Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed
The Mystery of Monastery Farm
By H. R. NAYLOR
A GREAT BANK ROBBERY
On the eleventh day of April, 18--, the officers of the Bank of England
were greatly excited on receiving notice of a special meeting called for
that night at ten o'clock, an unusual hour, and indicating, surely,
something of great importance. Promptly at the hour appointed fifteen
directors occupied their usual places in the council chamber. There were
also present two paying tellers, which was not usual. Besides these two
bank clerks was observed Major Andrews, the well-known chief of the Bow
Street detective service, and by his side sat two of his assistants. As
yet, there were only five persons present who knew the cause of this
meeting--the president, cashier, and the chief and his assistants.
No time was permitted to waste. The president of the bank in a few
nervous words asked the cashier to state the object of the call. Mr. Bone
at once stated that there were strong indications that a robbery of the
bank had been perpetrated; that a large amount of currency had been
abstracted from the paying teller's room. Hence this sudden call for
consultation; this, also, accounted for the unusual presence of Chief
Andrews and his colleagues. He then called on Mr. Roe, the senior paying
teller, to make a statement of what he knew of the matter.
Mr. Roe arose, and told that at nine o'clock that morning in his
preparations for business he had brought from the vault a quantity of
currency and placed it with other moneys on a side table conveniently
situate for ready use. And that when, about two o'clock, he had occasion
for its use, it was gone. Everything possible had been done to gain a
clue, but there was not the slightest thing upon which to hang the
Major Andrews, stepping in front of the table, then requested permission
to ask Mr. Roe a few questions simply for information. This permission
was at once granted.
"Mr. Roe," asked the chief, "what was the general appearance of this
money? Was it loose or in a package?"
"It was a neat package," replied Mr. Roe, "wrapped in brown paper, with
its character and value marked distinctly on the wrapper."
"You say," said the chief, "'character and value distinctly marked on the
wrapper.' Please to explain what you mean by these terms."
"I mean," replied the teller, "by 'character' that there were one hundred
and fifty one-thousand-pound notes, and by 'value' the value of the
package--one hundred and fifty thousand pounds."
"Mr. Roe," continued the major, "is it the custom of your department to
have so large an amount of currency upon your side table?"
"No, sir," replied the teller, "but I had been notified that a large
draft would be presented today, and this package came nearest to the
amount spoken of; consequently, I selected and brought it to my table out
of the vault to be in readiness to pay the draft when presented."
"You say you had been notified that a large draft would be presented. May
I ask who notified you?"
"The cashier told me this morning when we were getting ready to open,"
was the prompt reply.
"Mr. Roe, when did you last see this money?"
"This morning about a quarter after nine, when it was placed upon my
table; I counted the notes."
"Mr. Roe, do you feel free to tell the Board the name of the party who
was expected to draw on you for this large amount?"
The teller's head dropped somewhat, and after a slight hesitation he
replied: "Major, I cannot do this in accordance with the rules of
"Ah! that is all right, Mr. Roe; I forgot your rules. We can get at this
in some other way. Mr. Roe, will you tell us if you did cash the large
draft today which you say the cashier had indicated?"
"Yes, sir. I cashed a draft for one hundred and thirty-eight
"Mr. Roe, was anyone in your room during banking hours?"
"Yes, the president and cashier both visited my room; it is their custom
and, I believe, duty to do so each day."
"When did you first miss the package?"
"When the large draft was presented about two o'clock."
"What did you do then?"
"I spoke through the 'phone to Mr. Bone, asking him to come in."
"Does not the porter come to your room occasionally?"
"He never comes into the room after nine o'clock."
"Cannot other clerks enter?"
"Not without permission. The door fastens with a spring lock."
"How about your lunch?"
"Our lunch is handed us at half-past twelve through the door which we
"Now, Mr. Roe, with your knowledge of the case, what is your conviction
concerning this lost package of money?"
"Major, I am compelled to say that I have not the faintest suspicion as
to how it was taken."
Moving suddenly around, the major looked at the cashier and said: "Mr.
Bone, what was your business in the teller's room this morning?"
"It is one of my duties, morning and evening, to tally the cash taken
from the vault and returned in the evening."
"How long were you there this morning?"
"Perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes."
"When were you there the next time?"
"About half-past two, when Mr. Roe 'phoned me to come to his room, and I
again opened the vault, that the teller might get some money to cash the
large draft of one hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds."
Much discussion followed this informal catechising, but the only thing
evident was that the package was lost. How it had disappeared, or where
it was, none could so much as guess. Here were twenty men--thorough
business men--several of whom had had large and successful banking
experience, among them a cashier than whom there was no brighter
financier in the great city of London, and the chief of a peerless
detective force, with two of his shrewdest colleagues. All were
nonplussed, annoyed, humiliated, returning to their homes and leaving the
great building in charge of half a score of sturdy watchmen, safer, it
would seem, in the night than in the day.
Next day several city newspapers had the following:
"A reward of TEN THOUSAND POUNDS will be paid for the arrest of the party
or parties who abstracted a valuable package of Bank of England notes
April 11, 18--, from said bank. This currency can be of no value to the
thieves, as the bank holds a list of the numbers, and their circulation
has been ordered stopped. The receiver of any of these notes will be
liable to arrest."
Nearly every important newspaper in the kingdom copied this item. Besides
this, a list of the numbers of the lost notes was sent to every banking
institution in England and America.
Billy Sparrow stood leaning against the gate post, looking down upon the
river three hundred yards away. He and his two helpers had been
cultivating corn and tobacco through a long June day; and now the sun was
going down, and he was making his plans for tomorrow's work. Billy had
just closed his fourth year as master of Monastery Farm. Billy was an
Englishman from Durham County, having attended school in Barnard's Castle
three years, with an additional two and a half years spent at the
agricultural college in Darlington. He then married the girl of his
choice and for four years superintended his father's farm; then, with
their one child, three years old, set sail for America to seek his
fortune, and four weeks later landed in New York.
Billy had letters of recommendation from the Wesleyan minister, Dr.
Walsh, his father's physician, and old Squire Horner. But in vain did
Billy present these credentials as he tramped the streets--nobody seemed
to need his services in a city containing millions of people. Billy's
capital was getting low and he was becoming discouraged. From one of
those profitless tramps he was returning one evening when he observed the
word "parsonage" on a door plate. He had always had a friend in a
preacher in his native town; why not make the acquaintance of this one?
Perhaps he might tell him of some sort of employment. Without stopping to
think further he pulled the bell. In a moment or two he found himself in
the presence of a young man, one but little older than himself, and the
stranger was invited inside, feeling very much at home with the preacher.
After quite a lengthy conversation the preacher remarked: "You are a
farmer; New York is no place for you. I would advise you to go out into
the country; and, by the way, I believe I saw, a day or two since, an
advertisement for a man to take charge of a farm."
After some search on the part of the minister the paper containing the
announcement was found. Billy, having eagerly read the advertisement,
thanked the minister, pushed the paper into his pocket, and speedily left
the house. He returned to the humble apartment that he had secured, and
as the little family partook of their frugal evening meal, his wife
Nancy, addressing her husband, said: "I think we had better get out of
this expensive city, somewhere into the country, where it is cheaper
living, and where you may find something to do more to your liking."
"Well, Nancy," replied Billy, "this is the second time today that this
advice has been given me, for," he added, pulling the newspaper from his
pocket, "a minister gave me a paper in which there is an advertisement
for a farmer, and advised me to look into it. Here it is," and he read
"WANTED--A FARMER. Wanted, competent man, not afraid of work, to take
charge of a farm of two hundred acres in ---- County, New York. A good
house to live in, and good wages to the right man. References required.
Apply by mail or in person to J. M. Quintin, Centerville Landing, ----
County, New York."
"Why," exclaimed Nancy, "I believe that is providential."
After pondering the subject awhile Billy wrote to Mr. Quintin, enclosing
his credentials, and mailed the letter immediately.
In less than a week he received the following reply:
"William Sparrow, Esq., New York.
"I have just received your application for the position on Monastery Farm
in answer to my advertisement. In replying I want to be candid with you.
In a word, unless you are an expert farmer your application cannot be
considered. If, therefore, you have any doubts about being able to meet
the requirements, there is no need for further correspondence. This is a
first-class farm and must be worked by first-class methods. The opening
is an especially good one for the right man. Perhaps you had better come
up and see the place, and give us a chance to see you. Come by boat to
Centerville Landing. Let me know the time of your arrival, should you
decide to come, and someone will meet you.
"J.W. QUINTIN, Trustee."
Billy read this letter with somewhat mixed feelings. There was no
mistaking its meaning. This man spoke out. Its very brusqueness
disconcerted the unsophisticated young man. His experience was quite
limited. He had managed his father's one-hundred-acre farm several years,
and it had paid very well. But he had always had his father's advice; of
which he would be deprived in this his greater work. He read the letter
to Nancy, and she was similarly impressed.
Finally Billy remarked: "I will find the preacher and ask his advice,"
and without further words he started to Washington Square, where his
newly-found friend lived.
He was ushered into the library. He had never seen so many books before
in one place. While he was glancing around in his surprise, the preacher
entered. "Good evening, Mr. Sparrow," he said. "How are you? Have you
found any employment yet?"
Billy handed him the letter which had brought him there, saying: "I
received this letter today, and, if you please, I should like to have
your advice about it."
The preacher opened the letter, and as he did so gave a little start.
Then he smiled as he glanced down at the signature. He finished reading
with a decidedly happy expression on his face, and Billy asked: "Can you
tell me about this place, and of the man?"
"O, yes," was the ready reply, "I know both the place and the man; the
fact is, that is my county, and Quintin is my friend. I never had a
better friend than Jerry Quintin. I always spend my vacation there. I
lived there from the time I was ten years old until I was twenty-three,
and always go there in summertime for a few weeks' rest--occupying my old
room, eating with the boys, and roaming in the woods; I know every tree
and bypath; yes, and many a swim have I had in the old river. Jerry
Quintin," he continued, "as we used to call him. Why, I've known him
since I was a child. Do you want to hear about him? Well, when he was a
youth, not quite out of his teens, Mr. Thorndyke gave the land on which
the Monastery stands, Quintin was made chairman of the board of
trustees, and treasurer also. He has handled every dollar of the funds,
superintended the erection of all the buildings, the laying off of the
Monastery Park, and had charge of the farm; and through all the years no
auditing committee had ever found an inaccuracy in his accounts.
Foresight, sagacity, rectitude are synonymous terms with the name of
Quintin. True as gold is Jerry Quintin. He always means what he says, and
says just what he means. Let me assure you, there is no truer man in the
Empire State than this same Quintin."
A few days later Sparrow found himself set ashore at Centerville Landing
at an early hour in the morning. The first thing he saw was a plainly
dressed man sitting in a buckboard who, as Sparrow approached, accosted
him with the words: "Mr. Sparrow, good morning. Glad to see you. Expected
to see an older man. Get in, we will go round and get some breakfast and
afterward go out to the farm."
After breakfast they drove along the river road, behind an excellent team
of bay horses, for a distance of about two miles, and drew up in front of
a large brick house.
"This is our farm, Mr. Sparrow. We will drive on to the farm and come
back to the house later."
Everything indicated thrift and prosperity. There was a great barn and
stables, a capacious warehouse, out-buildings of all sorts, corn houses,
hayricks, and a building for wheat, while nearby was a shed full of
modern agricultural machinery. They walked through the stables; five fine
horses occupied the stalls, while close at hand were not fewer than a
dozen Jersey cows.
Mr. Quintin was busy describing everything--and he knew all about
everything: buildings, their uses and cost; the horses, as he stroked the
nose of each--breed, age, peculiarities. Each cow and heifer he knew by
name and age. The machinery--he was familiar with its make and use as
well as its cost. If his eyes had been bandaged, apparently he could have
described everything on Monastery Farm.
They next drove back to the farmhouse. It was a substantial brick
building, containing twelve spacious rooms, furnished with plain, rather
old-fashioned furniture, and set back from the river road about three
hundred yards; it was surrounded by a well-kept lawn, and in all
respects, the place was inviting and homelike.
"Mr. Sparrow," said Quintin, "this farm contains two hundred and two
acres of arable land, good land, no better, in fact, in the country.
Besides, we have twenty acres of wooded land and a tenant house. This
machinery is the best that we could find. We have two men--Giles and
Ephraim; they are the best hands we know of, for Mr. Rixey trained them
from their boyhood; there are no better. Mr. Rixey was our farmer
twenty-six years. He died last November. Let us now have a look at the
Half a mile away they came to it, a large five-story brick building in
the midst of native oak trees; a wide driveway led up to the front door,
while in front was a sparkling fountain. Another, a smaller building,
occupied a site near by, and constituted the president's residence. The
whole was inclosed with a tall iron fence.
Years before our story begins this land (three hundred acres) was donated
by Richard Thorndyke, a wealthy Episcopalian, for a training school for
clergymen, to which gift was added as an endowment fund one hundred
thousand dollars on the condition that the church should erect suitable
buildings. Thorndyke Theological Seminary was its original name; but, as
the students as well as the teachers were all men, the people soon began
to call it the Monastery, and in the course of years this became its
common title; and the farm became known far and wide as Monastery Farm.
This institution had from its inception found peculiar favor with the
church as well as with the people, and the buildings were speedily
erected. Two men at first were enough to do the teaching, as at the
beginning there were only seventeen pupils, several of these students
earning their tuition by working upon the farm. But at the time to which
this story points one hundred and seventy-two students and nine
professors composed the faculty besides the president, and the school was
known as Monastery Classical and Theological College.
This inexperienced young Englishman as he saw all this became dismayed.
This was too great an undertaking. He depreciated his own ability. This
was altogether too big a job. He remembered that Nancy called it
providential, but surely she was mistaken. What could he do with all
that machinery? True, he had successfully managed his father's
one-hundred-acre farm, but this farm was twice as large. There were
likewise oxen on the place, and he had never handled a yoke of oxen.
No; he would take the night boat home. Surely something more suitable
would turn up.
He almost regretted having seen the advertisement. However,
notwithstanding his lack of self-confidence, he presented to Mr. Quintin
the letter which the preacher in New York had given him to be delivered
to that gentleman.
"Ah!" exclaimed Mr. Quintin as he read, "this is from one of our best
boys; you know him, eh?"
"Ah, Charlie is as true as steel, Charlie is."
"He says better words of you, Mr. Quintin," remarked Billy.
"Indeed! What does he say?"
"He says you are true as gold."
"Well, I doubt whether that is better. That is Charlie's way of showing
his appreciation. But steel is better than gold. I don't know of any
useful thing made of gold; but what could we do without steel?"
They drove away from the Monastery and stopped in front of the
farmhouse. Then Mr. Quintin, in quiet tones, asked: "Well, Mr. Sparrow,
what do you think of Monastery Farm? Would you not like to live in that
good old house? I am authorized to pay the right man seven hundred
dollars a year, besides house rent, garden, milk, etc. What do you think
of such a chance?"
"Mr. Quintin," replied the other, slowly, "I am afraid that it is too
much of an undertaking. I fear that my experience is too limited. It
would perhaps be better for me to look for a lighter job. I am a farmer,
Mr. Quintin, and love the work. For four years I have managed my father's
small farm, and have succeeded in making some money. But this work needs
a man of more experience. Everything is on a larger scale, and I fear I
am not experienced enough for so large an undertaking."
Mr. Quintin was an astute reader of men and had formed a favorable
opinion of this modest young man. "How old are you?" he asked.
"I am twenty-six years old next month," was the reply.
"I'm afraid you are in danger of making a mistake. You may never have an
opportunity like this again. The crops for the season are all in, and the
two men on the place understand everything, and during this year you can
familiarize yourself with the machinery, cattle, and all other necessary
details. My advice to you is to take hold and feel that you are master of
the situation as you soon will be."
Quintin, in fact, was so favorably impressed with this young man of
twenty-six that Billy was finally persuaded to take charge of Monastery
Farm, and in two weeks the new farmer and his young wife and child were
comfortably located in the old farmhouse. And time had proven that
Quintin had made no mistake in this selection. Each year had enhanced his
opinion of the character and ability of Sparrow; the great farm had never
been so productive, the cattle had never been more thrifty, and the
revenue had never been as large.
Four years had passed, and well might Billy feel quite satisfied as he
stood there in his shirt sleeves at the close of a certain day looking
out over the farm. While he was thus engaged a young man, tall and
slight in appearance and apparently not much more than twenty years of
age, approached. He was lithe and seemingly agile; a thin, brown beard
covered his face, which was cheery indeed, as was the smile which shone
through two big brown eyes. His clothing was well worn, and upon his
shoulders or back was something resembling a soldier's knapsack, while
in his hand he carried a knotty stick. Halting at the gate, where
Sparrow and Nancy and the boy stood, the stranger saluted them with a
courteous bow. "Good evening," he said, "may I inquire how far it is to
the next village?"
"Not more than two miles," was the answer.
"Is there a tavern in the village?" was next asked.
"O, yes, two of them," was Billy's response.
"I'm looking for work," said the stranger. "Do you think I shall be able
to find something to do in the village?"
"What sort of work do you want?" queried Billy with a smile.
"Anything that is honest," was the prompt reply. "What I don't know I can
learn. I want to settle down, at least for a while."
"Well, now," replied Billy, "you don't look as if you could do much on a
farm. If you could, I might give you a job, at least for a week or two;
only farmers or carpenters are needed through this part of the country.
Could you plow corn or saw wood?"
"Well," was the response, "I don't think that I could plow corn, but I
could saw wood, hoe in the garden, do chores, or feed stock."
As they talked the stranger unbuckled his knapsack, and set it down on
the horse block.
"Where are you from?" asked Sparrow in a somewhat abrupt tone.
"I'm from--from--well, from every place, from New York last."
"Where are you headed for?"
"Well, sir, to be honest with you, I suppose you might call me a tramp.
I'm hunting for a place to settle down in, as I seem to be without
friends, so one place is as good as another for me."
It was now nearly dark, and the kindly heart of Nancy prompted her to
ask him if he were hungry, to which he replied that he had eaten
nothing since morning. "I had a good breakfast," he added, "at a place
"Why," ejaculated Billy, "Tipton is twenty-two miles away."
The good wife had slipped away, and presently returned, inviting him to
enter and have something to eat. As they entered the cozy dining room,
turning to Mrs. Sparrow, the young man said: "My name is Edwards--Carl
Edwards; I am an Englishman, and have been in this country only six
weeks. I am trying to find some employment."
Billy, learning from Nancy that the stranger was a countryman of his,
after he had eaten his supper, engaged him in conversation concerning the
old country, during the course of which he learned that they were from
the same county--he, Billy, from Barnard Castle, and Edwards from the
city of Durham, which places were not more than forty miles apart. Of
course Billy would not turn his countryman out to seek a lodging. So he
was invited to remain for the night, which invitation the young man
Next morning the stranger was found at the woodpile, busily engaged in
cutting wood for the cook stove. Billy found him thus working as he
returned from feeding the stock. It was a sultry morning in June and the
perspiration was streaming freely down the young man's face. It was
evident that this was harder work than he had been used to.
"You had better go slow for a while, Edwards, until you get toughened to
it," remarked Sparrow.
Just then was heard the sound of the bell calling them to
breakfast. Strange as it may seem, no more words about work passed
between the two men.
Immediately after breakfast the newcomer found a hoe and spent the day in
hoeing potatoes and corn in the garden. Cutting wood, bringing water to
the house, feeding the poultry, assisting in feeding the horses, mules,
and cows, until, before the end of a week, both Billy and Nancy wondered
how they possibly got along before he came. An extensive bed of
watercress had been discovered on the edge of a stream that ran through
the farm and each morning the table was supplied, and a fine bouquet of
wild roses and other woodland flowers was found in front of Nancy's
plate, while their odor filled the breakfast room.
Another change had come in to this kind and simple-hearted family.
Tom--little Tom, now seven years old and the sunbeam of the
farm-house--had begged to have his cot put into the room occupied by the
stranger. Up to this time Nancy had been compelled to wash and dress the
lad; but now he arose when Edwards arose, washed and dressed himself, and
went downstairs, remaining by the side of his new friend until called to
breakfast, when he would bring in a dozen or more fresh eggs.
So the summer weeks passed by; no word had been spoken about wages. The
young man was now known by the familiar name of Carl. He was recognized
as the general utility man of the farm. Giles and Ephraim, the two
helpers, hired by the year, went twice a month on Saturday evening to
Centerville, where Mr. Quintin paid them their wages. But Carl had so far
received nothing, and his clothes became very much worn and their renewal
was becoming quite an apparent necessity. One Saturday afternoon Billy
invited Carl to go with him to Centerville, and there he was fitted out
with a good supply of everything he needed in the way of clothes. So
great was the change on his return that at first the keen-eyed little Tom
was not able to recognize him, but a moment later exclaimed: "Ah, Carl, I
always knew you were a gentleman."
Rexford Mills was the manager of all temporal supplies of the
Monastery--all food supplies, repairs, fuel, servants, etc. Three times
a week his orders for vegetables, flour, corn meal, fowls, butter,
eggs, milk, cheese, etc., as well as fruits in season, came to the
farm. Hitherto to supply these demands devolved upon Sparrow himself,
thus occupying much of his time. But during the seven months of his
sojourn here, Carl had gradually and almost unconsciously become
interested in the great warehouse and its contents and the triweekly
demands of the family at the Monastery. Often the little wagon stood
already filled with the order before Billy arrived, and Carl was found
in the office crediting the farm with the morning's order on the books.
This was a great relief to the farmer, as it allowed him to spend the
time with the men upon the farm. So satisfactorily was this work done
that Carl had really become the manager of this part of the farm's
obligations. Once a month, Mr. Mills and Carl met to compare and adjust
accounts, thus greatly assisting Mr. Mills in bringing an accurate
report to the board of trustees. Mr. Quintin highly appreciated this
accuracy, and spoke of it at every opportunity. Everything in the
warehouse as well as upon the farm was in perfect order. This pleasant
state of things could not long exist without becoming known in the
family of students and faculty, and all soon began to be interested in
the young man, the result being that invitations began to arrive for
him to attend their entertainments and other functions. He was
especially invited to the exercise grounds and games.
A literary and musical entertainment was to be given. It was to be a sort
of Thanksgiving festival; the best speakers and singers had been engaged
and they had spent much time in rehearsal. The bishop was to preside. The
hour had arrived, but alas, where was the organist? No word as to the
cause of his absence had been received, and a substitute must be found.
Who, then, could be organist? John Keyes was the only man among them that
was acquainted with the numbers; he had rehearsed them. But yesterday he
had rushed away to visit his mother, who was ill, expecting to be able to
return in time, and Professor Cummings was greatly disturbed because
unsuccessful in finding someone to take his place. The president and
faculty were approaching. They should now be singing the welcoming
"Gloria." Instead, the great organ was silent. But listen! Someone had
touched the keys. The audience arose simultaneously and sounded forth the
grand old chorus, "Glory to God in the Highest." Few in the audience
suspected that John Keyes was not at the organ. No one dreamed that the
fingers pressing those keys had not during the last year and a half
touched a musical instrument. But the festival went on with artistic
smoothness to the finish. None was more surprised than the bishop, who at
the close turned to thank the young man; but Carl had slipped away and
was not to be seen. During the entire entertainment Tom sat on a stool as
if he were petrified. This was the astonishment of his young life.
Next morning the stalwart voices of the students were heard as usual in
their early devotions, but there were no notes of the organ accompanying
them. Word had been received that Keyes himself was ill, and, strange as
it may seem, of all the one hundred and seventy-four students none felt
sufficiently proficient to assume his place at the organ.
"Who played the organ last night?" asked the bishop. "Why can he
"O, he is not a student. He is a young Englishman from the farm, a
relative of Sparrow's," replied the professor.
"Well, why don't you secure his services until Keyes returns? I
wanted to thank him last night but could not find him. That young
man is a musician, whoever he is. I will go over with you and we will
But they did not find the farmer; instead, they fell in with Carl in
the office of the warehouse. Tom stood on a box taking a lesson in
penmanship. The copy was, "Honesty is the best policy." The writing
lesson was being accompanied by a lesson in honesty. The visitors
listened on the other side of the thin partition to what Carl was
saying to Tom.
"Honesty is telling the truth," were his words. "Honesty means not
keeping back anything. Honesty means telling a thing as it is. Telling
the truth--not more, not less."
The grave bishop tapped at the door which was immediately opened by Carl.
"Is Mr. Sparrow here?" asked the professor.
"No, sir," was the reply. "He has gone to Centerville, but will
return by noon."
"Well," said the bishop, "we really came to see you. You play the organ,
and we are minus an organist at our chapel services. Mr. Keyes, our
organist, we have just learned, has been taken suddenly ill and is in the
hospital. Can you serve us until he returns?"
"I hardly know how to answer you, Bishop," replied Carl, hesitatingly. "I
am working for Mr. Sparrow; and, besides, I have had no practice, with
the exception of last evening, for a long time, which is, of course, a
serious disadvantage. But if Mr. Sparrow does not object, I will do the
best I can for you."
The end of the matter was that that evening Carl conducted all the
musical services in the chapel.
The news soon spread abroad that remarkable music could be heard in the
Monastery, and the people flocked there from outside to hear it, and the
spacious chapel became crowded at even the everyday services. This new
organist improvised such harmonies as they had never heard before. And
this inspiration seemed to touch the faculty as each member of it took
his turn in conducting the services. Bishop Albertson preached as never
before. He seemed to almost ignore his notes as he talked to the people,
and the people in turn manifested a devoutness never witnessed before by
a Monastery congregation. Dr. Ezra Day had ever been a favorite, but the
present hour brought him a far greater degree of popularity. The veteran
Dr. Peregrine Worth also preached as never before. Indeed, everything
seemed to receive new life; the old monotony had departed; something new
had come. What was it? Was this what the Methodists called a revival?
So marked and intense was this feeling that a meeting of the faculty and
trustees was called. Was this a modern Pentecost? So Worth said; so
Cummings thought. A great meeting was held for consultation and the
people were publicly invited. Everyone declared a church should be
organized. The bishop was in favor of this, and at the proper time one
hundred and eighteen persons presented themselves as candidates for
confirmation. Up to this time what was known as Monastery was simply a
scientific and theological seminary. Its faculty was composed of educated
clergymen. It was a college with a bishop as president, supported by the
church at large and the products of the farm, having a board of trustees
to hold and manage the estate according to the laws of the commonwealth.
Now it was to become an organized parish church and, in addition, the
center of a diocese. The bishop was to assume the duties of the rector,
with the members of the faculty as his assistants, and the trustees were
incorporated as the "Board of Trustees of Monastery Church and College,"
according to law. This was a new regime for Bishop Albertson, who, years
before, had been rector of a small parish in Virginia. Even at that time
he was a rigid churchman and a profound scholar, and because of these and
other qualifications he had unexpectedly been elevated to the episcopal
office. Soon after this well-merited promotion he had been earnestly
requested to take this young seminary under his care and
superintendence, and had cheerfully accepted this added responsibility.
From that time he had made Monastery his home and the headquarters of his
diocese. It continued to be "a school of the prophets" during ten years,
when it was granted a university charter and it became a school of
classics as well as theology. No one ever felt disappointed at this
appointment of Bishop Albertson to the presidency of the institution,
which under his care had grown from a small seminary with seventeen
students to its present proportions and standing in the state. Now there
were seventy-two theological students and two hundred and forty-five in
the classical and scientific courses. This had been done under the
fostering care and superintendency of the present incumbent. This
institution had been simply a high-grade school of classics and theology,
principally the latter. Experimental religion had but a small place in
its curriculum or life. "Thou shalt not" of the Old Testament was
strictly taught and demanded of all. But "Thou shalt" of the New
Testament was rarely thought of, much less practiced. So apparent was
this that critical observers used to say of it: "Here is where they have
neither religion nor politics." And this local adage was literally true.
The highest morality was practiced and demanded, but the dogmas which
insisted upon the regeneration of the heart and life were very sparingly
taught. Morality in its highest life was demanded of all, but the inner
life was left to take care of itself.
But now, something had happened; here was a change. Even the organ spoke
with a new voice; the prayer book meant more than it had in the
past--everything spoke with a new tongue. Here was an amount of emotion
that was new and strange, and the responses in the services were more
prompt and fervent. The bishop ceased to read his sermons and talked as
one who had authority. His voice was more distinct. The audiences heard
him as never before. Several of the professors who had always been spoken
of as unattractive and uninteresting became exactly the reverse. Young
men were found praying in their rooms. In one of them the bishop was
heard leading a score of young men in prayer. Old-fashioned and old-time
hymns were sung, fervent responses were heard, and scores of persons from
roundabout professed to have found Christ. During six weeks this
wonderful influence was felt. It extended for miles throughout the
country. During that time four hundred persons took upon themselves the
obligations of the Christian profession and Monastery Church became a
great power through the county.
Mr. Keyes, the organist, had died in the hospital, and Carl had been
appointed in his place as organist and musical director. He very soon
organized a choir of forty persons. And this was not all that added
responsibility to this young man's life. The bishop, realizing the
growing responsibilities of his work, appointed him his private
secretary, which necessarily took him away from all the work on the farm;
but even this did not separate him from the farmhouse. He continued to
sleep there in "Carl and Tom's room," and, excepting during school hours,
wherever you found Carl Tom was not far away.
The grand old man, Dr. George Thorndyke, who gave three hundred acres of
land for a "school for prophets," little dreamed that his gift was to
develop to such proportions, and become, also, a great influential
church, a great center of religious influence, whose power would be felt
But the college chapel was neither fit nor large enough for the demands
which were now pressing upon it. They must have a building capacious and
suitable in which to worship. And now the true character of the great
revival was seen in the prompt responses of the people; more generous
were they than the ancient people who built the temple, and in the course
of a few months a large and beautiful church was erected capable of
seating twelve hundred people. As this building neared completion the
building committee began to prepare for its dedication. The chief
clergyman to be invited was an old friend and classmate of Bishop
Albertson--Bishop McLaren, of Durham, England. There was to be, of
course, select music; the singing must not be inferior to that which
Bishop McLaren listened to in his cathedral home. Carl was told that the
Durham singers were known throughout the kingdom as superb, and he must
do his best in drilling his choir.
But there seemed to be, if not a lack of interest, at least a lack of
energy. For many weeks before the time Carl assembled the choir for
special rehearsal at least twice a week. And while progress was made, yet
there seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm in both singers and organist. The
cause of this was soon apparent. Carl was ill; and the day that the
president went to New York to meet his friend, Carl was attacked with a
raging fever. It was seen very quickly that the young man ought to have
given up much sooner and the best medical aid was hastily summoned. Of
course a substitute must be provided, and the committee succeeded in
securing the services of Professor Schuets, from New York, to have charge
of the organ and music during the dedicatory services. When the day (the
Sabbath) for the great service came Carl lay in his bed delirious with
typhoid fever. Nancy Sparrow was his faithful nurse, while Tom was hands
and feet to his mother. It was really pathetic to see the little fellow
as he sat near the bed so vigilant and anxious in his desire to be of
service. And when the doctor came, how his great blue eyes watched his
every movement! Then he would waylay the doctor as he left the house,
asking if Carl were not improving, and if he would not be up in a few
days. But the physician did not dare encourage the boy. It was soon
observed that every morning and evening, immediately after the doctor's
visits, Tom walked over to the office in the warehouse, where Giles more
than once found him engaged in earnest prayer for Carl's recovery.
"I tell you, Mrs. Sparrow," said Giles on one of these occasions, "Carl
will get well. Tom talked to God today, and I don't believe that God will
refuse the little fellow what he wants."
It was on one of those visits that Billy, who was in the root cellar
under the warehouse, heard the lad's footsteps and, slipping upstairs,
listened to the prayer of his boy. These were his words: "Dear Father in
heaven, maybe you are tired of hearing me ask you for the same thing so
many times, but there is nothing else that I want; but I _do_ want Carl.
I would not have to ask my earthly father so often, if he could possibly
do it; but he isn't able. _You are able_ and, somehow, I can't
understand why you don't. Father and mother and I all love Carl; he is
one of us; and what would the bishop do without him? And now, dear
Father, I'm going back to the house to see if he isn't better. I know
you will do it. Amen."
The two prelates sat in the resident bishop's study. "There is a sample
of my secretary's work," said Bishop Albertson, as he handed an account
book to his friend, "and it is as accurate as it is beautiful."
Bishop McLaren started when his eyes fell upon the ledger. After a
moment's hesitancy he remarked: "Never but in one instance have I seen as
fine work. That was the writing of my own dear boy; those capitals are
just like his. Ah, well."
On the afternoon of the Sabbath the two bishops strolled across the park,
and almost unconsciously found themselves in front of the farmhouse.
Little Tom sat on the front steps with a sad countenance; looking up he
recognized Bishop Albertson standing before him.
"Well, Tom, how is Carl today?" asked the bishop.
"O, Bishop, he is very bad. He talks and talks, and they don't know what
he means. He talks about his father and mother, and nobody knows where
they live. He never told anybody. But I'm praying for him, Bishop, and I
know he won't die."
"Can we go up and see him?" asked Bishop Albertson, and without waiting
for an answer, he proceeded up the back stairs, but the English visitor
When Bishop Albertson entered the room he found Nancy bathing the sick
youth's brow. She saluted the visitor with great respect. Carl lay quite
still with his face toward the wall. Laying her hand upon his brow, Nancy
said: "Carl, dear, here's the bishop come over to see you."
The sick man murmured: "No, no, he will never come to see me, but mother
would if she knew."
The bishop in low, quiet tones said: "Carl, where is your father? We will
let him know how ill you are, and I know he will come to you."
In still weaker accents the delirious youth went on: "No, no, don't tell
him; he thinks I'm dead; better so."
At this moment Dr. King, making his second call for the day, stepped
into the room, and at once in low but emphatic tones remarked: "Mrs.
Sparrow, this will not do. Our patient must be kept quiet; otherwise
more harm can be done in a half hour than can be overcome in a week. I
will send a nurse tonight, and with skillful nursing we will, if
possible, save the patient."
The bishop took the hint and quietly descended to the parlor, where he
found his colleague awaiting him with his head resting upon both hands.
Silently they wended their way to the bishop's study. It lacked about an
hour to the time of evening service.
The visiting clergyman, addressing his host said: "Bishop Albertson, I
think I have never told you the particulars of my great affliction. The
illness of your secretary, and seeing the specimen of his penmanship,
brings back to my recollection the darkest providence that has ever come
into my life."
"No, Bishop," said his brother minister, kindly, "you have not. But
sorrow passes few of us by in this world. We all suffer, some grievously.
I did not suspect, however, that such had been your lot."
"Yes," was the reply, after a moment's silence, "mine has been a heavy
cross. A little more than a year ago my son, just entering upon the
summer vacation, went off with two friends on a yachting trip. They were
near Land's End when a hurricane struck and wrecked the boat; they were
all lost, the yacht never having been seen again; and once this
afternoon, when the door of your secretary's room was opened for a
moment, I heard his delirious cry, and his voice sounded strangely like
that of my own lost boy. Possibly, I, too, should have gone up to see
him, but after that I could not--I could not." He paused and then added:
"O, it was my profoundest wish that Eddie might some day take my place,
and be the comfort of my old age."
That evening's sermon will never be forgotten by the large congregation
which came to hear the eminent English divine. "Thou destroyest the hopes
of man" was the text.
Two days later the Bishop of Durham returned to his home, and although he
had enjoyed seeing the classmate of his early years, the affliction in
Bishop Albertson's home had reminded him of his own sad loss, so that
when he arrived at Durham he felt prostrated by the renewal of his bitter
The new nurse would not permit even Tom to enter the sick man's room, so
he waylaid the doctor at every visit, and, stern as he was, that
professional gentleman was compelled through sheer sympathy to speak as
encouragingly as possible to the lad.
Every morning Tom brought from the garden a handful of flowers and,
tapping gently at the sick man's door, handed them to the nurse, who,
giving him a more hopeful word concerning the patient, would send him
with light heart downstairs to his mother to report the good news. One
morning the boy brought a bunch of roses and violets, and gave them to
Enoch, the nurse, who received them with greater cordiality than usual,
remarking as he accepted the flowers: "Mr. Carl is much better. You shall
see him tomorrow."
The joyous-hearted boy bounded downstairs and, throwing his arms around
his mother's neck, repeated the words of the nurse. Enoch met Tom in the
hall next day. The lad was dressed in his best clothes and was nervously
impatient. "Now Tom," said Enoch, "promise me that you will not talk,
and you must not cry, and, remember, you can only stay ten minutes."
"All right! I'll promise anything, only let me see my Carl."
But Enoch's patience was tried at the very start. Tom tiptoed into the
room, and as he saw the pale smiling face of Carl and heard his welcome
he threw his arms around the sick man's neck, and sobbed through his
tears: "Carl, my Carl, you're nearly well, aren't you?"
Enoch, standing near the bed, placed his finger upon his lips, but Tom
did not recognize his admonition, and kept on giving expression to his
happiness. "Carl," said he, "God has given you back to us. I told mother
that he would, and he has."
The pleasure of Bishop McLaren's visit was plainly lessened by the
illness of the young secretary. The family of his host were all anxious,
and the members of the faculty were visibly affected. Even the servants
about the place felt concern for the young secretary and whispered many
exaggerated stories concerning the case. But the crisis had been passed,
and Carl began to improve. After a slow recovery he took up his
accustomed duties, and church and school work fell back into its old
routine. But six weeks of typhoid fever had greatly emaciated the young
secretary. The buoyancy and brightness seemed to have left him. He had
been fond of athletic sports, but now he apparently cared nothing for
them. With Tom he would walk over to the exercise grounds and, seated in
a chair, would watch the students in their games, seldom speaking and
The kindly bishop watched the young man closely and, after much serious
thought, wrote to his personal friend, Dr. Marmion, of New York, inviting
him to the Monastery to take a day or two of rest. Nancy exhausted her
ingenuity to tempt and increase his appetite, but nothing served to help
him, and what made matters worse, he seemed to have no desire to improve.
True, he was just as exact and faithful in the discharge of his official
duties, and in the correspondence, which was without dictation, there was
quite as much courtesy, but it all lacked that freshness that had marked
the past. The organ gave forth notes just as harmonious and perfect, but
the music lacked the brilliancy and uplifting power that had hitherto
characterized it. Indeed, his youthfulness seemed to have departed, and
maturity, if not old age, taken its place. Previously Carl's full and
joyous laugh had attracted scores toward him; now, however, a quiet smile
was frequently the only indication that he was pleased, and even a
sprinkling of gray hair was here and there seen among the curly brown
locks. Once it had been a trick of his to leap from the ground to the
back of Allick, Sparrow's tallest horse, but he now declined mounting a
horse at all. The strong and springy step was gone and his feet shuffled
like those of a very old man.
One day the bishop entered the office where Carl was at work, accompanied
by a plain-looking man, possibly forty years of age. He was of medium
stature, with broad and prominent brow, great brown eyes, and prominent
nose. But the most significant and impressive feature of the man's face
was his eyes--large, brown, and possessed of that peculiar quality which
made them grow luminous when he was much interested and almost frightful
when excited. He was introduced to Carl as Mr. Marmion, from New York. As
Carl had no particular interest in the New York gentleman, after a few
words of commonplaces he turned away and resumed his work; but the bishop
having slipped out, the stranger seemed to call for the courtesy of the
"Take that easy chair, Mr. Marmion," said Carl. "Bishop Albertson will no
doubt return presently."
"Bishop Albertson tells me that you are just recovering from a severe
illness, Mr. Edwards," said Mr. Marmion, as he sat down in the
"Yes, I have been quite ill with typhoid fever," was the reply.
"Are you sleeping and eating well?"
"No, not by any means. If I am gaining at all, it is a very slow gain. I
have almost an aversion to food, and every exertion is a task."
"Ah, that ought not to be," said the gentleman. "You are surely not
gaining if you can neither eat nor sleep. Perhaps your liver is not
right. What is the doctor giving you?" Carl handed him the bottle
containing the medicine, which he uncorked and after touching the liquid
to his tongue remarked: "It seems to be the right stuff. I'm something of
a doctor, myself, and I must help to shake up that liver. Who is
"Ah, yes--Hiram King. I know him."
The seemingly mere friendly interest of the doctor aroused in Carl no
suspicion that he was the direct object of his visit, and that the
conversation really constituted a diagnosis of his case.
After a short silence, Dr. Marmion incidentally, seemingly, asked: "You
have no financial difficulties have you?"
"No, doctor," was the prompt reply. "Bishop Albertson allows me a very
generous salary, and I have few demands."
"You have never been in the habit of dissipating, I am sure?"
"No, indeed; this is no place for dissipation, and before coming here, I
was in school, where such a practice would have been impossible. I am as
regular in my habits as when a boy in my father's house in England."
"Oh! Ah! You are an Englishman. From what part of England are you?"
"The north of England," was the short reply.
"Mr. Edwards, excuse me, but have you any great trouble upon your
heart? _That_ sometimes causes trouble, an actual physical disturbance,
The young man, who up to this time had evinced no particular interest in
the conversation, now hesitated, so much so, in fact, that the doctor
repeated his question, adding: "There is but little prospect of helping
the body, if there is a secret enemy affecting the heart and mind. This
will always create trouble in the digestive organs."
To these words Carl replied somewhat nervously: "I suppose that, like
most young men, I have regrets concerning my earlier life. There are some
things that I am sorry for having done, and other duties that I have
neglected, for which delinquencies I am sorry."
So entirely informal had been the discussion that Carl still did not
suspect that he had been under examination. And the sagacious doctor
having gained some information, quite as much, indeed, as he had expected
in the first interview, abstained from pushing the matter for the
present, and adroitly changed the subject; but while he continued to
converse easily with the young man, he felt assured that he was on the
right track. And when, later, he was telling the bishop about it, he
declared that he felt sure it was a disturbed mind and uneasy conscience,
more than any particular functional disorder, that was robbing the young
man of his vitality. But after two days had passed, and he had taken
advantage of every opportunity, he concluded that he would take the
midnight boat for New York, his mission having been fruitless.
Two men sat in a secluded room on a quiet street in London. To look at
the building from the street it would have been taken for a modest
dwelling house. The room they occupied was spacious, furnished with
several desks and tables and lounge and easy chairs. One of the men was
large and white-haired, upon whose vest a golden star sparkled. But for
this badge of authority he would have passed merely for a well-dressed
business man. The other was a younger man, possibly not more than thirty
years old. There was nothing remarkable in his appearance; he was tall
and well proportioned with every indication of strength and vigor. He
looked through large brown and sparkling eyes, a full brown beard covered
his face and his head was covered with a heavy suit of hair somewhat
darker than his beard.
"Lucas," said the older man to a stalwart colored attendant, "you can go
now, and be sure to admit no one until I ring."
The speaker was the chief of the Bow Street detective service; the other
was his youngest colleague. His name was Job Worth. He had belonged to
the force three years, and in several instances had achieved more than
ordinary success. He was known as Number 11. Job had graduated four years
ago from Burrough Road Institute, and soon after received an appointment
of secretary of the Legation at Washington, United States. In this
honorable office he had spent one year, but the work did not suit his
strenuous nature, and he returned home and soon afterward received an
appointment in this detective service. Job was known in the force as
quiet, self-contained, observant, patient, and was possessed of an
extraordinarily retentive memory. Rarely was it necessary for him to say,
"I have forgotten."
"Major," said Worth, as soon as they were alone, "I asked this private
interview to talk to you about the bank robbery which occurred on the
eleventh of last April."
"Well," replied the chief, "do you know anything new?"
"No, nothing certain, but I have a new suspicion."
"Suspicion," said the other, "suspicion doesn't amount to much. But what
do you suspect?"
"Well, I suspect that certain parties got that money, and I want to
submit the matter to you before I go any further."
"That is all right, Job. If there is enough in your suspicions, you
shall not lack the authority to act. Proceed."
"Well," said Worth, "if the bank people will grant me permission, I can
show them how that package of money was extracted."
"That," replied the chief, "might interest them somewhat; at the same
time what they want is not to be given an exhibition of expertness in
bank robbing, but to be shown how the money can be restored. In short,
how it was taken is secondary to the matter of how to get it back.
"Of course, but I propose to show not only how it was taken but also to
get on to the track of the fellows that took it."
"That is more like it," said the chief, quietly. "If you can do that,
your reputation as a detective will climb pretty high. And there will be
money in it for you besides. Go ahead."
"You remember," continued Job, "that just at that time, almost the same
date--it was only two or three days later--three young men from
Burrough Road (my old school) were drowned from a yacht in the channel
off Land's End."
"Yes, I remember that incident," said the chief. "Judge Thurston's son,
Bishop McLaren's boy, and another by the name of Blair."
"Well," said Job, "I don't believe they were drowned. I believe that the
so-called yacht was nothing but an old tub that they bought for a trifle
and burned, and then in disguise they left for foreign parts; in fact, I
believe I know where one of them is."
"Just a moment, Job," said Andrews, interrupting, "has it occurred to you
that every passenger's name is recorded on the ship's passenger list?"
"Exactly," admitted Job, "but who has ever examined any particular
passenger list? And who, having robbed a bank, would give his true
name? Then there are other ways of crossing the ocean besides a regular
"Well," replied the chief, doubtfully, "ambition can construct many
theories, but, really, you know, theories are worthless unless supported
by something more than suspicion, and I fear your case is more of
suspicion than of evidence."
"All I want," replied Job, earnestly, "is that you will allow me to
follow my suspicions for the next three months."
"Very well," was the reply, "but let me advise you to go slowly. Be
discreet. Remember there are other men also at work on this case."
"Thank you," replied Job with pleased emphasis, "I will remember. Please
prepare my credentials and arrange for my expenses; and," he added, "I
desire a warrant for the arrest of James Thurston."
That evening, Job visited his club, where he was quite popular, and was
received with customary good will. One man in particular seemed much
pleased to see him. He was sitting alone at a small table, sipping coffee
and at intervals emitting a cloud of smoke from a half-smoked cigar.
Shaking hands with Worth, he said, as he offered his cigar case: "Mr.
Worth, I'm glad to meet you again. I haven't seen you for more than a
year. Won't you join me in a cup of this delightful beverage?"
"Thank you, Captain," responded Worth. "I shall be delighted. We haven't
met, I believe, since we crossed the water together three years ago."
"That is so," replied the captain, as Worth sat down.
Captain Johnson was the captain and part owner of a large merchant ship,
and had arrived the day before from New Orleans.
"How does it happen, Captain," asked Job, as he lighted his cigar, "that
you come from New Orleans? Your trip used to be New York and London."
"Yes," replied the captain, "that was my trip up to about three years
ago. I now make alternate trips to New York and New Orleans. There is
more money in it for the company."
"I think you still carry a few passengers?"
"Yes; a little more than a year ago three young fellows prevailed upon
me to carry them across. About that time I enlarged my cabin, and since
then I have been carrying from four to twenty passengers each trip."
When the captain spoke of carrying to New York three passengers a year
before Worth became quietly interested. Accordingly, he inquired who the
three young fellows were that were his first passengers.
"O, they were three young chaps going to America to seek their fortunes.
Their names I've forgotten. The most I remember of that trip is that it
was the stormiest passage I've ever made. It was a six weeks' voyage, and
the worst of it was we could not have a fire, and, consequently, could
not cook anything, and had to live on hard tack and raw pork, or beef. I
tell you, those young fellows were unanimous in declaring that they had
their fill of the seafaring life."
"Have you ever met them since?"
"No." was the reply. "We parted at the dock. I have sometimes wondered
what success they had. They were quite young."
About three weeks later Job Worth landed in New York City, and, guided by
an advertisement in the newspaper, he found a select boarding house on
Clinton Place and engaged a convenient room with board for an indefinite
term. Job represented himself as a gentleman traveling for pleasure--and
information, he might have added, for his quest for the latter certainly
took him nearly everywhere. Thus he visited the theatres, concert halls,
casinos, and other places of amusement. He called at the private office
of the Pinkerton Detective Agency several times, but nothing was
accomplished. He mingled with the congregations of the more popular
churches, with his mind and eyes upon the people more than upon the
preacher, but without results.
One morning he sat in the reception room of his boarding place feeling
somewhat discouraged. He was reading a morning paper, when a young girl,
the daughter of the lady of the house, tripped along the hall holding
several letters which the postman had just handed in.
"O, Mr. Worth," she exclaimed, "I want to show you the picture of my last
beau. He is a countryman of yours. He promised to send me his photograph,
and here it is. He is good looking, isn't he?" And she handed the card to
Worth. "I didn't expect him to keep his promise," she concluded.
As Worth glanced at the picture, he was startled, for his eyes fell upon
a face he had seen in the junior class a year ago at Burrough Road
commencement. Turning the card over, he read on the back: "From your ever
true friend and well-wisher, J.G. Markham, Evansville, Indiana."
"What is your friend's name?" asked Worth.
"James Thorne," answered the girl. "Did you ever see him?"
In an indifferent tone Worth replied: "Don't know anybody of that name."
In thirty-six hours the young detective found himself domiciled in a
quiet little hotel, the Mount Vernon, on the wharf of the Ohio River, at
Evansville, Indiana. He selected this house because of its retired
location. He knew that it was just as necessary for him to keep out of
the sight of the man he sought as it was for the thief to keep outside
the pale of his vision. He easily found the photograph gallery of
Markham, but nothing of a satisfactory nature developed. True, the
negative was at last found with a number 1,761 upon it, but no name, and
the artist didn't so much as remember the face.
The hotel registers were next inspected without giving any clue. Now the
young detective quietly took account of the evidence in his possession.
What did he have to justify the arrest of James Thurston even in case he
found him? And should he effect his arrest, the difficulty of extradition
was still to be met and overcome. Could that be accomplished with the
amount of evidence in hand?
He determined, in his uncertainty, to seek the advice of the British
Consul, Mr. Harris, residing at Louisville, Kentucky, and accordingly he
repaired to that city on the following day. The Consul recognized
Worth's credentials and treated him with cordiality. When the detective
had stated the case he said: "Mr. Worth, you can't arrest a man because
he was not drowned, although rumor said that he was. What has such an
incident to do with a bank robbery? It is hardly fair to connect a man's
name with a crime merely because he happened to disappear about the time
the crime was committed. Suppose a young man did leave England suddenly
and secretly, and come to America? Maybe it was not _that_ kind of a
case at all. Could not even some unsuccessful love affair on the
Continent have caused his abrupt departure, rather than the robbery of a
bank? Mere suspicion is not sufficient to secure a man's extradition. No
doubt your own good judgment will guard you against any hasty action,
which could," he concluded, significantly, "prove a rather costly
proceeding in the end."
Worth left the Consul's office somewhat cast down. He asked himself what
next? Should he give it up? If he quietly returned, none but the Major
would be any wiser.
Next day was Sunday and, back in Evansville, he wended his way to a
popular church--Trinity--where the most fashionable people were said to
attend. The structure was modern and capacious, seating about twelve
hundred. The weather was fine and the audience filled the room. The music
was good and the service pleasing, but the sermon was too long for Worth.
He had slipped into a seat near the door, from which position he could
secure a better general view of the people. Job at this time had a not
overly vivid recollection of the man he sought, nor a precise idea of
what his course would be should he find him. It was more than a year now
since he had seen him, and then it was in a crowded hall in the midst of
As the congregation dispersed Job also passed out, and took a position on
the sidewalk, where, without attracting attention, he could observe the
retiring crowd. The bulk of the congregation had left the church; a few
ladies in pairs, still lingered, when the minister, accompanied by a
young man of athletic build, came out through what seemed to be a vestry
door, and would have gone by without especially attracting Worth's
attention, but for the words of the clergyman as they stopped directly in
front of the detective.
"Well, good-by, Thorne," he said, "I'll be around to chat a while with
you in a couple of hours at the Commercial."
They parted, the preacher going in one direction in company with several
ladies, and the man he called Thorne in the opposite.
Worth instantly recalled the photograph owned by the girl at his boarding
place and followed the man whom he heard addressed as Thorne. There was
nothing remarkable in his appearance, however, nor was there anything to
remind him that he had before seen him. He was a good looking man,
perhaps twenty-five years of age, of medium size, broad shoulders, and
elastic step. He seemed to be in no haste, for he moved leisurely along
his way. Every person he met seemed to recognize him, and he in most
affable manner returned their greetings.
Soon a dignified old gentleman approached, and holding out both hands
said: "Good morning, George. How is your father today?"
"Good morning, Judge," responded the young man. "I saw father just before
I came to church; he is much better, thank you."
"Ah! that is good," said the old gentleman, as he passed on. "Give my
love to him."
"Surely, I'm off scent this time," muttered Job to himself, as he slowly
followed in the steps of the young man.
Entering the Commercial Hotel, he stepped up to the desk, and turned over
the pages of the register. Presently he found the name of George Thornly,
room 104. Ah! this was the man he had followed. He had missed the last
syllable of the name. It was Thornly instead of Thorne. He was now
certainly at sea. Moving away, disgusted with himself, he walked through
the spacious office, and almost ran into a man as he reached the door.
Both men exclaimed in mutual surprise, "Hello!" Neither pronounced the
name of the other, and yet both spoke it mentally.
Worth was the first to recover, and said: "Pardon me, I thought I
recognized a friend; possibly I'm mistaken; my name is Worth. May I
"O," replied the other, "I have heard of you. You are connected with the
Legation in Washington."
"Well," replied Worth, "I _was_ secretary, but have resigned. Where have
I met you--somewhere, I'm pretty certain. Was it in Washington? One is
apt to forget names, when meeting so many."
With a slight hesitancy the other answered: "My name is Thorne. I'm a
stranger here. Are you stopping here?" The young man was evidently
nervous, and spoke in an uneasy manner.
Job, pointing to a chair, said, quietly: "Shall we sit down? We are both
strangers." The invitation to be seated was rather reluctantly accepted,
and there was a shade of suspicion seen by Worth on Thorne's face.
"Where have we met, Mr. Thorne?" asked Worth again, as if still debating
that question. "Wherever it was, it must have been several years ago, if
it wasn't in Washington, as I was there three years ago."
The young man seemed to recover himself on hearing this, thinking at once
that Worth's residence in Washington had doubtless hindered him from
hearing of any occurrences near Land's End or in London, and replied:
"I'm an Englishman, like yourself. You may possibly have seen me, if you
have been much in London. I spent several years in Burrough Road School."
"Indeed!" interrupted Worth, "why, that is my old school; but I must have
left there before you entered, and I have only visited the institute once
since I graduated. It is really a pleasure to meet in this country one of
the boys of old Burrough Road. How long have you been in America?"
"I have been here about a year. I am looking around for an opportunity to
invest some money with which I have been intrusted, but am making haste
slowly in that respect," replied the other with a faint smile.
"Well," remarked Job, "your business is just the opposite of mine. I am
looking around to _find_ some money. Do you know of anything that I could
get to do, in order to make some cash?"
"I'm afraid I don't know enough to advise you on that line," was the
answer, adding: "Where are you stopping?"
"At the Mount Vernon Hotel, down on the wharf," was the reply. "It suits
Just then the dining room doors were opened, and Thorne cordially invited
Job to stay to dinner. The invitation was accepted, and they entered the
dining room together.
This was a strange fellowship. Each knew the other, and knowing him was
intent on outwitting him; consequently the conversation was abstract,
abstruse, and uninteresting.
It was a strange phase of hospitality. When the meal was ended neither of
the men could have told what he had eaten, or what he had said.
OUT HERODING HEROD
While eating dinner the younger man assumed the lead in the matter of
conversation, and it became general in its character.
"Mr. Worth," remarked Thorne, "you say that economy took you to the Mount
Vernon. Now, I happen to have two beds in my room. What do you say to
sharing one of them with me? It will cost you no more than you are
paying, and I judge that the service here is much better than in your
This proposition rather pleased Job, and the arrangement was accordingly
perfected, and the evening found the two men genially smoking their
cigars quite like two old friends.
This proposition of Thorne was not as generous as Worth might have
supposed. There lurked in the former's mind an indistinct suspicion. Nay,
it was more than a suspicion, and he reasoned that if this man was what
he feared he was, he could parry the danger better by having him under
his eye, for even now he was concocting a scheme of escape. On the other
hand, Worth had no doubt in his mind that this was the man he was after;
but how to proceed was the question that was troubling him. The words of
the Consul still gave him no little concern. He had plainly intimated
that extradition would not be possible as the case stood, and he knew
that he could not secure them without the Consul's recommendation.
That Sunday night was an important point of time in the lives of both
these young men. Some light wine was partaken of in addition to cigars,
and each was thinking his own thoughts and forming his own plans even
while the conversation was on other subjects. The bank robbery in London
was spoken of, and in the course of the conversation the wreck of the
yacht and the drowning of the three young men also were mentioned yet
neither subject seemed of much interest, although Thorne remarked that he
was well acquainted with them all.
Worth allowed the younger man to lead, and really direct the
conversation, being all the while convinced that Thorne was trying to
draw him out, trying to find out how much or how little he knew.
It was near midnight when Job undressed and laid down on his bed, with
his mind made up that in the morning at breakfast he would arrest
Thorne. The latter continued to sit at a table writing after the
detective had retired.
Worth soon slept, and slept soundly. This was a new experience of late;
but when he awoke, to his surprise, it was broad daylight, and yet the
gas was still burning brightly. His head ached, and he raised up and
looked in the direction of Thorne's bed. It was unoccupied. The instant
thought that something was wrong, that something unusual had transpired
aroused him, and he sprang out of bed. Just then a tap on the door
startled him. "Hello!" he said, "come in."
A voice replied: "Can't come in--door is locked. Do you want breakfast?"
Job sprang to his vest, which hung on a chair, to find, by his watch,
what time it was; but his watch was not there. As quickly as possible he
dressed himself, and in doing so, he put his hand into a secret pocket
where he carried his valuable papers, and pocketbook. It was empty. Every
paper, even the warrant which the London authorities had issued,
authorizing Worth to arrest James Thurston, and his pocket book,
containing over a hundred pounds, had disappeared and he was locked in
his room. In the midst of his humiliating astonishment, his eyes rested
on a paper neatly folded and addressed to Job Worth, Esq., Bow Street
Detective, London, England. Opening it, he read as follows:
"You will doubtless be surprised on perusing this affectionate note. I
know you, of course. I also know why you are here. When I met you today I
at once knew it was all up with me unless I could outgeneral you--and I
think I have. Part of the money you seek you will find in the bureau
drawer. You are welcome to it. I have carried it around a year, and have
not been able to buy so much as a cigar with it. Possibly you may be able
to convince the bank that you are not one of the men who stole it. But,
in return for making you so liberal a bequest, I have possessed myself of
your watch and pocketbook. I trust that this will not distress you. My
financial condition made it a necessity. I kindly fixed your wine last
night in order to give you a good night's rest. When you arrest me be
sure you have the needed papers. Good-by.
"JAMES THURSTON, alias THORNE."
Worth at once drew out the drawer of the bureau and found at its further
end a package securely wrapped in brown paper; but fearing there still
might be deception, opened it, and sure enough, he counted fifty
one-thousand-pound Bank of England notes. Securely tying them together,
he placed them in the secret pocket which had been so recently rifled,
and started to go downstairs, but found that the porter was right, he was
locked in his room. After thumping at the door, without success, he
remembered seeing a bell, which he rang lustily. After a few minutes a
youth came to the door and turned the key. Worth, thus released, hastened
down to discover that it was eleven o'clock in the forenoon. Within two
hours a warrant for the arrest of James Thurston, alias James Thorne, was
issued with a description of the watch and the amount of money stolen. A
notice of reward was also issued and appeared at once in the newspapers.
A general alarm was sent out by the Police Department, the railroad
stations and steamboat landings were vigilantly watched, but without any
results. Thorne had gotten away while Worth was asleep.
Fortunately, before leaving home Worth had sewed in the lining of his
coat a sum of money as a reserve fund. This had not been discovered, but
for which fact he would have found himself penniless in a strange land,
with only his silver star as the insignia of his identity.
"MICE AND MEN GANG AFT A-GLEY"
The return of Job Worth to London was not at all joyous. He sat upon the
deck in his ship chair or lay in his bunk drawing darkest pictures of his
defeat, as he called it. Nor was there any elation in his feelings when,
upon his arrival at the bank, the cashier handed him a check for three
thousand pounds, as a reward for the restoration of the fifty thousand
pounds. Yes, it was something to be sure; yet not much. There was chagrin
in it all, and he continually felt this, as he mingled with his
colleagues. To him it was--well--failure. At this time, there was another
meeting of the bank directors. Nearly all were present. The cashier
presided. Something had happened again. Was it another robbery? But no,
the atmosphere was different. Mr. Bone presented the case in a nutshell:
A package had been received from New York containing fifty thousand
pounds, and a letter had accompanied the money. It ran thus:
"MR. STEPHEN BONE, Cashier, Bank of England:
"Inclosed find a receipt from Express Company, which will be delivered to
you, for the sum of fifty thousand pounds, which is one third of the
amount borrowed from you a little over a year ago. Please to acknowledge
its receipt to Express Company, and oblige,
"Yours penitently, ANDREW COURTENAY."
"This money," said the cashier, "was received yesterday and is now in the
vault. Permit me to congratulate the Board upon having now received two
thirds of the stolen money."
"Does anyone know who Andrew Courtenay is?" asked one of the directors.
"No," replied Mr. Bone, as the others sat silent, "I presume not. It is
not vital, however, since the name is most likely fictitious."
Job Worth was given a vote of thanks for his services in restoring the
fifty thousand pounds, and it was resolved that in each case where the
money was refunded further prosecution would cease.
One day, soon after Job's return, he sat in his bachelor quarters,
brooding over his ill luck, as he called it. So intense was his
disappointment that he began to doubt his fitness for the calling he had
entered, and to think seriously of resigning. True, he had been credited
with two or three successful investigations, but this last undertaking
could hardly be called a success. He had spent four hundred dollars in
recovering one third of the stolen money, and had suffered the thief to
outgeneral him. He concluded that he was stupid. Why had he not arrested
him while he had a chance? But he had allowed Thurston to put him to
sleep, and then possess himself of his watch and a hundred pounds of his
money, slipping away while he slept, leaving him a prisoner in his own
room. Surely Thurston, instead of himself, had played the detective.
While in this despondent mood one of his brother officers made his
appearance and was greeted with a decidedly doleful "Good morning, Nick."
But the other's response was more cheerful. "Job," he said, "I'm glad to
see you again after your trip. I understand that the bank people honored
you with a vote of thanks. That was a great thing you did in getting that
pile of the bank's money."
Nick Hanson and Job Worth were of the same class in the department, and
had been admitted on the same date. Nick was every inch an athlete,
fearless and enduring. He was anything but good looking with his broad
face, short limbs, and heavy body. He had made pugilism and wrestling his
study, because they were his delight. Every man in the service respected
his prowess. They all knew that Nick had never been out-classed in
athletic sports. Yet, better than any or all of these qualifications,
were his character and disposition. He was the soul of honor and gentle
as a little child. He had a gentle and musical voice. Men used to say
that Nick Hanson's laugh was worth fifty dollars a month. They called him
"Old Nick," but no man among them was further away from that august
personage in character and personality.
"Yes, Job," Nick continued as the two shook hands, "I came in to
congratulate you on your successful trip and to welcome you home again. I
think the bank has done the right thing by you."
It did not take many minutes for Nick to discover that his
congratulations, while appreciated, were not entirely acceptable, and he
went on to say: "Job, there was not a man among us that as much as
suspected those kids of having done that slick job at the bank."
And, sure enough, this was true, and Worth unquestionably deserved credit
for the original thought as well as for the ends accomplished. And
although he had not succeeded in capturing the thief, he had restored one
third of the stolen money. Surely, this merited the congratulations of
all honest men.
Worth could not withstand the cheery words and more cheery laugh of his
friend. Indeed no one could. None had ever heard Nick speak an angry
word. He brought sunshine with him everywhere, even when engaged in the
most serious work of his profession. He was the hardest man in the
department to comprehend, and yet he was without a peer in frankness and
good nature. Nick's genial spirit had somewhat restored job to his usual
equanimity, and Nick knew it.
"It seems, Job," remarked Hanson, "that there were three of those
rascals, and they divided the spoils equally. Let me see--Thurston,
McLaren, and Blair. There is only one left. Is there no way to find out
which it is? Two have been exempted from further prosecution, and I
suppose the third one will be, if the money is given up."
"Would you know the third one if you could come across him, Nick?"
"Yes," replied Hanson, "I would know them all anywhere. And I think I
could find McLaren, but since I believe he is one of the men
forgiven--having given up the money--I don't want him. Blair is the
fellow we want. Good-by, Job, I'm going away."
And it was four months before these two friends met again during which
interval one of them, at least, had an eventful experience.
Doctor Marmion, of New York, was greatly drawn toward his young patient
at the Monastery, and as he saw him daily wasting away, he concluded that
something more than medicine was needed to save his life. The secretary
still dragged himself through each day's work, spending the evening in
his room with Tom. The day after the doctor's arrival the second time,
Tom being in school and Bishop Albertson away, he found himself in the
office alone with Carl. He had hardly hoped for so early an opportunity
to interview his interesting patient. But taking advantage of the
"Well, Carl, you have improved, I hope, since I was here?"
"I fear there has not been much improvement in my physical condition; nor
do I much expect any; and, really, to tell you the truth, Doctor, I am
almost wishing for the end," was the young man's reply.
"Carl," said Dr. Marmion in earnest tones, "if you would give me your
confidence, I feel sure that I could help you, and I will be candid with
you. If you don't give that confidence to someone, it will only be the
worse for you. Disease is not the only thing that kills."
"Doctor," was the quiet reply, "I sincerely thank you for the interest
you take in me, but really your words give me pleasure instead of
anxiety. Truly, it is not unpleasant to be warned that I have no
assurance of life. I have nothing to live for. My life is wrecked, and I
have not a friend in the world. Why should I desire to prolong my life?"
"Carl," said the doctor, "listen. Everything you say springs from
mistaken and blind selfishness. Yours is the spirit of the suicide and
coward; surely, this is unworthy of you. And, besides, what you say is
not true. Your life is not wrecked, only as you determine to wreck it.
You say you have nothing to live for. I know of no young man that has
more to live for. You foolishly and ungratefully say you haven't a friend
in the world. You certainly know the contrary is true. Everyone who knows
you is your friend. Is Bishop Albertson not your friend? Is Tom not your
friend? Is that sweet young girl in the other part of the house, whom you
have caused to give her innocent heart to you, not your friend? By some
mistake you have crippled your life. But the good Lord, who pities his
erring child, will help you to redeem and make it both useful and happy.
Bear with me, Carl, when I say, if you know that there is a way by which
the usefulness and happiness of your life may be restored and redeemed,
and you refuse to adopt it, you will be guilty of self-murder. Forgive me
for these seemingly harsh words. God knows they are true, and my only
plea for thus speaking them to you is my love for you. I cannot refrain."
Carl sat with drooping head and with tears coursing down his pale cheeks.
For a moment or two he sat silently sobbing; his whole frame was shaking,
and looking up with a woebegone countenance, said: "Doctor, let me come
to your room tonight after chapel prayers."
"Very well; I shall be glad to see you," said Doctor Marmion, kindly, and
rising, he went out, leaving Carl alone.
At the close of the evening service the doctor and Carl found themselves
alone in the vestry. The younger man took from the pocket of his top coat
a package, and, handing it to the doctor, said: "I want you to take this
package and open it; it will tell its own tale."
Somewhat surprised, the doctor went to a stand close by and did as he was
requested. The next moment he stood speechless with astonishment, for he
held in his hands money, English bank notes, more than he had ever before
seen. What did it all mean?
"There, Doctor," sobbed Carl, who had approached him, tremblingly, "is
my crime; and growing out of it is my other and greater crime. I have
been and still am a living lie. My father and mother think me dead. They
have suffered--how much, I cannot tell. And my father was here. His
expected coming made me ill; nor did he see me. Are you surprised that I
do not desire to live? Father's belief in my death is easier for him to
bear than it would be to know that I am alive and a criminal."
Then it was for the first time that the doctor grasped the full
story--that this gifted, promising young man, lovable and genial, so
attractive as to appeal to him as no other had ever done, should, of all
men, prove a thief, one who had stolen a large amount of money from the
great bank. The doctor was dumfounded! He knew not what to say.
Silence prevailed for a few moments; then the doctor's good judgment
inspired him to say in emphatic tones: "Carl, our first step in righting
this great wrong is to get the money back to where it belongs. I will see
to it. You may rely on me, and the sooner it is done, the better. I will
take the next boat and tomorrow forward the money by express to London.
This will not be difficult," added the doctor. "But you have before you
another duty equally as great. You must next enlighten your parents
concerning your existence and whereabouts."
This was truly the most difficult as well as delicate, and Carl shrank
back from it. "Is it not sufficient to return the money?" he pleaded.
"No, my dear boy, the return of the money is only a part of your
obligation. No part of your debt must be left unpaid. To fail here would
mean utter failure. Everything in this matter must be made clear, and
then you will be enabled to begin life anew."
But Carl, with anguish in his tones as well as in his countenance,
exclaimed: "_Must_ my father and mother be told everything concerning
my criminality? That he has a son who deserves a prison sentence? No!
no! Better to let me die; better for both mother and father as well
"Carl," sternly replied the doctor, "you know not what you ask. Would
you die with a lie on your soul? You said a moment ago that you are a
living lie. Would you die thus? You are willing to pay your debt to the
bank, but you are not willing to be just to those who love you with a
love which none but a parent can experience. I am a parent and know all
"Well, Doctor," said Carl, when he had grown more composed, "can we not
do one thing at a time? Can we not take the money and send it to the
owners, and suffer the other matter to rest at least for the present,
until we conclude how to manage it?"
"Carl," replied the doctor, as he pushed the package toward the young
man, "there is only one right way, and that is to become truly sorry for
wrongdoing, and cheerfully and bravely make retribution to all parties
you have injured. Anything short of this is not fair, and will do you no
good. If I take any hand in this matter, it must be to right the whole.
But, Carl, don't you see, you make no sacrifice in sending back the
money--money you have been unable to use? Had you been able to use it, it
might have been very different; it doubtless would have been. Its return
is not necessarily an evidence of either penitence or reform. It is
simply a confession of defeat. A coward can give up that which he cannot
use to his convenience. And is it possible, after all you have said about
being a living lie, is it possible that you are unwilling to pay any part
of the price of your unfortunate actions? Penitence is like charity. It
never counts cost. It is a godly sorrow for sin, and is willing to accept
results, be they ever so bitter."
"Doctor," said Carl, in complete surrender, "Let it be so. I am willing
to pay the price, even to death. I plead no more for my own sake, but I
would, if possible, save those who love me from humiliation and agony,
which to them would be more terrible than death."
"Here you mistake again," replied the doctor. "You imagine that your
father's pride is stronger than his love."
"So I do," stammered Carl. "I believe that my father would much rather
believe that his son is dead than to know that he is a criminal. There
has never been a stain on my father or mother's name until--until I
brought this one upon it and the holy office he occupies. Then, they have
lived through the anguish of believing me to be dead, and it is terrible
to think of bringing into their declining years a deeper sorrow. Ah,
believe me, Doctor, it is not my happiness I desire, but to save them
from deeper pain. If I am acting wrongly, I pray God, whom I now ask for
pardon, may direct me aright."
"I greatly fear," replied the doctor, "that you are only willing to be
directed in your own way. But I must leave you. The boat passes
Centerville in an hour. I will take the money and send it by express on
As has been told, the money was duly received by the cashier of the Bank
As Mr. Bone opened the package, he discovered that the notes had been
first wrapped in a sheet of substantial letter paper, and sealed at both
ends. As he was about to drop this wrapper into the waste basket his eye
caught sight of a water mark; the letters were "C.A. Marmion, N.Y.,
U.S.A." Thinking that this might prove important, he preserved it for
future reference. He laid it upon his desk and a few days later he wrote
and mailed the following letter:
"London, May 25, 18--.
"MR. C.A. MARMION, New York, U.S.A:
"Dear Sir: A few days since I received an express package containing
fifty thousand pounds. The signature was to us unimportant, as we felt
sure it was not the name of the writer, but your paper bears the imprint
(water mark) of your name, and I concluded that you are interested in the
matter, so I take the liberty of addressing you.
"Inclosed find an announcement we have made in many papers. The directors
of the Bank of England have now received two thirds of the amount stolen
April 11, 18--, and hereby announce that the persons who have the
remainder of the stolen money, if they return it, will not be prosecuted.
HOME BANKING--A FAILURE
In the upper suburb of Montreal, Canada, stood an unassuming cottage, in
the midst of a spacious and well-kept lawn and garden. A young man was
seen carrying a rake on his shoulder and with the other hand drawing a
lawn mower toward a shed in one corner of the lot, where he was to
deposit them for the night.
"Hiram, I never saw the lawn look better." These words were spoken by a
venerable-looking old gentleman with cheery voice, as he came around
the corner of the garden, smoking a cigar. The speaker was a large and
well proportioned man of perhaps fifty-five years of age. He looked
through large brown eyes, kindly but resolute. His square jaw and firm
mouth denoted will power, his face was ruddy, and his head was crowned
with an abundance of curling hair as white as snow. This was Abram
McLain, the retired member of the firm of McLain, Shaw & Co., the
originators and organizers of the first steamboat line running between
Liverpool and Montreal. From this investment and an interest in
building the great Victoria bridge across the Saint Lawrence, Mr.
McLain had accumulated a large fortune, which, promptly invested in
real estate and safe stocks which were continually enhancing in value
in this rapidly growing municipality, soon placed him among the
accredited millionaires of Canada.
The cottage which he owned and in which he lived was built of gray stone,
one tall story in height, and crowned with a French roof. It was
beautified by a wide door in front with colonial pillars and porch. The
windows were tall, to which iron shutters were attached. The ground on
which this building stood had been bought immediately after the
conflagration of 1852, when Saint Mary's Ward was almost obliterated.
From that date each year had increased the value of all property in this
part of the city, so that this property alone, having five acres, would
have placed its owner among the well-to-do citizens of the community. But
this property was only a small portion of the holdings of Abram McLain. A
unique building was this cottage.
Two skilled mechanics had been brought from Quebec, and no one was
permitted to see their work nor to learn what they were doing. Their
work was to be in the basement, which had been excavated ten feet deep,
the massive walls reaching down until they rested upon solid rock. The
building was seventy-five feet square. A furnace occupied the center of
the basement. Next, in front, was a beautiful office, finished in
hardwood, exquisitely polished, and furnished with most modern
furniture. In the rear of this office was a smaller room, the walls of
which were incased with steel plates, supposed to be both burglar-proof
and fire-proof. This room contained a safe having no opening except the
door into the office. It would never have been taken for anything but a
closet convenient to the main office; but the door was solid iron, the
lock of which none but the owner could manipulate. A reception or
smoking room, which Mr. McLain called his den, was on the other side of
the hallway--a cozy and yet elaborately furnished room, containing
tables, sofas, and easy chairs, where the owner could meet his friends
for business or pleasure.
Mr. McLain's father, a sturdy and sagacious Scotchman, had landed in
Canada when Abram was about ten years of age, and began in earnest to
win at least a living, if not a fortune, in this sparsely settled city,
which at that time was hardly worthy the name of a city, although its
thoroughgoing citizens had procured a city charter. Mr. McLain by
earnest long-sightedness and industry succeeded in becoming a well-to-do
citizen. Unfortunately, Mr. McLain invested most of his savings in a
large banking institution, located on McGill Street--The Montreal
National Bank--which a few months later was consumed in the
conflagration. This unfortunate event with subsequent obligations, left
him both poor and in debt, from which he never recovered, but in two
years died, leaving his wife dependent upon their only son. Some years
later, when Abram was accumulating money rapidly, he bought stock in gas
and water works, and in both instances they collapsed, and the
stockholders were left by a dishonest set of officers to meet delinquent
obligations. This experience of both father and son not only met with
indignant protestations, but drove Abram to a conclusion wise, or
foolish, as the case may be; but he concluded that hereafter he would be
his own banker, or at least the custodian of his own money. This
accounted for the burglar-proof safe in the basement of the new cottage,
and where he could keep every valuable paper, securities, deeds,
mortgages, or money. This line of business was no secret in the
community. He was his own banker, and when he sold property or anything
else, the place of the money deposited was his own safe.
Much of Mr. McLain's spare time was spent at the Majestic, then the
largest hotel in the city, he being its owner. Ernest Case, the acting
landlord, took great pleasure in introducing him to customers, and
especially if they were prominent persons or had titles attached to
their names, who honored this hostelry with their presence.
One evening Mr. McLain sat in one of the cozy parlors enjoying a cigar
with Mayor Dalrymple, he, himself, being an alderman. They had much in
common to interest them, and were conversing interestedly, when Mr. Case,
accompanied by an imposing-looking stranger, approached and asked
permission to introduce Major Bancroft, of Quebec. The major took the
liberty of correcting a slight mistake.
"True, from Quebec last," he said, pleasantly, "but from Devonshire,
England, first. That is my home, and you know an Englishman
never denies his country. I am nephew to the Duke of Devon,
and"--hesitatingly--"possibly the next heir to the title. At present I am
a major in Her Majesty's Twenty-first Cavalry. I am just taking a run
through your grand country, while not much needed at home. Gentlemen, you
certainly have the making of a great city here in Montreal."
"We think so," said the mayor.
"Yes," added Mr. McLain, "we think that much of it is already made. We
have already the best schools, the best churches, the best hotels and
shipping wharves on the continent, and," he added, smiling, "the most
beautiful women in Canada."
"I have no inclination to doubt your word in any one of those
statements, Mr. McLain, and especially your last proposition, as it
accords with my own observation; but my opportunities of looking about as
yet have been limited, having arrived only yesterday." Then the major
continued: "Is real estate increasing in value very rapidly?"
The mayor replied: "We have been burned out three times, but each fire
has enhanced the value of all real estate."
"I am glad to hear that," the major replied, "as I am traveling with an
eye open for investments. It is quite different with us. Capital invested
in real estate in England usually results in regrets and loss."
This young stranger was a man of sturdy frame, broad shoulders, and
medium height, having a military bearing; save his mustache, his face was
clean shaven, and he had full lips and large, white teeth. He looked to
be possibly twenty-five years of age, and would have been called
good-looking anywhere. Both the resident citizens invited the major to
call at their places of business before he left the city. This he
promised to do.
A few days later, Case, in a joking sort of way, remarked to Mr. McLain:
"I think some of your landowners ought to sell Major Bancroft something
in the way of real estate. He has plenty of money. I have fifty thousand
of his money in my safe, and he seems to be aching to invest it."
"I am quite willing to sell him some city stock, if he will give me my
price," remarked McLain.
"But I imagine he wants something bigger," said Case.
"Why," muttered McLain, "I don't want anything better or bigger."
"Yes, I know," replied Case, "but I think he wants something that will
grow while he is fighting the Boers, as he is looking every day to be
"Well," replied McLain, "I give you authority to sell him the Majestic,
if you can. I'll authorize you to act as my agent."
"Thank you," replied Case, "but I'm not anxious to change employers."
"But," answered McLain, "I'm not joking. I will sell anything I have,
except my wife and cottage, if I can get my price."
"What's your selling price for the Majestic?" laughingly asked the other.
"O, well, let me see--I suppose forty thousand pounds would buy it."
"All right," said Case, as he turned away, "I guess I'll not change
employers this year."
The Montreal Daily Gazette lay upon Mr. McLain's breakfast table a few
days later. Mrs. McLain called his attention to it, stating that while
awaiting his coming to breakfast she had noticed that the Albermarle was
about to be sold to an English capitalist, who proposed to increase its
capacity, and make it the largest hotel in the colony.
"Indeed!" said Mr. McLain, sipping his coffee, and he took up the paper
to read for himself.
Glancing first at the money market, his eyes next sought for local items,
and he read the following article: "Changes in real estate. Rumor says
that the Albermarle is to change owners. An English nobleman who is
looking for profitable investments is said to be the prospective
purchaser. The capacity of this excellent hostelry, according to the
report, is to be greatly increased by the purchase of the two adjoining
About noon the same day Mr. McLain received a call from Major Bancroft.
"This is a delightful office," remarked the major, as he lighted a cigar
that had been handed him.
"Yes, Major, I had an eye to comfort as well as to business when I built
it," adding in a sort of casual way, "I see by this morning's paper that
you think of becoming a property owner in our city; allow me to
"Well," replied the major, "your newspapers are a little too rapid. I
notice that they sometimes get ahead of the hounds. I'm glad you
mentioned the matter. Might I ask you how much the Albermarle is worth
in your opinion?"
"O!" replied Mr. McLain, "it would not be right for me to appraise it, as
I own the same kind of property."
"I see," replied the major. "Of course. What, then, would be a fair
selling price for the Majestic? It seems superior in both locality and
"Well," observed Mr. McLain, "the Majestic has never been put on the
market, nor is it today for sale; consequently, I should ask its full