these years, and after their
quarrel commenced, the dislike of these men grew into a sort of silent
hatred. They had but little to say of each other, but what they did say
was crispy with bitterness. Those who remembered their early-life's
affection, were astonished that anything could have wrought such an
enmity; for both of these men were considered honorable and upright in
their dealings with their fellow-men, and were genial citizens, of
democratic tastes and associations.

But finally Mr. Rogers became suddenly very rich, through a legacy left
him by a quaint old uncle, the brother of his mother, who, in Mr.
Rogers's boyhood, had taken a fancy to him. The uncle was a deformed
man,--a little in the order of Richard Third,--and this might be said
of him, mentally as well as physically. He was competent to have filled
the British throne with more credit than many a monarch who has sitten
upon it. But Henry De Noyelles (for that was the uncle's name--sprung
from an old Norman stock) had curious deformities of face, which
excited great ridicule among the heartless. His eyes could not be said
to be "crossed" exactly, but something worse, and his nose was oddly
shaped, besides being very flexible, and it flapped about as if there
was "no bone in it," as the people used to say of it.

Mr. De Noyelles was naturally a proud-spirited man, who felt that,
intellectually, he was no man's inferior by nature, and his deformities
stung him to the quick. He was a great mechanic naturally, very
ingenious and executive; had a rare force for acquiring languages and
the sciences; and, driven from society by his deformity and his wounded
pride, he occupied his hours out of business with constant reading, and
his acquirements in literature became large. He devoted himself
considerably in his youth to mathematical studies, and had a great
proclivity to civil engineering. He inherited a moderate fortune from
his father, and after becoming of age, and feeling that he was
ridiculed among his fellow-townsmen, became morose, and learned to hate
all English people, and finally betook himself to the Continent, and
soon, in some way, attracted the attention of the Emperor of Austria,
who gave him place at last as a Superintendent of Engineers, in which
capacity his inventive genius served him, and in the course of a few
years he became one of the most able operators in Europe, and, enjoying
an interest in many valuable contracts, acquired, at last, a vast
fortune. Ill-looking that he was, there were elegant women enough ready
to marry him for his position and money. But he remained a bachelor,
partly through fear of women, whom he looked upon as lacking in
conscience, and none of whom, he felt, could really love such a looking
creature as he. But he had another reason, which would have decided
him, if nothing else had done so. It was this--and when I was told of
it, I confess that I felt more respect for the good in humanity than I
had ever done before. He said he was unfit for marriage, since he was
unfit to be a father; that it were very possible that a child of his
would inherit his deformities, especially that of the nose, and that
the wealth of all Europe would not induce him to be instrumental in
inflicting life upon a being who might suffer as he had done. Indeed,
he held peculiar notions upon this subject in general; and taking
Malthus's notions in regard to a possible over-peopling of the globe,
and the direful consequences thereof, as a basis to write upon, he
dilated his views into a small book, which, however, both the Catholic
and Protestant doctors of Austria so seriously condemned as heretical,
that he came near losing his official position under the government.

But I digress again. Mr. De Noyelles, or as he was called in Austria,
for his great learning, Dr. De Noyelles, fell in love with young
Rogers, because the boy exhibited an affection for him, and never
seemed to be conscious of his uncle's deformities, but treated him as
affectionately and obediently as he did his own handsome mother, and
noble-looking, symmetrical father, or anybody else. Mr. Rogers had paid
his uncle, at the latter's invitation and expense, a short annual
visit, for some years, and when Dr. De Noyelles came to die, it was
found that he had privately visited England, where the great bulk of
his funds was invested, the year before, and had made his will largely
in favor of Mr. Rogers, after contributing to sundry charities in a
large and generous way, and providing moderately for his sister's (Mr.
Rogers's mother) other children.

So Mr. Rogers got to be extremely wealthy; and though it was said of
him, by his old neighbors in general, that his great fortune did not
seem to make him vain as a man, or render him less approachable than
before, it was evident that he prized his good luck most of all for the
contrast which it established between him--now the man of abundant
leisure and great wealth--and Mr. Hague, still the plodding, though
well-to-do, apothecary. In various ways he made, or tried to make, Mr.
Hague feel this, but it would seem that the latter gentleman was very
imperturbable, and took things quite coolly.

Mr. Rogers set up another apothecary in business, at a point near Mr.
Hague's shop, and provided him with a large shop, with brilliant
appointments and a large stock, and he caused him to sell cheaper than
Mr. Hague could afford to. Indeed, it was said that Mr. Rogers lost
some two thousand pounds the first year, in thus going into competition
with Mr. Hague; but he persevered. In England it is not an easy thing
to draw away customers from an old house where the people can rely upon
honest dealings; but Mr. Rogers was bent on doing Mr. Hague all the
harm he could. Of course he did not let the public know that he was at
the bottom of the matter.

The apothecary, whom he provided with means, came from Liverpool, and
Mr. Rogers was at first supposed to have given him only his custom and
countenance in trade. But Mr. Hague suspected him from the first; and
as things developed, and he became sure of Mr. Rogers's financial
support of his rival, Mr. Hague whispered the matter to his own
friends, who came, to some extent, to his aid. So the competition
became spirited at last, and Mr. Hague found it difficult to contend
with his competitor.

Little by little his business frittered away, and he was barely able to
meet his current expenses. Mr. Rogers evidently gloated over the
downfall of his once bosom friend, now hated enemy; but he _said_ never
a word against him, seldom spoke of him at all. Meanwhile Mr. Rogers
surrounded himself with all luxuries; bought a splendid old mansion and
its magnificent grounds, which he greatly improved, and though not a
gaudy man, was vain enough to consult a herald office, and look up a
coat of arms for his coach panels and the trappings of his horses'
harnesses. He took a great delight in riding after his splendid horses
along by the comfortable, but comparatively humble, house of Mr. Hague,
and in arraying his wife and children in an attire too costly, not only
for Mr. Hague, but any of his neighbors to attempt to imitate. Mr.
Rogers enjoyed this kind of mean spite and low pride for considerable
time, but there came a turn in affairs.

Thirty years before these days of which I was last speaking, Oliver
Hague, or rather Oliver Cromwell Hague,--for he was named after the
great Pretender, by his mother, the stanchest of all Protestants, and
who was very proud of her ancestors' service under the great Oliver,--a
then quite thriving London merchant, went out to India to extend his
business there, with the purpose of returning in a year or so; but he
remained there. His brother Edward, after whom _our_ Mr. Hague was
named, conducted the London end of the business, and the house grew
rich very fast.

Mr. Edward was older than Oliver, and was at the time of Oliver's
departure a married man, and the father of some five or six children.
Meanwhile all these children but two died, and one of the others had
proved a wild, graceless fellow, and at the early age of sixteen, after
sundry dissipations, had fled to America. But little had been heard
from him by his family for years, and when Mr. Oliver made his will, he
had provided for this boy,--now man, if he could be found,--otherwise,
what would come to him (his name was Frederic), was to go to
Edward,--the "Ned" of our story,--mostly to himself, and one part in
trust for his younger brother and his sisters, for he was the eldest
child of the family. Mr. Oliver Hague set aside a certain sum, which
was to be used in the search for Frederic, if necessary. All reasonable
means of finding him were to be exhausted, and then, upon satisfactory
report to the court,--for the search was directed to be made by persons
"of good and faithful disposition," as the will read,--that its
directions had been followed unavailingly, then the property was to be
decreed to be Edward's, whether Frederic were really living or not,
Edward to provide him an expressed and generous annuity in case he
should thereafter come to light. The will provided, too, that Frederic,
if found, should give Edward a like annuity.

Great search was made for Frederic. I should say here that the senior
Edward and his son William had gone out to India to visit Oliver, and
had died there before Oliver's death, and that all the business of the
house of Oliver C. Hague & Brother had been really that of Oliver
alone, his brother having been contented with a simple commission, in
their private contract, expecting to succeed, at some time, to the
whole business when Oliver should die, as he expected, years before
him, as he was many years older than he. Numerous advertisements were
inserted in the papers of the United States and Canada, and every
possible means taken to find Frederic, even to sending a man to
Australia, where, by one account, it was said that Frederic had gone
years before.

A messenger was sent to the United States, too, with instruction to
visit the various cities, and to advertise as largely as possible,
engage detective policemen when practical, etc. And the messenger did
his work thoroughly as he went on. Months rolled away, and the weekly
communications of the messenger added no light to the whereabouts, or
the existence even, of Frederic Hague--they only gave assurance of
where he was _not_.

Meanwhile Mr. Edward Hague kept on in the even tenor of his way,
doubtless hoping that Frederic would not be found, or, perhaps, wishing
that he had "gone to heaven long before." But every day Mr. Edward's
neighbors grew more and more gratulatory of him on the probable fortune
coming to him, and his good luck of the annuity at least, but of which
he would obtain nothing till it was sure that Frederic was found, or
could not be discovered. Mr. Edward, I was told, showed excellent sense
during those days, and did not allow himself to be moved to vanity in
his hopes. As time went on he became, of course, more certain in his
opinion that Frederic would not be found.

But there was one man who took a fierce interest in this business. He
became nervous over it. His enmity towards many increased; in fact, he
began to hate the whole world, that it did not deliver up Frederic
Hague to life and light; and that man was James Williams Hubert Rogers.
He could not bear the thought that his old enemy, "Ned" Hague, should
come into the possession of a fortune reputed, at that time, to be
vastly larger than his own, and which proved, on the settlement of the
estate, more than twice as large as his, being, in minimum, two hundred
and fifty thousand pounds. There were certain contingent interests
which swelled it a good deal. A million and a quarter of dollars
constituted no mean estate, and Mr. Rogers could not bear to be thrown
into the shade by it, in the hands of one he hated, too. So he
interested himself in the matter, opening private correspondence with
sundry persons he knew in the United States, and well he got come up
with for his pains.

There was residing, somewhere in Vermont, a lawyer, who had interested
himself on behalf of persons residing in America, and entitled to
property in chancery, etc., in England. To his knowledge came the fact
of this search for Frederic Hague, and Mr. Rogers's interest in it, and
he managed, through some London friend of his, to have himself named to
Mr. Rogers as just the man to hunt up Frederic. "If anybody _can_ find
him _he_ can," so said the London friend. Mr. Rogers opened
correspondence with the Vermont lawyer, and the result was that, in the
course of a few months, the lawyer succeeded in finding Mr. Frederic
Hague,--"a sickly man," as he described him,--who, having been through
all sorts of vicissitudes in life, had settled down in an obscure town
in upper New York State. This man, the lawyer found, answered to all
the descriptions of Mr. Hague which had been elicited from the
correspondence of Mr. Rogers.

It was agreed that the greatest efforts should be made to restore this
man to health, and send him over to England to claim his property. Mr.
Rogers was more than delighted. He sent to the lawyer to have a
detailed statement made by Mr. Frederic Hague, and sworn to, as to what
he remembered of his life in England, and what experiences he had
undergone since, down to the hour; all of which was duly made out, and
forwarded to Mr. Rogers, who was perfectly satisfied with the same, and
indulged himself with secretly gloating over the terrible defeat which
was to come to Mr. Edward Hague, who, by this time, was confident that
Frederic would never be found; and he enjoined secrecy on the Vermont
lawyer; he wanted all the glory himself; and he wished to have Frederic
there in England, and present him to the commissioners who had the
matter in hand, before it was known that he had been found.

In his statement, Frederic had disclosed that he had married rather
late in life, and had a small family dependent upon him; and as he got
better, and was about ready to depart for England, the lawyer wrote to
Mr. Rogers, representing the dependent circumstances of Mr. Hague's
family, and asking a loan for him of two thousand pounds, and asking
also for a hundred pounds for his own services. Mr. Rogers thought this
moderate enough, and forwarded to the lawyer, through the British
consulate in New York, a check for two thousand one hundred pounds,
with the form of a note for Frederic to sign to cover the two thousand
pounds; and the lawyer and Mr. Hague appeared duly at the consulate,
and received the money.

It afterwards appeared that this Mr. Frederic received only one
thousand dollars of the sum, besides his expenses to and from England.
The lawyer made sure of the rest. The man went over, and played his
part as Frederic Hague for a time, quite successfully, and it is
possible that he might have succeeded, for he found several old people
who identified him as the Frederic, and were ready to swear to their
memory of him. But an old American friend and former schoolmate of the
man chanced to come across him when in company with some persons
interested in the estate he was after,--one of whom chanced to be
Edward Hague, who was himself deceived,--and the American gentleman
rushed up to him, overjoyed to meet him on foreign soil, exclaiming,
"Why, Dick Clapp, how _do_ you do? What on earth can have brought you
over here?"

Clapp was for an instant taken aback, but rallied, denied his name, and
declared that the American gentleman was mistaken, etc.; and this he
did, unhappily for him, in such an ungracious way, as made his old
friend angry.

"Dick Clapp!" said he, "I hope you are not over here on business you
are ashamed of. I swear you _are_ Dick Clapp, and I went to school with
you and your brother James, and your sisters Mary, Adeline, and
Isabella, in the good old town of Putney. Now, if you are here up to
anything you ought to be ashamed of, you should have given me the wink
when you denied yourself, and not acted so like a d--d hog."

There was no mistaking the American's conviction that he knew Mr.
Clapp, and Mr. Edward Hague called the man aside, and told him what
this Mr. Frederic Hague had come over for. The American was indignant,
and offered to prove Clapp's identity at his own expense; said he would
send over to America for witnesses to come out, and identify him, and
then went and told Clapp he had better get out of the country as soon
as he could, or he would expose him through the press of the United
States. Clapp defied him; but it was too evident to all present that he
was an impostor, and it is supposed that when Mr. Rogers came to hear
of the fact, he felt as if the Yankee lawyer had been too shrewd for

It afterwards appeared that Rogers had not been carrying on the
correspondence with _the_ lawyer he supposed to be his correspondent.
Some other lawyer had assumed the real lawyer's name, and given it an
initial letter of a middle name. The London friend had not discovered
or thought of this, and was himself imposed upon (he who commended the
Yankee lawyer to Mr. Rogers). So when Mr. Rogers afterwards instituted
proceedings against a certain Vermont lawyer to recover the amount of
the swindle, he found he had been dealing with some other man--an
"unknown" and unknowable.

Clapp got out of England at his early convenience, and the search of
Frederic was about being given up; but during the excitement in regard
to Clapp, an account of what was going on reached an old playmate of
Frederic's, living some twenty miles away from where Mr. Edward Hague
lived, and this man remembered that one time, when he and Edward, as
boys of about eight years of age, were playing in the loft of an old
carriage-house, Edward, jumping from a beam, had got his foot entangled
in something, and fell slantingly upon the teeth of a kind of
hatchel,--and terribly lacerated the flesh on the back portion of his
left shoulder, tearing the flesh, in fact, nearly off from the scapular
bone. This wound, he said, left great scars. He had, in after years,
frequently been bathing with Frederic, and knew that he must bear these
scars for life. He therefore wrote to Mr. Edward Hague that Frederic
could be identified by that "private mark," and Mr. Edward gave
publicity to the fact, and quite a number of people then called the
facts to mind.

It so happened that in the correspondence Mr. Rogers had heard of a man
in Missouri who said he was the Frederic Hague, and gave a pretty good
account of matters before he left England, and had told Mr. Rogers's
correspondent, a lawyer, of this very incident of the injury in the
carriage-house, and stated that he had borne the scars of it all his
life since. This had been communicated to Rogers, but the lawyer had
added, in his letter, that, on the whole, he did not believe the man's
story; that he had, as near as he could learn, been a gambler; had
lived much, too, among the Indians; was a drunkard, and much broken
down, and quite incoherent in his memory. Still he sometimes thought
that he was, after all, the Frederic Hague so much wanted, but he could
not conscientiously advise Mr. Rogers to spend any money on him.

When the fact of Frederic's "private mark" was called to mind, Rogers
again took heart, and searched his papers for the lawyer's letters, but
they could not be found. He fancied to himself that perhaps some secret
emissary of Edward Hague had been rifling his papers, and he got into
torrents of anger over it, till at last he swore he would trust no man,
and would go out to America himself to find Frederic Hague, "and
restore him to his lawful rights." His friends remonstrated, pointed
him to the perils of the sea, the sickly character of a great portion
of our Western States, etc.; but the hardy old man, for he was getting
beyond middle age now, would hear to none of them. He made his will,
left his affairs in good hands, and out to America he came, and it was
three days after his arrival that I made his acquaintance. He could
remember neither the Missouri lawyer's name nor that of his post
office, and it was suggested to Mr. Rogers by an English friend, whom
he found residing in New York, and who had been here long enough to
learn that there is a difference between the vast extent of the United
States and the confined area of England, that he had better employ a
man to "pilot" him about the country, especially in the great West; and
it chanced that, through an acquaintance of mine, to whom Mr. Rogers's
want was made known, I was hit upon as the proper individual to
consult, and Mr. Rogers and his friend called on me, and made known his
business, giving me a good part of this story as I have detailed it.
Other parts I, of course, obtained from others, for he did not, at
first, let me into the secret of his present hatred of, and his former
love for, Edward Hague. He was here as a sort of messenger of justice,
as he would have me believe,--and as I did for a long time
believe,--making pure self-sacrifices in the cause of right, to restore
a man to his rightful possessions, and "see justice triumph."

We soon got ready, and started off for St. Louis, I having concluded
that the best thing to be done was to hunt up that lawyer,--Mr.
Rogers's correspondent,--and to go on to the ground, and find out the
names of as many lawyers as I could, trusting to Mr. Rogers's memory to
recollect the name if he should hear it; and we were in due time the
guests of the Planter's Hotel, and went at once to prosecuting our
inquiries. I proceeded to find the assistant clerk of the Supreme
Court,--an old man, who had, since the territorial days of Missouri,
done service as a court clerk, and knew almost everybody of any note in
the State.

He gave us the names of all the lawyers in St. Louis, and in the
adjoining counties,--Jefferson, St. Charles, Pike, Crawford, Franklin,
Warren, etc., lists of which he chanced to have; and then named to us
all the lawyers in other parts of the State whom he had chanced to
know; but Mr. Rogers recognized none of them as his correspondent, and
after a day spent in this sort of search, we returned to our hotel, and
eventually sought our beds.

Finally, I was aroused out of a two hours' slumber by a servant, who
told me that Mr. Rogers wanted me to get up, and come at once to his

"Has he a fit?" I asked, fearful that the old fellow had got desponding
over our ill success, and worked himself into a fever, or something

"No; I reckon he hain't, massa," responded the darkey, opening the
largest mouth I ever saw, and displaying a set of teeth formidable
enough to frighten a man just awakened from sleep, "for he's up,
poundin' 'roun'; but I do say, massa, his face _is_ juf as red as if
he'd had a fit, or two uv 'em to th' same time, massa,--ugh! ugh!"

I pulled on my pants and coat, and proceeded to Mr. Rogers's room.

"My good fellow," said he, "I couldn't let you sleep any longer. That
infernal name has come to my mind. My correspondent lived in Warren
County somewhere,--Pinckney, I think is the name of his place, and I am
sure the old clerk read his name to us to-day, but I could not recall
it then."

I asked him _why_ "in the name of St. George," he didn't take his
pencil and make a note of this, and let me sleep till morning,
reminding him that we could not do anything till daylight. With English
stupidity, he said he didn't think so far as that, and didn't suppose I
was asleep, as he was not! And back to bed I went, without even
thanking him for thus disturbing me. In the morning we again repaired
to the old clerk, and found at last the name of Mr. Rogers's
correspondent. He was a very shrewd lawyer, so said the old clerk, and
I "wormed out" of him that the fellow was rather "tricky." At this time
I knew nothing of Mr. Rogers's affair with the Vermont lawyer. He was
rather ashamed of that, and I never heard a word about it till my visit
to England subsequently. It was arranged that I go alone out to
Pinckney, about twenty-five miles west, or north-west of St. Louis, and
I departed--found the lawyer; and I would like to give his full name,
for reasons which will suggest themselves to the reader as he goes on,
but the man is still living, I hear; has since been a member of
Congress (from another State than Missouri, however), and is believed
to be a very honest, upright man in his present neighborhood; and,
perhaps, he has properly won the esteem he enjoys. I believe in the
right and privilege of scoundrels to repent, if they are so inclined
(and here let me interpolate, that, in my opinion, if society at large
would recognize and _respect_ such right and privilege, many a villain,
who now preys upon communities, would lead a respectable life; and nine
tenths of the poor fallen women, now "hedged in" (as that piquant and
humanitary author, Miss Elizabeth Phelps, would express it), by the
unforgiving spirit of the times, and confined to the low estate into
which they are fallen, would abandon their unhappy mode of life, and
become true and pure women again; and many of them, too, become the
very best, noblest, and greatest women of the age).

Well, I found the lawyer; and such a man I never encountered before.
Affable, "good-looking" in the general, but with a something so
devilish about him--something indefinable--I have never met another
like him, save within the last year from this writing, when I was
closeted at the gubernatorial rooms with the governor of a certain
Southern State,--the keenest mere politician, perhaps, now on the
stage. I made my errand known at once to the lawyer, that is, I told
him that I came as the emissary of his English correspondent, Mr.
Rogers, and at the same time handed him a short note of introduction,
which Mr. Rogers had prepared just before I started. This was a
mistake; but I never suspected that I should find such a man to deal
with. As he opened the note, he turned his back upon me, but a little
too late, evidently, to hide an expression of triumph on his face. I
instantly suspected foul play, and as instantly put myself into the
mood to receive it.

"Ah, my friend Rogers has got as far as St. Louis, on his scent?" said
he, turning about to me. "What does he expect?"

"The note of introduction tells you--does it not?"

"No, not exactly; Mr. Campbell" (the name I had assumed, for the reader
knows, who has followed these pages, that I had been in St. Louis
before, and there was a good reason now why I should not appear upon
the register of the hotel by any of my old names); "but tell me what
sort of a man is this Mr. Rogers. I have never seen him. I can only
judge by his writing."

"Well, what do you judge by his writing?" I asked, resolved to tell him
as little as need be.

"I hardly know, in fact. Is he a pretty resolute man--man of sanguinary

"I am not technically acquainted with temperaments--couldn't tell what
you would call his."

"Well, describe him; is he large or small, red or black-haired; old or
young; hearty or ill?"

"You've seen a good many Englishmen in your life, I suppose," I replied.

"O, yes, sir; a great many."

"Well, to my eye, he's pretty much like all the rest."

"That's not very definite, sir; but I suppose you don't study these
matters of temperament, etc., as much as we lawyers do. It is a part of
our business. We must know our clients in order to serve them well."

"But, in this case, I don't see why it is necessary to know your client
at all. No matter who he is; all he wants is to find Mr. Frederic
Hague, and I have come to you to learn where he is, with instructions
from Mr. Rogers to pay you for the trouble you have been at, and for
whatever further assistance you may render him," I replied.

"Yes, yes; well--I should--should rather like to see Mr. Rogers first,"
drawlingly responded he; and I felt that I was in the hands of a
practised scoundrel, as well as a practising lawyer, and I resolved to
bring matters to a focus at once; and so I inquired, "Well, sir, what
is your bill for past services, and what will you demand for pointing
out Mr. Hague? Is he here with you?"

"No, he's not in this quarter now. I mean he lives in another State,"
returned he, hurriedly; for that word "now" had escaped his lips

"Well, I reckon I shall have to charge Mr. Rogers five hundred dollars
for the trouble I've been at. It has cost a great deal of anxiety."

"Why, sir, if I understand Mr. Rogers aright, your correspondence with
him was to the extent of only a half dozen letters at most; and you are
not sure at that, it would seem, from what he says you wrote him, that
you have found the veritable Frederic Hague. Suppose you divide up your
bill--charge some reasonable sum for the services you have rendered,
and let the rest of the five hundred remain contingent on your
presenting to Mr. Rogers the real Mr. Hague?" said I. This seemed to
open up to him a new vision of things.

"Well, I will," said he; "give me two hundred and fifty dollars down,
and I will wait for the rest till I produce Mr. Hague."

"Are these your best terms?"

"Yes; I must be paid for my services, and Mr. Rogers can afford to pay,
for he'll make Hague pay the bill finally, of course."

"I will report to Mr. Rogers," said I, "and will let you hear from me
in a few days at most," I said. "Good day, sir."

He bade me a very pleasant day, hoped I'd have a pleasant ride back to
St. Louis, and that our acquaintance, "so pleasantly inaugurated" (to
use his own words), would continue, etc., in a most fascinating way, as
if he felt that his little scheme for putting five hundred new dollars
in his pocket was already a confirmed success.

But I had no notion at all that Mr. Rogers would suffer himself to be
bled to the tune of two hundred and fifty dollars on a decided
uncertainty, and two hundred and fifty more, too, on another
uncertainty; and as that little word "now" had not escaped my notice, I
thought best to institute some inquiries in the village about this Mr.
Hague before I left. So, returning to the little hotel, where I
stopped, I inquired about the lawyer in the place and vicinity, and
soon found out who among them was this lawyer's greatest foe,--the
thing I wished to learn; and finding that he lived in an adjoining
town, about five miles away, I procured a horse and rode over there to
consult him. He was quite the opposite of the other in personal
appearance. Mr. John Howe (now dead, I hear with regret, for he was one
of those men who ought to live always) was a frank, open-hearted,
sturdy man, of fine intellect, scorning to do mean things, and was, by
nature, the uncompromising foe of such men as the one I had just left.
So I found him, and the more I talked with him the less homely he grew
to my eye; for I confess he was called, in the vernacular of that
quarter, "the homeliest man, by a heap, around these yere diggings."
But he was good, and that's "better than riches."

I told him my story. He wasn't at all surprised at the lawyer's
exactions, and told me that he doubted anybody's being about there by
the name of Hague. Said that he had seen a man in the lawyer's office
some three months before that would answer the description I gave of
Hague, as to age, etc., but said I would find he was known by some
other name; that the lawyer had doubtless picked him up on speculation,
having probably seen one of the advertisements, and that Hague himself
was in his power, and had probably been induced to change his name. He
said the lawyer had a plantation in Arkansas, and occasionally went
down to New Orleans. So that it would not be strange if he had
encountered "Hague" somewhere, and brought him home, and made a sort of
servant of him, while he was carrying on the correspondence. The man he
had in his office was a wreck, and in his poverty easily controllable.

Mr. Howe agreed to make all inquiry possible into the matter at once,
and I went back to the village; and making sundry acquaintances, I
inquired after new comers, and eventually found that there was
occasionally in the village, and sometimes with the lawyer, a fellow
called John Dinsmore, who, on a drunken occasion, two months or so
before, had boasted that he was the ward of an English lord, and had
large estates in England, and that he was going back, by and by, with
Squire ---- (the lawyer) to get his property. This was considered a
drunken man's idle boast, and would have been forgotten but for my
inquiry. I found out what persons had been most seen with this
John,--for I was sure he was the man I wanted to find--and left some
money in my informant's hands to encourage him in "the field of
research," and instructed him to find out in as adroit a way as he
could, where John could be found; and back I went to St. Louis, to see
Mr. Rogers. I told him of my visit to the lawyer, and its results,
without stating at first what I had subsequently done.

As I expected, Mr. Rogers was very wroth; but finally said, he supposed
he would have to pay the five hundred dollars; he had come too far to
lose his game now, he said. Whereupon I told him I hoped we should be
able to avoid the exaction, and "take in" the lawyer--play a sharp game
on him; and told him what further I had learned. The old man brightened
up, and said he'd rather spend two hundred pounds, in his own way, than
be swindled out of a hundred; and told me to "go ahead," and take my
own time for a while. I went back to Warren County, and got scent of my
man. A boon companion of his had told my "spy" that John had gone off
to the lawyer's plantation in Arkansas, where he was a sort of
supernumerary overseer; but where the plantation lay, nobody knew
within nearer than fifty miles; at least my man could get no definite
information. So I instructed my friend how to act, and sent him over to
the lawyer's with a statement that a cousin of his (my friend) had got
it into his head to buy out a plantation somewhere in Arkansas; that he
had a plenty of money, and wanted a good plantation, and would stock it
well; that he was coming down from Lewis County in a few days, and
wanted him to go on "prospecting" with him. Could the lawyer give him
any idea of where such a plantation could be found?

The bait took. The lawyer was not only ready to have good neighbors to
his plantation, but was ready to sell his own for "a fair price." Of
course this led to the naming of the place, and the time it would take
to go there. The plantation was in the vicinity of Gascony, Jefferson
County, on the Arkansas River, as my friend reported, on his return
from the lawyer's, and I felt easy. I rode over to see Squire Howe, and
told him of the situation of things. Meanwhile he had been active, and
had learned that John Dinsmore was the name of the man he had seen in
the lawyer's, and that he had gone to the plantation in Arkansas. So I
felt quite assured that we were on the right track. That night I went
back to the village--called next day on the lawyer, and told him that
Mr. Rogers would not pay him over a hundred dollars to produce Mr.
Hague; to which he replied, in a very gruff and decided way,--

"He can't have him short of my first figures; no, he shall not have him
now for less than a thousand dollars."

"Well," said I, "that ends the matter. Mr. Rogers will return to
England, I think, without his man, rather than pay you over a hundred
dollars. It won't be any loss to him, except what he has already been
at, if he don't find him; but," said I, "I guess we'll leave it this
way. You may hear from him again or you may not. He will not remain in
this country over a month longer, at most."

"O, he won't go away without his man," said he, with a soft, oily
voice; "he'll think better of it, and pay the money, before he returns."

"Perhaps so," said I; and I bade him a pleasant good day. We shook
hands quite cordially, and I got off to St. Louis as soon as possible,
and the next day in the afternoon found us on board the steamer "Pike,
No. 9,"--a Cincinnati and New Orleans boat, which had been run out of
line up to St. Louis, on an extra occasion,--on our way to Napoleon,
Arkansas, where we arrived duly, with no noticeable incidents on board
(save one, and that is the key to another narrative I may write out for
this work), "always excepting," of course, "as worthy of note," the
gambling, tippling, bowie-knife exercises, and so forth, by which
steamboating on the Mississippi used, more than in later years, to be
rendered "interesting and fascinating;" and the next day the shaky
steamboat "Little Rock" bore us on our way up the Arkansas.

We arrived safely at Gascony, and were not many hours in finding our
way to the plantation, and in the presence of Frederic Hague, alias
John Dinsmore. Mr. Rogers was a most delighted man, when, by sundry
questions, he assured himself of the identity of the man; but he could
not be satisfied till Hague pulled off his flannel wrapper (for he wore
no shirt, poor fellow, and everybody who can wears flannels, in that
region, in summer as well as winter). The dirty old wrapper tore into
pieces in the operation; and I dare say that Hague had not removed it
before in two months. But there was the "private mark." There was no
disputing that; and Mr. Rogers ordered, on the evening of that day, the
richest dinner ever cooked, I presume, at a country hotel in that
State. He did not forswear wines, such as they were, and both he and
Hague put me quite to shame with the amount of liquor they drank. But I
must hasten with my story.

We learned from Hague that the Missouri lawyer had picked him up at
Napoleon one day, learned something of his history, called to mind an
advertisement he had seen, took him on to Missouri, as he was at that
time on his way home, and had a written contract with him for one half
of his estate, if he should recover it. He had kept him there and on
the plantation in Arkansas, and sometimes wrote him, always
encouragingly, about the matter of the estate. Hague had got it into
his head that that lawyer was the only authorized person to treat with,
and he was jubilant when he found himself out of his clutches.

We were to return to St. Louis, in any event, to see after some
manufacturing matters in which Mr. Rogers had taken some interest, and
I felt, and so did Hague, that it would be well enough to have a little
fun with the lawyer. So, after we arrived at St. Louis, I went out to
Warren County to see him again, and told him I was ready to give him
the two hundred and fifty dollars down, and two hundred and fifty more
on his producing the identical Frederic Hague, if he would put himself
under bonds of five hundred dollars, or put the money in the hands of
the village landlord, to be paid over to me in case his Frederic Hague
should, under my cross-examination, fail to assert himself to be the
true Frederic Hague. He assented, being positively sure of his five
hundred dollars, as he thought, and I drew up to his table and
scratched off a short agreement, taking care to word it as indicated
above. He was to produce Hague within a week and a half or two weeks,
and I was to wait there or in St. Louis.

The next day Hague came straggling along, playing drunk, and told the
lawyer a proper story; and he told Hague his time was come--that an
Englishman would be there to see him, and take him home, to restore to
him his estate, and he wanted Hague to make some alteration in their
contract. Hague consented, but when he got the paper in his hands he
feigned crazy, had a fit, a proper one, and tore and in part ate up the
contract, and felt "relieved," as he said afterwards.

The lawyer caused me to be sent for. Luckily, as he thought, I had not
left the village. When I reached his office he took me aside very
privately, and told me the "bird" had dropped down upon him, all of a
sudden, in a very providential way, and that now he would show me Mr.
Hague, when I was ready to deposit, and he would do the same. The
landlord was sent for, preliminaries arranged, and Frederic Hague
called in. The lawyer questioned him before me, and he answered all
clearly, even to having a "private mark on his shoulder," etc.

"He's your witness now," said the lawyer, triumphantly, probably
feeling the five hundred dollars itching in his palms. And I commenced,
with confidence of success, for Hague and I had practised "our parts,"
and "rehearsed" to my satisfaction.

"You say your name is 'Frederic Hague'?"

"Yes, sir."

"How do you know?"

"That's what they call me."

"Ah! well, do they call you anything else?"

"Yes, sir."


"John Dinsmore."

"Then John Dinsmore is as much your name as Frederic Hague?"

"Yes, sir."

"Who calls you John Dinsmore?"

"Everybody here and in Arkansas."

"Who first called you John Dinsmore?"

"Mr. ----" (the lawyer); "he gave me the name--said that was my proper
name; and I've used it ever since."

"Who gave you the name Frederic Hague?"

"I don't know."

"Were you ever in England, sir? Come, now, sir, tell the truth, and no

"Seems as though I was."

"Seems so? What makes it seem so?"

"Why, I suppose it is because Mr. ----" (the lawyer), "has told me so
so often."

"Has he told you about one Frederic Hague, a man by the same name you
sometimes have borne?"

"Yes, sir."

"A great deal?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you have come to think that you are that Frederic Hague? Now, sir,
tell me if you dare assert that you are the veritable Frederic Hague,
the heir to the estate of one Oliver Hague, about which he has told
you? Don't let us have anything but the truth now, sir."

"No, sir; I don't say that I dare assert it."

"Did you ever have any notice that you were entitled to any property at
all in England, till Mr. ---- told you so?"

"No, sir."

"Well, do you now think you are entitled?"

"I don't know anything about it--"

"O, the fool," here broke in the lawyer; "he's stultified, or he's lied
to me. Here, 'John,' show this man the scars on your shoulder, and tell
him the story you told me about it."

"What story?"

"Why the story about the fall in the carriage house."

"Why, I never told you any such story--did I? I told you I had a dream
once; I suppose that is what you mean," said John, stripping himself

"There!" exclaimed the lawyer, "there are unmistakable marks; and they
tell, of themselves, how they got there--cut with hatchel teeth."

And John, alias Frederic, roared out, with a well-feigned laugh, "Yes,
hatchel teeth, in Bill Currier's coach-dog's mouth, down to Mobile!"


The lawyer looked confounded--and he put "John" through a severe
re-examination; all to no avail, except to force John into some rather
_bold_ species of story-telling.

The landlord decided the case in my favor, according to the contract
between the lawyer and me, and gave me the five hundred dollars on our
return to his hotel. I got Frederic Hague to St. Louis as soon as I
could, and we proceeded to New York. I let my friend there into the
joke by letter, and told him to make the most of the story for a month,
when I would return the lawyer all his money, except what it had cost
me--the matter of forty-five dollars--to play the joke on him, saying
that he ought to be willing to pay for his fun; and at the end of a
month, after the story had gone far and near, how the lawyer had set
his bait to fish out an estate for a client, and had lost five hundred
dollars himself, the money was duly returned to him through draft on a
St. Louis bank; and that was not the last I heard of him. But I cannot
stop to tell the full story here.

Mr. Frederic Hague, neatly dressed, and apparently in excellent health,
though by no means strong,--his nervous system having been shattered by
his rough western life,--and Mr. Rogers, after a trip to Montreal and
Boston, took steamer from New York for Liverpool.

Mr. Rogers was one of the most victorious, haughty-looking men I ever
saw, as he stepped on to the steamer's deck, with Frederic Hague by his
side. Up to within one or two of my last interviews with him, he always
vaunted himself as struggling in the cause of justice only; but at last
he allowed some remarks to escape him about Mr. Edward Hague, and how
chopfallen he would feel when Frederic should appear on the tapis. And
my curiosity being awakened, I sounded him considerably, the rest I
learned in England afterwards.

Mr. Rogers was very liberal with me, paid me very handsomely, and
treated me most hospitably when I visited him at home. But the poor man
was destined to lose his almost won, but foolish, triumph. Four days
out, Frederic, meeting on board a couple of men whom he had known, the
one in New Orleans, and the other at Louisville, Kentucky, he had
served in the care of horses,--these men were cousins, it
appeared,--must needs tell them of his vast estates in prospect, which
he was just going over to claim. These men were high livers, and took
along their own wines and liquors, and of these, with them, Mr. Hague
partook very liberally, got ravingly intoxicated, and howling about the
deck one night, while something of a breeze was blowing; and the ship
ploughing a little, he was toppled over the rail, as she suddenly
lurched, into the unquiet waters. Every effort was made to save him.
The steam was shut off, the life-boats lowered, and search made for a
whole hour, without avail. The darkness was too great to permit him to
be easily found, if he had not drowned at once.

Of course, Mr. Rogers went home a wiser, and perhaps better man. He
had, unfortunately for his pride, written a triumphant letter home,
stating that he had found the veritable Frederic, and that he should
bring him by the next, or the second steamer thereafter, and would then
teach Edward Hague good manners. But it was difficult to learn anything
from him, I was told, after he arrived at home.

The terms of the will were such, that the property went to Mr. Edward
Hague; and when I met him, he was living in most comfortable style, but
without any attempt at vain show. He was satisfied with his
possessions, and was not a little amused when I told him of Mr.
Rogers's personal exertions in America "in the cause of justice and
truth;" but said he was sorry Frederic had not lived to enjoy something
of life, and that he had no doubt Frederic would have been kind to him.
In fact, I found Mr. Edward Hague one of the most lovable of men, and I
confess that I think the property in his hands was made more useful to
a larger number than it probably would have been in Frederic's hands,
for he had learned some bad habits in America, among which was the
inveterate one of gambling.

I never think of Mr. Rogers without laughing; and so, with a laugh, I
leave him now, and the fortune, and the "private mark."





I was sitting one day in my office, about noon, in July, 1858, with
windows up, coat off, my legs sprawled upon the table, and fanning
myself for a breath of living air out of the sweltering atmosphere. I
had tried to enjoy my position (but there was no joy for me on that
day) only a few minutes, when I heard a strong tap at the open door,
and without looking around, I called out, "Come in!" with what I
suspect was a peculiar emphasis, for presently an old man stood before
me aghast, as if he knew not what to think.

"You are Mr. ----?"

"Yes, sir, the same."

"Mr. ----, the detective officer?"

"Yes, sir, the detective officer. But pray, sir, take a seat," said I,
seeing that the man meant business, doubtless; and I pointed him to a
seat near the window.

"What can I do for you, sir?" I asked.

"That's just what I've come to see," said he.

I scanned the man. He was evidently from the country. His manner and
dress showed this; but there was something remarkably intelligent about
his well-cut, smoothly-shaven face, which was square at the base, with
those wide cheeks, which distinguished so many of the rare men of
revolutionary days. Jefferson's face will give one a good notion of
what I mean. This style of face has gone almost "out of fashion" in
these days, only one here and there having been transmitted by the
sires of the republic. I am always attracted to these faces, and
although they denote firmness, amounting to obstinacy sometimes, I have
never found one not belonging to a man of unquestioned respectability
and probity.

"It's a warm day, sir," said I, as he took his seat; "and you must
pardon me for my being in undress, sir; but, really, I can't endure a
coat to-day. Wouldn't you like to pull off your own? Make yourself
perfectly at home, sir."

"O, no, sir; thank you. _I_ am not warm; on the other hand, I am cold,"
and the old man buttoned his coat about him.

I was surprised, for I saw that he was evidently healthy, and then I
conjectured that his frigidity on that hot day must proceed from
intense mental suffering, and I asked him,--

"Did you call to see me professionally?"

"Yes, sir; I have been recommended by my attorney, Judge Hoffman, to
call upon you and lay a case before you, which he says you may possibly
be able to work out; and if _you_ can't, he tells me to give up trying
further. He has exhausted his powers upon it, and my all depends upon
it," and the old man's voice discovered a slight tremor as he uttered
the last words, and excited my interest intensely.

"Tell me your story in detail, leaving out nothing that you can
remember, however trivial, and I will listen patiently; take your time."

The old gentleman, taking me at my word, and beginning with a "You must
know," recited his own early history, which had no bearing on the case
in issue, as I soon saw; but I let him go on; so much had his real
trouble weighed upon his mind that he seemed to think the line which
led to it ran through his whole life.

He was a farmer and a country merchant, who had, at the age of
twenty-two, succeeded to the estate of his father, who was also a
farmer and a merchant; that is, he "kept store" in a respectable
country farming town, and "carried on farming" besides, with the aid of
"hired men," whom he supervised. He was a man--that is, my visitor--of
more than ordinary information, probably a great reader, and at one
time the leading "Whig" of his place--the village oracle, in fact, at
whose "store" the country people gathered of nights to hear him talk
politics, and doubtless to debate among themselves the issues of those
days when Clay was the idol of the great, respectable Whig party of the
land. The old man was able to narrate a story with great fidelity, and
showed a mind well disciplined. I had but few questions to ask him, as
he went on in his narrative, and when he had concluded, I had already
conceived a theory of the case, which in due time I proceeded to verify
in practice.

He was then seventy-eight years old, he said; was married at
thirty-four, his wife still living. They had had one child, a son, born
in his father's thirty-seventh year, but who died at the age of four
years, just when he had begun to be most interesting, the delight, of
course, of his parents. The old man descanted, in pathetic terms, upon
his desolation over the loss of that dear child, and said it came near
bringing his mother to her grave; that she had never since been the
same woman as before; that she never laughed aloud now, as she used to
when they were first married, being then a woman of very jocular
habits, and full of boisterous fun. "Since then," said he, "she has
only faintly smiled, now and then, over something which pleased her
fancy or met her hearty approval. No ordinary occurrence can bring a
smile or a tear to her eye. But she is a dear, dear woman; and now that
a great grief is upon us, I suffer more for her sake than my own."

The old man's voice grew husky as he proceeded, and I confess that,
accustomed though I was to tales of horror, and feeling always that
nothing of a wretched nature could ever surprise or move me to deep
emotions, I felt for him nevertheless, and entered into the spirit of
his soul before I knew what were its griefs.

The old gentleman continued his tale.

"For some years after the death of our child my wife was disconsolate
beyond my power to give her any relief. She used to keep to the house
constantly; never went abroad among the neighbors, but treated them all
kindly when they called at the house, and with no diversion except her
household duties, led almost a hermit's life, avoiding seeing
whomsoever she decently could. I fitted up a little private room for
her, and beguiling her time with reading and with her devotions she
spent most of her days. I sought every means to comfort her; called
children to the house to play. She was very fond of children, and would
chat and chaffer with them to make them happy, as if she too enjoyed
it; but there was always a sadness mingled with her smiles upon them
even. But I must not stop to tell you too much of this. And now, sir,
in our old age has come a grief which weighs her down as did the loss
of our blessed, only child.

"I must tell you that, after years had passed, I finally induced my
wife to consent to my adopting a bright boy--a cheerful, handsome lad
of eight years of age, whose father was a good, honest laborer on my
farm, but had been killed some months before by the falling upon him of
a tree which he had cut. He having lost his life in my employ, I felt a
particular interest in his family, and having aided the mother to get
situations for her five other children, had defrayed her expenses back
(with an infant in arms) to her native place in Rhode Island, according
to her desire, and took the boy, of whom I spoke, to bring up, educate,
and establish in business.

"At first my wife, though she admired the boy's beauty and his manners,
which were very gentle, did not open all her heart to him, and had
misgivings that in her state of mind she should be able to do by the
boy as she ought. And one day, after he had been with us a few weeks,
she said to me, 'What if William should not grow up a good man?
Sometimes I feel, I know not why, that he will not. He is very "deep,"
and if his talents, as he grows up, should chance to take a wrong
course, he might be a very bad man, and it would break my heart to
think that we had brought him up in the place of our angel who is in
heaven,' and she burst into tears, and I consoled her; but, sir, the
terrible day which she seemed to then anticipate, has come, and her
heart _is_ broken indeed.

"I know, sir, you must lose your patience to hear me talk of these
things, but though I am old in years in comparison with you, yet it is
not years that makes me so weak to-day. I feel as if I were a hundred
years old, and you must pardon my imbecilities."

I assured the old man that I was far from being impatient with his
story, for I knew full well that he could never make me an intelligent
narrative of the facts I should need to know, if his business proved of
real importance, until he had delivered his mind of these special
burdens; and so I waited patiently to the end of his story, which it
took far more time to reach than I can afford in this narrative.

The young, adopted lad, William, it seems, enjoyed all the advantages
of the village school, and of the preparatory academy in the shire town
of the county in which the old man resided, and whither, at a distance
of some twelve miles from his own home, the old man (taking his wife
often) visited the lad at least once a week, and sometimes twice,
especially if by any means the old gentleman could contrive to have a
"business" excuse for going there, during the boy's whole course at the
preparatory school, so great was his affection for him; and, finally,
being well prepared, and giving high promise of becoming a great
scholar, and a great man, the lad, or now well-grown young man, was
sent off to college. During his first collegiate year he bore himself
faultlessly, and achieved a high position in his class, in some
branches of study being at the head. The old gentleman said that his
own pride was never so flattered in all his life as when the boy came
home at the end of the year and all the village was talking of the
honors he had won. He said he felt a relief then, as if he had a staff
well grown, and to grow still stronger and stronger in the coming
years, upon which to lean in his own declining years--a young
counsellor, whose judgment already good, would grow better and better.

The boy had always been good, courteous, and obliging to the old man
and his wife; but now, at the end of his first collegiate year, he
seemed to have grown still better, if possible. Vacation being passed
in perfect happiness for that household, the old gentleman accompanied
William back to college, the wife bidding them God-speed on their
journey, with copious tears flooding her face. "Come back, William,
just as good a boy as you now are, and I will try to be better to you
than I have ever been," said she; and William bade her dry her tears
(while his own blinded his eyes), told her that she had always been
more than a mother to him, and assured her that he thought of her and
his happy home a hundred times a day, and could not, he hoped, but grow
better himself every time he thought of home.

"We thought," said the old man, "then, that that was the happiest day
of our lives; and when I returned home, after seeing William back again
in the college, we talked over, day after day, the happiness of the
parting hour, and every letter we got from William, who always wrote
once a week at least, prompted us to remember that 'holy day,' as we
called it, and we talked it over and over.

"But the next collegiate year brought William home, with a different
report about him. He was still forward in his classes, but during the
winter term had begun to grow a little wild; had attended a
dancing-school privately, against the rules of the college, and had
begun to feel himself 'man enough to control his own conduct,' etc.
Indeed, on account of the expression of a great degree of obstinacy and
self-will, with not a little defiance of the professors on a certain
occasion, when they had thought best to gently hint a sort of reproval
of some act of his, William had come near being 'suspended,' as the
phrase is, for a while; that is, dismissed from the college for a
season, to return on conditions. But he was not suspended finally, and
had come home still a member of the college. But he had had a taste of
certain liberties, had learned to look upon some things, such as
'card-playing for fun,' and which he had been used to look upon with
horror, as a foolish, sinful way of spending time, as not, after all,
so very bad. But I need not recite these things; for his career was
from the good, gently at first, and by slow steps to the bad--much like
that of everybody else who has followed the like path. William did not
finish his junior years, finding it convenient to withdraw from the
college during the spring term (as he was, by the grace of the faculty,
permitted to do, instead of being expelled, in consideration of the
entreaties of his adopted father, the good old man, who had been sent
for to confer with the faculty). William had been engaged, with a score
of other students, in some mischief, which, though not seriously bad at
first, led to a terrible fight between these students and the
authorities of the college-town, or city, rather, in which William had
drawn a pistol, and attempted to make use of it (as he always claimed,
however, in strict defence of his life), against some of the opposing
party. But the pistol, being fortunately snatched from his hands, no
blood was shed. William would not acknowledge to the faculty that he
had been wrong in drawing his pistol with the purpose of making bloody
use of it, but, on the other hand, insisted that, under like
circumstances, he would do the same again, in self-defence, as he
claimed. The faculty would not yield, and permitted him, in conclusion,
to withdraw. And William went home, a somewhat altered young man, but
beloved by all the villagers about him, some of whom, however,
sometimes said, there was 'a great deal of the "wild-horse" in him
which has got to come out in some way, some time;' but they little
thought what lay in the line of William's career."

Having thus left college, the question arose, what William should do,
what profession or business he should pursue? First, he was inclined to
take up the study of the law, and entered the office of Mr. Mills, the
only lawyer of the village; but Mr. Mills was far from being a profound
or scholarly man, had but a meagre practice, and, on the whole,
William, who had read over Blackstone, Chitty's Contracts, and some
other works whose names the old man had forgot, and of which I know as
little, came to the conclusion, that though he liked to read law, he
should not like to practise it, and that course was abandoned; and
William, thinking he would become a business man, entered the old man's
little store. After a while he was intrusted to go to the city and make
the little periodical replenishing purchases, and developed great taste
and sagacity in his purchases. In fact, he had rare talents as a
merchant, and it was not long before a place was found for him in New
York, with a then ruling firm, where he speedily advanced, so as to be
offered an interest in the concern. He had managed to lay up a little
money for himself, but the old gentleman furnished him ten thousand
dollars more,--a large sum, it was then thought,--the villagers
thinking that the old gentleman was almost wild to part with that sum,
which would then have bought two or three good farms in the vicinity of
the village. Thus provided, William went into the partnership, and his
business went on flourishing till, at the end of five years, he became
the second member in importance in the concern; and though not married,
had built a very fine summer residence in the outskirts of the old
village, and filled and surrounded it with every comfort.

"I fear William Roberts is living too fast," some old villager would
say. "He'll make money easy and spend it as easy. Easy comes, easy
goes, you know."

"O, no, he won't. He knows the value of money," another would say. "The
old man's taught him that. He knows how to hold on to a dollar."

"You see," said the old man, with a curious look in his eye, as he
related what he used to hear (and sometimes overhear), that his
neighbors said, "that they always thought me, up there, a little _too_

But William Roberts had made money too fast, as the sequel showed; he
lived too high, contracted expensive habits, and, eventually, it got to
be rumored that he indulged sometimes "in cards for fun;" but now the
"fun" meant, the excitement of gambling for money. His business house
knew nothing of this, and were unsuspicious of it for a long while,
though William made large drafts upon it; but these not being more than
he was entitled to, nothing was said about it. But finally he insisted
on drawing at one time--when the house really needed the money to help
carry on its business--the sum of five thousand dollars, and was rather
curt and severe upon his partners on their remonstrating; and they
began to look about them, and came to learn of Mr. Roberts's gambling
habits; and, fearful of him, arranged, after a long while, to buy him
out, accepting his figures on demand. This was the most fatal hour in
his life.

With some fifty thousand dollars, cash in hand, Mr. Roberts could not
control himself, and, with the spirit of gambling upon him, rushed
deeper into dissipation--more deeply than ever. Together with his
gambling pursuits at night, Mr. Roberts went into Wall Street by day,
drawn there by the allurements of certain acquaintances, who presented
to him visions of stupendous wealth to be early won. Mr. Roberts was,
withal, a self-reliant man, and believed he could take his part among
the bold and fiery contestants of the street; and went into that
vortex, where so many brave souls have been wrecked, with greatest
confidence, only to find himself, at the end of six months, penniless
and poor, save in the country residence, which has been before alluded
to. He applied to his adopted father now; told him the whole story; and
evidently penitent over his wanderings and rashness, was again aided
into business in a comparatively small way. But his talents were good,
and for a while he pursued a line of success. But the old gambling
mania came over him again, and he fell; and this time deeper than

In his extremity, he had forged certain drafts on the bank in which his
firm did business, intending to keep all dark, and make these good in
time. Though they were not large, he found he could not meet them at
the proper time by the fitting deposits without further steps in crime.
So he resorted to the country bank, in which his adopted father kept
his funds, with drafts in the name of his father, from time to time,
which were borrowed and paid; but these came so frequently as to excite
the suspicions of the president of the bank, that Mr. Roberts was
getting an undue influence over my client, his father; and so one day
meeting the old gentleman (whose real name I have no right to disclose,
but whom we will call Mr. Brown, for convenience), the president said,--

"Mr. Brown, Mr. Roberts seems to have occasion to use a great deal of

"Yes, yes," replied Mr. Brown, "he is doing a fine, large business
since he's got on his feet again, after his 'failure'" (for it was by
the modest word 'failure' that Mr. Brown always referred to the
disastrous career of Roberts among his country friends).

The president, believing from Mr. Brown's reply that all was correct
with Roberts, since he, if anybody, must know all about his business,
he thought, said no more, and moved on. However, something suggested to
him, when Roberts came to present the next check, to make matters more
satisfactory to the bank, and to avoid any complaint on the part of Mr.
Brown, against whom the debit side of his account was getting fearfully
large, that when the day of settlement should come, he, Roberts, should
obtain Mr. Brown's power of attorney to draw when and in what amounts
he should like.

The president, on future reflection, thought Roberts acted a little
"nervous" over this suggestion; but Roberts's ready acceptance of the
advice caused him to forget it on the instant, and he had no suspicion
whatever that Mr. Brown's name was counterfeited on the checks. In
proper time Roberts appeared with a power of attorney, duly made, and
purporting to be Mr. Brown's, which was securely lodged in the bank.

By and by Mr. Brown, who used his bank mostly as one of deposit, being
then retired from business, and having money enough for his current
wants accruing from the rent of some two or three farms, and his
store-house, and interest on money lent to surrounding farmers, and
having no business occasion to often visit the bank, going one time to
the shire town on business, thought he would make a friendly call at
the bank for a moment on his friend the president.

On his calling, the usual hand-shaking and salutations took place, and
were followed by the usual gossip about a little of everything and
nothing; and Mr. Brown, who had been invited to a seat in the
directors' room, rose to retire, bidding the president good day. As he
was passing out, he spoke jocularly to the president,--

"The banks' breaking, I suppose, does not disturb _you_? Bank's sound,
I take it. You've got my deposits all safe as the rest, I dare say,
eh?" with a little chuckle, as if he thought he had expended a little
salutary wit.

"Yes, perfectly safe, what there's left of 'em. Can't tell you exactly,
without looking, how the account stands; but some balance yet to your

Brown thought the president was joking, laughed a little, and went out.
He had not gone far on his way, however, when, recalling the
president's manner when speaking, he began to think he wasn't joking.
But Mr. Brown drove on and on. At last he got to be uneasy, and
determined to go back to ask the president what he meant by that word
"balance." The president was surprised by the query, and answered,--

"Why, I mean that Roberts has not yet drawn out all your funds on that
power of attorney."

"Power of attorney? What do you mean?"

The president was confounded. He saw that old Mr. Brown was either
forgetful, or that there was some wrong somewhere. He caused the
cashier to look up Mr. Brown's account, and draw the balance, and
presented the same to Mr. Brown; who, in turn, was confounded, said he
had given Roberts no drafts, or any power of attorney. The latter was
produced. Mr. Brown could not believe his own eyes. So perfectly like
his own signature was that of the power of attorney, that he clasped
his hand to his head, and after deep thought for a few moments, said to
the president,--

"Well, I would not believe it. It seems like a dream to me. I cannot
remember when I signed that power of attorney; but I must have done it
in some hour of weakness for there's John Wentworth's name to it as
witness, and I know his handwriting well. He has borrowed money of me
often, and given his notes. But, see here, if my name is forged, so may
John's be. I don't know anything about this power of attorney."

The checks drawn before the power of attorney was presented by Roberts
to the bank were new to Mr. Brown. He was surprised by his exact
signature to these, and the filling out of some of them as well, in his
own handwriting apparently. But sure he could not remember ever giving
one of them.

"Do you think," said the bank president, who understood the situation
of things if these should all prove forgeries, and wishing to save the
bank from loss,--"do you think sometimes, Mr. Brown, that your memory
fails you at all as you grow older?"

"O, yes," said the honest old man, "I do. I find I forget a good many
things. Well, well; have I come to this?"

What occurred thereafter, would be wearisome to recite in detail.
Suffice it that search was made for Wentworth, the witness, by both Mr.
Brown and the bank; but he was not to be found immediately. His
signature was shown to several persons who knew his handwriting, and
all declared it his. Roberts, in some way, got wind of the old man's
having visited the bank, and he, too, was not to be found, and so
matters stood for a while.

At last it was found out that Wentworth, who had a pretty good farm,
which he worked only a part of the year, and occupied himself as a
pedler, with a wagon, through quite a large circuit of country the rest
of the time, had been taken to the Insane Retreat, at Hartford, Conn.
His "team" having been run into and capsized one night on the road by
another "team" furiously driven by some drunken men, Wentworth being
violently thrown against a large rock, head foremost, and receiving
such injuries as quite severely damaged his mind. He, therefore, could
not be "improved" to determine whether his signature was veritable or

Mr. Brown had, meanwhile, persuaded himself that the "power of
attorney" was a forgery; that he had _not_ suffered any such mental
weakness at any time as would have allowed him to give such an
instrument to Roberts. In fact, he knew that it was a forgery. Great
though his grief was over the heartless conduct of Roberts, Mr. Brown
could not make up his mind to tell his wife the facts. She noticed his
sorrow, which he, upon her frequent inquiry, attributed to bodily ills,
and time went on. Eventually Mr. Brown made up his mind that perhaps he
ought to be willing to bear a part of the loss; and after consulting
his lawyer about it, went to the bank, and generously offered to
compromise; to lose half his deposit, if the bank would pay him the
other half, or sixteen thousand five hundred dollars. But the directors
seeing the advantage they had of him, refused to entertain his offer
for a moment, affecting to believe the drafts and power of attorney

At last Mr. Brown broke the matter to his wife. She was struck with
horror; but in the end counselled him to let it all go, inasmuch as
they had enough left to "scrub along on the rest of their lives," as
she expressed it, with economy. But the manner of his old friend, the
president, when announcing to him the course taken by the directors,
had greatly piqued Mr. Brown, and he was determined to have all his
money at last. The great legal difficulties in the way were, however,
insurmountable in the opinion of his attorney, who had exhausted his
own resources in trying to get the proper testimony to set aside the
power of attorney, and finally Mr. Brown had applied to me.

I had heard his long story with greatest patience, seeing nothing
tangible up to this point to take hold of. Wentworth might not recover
in years, if ever; Roberts was out of the way, and would, perhaps,
never be found. All his neighbors would identify Mr. Brown's signatures
as veritable, and he himself had admitted to the bank president, on the
day of the disclosure of his claimed indebtedness, that he found
himself frequently forgetful; and had half admitted that he might have
been led to sign the power of attorney in some hour of weakness. The
case was desperate. I pondered it over a while, and finally asked Mr.
Brown if he could give me the _date_ of the power of attorney. He could
not. I asked him then to go to the bank with some friend, and ask to
see it, and note the date; telling him that this was the first
essential thing for me to know. Before Mr. B. left my office, I had
planned a course of operations, all of which I did not develop to him,
however. In the course of a few days Mr. Brown sent me a letter, saying
that the date of the instrument was the 26th of June, 185-. I turned to
my diary for that year, and found where I was on that day,--at Coney
Island, with quite a large party, who went down on the excursion
steamer Belle, early in the day, and were gone all day; and, as I knew
Roberts very well by sight, I was sure that I remembered his being
there that day. Light began to gather in my mind. Perhaps Mr. Brown,
too, could remember where he was that day; and I sent for him, told him
what I wanted to know; and he was sure, on reflection (as was
afterwards found certain), that he was visiting, during a week which
covered the 26th of June, with his wife, some old friends at Danbury,
Connecticut. So much being learned, I lost no time in hunting up
parties who were at Coney Island that day, and established the fact,
beyond doubt, that Roberts was there.

Next I turned my attention to Wentworth's case, and found that he was
at Philadelphia that day, and the day before, making some purchases;
and also found a letter from him to a brother, dated at Pittsburgh,
Pa., on the 29th of June, in which we found a statement to the effect
that he had left home on the 24th of June; had been in Philadelphia for
a day or two; had gone from there to Pittsburgh, and should be "back
about the 4th of July." We also found a man who had come on from
Pittsburgh to New York with Wentworth on the 3d of July, and who had
met him there several times a day, and for several days before. Armed
with these facts, we went to the bank, and presented our evidence
frankly, and were surprised at the officers' then refusing to pay over
the money.

Suit was brought by Mr. Brown for the recovery of his money, and the
bank undertook to keep it in court, thinking to weary out old Mr.
Brown, and effect a compromise, perhaps.

But the old man grew more vigorous and confident as court after court
sat, and the case was put over upon one pretence or another. But this,
after all, was no disparagement to Mr. Brown's cause, for, before he
could force the suit on to trial, Wentworth recovered his mind and
health; and being apprised of what was going on, declared that he had
not seen Roberts for several months before the 26th of June, and had
not seen him since; and knew that he had never witnessed such an
instrument for Mr. Brown. Wentworth also kept an accurate business
diary, which covered all the time, and corroborated the testimony that
we had secured of his being on that day, and before and after, in
Pittsburgh, etc. Wentworth accompanied Mr. Brown and his attorney to
the bank to see the power of attorney, and they were informed that it
was at their attorney's; but the officers would give no order that he
might see it. But Mr. Brown's attorney, conceiving that the bank's
attorney would not refuse him a professional courtesy, took Mr. Brown
and Wentworth to his brother lawyer's office, and they were at once
shown the document. Looking at it for a moment in astonishment,
Wentworth exclaimed,--

"No; that signature is not mine. The 'e' in the name ain't just as I
make it; besides, I haven't signed my name, or written a letter, or
made an entry in black ink, in many years (the signature was in black).
I always use blue."

"But," interposed the bank's attorney, "you may not have had blue ink
at hand when you witnessed that instrument."

"I tell you," said Wentworth, in a manner which could not be mistaken
for its firm honesty, "I never witnessed that instrument. I never can
use anybody's else pen, and I always go prepared," said he, taking out
from his side coat pocket an old, long, portable inkstand, with a pen
held in its leathern case. "There, I've carried that, now, for over
eight years, and I have never written a word from any other inkstand,
with any other pen but my own, or any kind of ink but blue, in all that

His manner convinced the lawyer of the bank that it was of no use to go
to trial with such testimony against the bank, and he very frankly said
so; and that he should advise immediate settlement, which he did; and
old Mr. Brown recovered his whole deposit, with interest from the time
he brought suit, and with sundry "costs."

But both he and Mrs. Brown declared that they felt no better after the
recovery of the money, for, after the struggle to obtain it was passed,
and the excitement was over, the heartless conduct of Roberts seemed to
oppress them only the more, and Mr. Brown, after a year or two, pined
away and died. Mrs. Brown is still living at this writing, an unhappy
woman, when I last saw her.

As for Roberts, it is believed that he is leading a miserable life in
the mining districts of California, under the name of William Simpson;
but this is a conjecture, founded on testimony hardly sufficient to be
relied on.

Thus were wrecked Roberts's bright hopes, and the happiness of his
faithful old adopted parents. Playing cards "for fun," at first, not
unfrequently leads to disastrous, deplorable, ends--to unalterable


                      OLD MR. ALVORD'S LAST WILL.



That "the love of money is the root of all evil," hardly needed for its
proper declaration a divine voice. The records of man's life and
struggles in all ages, in peace and in war, through the fictitious
"honesties" of business enterprises, or in the eccentric ways called
crimes, declare most emphatically that the "great good" _is_ "goods" or
their equivalent in the "representatives of value" which we call money,
in almost everybody's heart; and the sickening details of the struggles
for it, with which the detective becomes familiar, are so multiplied,
that one might almost write the history of current times, as well as of
that of the past, in one phrase--"Money-getting!" "money-getting!" And
the modes by which money is sought are almost as multiplied as the
persons seeking.

The fierce quarrels between members of the same family,--an instance of
which I have marked in my memorandum, to be presented in these pages if
space permits,--and the devilish "greed of gain" which pursues a
father, perhaps on his dying bed, and disturbs his last hour through
the contentions of his loving children, quarrelling there, may be, with
a step-mother, or somebody else equally "loved" by them, over the
"goods and chattels" which the expiring man is expected to leave
behind, have furnished matter for the satirist in all times; and most
fit subjects are these for the satirist's and reformer's pen. They
cannot be held up to too great execration.

The story which I am about to relate might, in its interesting details
and phases, be readily made to fill a duodecimo volume of several
hundred pages instead of the short article into which it is compressed,
so peculiar were the characters, and so beautiful as well as painful
the varied life of the chief person whom it regards. I find myself
lingering over it, as now I turn over my diary and note-books, and
recall it so vividly to mind, with the wish that I might, and with a
half-formed resolve that I _will_ at some time, put it in the form of
an extended narrative, so thorough a portrayal of human nature in some
of its best as well as worst aspects, would it prove.

I am frequently vexed that I may not use the actual names of the
individuals who figure in these tales. How many a neighborhood, or how
large an acquaintanceship with this or that character would be
astonished, if they but knew as they read that the subjects of this or
some other articles are still beings lingering in the flesh, and
residing, perhaps, next door!

I was telling a story one night in a stage-coach which was full of
passengers. I was more than two hundred miles away from my own home,
and over eight hundred from the place of the chief scene in my story.
The passengers had, most of them, been favoring each other with
"yarns," of more or less truthfulness, but usually untrue, in some
respects, to the actual experiences of life, and my turn came then. I
chanced to call to mind an experience of mine more than ten years
before. My story, I fancy, was of a more interesting kind than my
fellow-travellers were wont to hear, for there was the profoundest
silence on their part. As now and then the clouds which threatened a
rain broke away, and revealed the moon, I noticed that an old man,
sitting opposite me on the back seat, was all ears, all intent.

To make my story comprehensible in some parts, I had, in the early
portion of it, entered into a minute personal, rather, physical
description of the chief character of it, and a bad one. It proved that
the old gentleman recognized the very man, though he himself, when at
home, lived some fifty miles from him, and it further proved that what
that tale revealed led on to a course of affairs in which several
families were more or less involved, to their displeasure.

When we alighted, the old man took me aside, and whispered in my ear,
"That was a fearful story you told us, but I knew it was all true,
because I know the man that you called 'Jones.' His name is ----, and
he resides in ----, and I am greatly obliged to you for unearthing one
of his villanies. I can see now _how_ he has accomplished others just
as bad."

I tried to laugh the old man out of his notion, but he said it was of
no use, that he knew Mr. ---- only too well. I have ever since observed
a greater care in my general descriptions, and never forget that
distance of space or time may be no surety of secrecy.

In the town of ----, in the State of New York, for fifty years before
the time I was called to take part in the affair which is the chief
part of the subject-matter of this, there had lived a quaint old man of
wealth, whom his neighbors but little understood. He had had, in the
course of his life, three wives, two of whom had borne him children,
none of which lived but a few years, and the third had died childless.
But the old man, in his grief over the want of "natural heirs of his
own body," had adopted several children, one after the other, whenever
he lost one of his, "to keep the number good," as he said. The old
gentleman, whom we will call James Alvord, was born in Vermont, reared
in the strictest Puritan ways, and was bred to work. At about sixteen
years of age, I believe, he was apprenticed to learn the
harness-maker's trade, from which time he left off going to school; but
he was of studious disposition, and I was told (for I never saw him
myself) that he had aggregated to himself a large amount of information
upon almost all subjects, and that had he been an aspirant for public
honors and distinctions, his fund of knowledge would have enabled him
to cope successfully with almost any man in the State. But he had no
vain aspirations. To accumulate knowledge and money was his chief
desire, not to make display with either, but simply to enjoy the
consciousness of having,--possessing, it would seem.

The old man had not far wandered from the moral notions and feelings
which were inculcated or aroused in him by his Vermont education, but
he entertained some peculiar notions of his own. In fact, he was all
his own--all character, all strong individuality in everything.

Among his notions--perhaps I should call them his fixed opinions--was,
that it was every married couples' duty, if possible, to bring into the
world six children, and if they could not have them themselves, to
adopt as many from families that had more; for in his early days, when
he first imbibed this notion, it was no rare thing for families in
Vermont to count around the hearthstone ten and twelve children apiece.
Six is the product of two multiplied by three. Three, of course,
comprehends a "trinity," and upon the mystic trinity, so frequently
discovered in Nature, the old man built many theories. Three was a
mystic number with him.

"There are but three primitive colors," he used to say. "All other
colors are the results of the intermixture of two or all of these," and
so on, the old gentleman was accustomed to elucidate his "philosophy;"
and somehow he had so applied the mystic three to the matter of
parentage, that he had arrived at the doctrine noticed above, and he
was a man who most strictly observed himself what he was pleased to
teach others as a duty; and so, from time to time, in the lack of
children who continued to live, he adopted others. He did not seem,
however, in his "adoptions" to have observed much "philosophy" (the
word that was most often upon his tongue, and which, in fact, did
signify not a little of the character it intimates, in his brain) in
selecting the children.

He overlooked the matter of stock and blood, and seemed only anxious to
make sure of healthy children; which is not so much to be wondered at
in his case, perhaps. So that when these six grew up to maturity they
developed characters about as diverse as could possibly be found,
notwithstanding the course of their education, or rather teachings
(mental and moral) had been about the same.

Some of them gave the old man much uneasiness; and notwithstanding that
he had placed each in business when he had arrived at age, or had given
the girls each of them a good outfit on her marriage, yet some of them
were discontented, and thought the old man ought to have the grace to
die in good season, in order that they might obtain their expected
shares of property; for it was presumed by them that Mr. Alvord would
treat them all alike, and leave no will in fact. I should not forget to
say here, that there were of these children three males and three
females. Mr. Alvord had first adopted a boy, next a girl, and so on,

Time went on, and the three boys had grown to manhood, and married, and
two of the girls had filled out into mature womanhood in good time, and
had married. Mr. Alvord, as I have said before, had been generous to
them all, and impartial in the bestowal of his pecuniary favors; but it
would have been impossible, under the circumstances, to have been
equally respectful of them all in his heart, so diverse were they in
character. The oldest boy grew up to be a very respectful, but sluggish
and somewhat stupid man.

The second one became a tricky, crafty fellow, full of cunning wiles,
and was what the world calls a "smart man"--ignorant of everything but
business, and more willing to succeed at that through scheming and
dishonorable practices (safely dishonorable, I mean, for he was too
"smart" to do anything in which he was likely to be trapped; but
dishonorable, still, in the strict interpretation of that word; only
dishonorable so far as the laws of business would allow him to
be--which is latitude enough for most wickedly-inclined men). He left
the farm, for which Mr. Alvord tried to induce him to cultivate a love,
and had gone into merchandizing on a moderate scale, a year or two
after his marriage, and it was said at once of him that he could drive
"as sharp a bargain as the best of them;" a phrase in which "worst" is
substituted for "best" in the experienced hearer's mind.

His name was a peculiar one--"Floramond;" a name which his mother had
selected from an old novel, which she read while bearing him, and which
she made Mr. Alvord agree to not change when he adopted him. "Flor" was
his nickname, which he always bore in manhood as well as in childhood,
and it became a name in his neighborhood at last, which was a synonym
of craft and business meanness. "That's Flor all over," was said when
anybody, no matter who, was found guilty of some extortion, or
cheating, or grasping meanness.

While Mr. Alvord lived, Floramond took better care of his reputation
than afterwards. He was ever very attentive to Mr. Alvord, and never
lost an opportunity of demonstrating to him his industry and attention
to business, which were, indeed, very pleasing to Mr. Alvord, who,
though he sometimes wished Floramond could not be quite so sharp and
grasping, nevertheless knew the world well enough to know that most
other men in business were like him to the extent of their ability; and
so soothed himself into the belief that Floramond was "as good as
they'll average." Besides, Floramond was a bit of a wag,--could tell a
story well, made a good many hits at people, which pleased the
majority,--and, withal, was a member of the Congregational church in
his place of residence, and "in good and regular standing."

Mr. Alvord did not care for this last fact much. He was not a
church-member, and lived and died a very good old man, without the
church. But he reflected that the church-membership did not hurt
Floramond in the people's eyes, even if it did him no especial good;
and I suspect it operated to blind the old gentleman's eyes a little to
Floramond's real character.

The third son took a literary turn, after he had made considerable
progress in some mechanical pursuit,--I forget what,--and was sent to
college, and at last graduated as a minister of the Dutch Reform order,
I believe. He had no business capacity, and on a fair salary could
never exactly make ends meet from year to year, and was considerable of
a pensioner on the old gentleman's bounty.

The girls married pretty well, all of them. Of these, one was a shrewd
witch, almost as keen as Floramond. Her name was Eliza, but she always
bore the nickname "Lise," which would not always have been _mal
apropos_ if it had been spelled "Lies;" for she had great skill in
dissimulation and its kindred arts, even to the matter of pilfering, so
the neighbors generally believed. But she had wit, and was quite
handsome withal, and got a good, thorough-going business man for a
husband. The second "daughter" in order proved a very nice,
good-hearted woman, with moderate abilities, and the kindest of
dispositions; and she, too, married a very worthy man.

The third "daughter" was one of those curious, undefinable creatures,
perfect in almost every respect, and gifted in several directions. Mr.
Alvord had adopted her in her tenth year, and had selected her in
preference to any of several other children whose parents were anxious
to "get the old man to 'dopt the gals," because she was so robust, so
stoutly formed, and withal so hardy and agile. He thought she would
surely make a large, queenly woman. But she changed greatly as she
approached the age of puberty,--shot up into a tall, wiry, lithe form,
and her rounded face lengthened to a peculiarly spiritual shape,
developing intellect, in short,--whereas she indicated, at ten years of
age, only strength and solidity--as her chief characteristics in
womanhood. She was a brilliant scholar at the "high school," and not
only that, very vivacious, and withal just as gentle in heart as she
was almost rudely playful, when play was the real work to be done--for
she did everything earnestly; and there was a peculiar earnestness in
her very gentleness. It was a positive gentleness, a gentleness
springing out of high principles, and not merely a passive inertness.
Her name was Margaret, and she made the name beloved by all who knew
_her_. She married a splendid man; but he died in four or five years
after their marriage, and left her with two beautiful children, who
inherited much of his good qualities--more physical beauty than their
mother bore, with not a little of her great goodness; and it was
thought he had left her "comfortably off," too; but somehow his partner
in business managed to show that the firm was considerably involved,
and she got but a small estate after all. Shrewd people suspected that
her husband's partner knew how to "turn an honest penny" in a business
way; especially when, three years after the husband's death, the
partner built a very costly house, and added another horse to his old
team, so that he drove a "spanking pair," before a carriage which was
considered a "leetle" too expensive in that quarter of the world. But,
however, 'twas no matter; she was poor, and old Mr. Alvord insisted
that she should return to his home, with her children, and take charge
of it for him.

These things I was told at the time of my becoming acquainted with the
remaining family, long after Mr. Alvord's death. With him Margaret
staid, a faithful, good woman, charitable to everybody, and beloved by
all; by the poor, especially, who came to Mr. Alvord's house for aid,
where they were sure to go first, before going anywhere else. With none
of his children except Margaret, was Mr. Alvord on so intimate terms as
with Floramond. They all lived some miles from him; but Floramond
managed to see the old man often, and not unfrequently took him to his
own home, and kept him there for a week or two weeks at a time,
especially when he could take one of Margaret's children along with
him; for the old man, though he had several grandchildren, did not seem
to be very fond of any except Margaret's son and daughter.

Margaret continued to take charge of the house, and watched over old
Mr. Alvord, like a dutiful loving daughter as she was; and the old man
and his wife grew every year more and more fond of her. The wife being,
in the latter years of her life, mostly an invalid, was very grateful
for the tender care of Margaret, and when she came to die entreated Mr.
Alvord that he should make his will, and make it particularly favorable
to Margaret, whom she loved best of all, and who, being a widow with
children, needed more than the rest. Mr. Alvord, of course, promised to
do so, out of affection for both wife and daughter, and the old lady
died blessing him; and though she had long been expected by her friends
to die any day, suddenly, so suddenly did she die that only Mr. Alvord
and Margaret were with her. There was no time to send for a neighbor,
after she swooned away, one day, in her chair, before she was
dead--reviving from the swoon but for a moment, before she took her
last breath; in which moment, grasping the hands of Margaret and Mr.
Alvord in her own, she blessed them both, and reminded Mr. Alvord of
the will.

After her death, Floramond increased his attentions to Mr. Alvord; and
finally, his own wife dying, he, a few months after her death, became
more than usually interested in Margaret, and was found at Mr. Alvord's
so often, that everybody was talking of his wonderful devotion to the
old man. It is true that some people said he was "after the biggest
slice in the old man's will," and hinted that he was mercenary rather
than affectionate; but he was such a jolly fellow, that it was
difficult to fix upon him the stigma of bad motives. Mr. Alvord was
very devoted to Margaret, and Floramond must have felt that she would
share as largely in Mr. Alvord's will (and he did not know then but he
had already made one) as he, and perhaps more largely. Finally he
proposed marriage to his adopted sister; as the best means, probably,
of making sure of a large portion of Mr. Alvord's estate.

There was no blood relation between him and Margaret, and no reason in
the law why they might not marry; still, Margaret was not a little
shocked at the proposal from Floramond, with whom, as a "brother," she
had enjoyed a very pleasant intimacy--one which she would not have
allowed on any other consideration than that of brother-and-sisterhood.
But Floramond was evidently greatly taken aback at her delicate refusal
of his offer. But he persisted in his suit, not willing to suffer
defeat so easily; and for a long while annoyed Margaret with his
repeated offers, which annoyance she gently concealed, though
persisting ever in the firmness of her resolve to "not marry anybody."

But Floramond did not believe her in this resolution to remain
unmarried, believing that she would marry somebody else,--"take up with
the first good chance,"--and so he laid her refusal to heart, as a
personal affront to himself, and ridiculed the objection which she
sometimes made, in that they were brother and sister in spirit, if not
in blood; which objection was really a serious one in her feelings,
although her reason told her that it need not prevail, because they
were really no kin to each other. Besides, there was something, which
she could not well define to herself, about Floramond, which, while it
did not forbid her loving him as a brother, made her shudder when she
thought of him in the light of a possible husband. Floramond renewed
his suit from time to time, constantly with increased tenderness and
delicacy, and finally resolved himself, after her repeated refusals,
into the very best-behaving of brothers.

[Illustration: A RASH COURTSHIP.]

Finally, old Mr. Alvord, very perceptibly approaching his end, one day
rode out with Margaret behind his span of fine horses, with which, and
a nice double wagon, he had, among other luxuries, provided himself in
his dotage, and regarding which the neighbors said he was becoming
foolishly extravagant. But they little understood how much the quiet,
saving old man was worth. He had been accustomed to drive his own
horses, but of late was getting weak, and so transformed his "hired
man" into a driver that day.

John Holt was a faithful, honest man, who had lived with Mr. Alvord for
nearly twenty years, and was intrusted with everything. Mr. Alvord
considered him one of the family; and although he always paid John for
his services quite liberally, so that John had considerable money out
at interest, yet he intended to remember him in his will to the extent
of a thousand dollars, and on that day was, therefore, not at all
private in what he said to Margaret. John heard most of it, and
particularly remembered what Mr. Alvord said in regard to the legacy to
him. He told Margaret how much he was worth,--a sum which quite
astonished her,--and consulted with her in regard to what he should
leave each of the children, to some of whom he proposed to leave but
comparatively a small amount; but in each case Margaret urged him to
leave more. He had done much for them all, but she was willing, in her
generous nature, that he should make such legacies, and leave the
remainder of his property to her and her children. To Floramond he had
determined, he said, to leave one fourth; to divide another fourth
between the other four; and to give to Margaret and her children half,
imposing upon her the payment of a thousand dollars to John, and the
distribution of certain matters of personal property to a few friends
he named; five hundred dollars to be kept at interest, and that given
annually to an old, decrepid widow in the place, who had been a
schoolmate with him in Vermont, and whose husband had died in Mr.
Alvord's employ, after many years of service. This she was to have as
long as she lived, and he told Margaret that day that he had for
several years contributed a like sum to her support, and that he had
told the widow that if she outlived him, he would provide as much for
her in his will. These with other things John had heard Mr. Alvord say
to Margaret, and also that he had once made another will in different
terms, which was lodged with Floramond, and had been drawn by Squire
Emerson, a crafty old lawyer, when Mr. Alvord was once stopping at
Floramond's for a week or two. "But the last will always revokes a
former one," he told Margaret; so that he guessed that he would leave
that where it was. It was thought afterwards that Mr. Alvord had some
fear that if he called on Floramond to deliver up the will it might
lead to trouble. Floramond might fear that he was not to fare so well.

The next day Mr. Alvord and John drove off to an old friend of Mr.
A.'s,--a sort of universal genius, who held multiplied petty offices,
and withal was considerable of a lawyer. He drew a will after Mr.
Alvord's dictation, and Mr. A. signed it; but there was nobody at home
but the old scribe, save a very young girl in the kitchen; and as John
was a legatee, the man advised Mr. A. that he could not properly be a
witness,--so Mr. Alvord said he would find others to witness it; and on
his way home stopped at a neighbor's, went in, and declared the
document to be his last will, etc., in the presence of two persons, who
subscribed it as witnesses. But John did not _know_ this of a surety.
He suspected the document had been properly declared. Mr. Alvord went
home and showed the will to Margaret, and deposited it in a secret
place among his drawers, telling her where. "Now," said he, "if the
house should catch a-fire, you run for this will the first thing, for I
can't bear the bother of making another."

Mr. Alvord lived on a year more. Meanwhile the people who had signed
the will as witnesses had "sold out," and followed a son to California;
but neither old Mr. Alvord nor Margaret thought of them then in
connection with the will.

By and by Mr. A.'s "time" came, and with all his adopted children about
him, he, after giving them his parting blessing, dropped away quietly
into the arms of death. Floramond took upon himself the management of
the funeral, which for that place was made somewhat extraordinary, and
the plain old Mr. Alvord went to his grave with a pomp and show which
he certainly would not have approved could he have foreseen it. After
the funeral the children gathered at the house, and Floramond told them
that he had, somewhere among his papers, a document which Mr. Alvord
had given him, sealed up, and which he said was his will. He did not
know its contents, he said, but would like to have a time appointed
when they could all be there and hear it read. Margaret said nothing,
for she hardly comprehended matters, so great and real was her grief
over the death of Mr. Alvord; and a time was appointed, one week from
that day, for them all to convene and hear the will read.

After they had all left, Margaret bethought her of what Mr. Alvord had
said a year before about a former will, and went to look for the will
which Mr. Alvord had given into her keeping, but it was not to be
found! Where was it gone? She remembered to have seen it several times
since its deposit in the drawer, when looking there for other things;
but she could not convince herself whether or not she had seen it
within some months. She talked with John about it, and John told her of
what Mr. Alvord had done that day he rode to the old clerk's with him;
and she rode over to the clerk's to consult him, but he said he knew
nothing about the witnessing,--that the will must have been properly
witnessed to be valid; and he said, too, that perhaps Mr. Alvord had
altered his mind,--had destroyed the will without letting her know it;
that the will, as drawn, revoked all former wills, and that if the
existence of this latter will could be proved, it would set aside
whatever will Floramond had had, but that it would be impossible, in
the present state of things, to prove the existence of the lost
will,--that if anybody had stolen it away, that fact could never
probably be discovered. The conclusion of Margaret, after talking with
this man, was to await and see what Floramond would bring.

The day came, and with it Floramond, with the will done up in a once
white paper, but which time had turned brown, and strongly sealed. The
seals Floramond broke before them all, drew forth the document, and
handed it to one of his brothers, saying, "You read it out for us. You
can read the old man's writing better than I."

The brother took it, opened it, and said,--

"This is not his writing--somebody's else. It looks like a lawyer's
'quail tracks,' but" (turning it over), "the signature is father's."

He tried to read it, but found himself puzzled; and one of the sisters
tried to read it also, with like result. At last it was declared by
them all that Floramond understood how to decipher poor writing better
than the rest, and he read at it, making bungling work, however
(pretendedly, of course, for well he knew every word of it). By this
will Mr. Alvord had left all his estate to his "beloved son Floramond,"
subject to the payment of certain annuities to some of the children,
among whom was Margaret, who was to have six hundred dollars a year
until her children should arrive at age, and then three hundred during
her life. The rest all had less. Indeed, the minister, for whom Mr.
Alvord had done most in the way of giving him money, was allowed an
annuity of but one hundred dollars (which was to provide him a rental,
the will said), for three years, and was then cut off entirely.

Mr. Alvord's will was quite elaborate, and stated where his property
was situated,--some in this and that farm, stock in manufacturing
companies, money in banks and on interest; and they were all astonished
at the large amount of it. The will had been written five years and
more before, and there was one peculiar clause in it,--the suggestion
of the crafty lawyer, probably,--which was to the effect that Mr.
Alvord had never before made a will, and that he should never make
another; that he might destroy this, and leave all his children to
share alike if he did so.

Margaret was confounded. She saw that she was left, as it were, in the
hands of Floramond, her often-rejected suitor, and she thought she saw
a smile of triumph on his face. She was greatly confused as to whether
she should say anything about the other will or not; but she thought,
finally, that if she was to ever say anything about it, now was the
time, when all were there. So she told them all about it, and where it
was kept; how Mr. Alvord had brought it home, and how it left a great
deal more to them all, and only one fourth to Floramond, and who
witnessed it. This made the rest jealous of Floramond. With the old
will they were in his hands: they were left comparatively poor. He had
all, and the estate was far larger than any of them had thought, and it
was probable that it had increased much in the five years, too.

Floramond professed to be astonished at what Margaret told, and said he
was willing to abide, of course, as he would be compelled to do, by any
subsequent will; but why, if father had made another will, did he not
call for this one and tear it up? His not calling for it made him
think, he said, that Margaret was probably mistaken. But Margaret was
firm in her statement, and declared that her father had made her read
it all over to him, and she told them about the thousand dollars left
to John, and what John said about Mr. Alvord's calling, on the way
home, to get the will witnessed. Then they sent out for John, who was
at work on the farm, and he came in and told his story before them all.
He could not say that Mr. Alvord had left him a thousand dollars in the
will, but that the day before he had it drawn he said he was going to
do so, and he supposed he did.

At this point Floramond, in a mild way, exhibiting no uneasiness,
blandly suggested that 'before taking the will left with him to the
surrogate's office, the house ought to be searched thoroughly. Perhaps
Mr. Alvord, who had become quite childish and fickle in the last few
weeks of his life, and was always an over-cautious man, had, some time
when Margaret was away, put the document into a safer place, intending
to tell her where, but forgetting it;' and so it was resolved by all of
them that such a search should be made at once, before they parted; and
for an hour that house was searched in every nook, drawer, and possible
hiding-place. Old linen, which had not been for twenty years drawn
forth from trunks and chests which held it, was tumbled over,--in
short, the search was complete as it could be,--but no will could be
found; and there seemed but one way to do--for all to acquiesce, and
accept their fate upon the terms of the will which Floramond produced,
and which was all correct in form.

But there was no little feeling among the children, some of whom
declared it impossible that Mr. Alvord intended to make such
disposition of his property; that Floramond must have in some way used
improper influence with old Mr. Alvord; and all the public, when they
came to hear of the will, were somehow impressed with the same opinion:
nevertheless they all said that Floramond was a jovial fellow, and very
thrifty; that Mr. Alvord liked thrifty people, and as he had provided
Margaret with a sum sufficient in those days to live on, and had given
her the rent of the house for life, perhaps it was, on the whole, just
the thing he should have done. As for the lost will, that got noised
about, and although everybody believed what Margaret said, yet the
majority thought that probably Mr. Alvord had destroyed it. The will
which Floramond had was duly presented and proved at the surrogate's
office, and the estate settled under it.

Time went on, and it brought Floramond frequently to see Margaret,--to
look after her affairs, and occasionally to bring her money. Now that
she was in these straitened circumstances he pressed his suit quite
violently and provokingly at times; and although her patience was
oftentimes sorely tried, she bore her vexation quite philosophically.
It was evident that he did not want her for her money, for she had
none; but she could not believe, after all, that he loved her, and she
was sure that she did not love him. Floramond was a good business man,
and aside from the property he got under the will, he had accumulated a
handsome sum for himself, and in the course of a year or two from Mr.
Alvord's death he began to assume the airs and ways of a rich
man;--enlarged his house and adorned his grounds quite expensively;
built a row of houses in the village to rent, and possessed himself of
"the best team in the county," as he was pleased to declare his noble
span of black coach horses.

All this while he was trying to court Margaret up to the accepting
point, but he failed signally, and every time he visited her he grew
less and less courteous; finally, in the third year, she could not get
her annuity as she wanted it. He promised, but did not fulfil at the
time as before, and he was "short" in his words with her, and spiteful
at times. At last, as if determined to force her into compliance, he
visited her one day, and having failed, though using as much severity
as he could command to win her consent, he got quite angry, and wished
to know of her if she intended to always spurn him; asked her if she
had made up her mind to that, at any rate. She objected to the word
"spurn," for she wished, she said, to receive and treat him as a
brother, but she had always declined his offers of marriage, as she
thought, in a clear, frank way, and she considered that he ought to
know, after all, that she could never consent to marry him.

"Then you shall suffer," said he, bringing his teeth together with
greater firmness, as if he would like to put an end to her existence
with one bite; and he manifested himself with such a degree of anger
that she was frightened, and arose from her chair to leave the room,
when he rushed and caught her firmly by the hand, and telling her to
look straight at him, exclaimed,--

"You proud thing! I tell you now that if you had consented to have me
at first you should now have half of all father Alvord's property as
well as mine; but I have outwitted you. I got him to make his will as
he did, and thanks to John's blundering, I knew when he made the other;
and now, as there's no witness here, I'll leave you to guess what
became of it; and you may groan in poverty for all me, for you'll have
to sue me every time you get any more money out of the estate."

He had hardly ejaculated these words, in anger, before he seemed to see
his error, and as Margaret, now understanding his villany, tore herself
from his grasp, and rushed into another room, he followed her, and
tried to laugh away the effect of what he had said.

"Ho! ho! Margaret, haven't I told you a pretty story though? I wish it
had been true, I declare; but I must tell you that I never believed a
word about the second will. You must have been mistaken, and as to the
first, father and Emerson, the old lawyer, got it up without my

Margaret, who now began to see into his real character, and who hated
hypocrisy, turned upon him, and said, "There's no occasion for you
adding falsehood to your rudeness, sir. Father made that will under
your direction, in my opinion, and as for the last will, you _do_
believe that it existed, and I see now that you probably abstracted it,
and I wish I could never see your face again till you can come prepared
to prove that you did not. Good day, sir," and she attempted to pass by

But he put himself in her way, and said she shouldn't stir a step till
she took back those words.

"I have spoken what I feel must be the truth, and I will not retract a
word," said she; "and you must let me pass, or I will call in John.
There he is," said she, pointing through the window at John, but a
short distance off. The mild, quiet face of Margaret must have assumed
great firmness then, for Floramond looked but once into her eyes, and
stepped aside; and as she passed, exclaimed,--

"You shall live to rue this, to your full satisfaction."

And she did suffer. Floramond managed to vex her in many ways,--sold
off a portion of her garden, on which she depended for her vegetables,
contending that it was only the rent of the house that was left her by
the will; and sending her ten dollars on her annuity when she wanted
perhaps thirty or forty; and getting up stories about her extravagance,
etc. But, fortunately, she had a character and reputation formed, and
he could only vex her in money matters to any great extent.

Weary months passed, and Margaret frequently thought of the wills, and
what Floramond had said; and when the ministerial brother called to see
her one day, about the time his hundred-dollar annuity "for a rental"
was running out, Margaret told him something of her troubles, and her
conviction that Floramond had stolen the will. The minister was not
very astute in law matters, but he could see that it would only be by a
"sort of miracle," as he told her, that they could ever learn anything
of what had become of the will; but Margaret was more hopeful, and
continued to plan ways of getting at the truth.

'There was that old lawyer who had drawn the first will. May be he
could find out something,--lawyers work for the side that employs
them;' but the minister dampened her ardor in that direction, by
telling her that Floramond probably held him under a general retainer,
and he could not be reached; but finally Margaret was so anxious to
have something done, that the minister consented to aid her to the
extent of his little ability, as he was modestly pleased to say, and at
last it came into his head that when he was once supplying for a few
weeks a classmate's pulpit in Brooklyn, he had one evening heard one of
the congregation telling some marvelous stories about the adroitness
and sagacity of detective officers, and he spoke to Margaret of this.

This was something novel to Margaret. She knew there were police
officers, and so forth, but was not aware that there were organized
forces of private officers, detectives. The minister told her one of
the strange stories he had heard, and Margaret was quite astonished by
it, and believed that if detectives could find out "such a thing as
that they could really serve us," and it was resolved by them that a
detective should be obtained, and he might work out something.

All the rest of the children, except Floramond, were consulted, and
agreed to contribute towards procuring the detective; and Margaret, who
had got wrought up about the matter, and was a very capable woman to
perform whatever she undertook, declared that she would procure the
detective. Her cousin had long wished her to visit her at Jamaica (I
think it was), Long Island, and in going through New York she would get
some advice, and hunt up a detective; and thus it came that I chanced
to be called in the case, and I obtained from her about what
information I have thus far embodied in my narrative.

I told her it was apparently a hopeless case; that probably Floramond
(who, I said, had doubtless abstracted the will) destroyed it at once,
as any prudent man would have done, and that I saw no possible clew to
the matter. But she was so urgent, and so willing to pay me for my time
to go and see the rest of the family, and talk with them, and to look
the matter over on the spot, that I consented to go, which I did duly.
I learned but little more than I have recited, in the place where
Margaret lived, but I thought I would like to visit Floramond's lawyer,
and found myself duly at his office.

I am very fond of the members of the profession generally. They are apt
to be more "men of the world" than most other people. The practice of
their profession brings them into contact with all classes of men, and
they learn more or less of charity, and are, in fact, among the most
reliable of citizens everywhere. But there was something in this
lawyer's face (old Boyd, we will call him, and but for a son of his, an
honorable man in an important position, I would call the old villain's
name fully) which revealed to me that I had a curious customer to deal
with; that he lacked moral principle, and was capable of any sort of
dark deed, murder included, perhaps.

I said to myself, instinctively, this old Boyd is at the bottom of this
matter of the wills, and he has not let an opportunity pass to get
Floramond Alvord in his clutches, and keep him there. That second will
was taken by Floramond, I said to myself, and the chances are that he
showed it to Boyd, and if he did, the old man was cunning enough to
keep it. At this point I changed the plan of operations which I had in
theory when I entered his office, and talked with him about things in
general; told him I was a stranger from New York, stopping a day or two
in the village; that when I was younger I had read law a little, and
always felt more at home in a lawyer's office than I did in a country
bar-room or hotel parlor, and seeing his office, had wandered into it.

The old man had considerably many books, but they did not look very
inviting; however, I complimented him on the size of his library, and
at last asked him about his practice, and found that he had a good deal
of patronage, considerable of which his age prevented him from
attending to, such as that in justices' courts; and finally I suggested
that I had a brother who had studied law a few months in the city, and
I thought it would be better for him to study with somebody in the
country; there were a good many temptations for a young man to waste
his time, in the city. He seemed pleased, brightened up a little, threw
off the sombre shadows from his face, and went to bidding for my
brother, by telling me of this and that man who had studied law with
him, and who were now eminent in the profession,--which was a fact, as
I afterwards learned.

So I contracted with him to have my brother come and study with him;
and before I left the town I had secured good board at a moderate price
for him, and went away. I lost no time in conferring with Margaret as
to her ability to furnish me about such a given sum of money a month
for three months, not over six at most, and I found she could do it. I
told her that she must ask me no questions, and in fact must not know
of any such man as I, or speak my name; and that if my plans succeeded,
she would, of course, know the facts, and that would be enough; and if
they failed, after proper trial, I would tell them to her, so that she
should see what use her money had been put to. She was perfectly
reasonable, and consented to all.

I found myself in New York city in two days from that time, and
procured a young man, on whom I bestowed my last name, and sent him on
with a proper letter of introduction to Mr. Boyd.

I told him he had better tell Mr. Boyd that he had forgotten all the
law he had read, and that he guessed he had better read over Blackstone
again at first. I had given the young man the points of the entire case
as I understood it, and told him what I wanted him to do--to take his
time, to study well, and to watch Floramond Alvord's movements in
connection with Mr. Boyd for the first two or three weeks, and to write
me from time to time what he thought of Floramond. But the first thing
he was to do, after being there three or four days, was to "slick up"
the dusty office a little, sometime when Boyd was out, and surprise him
by its neatness on his return, and thus beginning to win upon the old
man's respect as much as possible; to then take down and rearrange the
books and the old papers, and so get himself familiarized to everything
in the office; and to do these things, finally, in Boyd's presence.

He was as shrewd a young man as I could possibly have found, and he was
a handsome fellow, very. Old Boyd told him, when he presented the note
of introduction, that he did not much resemble his older brother!
(me),--which was a sad but absolute truth. But the young man was ready
for him:--

"No," said he; "brother takes after father's family. I'm said to be
mother's boy."

"Yes, yes," said old Boyd, "I'd have known that if you hadn't told me."

My "brother" was not long in becoming popular in that village, and old
Boyd was quite proud of him; but he did keep him studying, was
"faithful" to him, as he promised me he would be. I frequently heard
from my "brother," and at last I got a letter, saying, "Come on; I will
meet you at No. 1" (which meant Mrs. Margaret's) "at such a time as you
may appoint."

I knew by this that my game had worked well, and that there was
probably no time to lose; so I hastened on, and sending a letter before
me, appointing the time, met my "brother" at Margaret's. There was the
document--the lost will! He had it with him. But what was to be done?

In the first place, the witnesses had long been away in California, as
was supposed, and nobody knew where. Efforts had been made by Margaret
to institute a correspondence with them. If they could not be found,
however, we could prove their signatures by others, if we could find
the experts; but Margaret had never been able to find anybody who ever
saw their writing, except the old man's, with chalk on his barn door,
noting number of bushels of wheat, or when his cows would "come in,"
and that would hardly do.

But I bethought me that they had sold out their farm when they went
away, and must have signed the deed, the wife to convey her right of
dower, and I felt easy. I instructed my brother to return to the office
next morning as usual, and go on with his studies, and I would go to
the county seat next day, hunt up the records, and possibly find the
deed still on file there, as well as the record, and then, if it was
not there, I would go to the grantees, and ask for the deed; but these
people were indebted to Floramond largely, Margaret said, and would
have to be approached carefully. She was still in ignorance of the will
being found, but knew, of course, that I had some good reason for what
I was about, and she was equally ignorant that my "brother" was
studying with old Boyd.

I took the will and went next day to the county seat, and though I
could not find on file there the deed which I expected to, I found the
record of it, and the record and the deed, too, of another conveyance
made by the same grantors, and, as luck had it, made on the very day
after the will was signed; and the signatures to the two instruments
were wondrously similar. I was satisfied on this point.

But there was another point to be gotten over; and this troubled my
"brother" a good deal. Although he had been but two months with Mr.
Boyd, he had fallen in love with a beautiful girl (who was the daughter
of the richest man in the town, except Floramond Alvord, and was on
intimate terms with Floramond's daughters), and they were already
"engaged," and he wanted the matter worked so that he need not be found
out in it, for the girl, he feared, would "sack him," as the village
phrase was, if he was known as having searched for and delivered up the
will. So I managed to stop in disguise at the same hotel where I had
been before, and to find my brother in when old Boyd was out, and
learned precisely where he found the will, and the character of the
documents which were in the same drawer with it; a drawer which had
evidently not been opened for many years, save to hide away the will
in. Among the other documents were some curious letters to old Boyd,
from a man by the name of Andrew Wilcox, who had gone away years before
to the west, and died, and who was a waggish fellow, and wrote funny
letters, in a very peculiar style of penmanship.

I was put to my wits' end how to work matters; but my brother told me
that in two days old Boyd was going to start on a journey, to be gone a
week; that the stage would leave the hotel at ten o'clock in the
morning, and after that I could come in again, and may be could arrange
something. But he had told me enough. I had formed my plan before his
words were cold. That night I found myself at one of the adopted
brother's, about ten miles off; told him he must ask me no questions
why, but that I wanted him to appear in the village at the time the
stage was going off, and to ask old Boyd if he didn't use to correspond
with old Andrew Wilcox,--to which he would, of course, say "Yes;" and
then Mr. Alvord was to say, "I thought so, and I'd like, for a certain
reason, to get hold of some of his letters to read. He wrote such a
curious hand, didn't he?" that probably old Boyd would say he was going
to be back in a week, and then he'd hunt them up; but Mr. Alvord should
evince a desire to see them as soon as possible, and ask him if his
clerk couldn't hunt them for him; this to be done just as the stage was
loading up to start; all of which was done, and resulted better than we
expected, for old Boyd was in pretty good spirits that morning, very
accommodating; and told Mr. Alvord that his clerk might hunt up the
papers; though he didn't call him his clerk but said, "Tell the
handsome rascal in my office to hunt and get you all of Wilcox's
letters to read he can find; and I don't mind if you take one or two
along with you, so that you leave me some. Good morning!" and away the
stage rolled.

I told Mr. Alvord that I would go over to the office, and he might drop
in and ask the clerk for the letters, in the course of ten minutes. I
went and arranged things, and he came and told my brother what Boyd had
said. My brother made unsuccessful search in three or four places, and
at last came upon the letters; hauled out a few of them, which Mr.
Alvord run over, laughing here and there at the odd, eccentric
expressions, which he said were just like the stories he had heard
about the old man, when my brother asked if he would like to see more.
As he wished to, they were produced, and among them was reposing the
will where I had placed it.

Mr. Alvord was sitting by a little round table, and as my brother
placed the second batch on the table, I asked him if he would not be
kind enough to go over to the hotel (but a few steps off,) and buy
himself a cigar, and bring some to me, handing him money. He went out;
and placing my hand among the letters, I drew out the will, and placed
it in Mr. Alvord's hands--"_You found that--do you understand?_ But I
will take it, and be responsible for its return, if, after we have
examined it, you think it better be returned." He had no notion of the
will yet, and acted with a sort of mechanical blindness, as I guided
him, throughout wondering what I could be up to. (I had agreed to pay
him very liberally for his time.) "When the clerk comes in," said I, as
I put the paper into my pocket, "remind him that old Boyd said you
might take off some of the letters; the whole stage full heard him say
so; and do you select a few, and when you come out, come over to the
hotel, and find me. I'll be there."

The clerk came in, and brought me the cigars, and I offered one to Mr.
Alvord, who declined to smoke, but kept on reading the letters; and I,
bidding him good morning, walked out after lighting my cigar. In the
course of a quarter of an hour he came out; said he found "Wilcox's
letters very interesting;" and now, said he, "I want to know what all
this means." I got him aside as soon as I could, and we went up to my

Locking the door, I said, "Mr. Alvord, on turning over these letters of
Wilcox's, you came across a paper which you took possession of for a
moment. Now I want it understood that you _kept_ possession of that;
that the clerk handed you a bundle in which you found it, (poor fellow,
what _would_ he say, if he knew that he had unwittingly disclosed the
profoundest secret in all old Boyd's life and practice? But no matter
for that.) You took the paper, and you handed it over to me, and I am
going to keep it for the general good, unless you prefer to keep it. Do
you understand?"

"Why, yes, and no, too," said he. "I understand the language you use,
but I don't know what it's all about. Pray tell me at once, and end my

"Well, you promise me on your word, as a gentleman, to be guided by me
in the matter which is to follow, if you think what I shall point out
to be right and just?"

"Why, yes; any man could safely promise that."

"Are you under any special obligations to your brother Floramond?"

"No, sir; only he has lent me little sums of money, from time to

"You have doubtless always paid up?"

"Yes, with interest."

"Ah, ha! then he was lending you money, and getting interest on it,
which really ought to have been your own--wasn't he?"

"Well, yes, I've felt so sometimes; but there's doubt about it,

I had sounded the man deeply enough, and saw his temper towards
Floramond; and so, drawing a little nearer him, I said,--

"You have heard of me before, but have never seen me till night before
last; but we must be intimate friends for a while. Your sister Margaret
has told you of me. I am the detective from New York; and this paper
(pulling it from my pocket) is old Mr. Alvord's last will and
testament--the last one, and you are here entitled to a fortune."

Mr. Alvord's face turned pale with astonishment.

"Let me put my eyes on it!" said he; and I handed it to him, opened. He
ran it over hurriedly, looked at the signature, saying, "There's no
mistake about it; and that's father's signature--just as Margaret
always said it was. I had feared father had destroyed it, and I had
entirely forgotten all about the matter for a good while. I gave up all
as lost the day that Floramond produced the old will, and we searched
the house, all of us, for this."

It was not long from that morning before we had everything arranged for
bringing Mr. Floramond Alvord to terms, and I remained near the scene
directing matters. I held on to the will, while the brother wrote from
his home to Floramond, that his father's last will had been finally
found; that he felt it his duty to inform him of it at once, and that
legal steps would be taken directly; but this letter was not sent till
on the day before old Boyd was expected back.

That day Mr. Floramond Alvord visited old Boyd's office, very earnest
to learn when he would be back, and asked my "brother" to ask Mr. Boyd
to call on him at his house as soon as he should arrive. "Tell him I
have a very important matter for him to attend to," said he, "and want
to see him at once."

Old Boyd arrived, and the clerk gave him the word from Mr. Alvord.

"Some devilish speculation on hand, I 'spose," said old Boyd, gruffly,
as he left his office, and proceeded to Alvord's house. But he wasn't
gone long, and soon came back to the office, and went silently to
rummaging his papers. He looked here and there, as if his memory didn't
serve him exactly; finally he came to the drawer with the Wilcox
letters in them, and my brother watched his manner intently. The old
man took up the letters, laid them out; took up other packages, and
laid them out, and then laid them back, and looking at the Wilcox
letters, said,--

"These look as if they had been disturbed lately. Have you been
arranging this box?"

"No, sir. I've not been re-arranging the papers; but there's a man been
here, the morning you went off, and said you told him he might hunt for
some letters of one Wilcox; and, in fact, as the door happened to be
open, I overheard you tell him so, just as you got into the coach, and
I hunted them up, and he took some of 'em, as he said you said he
might; but he said he would return them," said my brother, very
seriously, "if you thought, when you got home, that he had taken too

"Did you ask him his name?" inquired old Boyd, very gravely.

"No, I didn't think of that. I supposed, by the way you spoke to him,
you were old friends, and I didn't wish to question the gentleman,"
replied my brother, naively, with a probable cock in his eye, which
might have revealed a great deal if old Boyd had seen it.

Old Boyd, with an assumed manner of great composure, said, in

"I wish you had asked his name. I do remember somebody speaking to me,
in my haste of getting off, about Wilcox's letters. Wonder who it was?"

"I hope he hasn't taken off the most valuable ones," replied the clerk.

"Well, I can't tell; but I fear he has," said old Boyd. "I must find
out who he was. They'll remember over to the hotel, perhaps," and off
he went over there; but it wasn't long before the clerk saw him on his
way to Alvord's house. What transpired there then is only known to old
Boyd and Floramond Alvord.

By the next day the matter was all in an able lawyer's hands, and Mr.
Frederic Alvord and he had a conference with Floramond and old Boyd.

Precisely all that happened between them I do not know; but it would
seem that Floramond had given the latter will into Boyd's hands, and he
had been cunning enough to keep it as a terror over Floramond, who had
indorsed his paper, etc., etc., besides always paying him enormous fees
for legal business, which old Boyd managed to make quite considerable.
Indeed, old Boyd had increased his property a great deal during the
five or six years, and it is probable that he used Floramond to
advantage in many ways.

Alvord thought best to settle with his brothers and sisters according
to the terms of the lost will, and to pay them out of his fourth the
income of which they had been respectively deprived of for the five
years and more. Old Boyd, of course, settled his affairs with Floramond
to suit himself, and it is presumed that he did not lose money; but it
may be that he lost the former's confidence. It must have been a bitter
thing for old Boyd to consider how foolishly he played into Frederic
Alvord's hands through the Wilcox letters. But old Boyd is dead now,
and never, I suppose, learned how Mr. Alvord was led to inquire for old
Andrew Wilcox's funny letters.

Margaret was overjoyed with the success of affairs, and declared, as
did all the rest of the family, that after this she would consider
nothing impossible, and never lose hope, even in the darkest hour. She
is living still, a beautiful but older woman, with her children grown
up about her, and married, I believe.

My "brother," the clerk, took to the profession of the law, and studied
with old Boyd for a year or more, and finished his studies in Judge
----'s office, in Albany,--eventually marrying the young lady to whom I
have alluded, and who brought him a fortune quite too large to be
"laughed at;" but he did not continue at the profession long, but went
into mercantile business, and is now a member, and has been for some
years, of one of the most successful firms in New York city. The firm
name is favorably known in all parts of the land. I should say that he
was, through me, paid by Margaret a quite handsome sum of money for his
"good behavior" in the premises; enough to enable him with economy to
"pursue" his studies--and his lady. I have had many substantial reasons
in my life for not forgetting the Alvord family, who believe that but
for me they would still be lacking comfortable, indeed, large fortunes.

Floramond had enough with his one fourth; besides he had a fortune of
his own. He ceased to persecute Margaret instantly on the development
of his villany, and two years afterwards married a woman, who, I am
told, came to learn of his conduct (which it was for sundry reasons
attempted to keep secret in the family), and being a woman of spirit,
and much extravagance, leads him a funny life--probably using her
knowledge of his conduct as a means of controlling him.

Floramond, should this sketch ever meet his eye, is welcome to reflect
that he was once out-generalled by a man, of whom, happening to see him
(me) one day at the hotel in his village, he asked of the landlord,
"Who is that simpleton?" The landlord was only able, of course, to give
him my assumed name, and say that I was from "Sandy Hill, Washington
County" (as I had registered myself), he believed.

"Yes; well I should think he was dug out of the _sand_, somewhere," was
Floramond's response. I hope he still thinks so, for it must be a
comfort to him.


                        THE CONFIDENTIAL CLERK.



It is one of the misfortunes of a detective's life, that he learns to
be suspicious of the innocent as well as of the guilty; and, like other
men, detectives sometimes err in their judgment, and the innocent
suffer, not only under unjust suspicions, but sometimes the penalty of
offences of which they are not guilty, through the force of
"circumstantial evidence" which is brought to bear upon them. Indeed,
in the eye of the law, circumstantial evidence is frequently of more
weight than the direct testimony of alleged eye-witnesses, for the
latter may falsify, but circumstances do not create themselves, and do
not often occur simultaneously or in combination. There can be no
"conspiracy" among them, as between living witnesses. They have no
prejudices to express, no animosities to gratify, and we usually attach
to them the greatest importance. Indeed, they are the keys usually, by
which the detective unlocks the mysteries of the case which he may be
called on to work up.

But notwithstanding all this, they are not always to be relied on; and
when the innocent suffer from the misuse of these keys, or the
misinterpretation of their significance, the officer who uses them must
feel more keen regrets, if not remorse, than if he had been misled by
the statements of living men, inasmuch as it is his duty to himself and
his calling, as well as to his fellow-men, to draw wise and just
conclusions from the circumstances of which he gets possession; and in
what I am about to tell, I would be most gratified if I could make
partial amends, publicly, of the result of an error of mine and others,
by using the names of the party wronged. But the whole matter was known
only to a few, some of whom are dead, others of whom are in business
with the party wronged; and there are one or two more whose sympathy
for the innocent wronged man, has, since the discovery of his
innocence, only added to the high esteem in which they held him. And it
were not wise for him that I give publicity to what was known to so
few, and is to-day practically forgotten by them. As I may not give the
proper names, I will, for convenience, coin them, while I give the
important facts in the luckless and unhappy case.

Leonard Savage was a bright boy, brought up in a town in Grafton
County, New Hampshire, and born of one of the best of the old stocks of
that State--a stock which had had its important representatives at the
bar, on the bench, in Congress, in the pulpit, in the profession of
medicine, in journalism (at Boston); in short, in every department of
life, not to overlook farming, in which its representatives had always
excelled. Leonard had been prepared for Dartmouth College, whither he
was expecting, on the opening of the next scholastic year, to go, and
with bright prospects; for at the preparatory school he excelled all
his mates in some branches, and was their peer in the rest, when, in
the summer of 184--, a relative of his, an elderly gentleman, and a New
York banker, visited the White Mountains for recreation, with his
family, and called on Leonard's parents on his way.

This gentleman, whom we will call Richard Brooks, for the sake of a
name, was born in New Hampshire, and, indeed, was raised there, at a
place about twenty miles from Leonard's father's, the two being about
the same age. He had visited his native spot, where he had not been
before for twenty-five years, the day or so before coming to Mr.
Savage's house. At his native place he found but few faces he
recognized, and all his relatives were either dead or had "moved to the
West, or the South." "Nothing left there," said he, "of mine, save the
sleepers in the graveyard, and the mouldering monuments over them." He
became so mournful that he felt unlike proceeding at once to the
mountains; and calling to mind the joys of his early days, when he and
Mr. Savage, who were devoted friends as well as relatives, used to
interchange frequent visits, even over that long distance of twenty
miles,--longer in New Hampshire, over hills and mountains, than fifty
miles would be in our western prairie States, or even along the line of
the Hudson River, in New York,--he set his heart upon a visit to Mr.
Savage, who, he learned, was still living in the old spot, though for
fifteen years he had not heard from him, so absorbed had Mr. Brooks
been by the exciting life of a Wall Street dealer, and with some
operations which had called him more or less to Europe.

Early in life he had gone to Georgia (the southern portion of it, Fort
Gaines, I believe), in a small mercantile business, which grew upon his
hands into something quite important, where he married a wealthy
planter's daughter, and was able, through this alliance, to enlarge his
sphere of business, which eventually became very great, and was
scattered over a large district.

Mr. Brooks's early New England training had well disciplined natural
capacities of no mean kind, and given him advantages as a business man
at the South, equalled but by very few if any. His rise was rapid.
Visiting New York on his bridal tour, his lady formed certain
acquaintances there, which led her, southern born though she was, to
desire New York as a home. She constantly urged Mr. Brooks to dispose
of his, or rather their scattered business and interests in the South,
preserving only her plantation for a winter resort, when they liked
(but which, by the way, they never occupied after they came to New
York; for the glitter of fashionable life so inthralled Mrs. Brooks,
that she spent no winter farther south than Washington). Year after
year she persisted, and Mr. Brooks eventually arranged his business and
removed to New York, easily managing to get an interest in a prosperous
mercantile house as silent partner.

In this he embarked a large share of his money; and finding that he
needed more active life, he put most of the rest of his property into a
manufacturing concern, of some department of which he took charge. The
latter prospered moderately; but the "moral delinquencies," as they
were modestly called, of one of his mercantile partners, who controlled
the use of the funds, brought the house to ruin, and Mr. Brooks saved
only some fifteen per cent. of his investment out of the wreck. Putting
his manufacturing business upon a good footing, he thought to be
content with that; but he must have more money. The associations he and
his family had made in New York must be sustained, and it required more
money than his manufacturing business brought him to keep up the style
he desired.

He was dejected for a while; but having had more or less experience in
stocks and in Wall Street, through his brokers, however, in other
times, he turned his attention to the study of matters in that street,
and came to the conclusion that he as well as another was entitled to
succeed there,--and in the end he was not mistaken. Taking the funds
saved from the mercantile ruin, though they were small, he went into
Wall Street and formed a partnership with an experienced broker, who
saw that he could make the large and influential acquaintanceship of
Mr. Brooks available. The latter's rise was steady, and somewhat rapid.
Everything he touched turned to gold, and he became one of the most
fortunate of brokers and speculators. Eventually the establishment of
the Bank of ----, the most active of the projectors of which Mr. Brooks
had been, called him to the post of bank president, in which post he
displayed rare abilities. But his financial cares so multiplied--he was
called to engage in so many operations all over the land, in
fact,--that he became a slave to his own fortune, and never left the
city, save to go where business called him,--sometimes West, but more
frequently South. His family went to Saratoga, or the White Sulphur
Springs of Virginia, or where else they pleased, to pass a few weeks of
the summers, but he could never "find time." So it was that he had not
visited his native hills for so many years, and had almost forgotten
the playmates of his boyhood, and with them his dear old relative and
friend, Mr. Savage.

It can easily be conjectured that when he found himself again with the
most intimate friend of his childhood, in the very house (though it had
been much repaired and changed since he had seen it) where he had spent
so many days, and even weeks, in each of several years of his early
life, the old affections came back to him, with emotions intensified by
the very fact that so much that was dear had so long been buried from
his sight, and memory almost, in the mad whirl of business in which he
had won his successes. In short, the latter's brilliance only served to
make more bright and vivid the sweetness and riches of the old
memories; and to attempt to draw the picture hero which Mr. Brooks made
for me when I first formed his acquaintance, of his sadness and his
happiness at that meeting with Mr. Savage, would be preposterous for
me, for he painted it in words which then brought tears to my eyes.

He spent a few days with Mr. Savage, and they rode about over the
familiar hills; on cloudy days tried the trout brooks, but without
their early success; wandered off to old farm-houses where they used to
"attend parties," and to and from which they used to escort the girls;
and, in fact, lived over their young days together quite gleefully. But
it was not alone for old memories' sake that Mr. Brooks lingered there.
He had made an observation the minute he arrived at Mr. Savage's which
constantly impressed him. Mr. Brooks had only a family of daughters
living. He had lost two sons,--one in the South and one in New
York,--the latter of whom having grown to nineteen years of age he had
set his heart upon, had educated him at Columbia College, and was about
to send him to Germany to add to his education, intending him for the
bar, or for financial business, as the son might decide on his return,
when the young man, one day, was run over by a horse, which, breaking
away from his carriage, dashed across the sidewalk unexpectedly to
everybody near, and injuring several persons slightly or severely, so
crushed and trampled upon young George, the son, that after months of
intense suffering, from internal wounds especially, he died.


Mr. Brooks had never been fully his old self after the death of his
son; and though some years had passed since the mournful accident, Mrs.
Brooks was frequently awaked at night by her husband's talking in his
dreams about, and often as if with, George. So he, too, frequently fell
asleep in his chair after a weary day's work, and muttered in his sleep
about George; and on one occasion, after being awakened from what was
to Mrs. Brooks evidently a fearful dream, in which she stood over him
and witnessed his agony for a moment before she aroused him, he, in
response to her importunity, related the dream, the substance of which
was, that while, when he first fell into a drowse he was enjoying
visions of rural life and domestic felicity, in the midst of which
George, sitting in an easy-chair, and caressed by a young maiden, or
perhaps his youthful wife, was revealed to him.

So blissful were these visions (which of course to him were realities),
that he had just resolved to abandon the sickening struggle of
business, go to the country and lead a quiet life, when all at once the
scene changed! and down through the very centre of the beautiful
panorama of bliss, came, half-wrapped in clouds, a hideous-faced, naked
demon, bearing a great bag of gold in each hand, one marked "100,000,"
the other "1,000,000," as if to tempt him to longer continue in the
money-getting service of Satan, and to peril his soul the more! and
what added to the horror of all was, that just then George was
represented as leaving his seat of bliss, seizing his hat, and rushing
down into the lower plane, grasping at imaginary bags of gold which
just eluded his clutch, his face covered with the greed of gain; and it
gave him the greatest pangs to see his darling boy fall from so high an
estate to one so low. It was while in the agony of these pangs in which
he wildly threw up his arms, as if struggling to get up and go forth to
save George, that Mrs. Brooks awakened him.

It was, as it will be seen, a terrible blow to Mr. Brooks, the death of
that son, who, he confidently hoped, would take and fill, or more than
fill, his place in business. He doted upon him more, perhaps, than he
otherwise would have done had he not been the only son in a family of
half a dozen children. The daughters would need his aid and counsel,
and of this the father thought much. It was an unspeakable and
irremediable loss to Mr. Brooks. He had frequently thought to adopt
some young man, or dreamed that some of his daughters might marry some
man after his own heart; but looking around, he never found a young man
for adoption who suited him.

He had relinquished the hope that he might yet encounter somebody to
his tastes when he came to Mr. Savage's home; and when the fresh, fair,
well-formed, keen, but gentle-eyed, and firm of lip, Leonard, with his
fine, bared brow, ran out with his father and family to greet the
just-arrived relations, who sent word of their coming the day before,
Mr. Brooks's eyes gathered new lustre to themselves as he looked upon
him, and discovered the strong resemblance of Leonard to his favorite
child George; and the impression then made upon his mind was deepened
as Mrs. Brooks, taking her husband aside an hour after their arrival,
spoke to him in low words, and with tears in her eyes:--

"Have you not noticed how like our dear George is Leonard Savage? I
noticed it the instant I met him, and I can't keep my eyes off from
him; and he acts just as George used to, too," she added.

Mr. Brooks told her that he had remarked the resemblance; "but," said
he, "please do not tell him, or the family, or our girls of it, for I
have already resolved to study the young man while I am here, and I
shall not pay him too much attention. I wish to see him as he usually
is. I wish you would watch him carefully, too, without letting him know

Mrs. Brooks, of course, consented to her husband's sensible wishes (and
wives should never consent to unsensible ones), and they watched
Leonard with great care, only to become more and more attracted to him
day by day. Sometimes Mr. Brooks and he took the old horse and carriage
and rode away long distances together. During these journeys Mr. Brooks
was sounding the mind and character of Leonard, talking to him of the
world and the men in it; of what he had seen and learned in Europe; of
the modes of doing business in New York; of his old acquaintances, some
of whom had achieved honors and fortune, and how they had lived; others
of whom had made shipwreck of themselves, earlier or later in life, and
so on, only to find that Leonard had a wondrously appreciative and
grasping mind, and seemed to be perfectly well-grounded morally. The
personal beauty, too, of Leonard, and his excellent colloquial powers,
charmed Mr. Brooks.

He found himself, after a few days, wholly in love with Leonard, and as
his wife's judgment of the young man corresponded with his own, he felt
increased confidence in Leonard; for Mr. Brooks was one of those men
who, fortunate in the possession of noble and sensible wives, know how
to appreciate them. Mr. Brooks always told his wife his important
business, and never took any great step, when there was time enough to
do so, without consulting her. But men who do business in Wall Street
are sometimes called on to act on the instant, in matters which involve
hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Brooks family remained several days at Mr. Savage's, and not only
convinced themselves of Leonard's perfect goodness and great
capacities, but of the worthiness of the whole of Mr. Savage's family;
and it can readily be conjectured that, at this early time even, Mr.
and Mrs. Brooks, who had a daughter of the same age as Leonard, and
other daughters a little younger, might have looked forward to an
alliance for one of them with a young man so good and of so much
promise in the world. The children, too, of Mr. Brooks became fond of
"cousin Leonard," as, in their caprices, they called him, and attached
to the whole family, especially to old Mr. Savage, their father's
time-old friend, who was one of those straightforward, severely honest,
intelligent, but at the same time fun-loving, jocular persons, whose
magnetism is contagious, and makes everybody around them "feel better."

A day or two before his departure from Mr. Savage's for the mountains,
Mr. Brooks took a long ride with Leonard, in which he talked much with
him about life, its cares, toils, and struggles, its successes and
disappointments; the value of the education of the schools, and that of
the arena of business, etc., and finally told him how he had been
considering him, and what projects he had been forming in his mind for
him business-wise. Mr. Brooks shed many tears as he told Leonard of his
resemblance to his own dear George, and Leonard, too, was greatly
affected, and could hardly utter a word.

Leonard was unwilling to give up his proposed collegiate course; but
Mr. Brooks assured him that he was already superior in scholarship to
the great majority of the country's most successful business men, and
pointed out to him how many brilliant young men of real merit there are
in the legal profession (to which Leonard inclined), as well as in the
medical and clerical, who can make but poor shift in the world; who do
not succeed; and he pointed out to him the advantage of stepping at
once into an established business, where the course of his life would
be free from the heart-racking trials and tortures through which these
men are compelled to pass.

Mr. Brooks told Leonard that he would place him in business, where an
honest course would be sure to win him great fortune in the end; that
he had profound confidence, from what he had seen of him, in his moral
nature, and that he would, in short, take him at once into business
with him, give him a small interest and a salary besides, till he
arrived at age, and then, if all things proved, as he believed they
would, would give him a large interest in his business. "Besides," he
said, "meanwhile my house shall be your home, and as much yours as if
you were really my boy."

Leonard was overwhelmed with Mr. Brooks's kind offers, and expressed
his fears that he had not the capacity to fill the place Mr. Brooks
wished him to occupy. But Mr. Brooks would not hear to this at all; and
finally Leonard said he could take no such important step without
consulting his father and mother, which only seemed to increase Mr.
Brooks's respect for him; and it was arranged that that night Mr. and
Mrs. B. and Mr. and Mrs. S. and Leonard should have a conference,
either sending the "girls" and "children" off to bed early, or managing
to take a walk by themselves. Night came, and it was very beautiful.
Mr. Brooks proposed that Mr. S. and wife, and himself and wife, should
take an evening stroll over to an old farm-house, where lived some
goodly neighbors, and make them a parting call, and told Leonard to
"come over" at such a time.

On their way home they stopped under some grand old trees, where there
were rude seats for the accommodation of travellers, and there, in the
moonlight, talked over the matter. Mr. Savage was surprised at Mr.
Brooks's generous offers. He hardly knew what to do. He had hoped that
Leonard would go to college, and finally determine to enter the
ministry. This was his highest ambition for him. His own brother
Leonard, after whom the young man was named, was a minister of much
promise, but who became ill early in his ministry, and died after a
long period of sickness and infirmity, at the age of twenty-nine.

Mr. Savage had looked to his son fondly to "do his unaccomplished
work," as he expressed it (his brother's), for Mr. Savage was of that
class of men who feel that their families--their "name"--must do about
so much "work for the Lord in His vineyard," at any rate, and he was
loath to have Leonard relinquish collegiate education. He said he was
not rich, but could provide comfortably enough for Leonard; and
besides, he had a great dread to have Leonard go so far from home,
especially to New York, so young. He had never been in New York, but he
had often visited Boston, and felt that a city was not the place for
young men. But Mr. Brooks told him that New York contained the best, as
well as the worst people in the world; that idleness was the bane of
young men, either in town or city, and referred him to many young men
whom they knew in their boyhood, and of whom Mr. Savage had told him on
that visit, that they had made wreck of themselves in the country, some
having gone down to drunkards' graves, etc.; that Leonard would, at
once, have all he could do, and perhaps more; that he would directly
enter upon a stern, and not a little laborious life, but that his great
success would be sure; that he would watch over Leonard with a father's
care, etc.

Mrs. Savage cried, and Mr. S. persisted in his objections. Finally, Mr.
Brooks told him that if he would give his consent, he would watch
Leonard carefully, and that if he discovered the least thing to excite
his suspicions that Leonard was in any way unfitted for the course of
life in which he wished to place him, he would send him back to his
father, and that, in the meanwhile, Leonard would have earned some
money for himself, and that then he would not be too old to go to
college; "for," said he, "a year's trial will decide all."

This was a new suggestion to Leonard, and he caught at it, and added
his importunities to Mr. Brooks's; for he saw the brilliant prospect
before him if he proved himself capable, and it was Mr. Brooks's own
proposal that he go on trial. So, after much further conversation, Mr.
and Mrs. Savage consented, and the parties returned to the house.

Mr. Brooks was so delighted that he could hardly contain himself, and
insisted that Leonard should go with him and his family next day to the
mountains. To this Leonard demurred, for he knew that fashionable
people resorted there, and he had not, he said, a proper suit of
clothes. He was having some made preparatory to going to college, but
they were not done. Mr. Brooks gently laughed at this; told him he was
well enough dressed now; that it was not his clothes, but him, that he
wanted with him.

But it was finally arranged that Leonard should visit Boston, and
provide himself with a ready-made suit, and follow the family in two or
three days. Mr. Brooks, knowing a certain clothing-house in Boston,
told Leonard to go there, and nowhere else; and after Leonard had
selected his suit, judge of his surprise, when the clerk, asking his
name, in order to make out the bill, presented it to Leonard,
subscribed, "Payment received in full," as Leonard was drawing his
wallet to pay for the goods.

"But what does this mean?" said Leonard, as, taking the bill, he handed
the clerk the money, which was refused.

"I am not able to tell you more than that I had orders to hand you the
bill receipted, and to refuse any money you might offer," said the
clerk, as he started to go to do something needing then to be done.

"But stop, sir," said Leonard; "I cannot receive this compliment from
your house. I must know what it means."

At this point one of the proprietors, seeing that Leonard was
confounded, stepped up, motioned the clerk away to his duties, and

"Allow me to ask what is the trouble?"

"No 'trouble' indeed," said Leonard, "but this: I've bought a suit of
clothes, for which I wish to pay, and the clerk won't let me, and has
given me the receipted bill."

The proprietor reached out his hand for it, looked at it for an
instant, and said,--

"Is this your name?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then the bill seems to be correctly made out."

"Yes, sir."

"Well, I am one of the proprietors of this house,--would you prefer
_me_ to receipt the bill, rather than that it be done in our name by a
clerk--is that it?"

Of course Leonard was astonished at the query.

"Why, no, sir," said he; "I suppose this is as correct as it can be, as
far as the signature is concerned, but I am astonished that you won't
take my money."

"Well, we do refuse to, and shall be greatly obliged to you if you will
take the suit along with you. You will have no trouble in the future
about it, and I am not at liberty to explain the matter to you. All I
can say is, it is all right; we are satisfied, and should be glad of
your custom when you wish anything in our line."

Leonard left the store confused, unable to conjecture what it meant,
for he had no suspicion of the fact, afterwards disclosed to him, a
year from then, that Mr. Brooks had written a private letter to the
house, enclosing a draft on a New York bank, telling the house to let
such a young man, whom he accurately described, and who would be there
in a day or two, have the goods, and they could settle the difference
between amount of draft and cost of goods thereafter. Of course he
enjoined entire secrecy; hence it was that the proprietor was "not at
liberty to explain."

Mr. Brooks intended this as a pleasant surprise upon Leonard, but it
didn't prove so. He was more or less harassed by it till he came to
know the facts. He was one of those independent, self-reliant souls,
who rather go without this or that than receive it from patronizing
hands; and as he did not even suspect this as Mr. Brooks's work, and as
old Mr. Savage, when Leonard came to tell him of the occurrence, was
equally unsuspecting, Leonard was a little vexed.

Mr. Brooks had been so long away they did not conceive that he had
acquaintances in Boston; and moreover they knew that he had not been
near the post office of the village while he was there, or had they
suspected him they would have thought of that, and been puzzled. But
Mr. Brooks had been wary, and without going to the post office himself,
sent his daughter out to walk, and deposit the letter, and told her to
say nothing about it, and to show its superscription to no one.

Leonard followed the family in his new but plain suit, for he had not
been extravagant. His fine form needed no adornment, and the visitors
at the mountains that season hardly knew which to admire the most, his
frank, handsome face, his Apollo-like form, or his gentle, kindly
manners. Of course Mr. Brooks was very proud of him, and was never so
happy as when talking to the people he met of the prize he had found
"up among the granite hills." He spoke of Leonard as his "clerk," and
was, in short, a particle silly in the expression of his pride over
Leonard; and Mrs. Brooks was not far behind him. So that the gossiping
portion of the visitors to the mountains, when they met, began to
whisper it about that it was "easy enough to be seen" that Mr. Brooks
was arranging an alliance for his daughter, and they were very sure it
was the next to the oldest; and before the Brookses left the mountains,
these gossipers were certain of it; and, as they observed the quiet,
modest, and reserved appearance of the beautiful Isabella, they
construed her silence into her non-concurrence with the supposed plan,
and Mrs. Brooks overheard some of them bewailing the condition of her
daughter, declaring it was "too bad to compel a girl to marry against
her will;" that although Leonard was so beautiful, and all that, yet it
was not right to compel the girl to marry him, and the Brookses "ought
to be ashamed of it." Little did they know what at the same time was
going on in Isabella's heart, and as little foresaw what the future,
not years distant, was to develop in the happiness and joy of the
Brooks and Savage families. Ah, and much less could they then have
conjectured of the terrible reverses--the inexpressible sufferings,
which were to come to some, indeed all, of those then happy households.

The season over, Mr. Brooks and family returned to New York, making but
a day or two's call at Mr. Savage's, where it was arranged that Leonard
should follow them in a month, and then set out for Boston, where Mr.
Brooks called on the clothing-house, and received the balance due on
his draft.

"That young man," said the proprietor, who had had the conversation
with Leonard, "is a splendid fellow to look upon, and I liked his
manners. I've thought ever since he was here I would like to get his
services in our store--if I could. Do you think he could be induced to
come to Boston? We'd do well by him--give him a fair trial--he would
have nothing to complain of."

"Then you like him? What struck you most in his appearance?"

"Well, he's intelligent and handsome, that everybody can see; but what
I liked most, was his honest, open face. I think he's perfectly
reliable--a thing I can say of but few of the clerks our house ever

Mr. Brooks was delighted with this estimation of Leonard by a shrewd,
keen-sighted business man, and replied,--

"You've judged the young man rightly, I think; but you cannot secure
his services. A business is already provided for him. Were it not for
that, I might try to get him into your employ."

Soon after Mr. Brooks left the store; and, of course, the first thing
he told Mrs. Brooks on entering the Revere House, where they were
stopping, was what the merchant had said about Leonard, and the
daughters all heard it too.

But I must cut this part of the story short, for I find my personal
regard for Leonard is leading me to dilate upon t