True to Himself by Edward Stratemeyer
Chapter XXX. The Train for New York
Down in the street I hesitated as to where to go next. I felt that the case on hand was getting too complicated for me, and that I needed assistance.
I did not relish calling on the police for help. They were probably on the watch for me, and even if not, they would deem me only a boy, and give me scant attention.
My mind reverted to the adventure earlier in the day, and I remembered Mr. Harrison's kind offer. I had done his little daughter a good turn, and I was positive the gentleman would assist me to the best of his ability.
I decided to call on him at once. I had his address still in my pocket, and though I was quite tired, I hurried along at a rapid rate.
On the way I revolved in my mind all that had occurred within the past two hours, and by the time I reached Mr. Harrison's place I had the matter in such shape that I could tell a clear, straightforward story.
I found the gentleman in, and pleased at my return.
"I was afraid you had gotten into more difficulties," he explained, with a smile.
"So I did but I got out of them again," I replied.
Sitting down, I gave him the particulars of my visit to Chris Holtzmann and to Sammy Simpson, and handed over the documents for inspection. Mr. Harrison was deeply interested, and examined the papers with great care. It took him nearly an hour to do so, and then he plied me with numerous questions.
"Do you know what my advice is?" he asked, at length.
"I advise you to have both Holtzmann and Woodward arrested at once. They are thorough rascals, and your father is the innocent victim of their cupidity."
"But how can I do that? No one knows me here in Chicago."
"Hold up, you make a mistake. I know you."
"Yes, but you don't know anything about me," I began.
"I know you to be a brave fellow, and brave people are generally honest. Besides, your face speaks for itself."
"You are very kind."
"I have not forgotten the debt I owe you, and whatever I do for you will never fully repay it."
"And you advise me--"
"To put the case in the hands of the police without delay. Come, I will go with you. Perhaps this Holtzmann may be frightened into a confession."
"I trust so. It will save a good deal of trouble."
"Woodward can be taken into custody as soon as the necessary papers are made out," concluded. Mr. Harrison.
An instant later we were on the way. I wondered what had become of John Stumpy. It was strange that he had not turned up at the Palace of Pleasure. Perhaps Mr. Aaron Woodward had intercepted him and either scared or bought him off.
The fellow held much evidence that I wished to obtain, for every letter or paper against Mr. Woodward would make my father's case so much stronger, and I determined with all my heart that when once brought to trial there should be no failure to punish the guilty, so that the innocent might be acquitted.
At the police station we found the sergeant in charge. Mr. Harrison was well known in the locality, and his presence gained at once for us a private audience.
The officer of the law gave the case his closest attention, and asked me even more questions than had been put to me before.
"I remember reading of this affair in the court records," he said. "Judge Fowler and I were saying what a peculiar case it was. Chris Holtzmann claims to keep a first-class resort, and I would hardly dare to proceed against him were it not for these papers, and you, Mr. Harrison."
"You will arrest him at once?" questioned the gentleman.
"If you say so."
"I do, most assuredly."
"You are interested in the case?" queried the sergeant, as he prepared to leave.
"Only on this young man's account. He saved my little daughter from a horrible death this morning."
"Indeed? How so?"
"There was a mad bull broke into my back garden from the street, and was about to gore her, when this young man, who had been driven into the garden in the first place, came between and drove the bull out."
"Oh, I heard of that bull."
"What became of him?" I put in curiously.
"He was killed by a couple of officers on the next block. He was nearly dead before they shot him, having received a terrible cut between the eyes."
"Given by this young man," explained Mr. Harrison.
"You don't mean it!" cried the officer, in admiration. "Phew! but you must be strong!"
"It was more by good luck than strength," I returned modestly.
"Nonsense!" said Mr. Harrison. "My wife witnessed the whole occurrence, and she says it was pure bravery."
Five minutes later a cab was called, and we all got in. I was not sorry to ride, for my long tramp from one place to another on the stone pavement had made me footsore. I did not mind walking, but the Darbyville roads were softer than those of Chicago.
It did not take long to reach the Palace of Pleasure.
"Just wait in the cab for a minute or two," said the sergeant to me. "If he sees you first, he may make a scene."
"Most likely he's gone out," I returned.
The sergeant and Mr. Harrison left the carriage and entered the building.
I awaited their return impatiently. Would they get their man? And would Mr. Aaron Woodward be along?
Five-- ten minutes dragged slowly by. Then the two returned.
"He's not in the place, and no one knows where he has gone," said the officer.
"He can't be far off," I replied. "No doubt he and Mr. Woodward have gone off to look for me."
"And where?" put in Mr. Harrison. I thought a moment.
"The depot!" I exclaimed. "He spoke about looking for me there."
"Then we'll be off at once," returned the sergeant.
As he spoke, a familiar figure came shambling around the corner. It was Sammy Simpson.
"Hello, you!" he cried, on catching sight of me. "I want those papers back."
"Why do you want them back?" I asked.
"You didn't pay the value of 'em, didn't pay enough," he hiccoughed.
"I paid all I agreed to."
"Can't say anything about that. But 'tain't enough." He glared at me. "Holtzmann said he'd pay me a hundred dollars. Yes, sir, ten times as much as you."
"When de you see Holtzmann?" I cried, in great interest.
"Saw him about half an hour ago. He came to see me-- came to see Sammy Simpson-- climbed the stairs to my abode. Wanted the papers-- said I must have 'em. Went wild with rage when I let slip you had 'em. So did the other gent."
"Who? Mr. Woodward?"
"That's the identical name. Yes, sir-- the correct handle. And they wanted the papers. Offered a hundred dollars for 'em. Think of it. Here's the ten dollars-- give 'em back."
Had Sammy Simpson been sober he would not have made such a simple proposition.
"No, sir," I replied decidedly. "A bargain's a bargain. I've got the papers, and I intend to keep them."
"No, you don't."
"What's that?" broke in the sergeant of police.
"I want those papers."
"Do you know who I am?"
"No, and don't care."
"I am sergeant of police, and I want you to behave yourself, or I'll run you in," was the decided reply.
At the mention of an officer Sammy Simpson grew pale.
"No, no, don't do that. I've never been arrested in my life."
"The papers are in the hands of the proper parties," went on the sergeant.
"Then I can't have 'em back?"
"No; and the less you have to do with the whole matter, the better off you'll be. Where has Holtzmann gone?"
I was astonished. To Brooklyn, and so soon!
"You are sure?" I queried.
"Yes; he and the other gent intended to take the first train."
Here was indeed news. This sudden and unexpected departure must portend something of importance.
"We must catch them!" I exclaimed.
"Do you know anything about the trains?" asked Mr. Harrison.
"Jump in, and we'll be off to the depot," said the sergeant.
In an instant we had started, leaving Sammy Simpson standing in the middle of the pavement too astonished to speak. It was the last I ever saw of the man.
We made the driver urge his horse at the top of his speed. I calculated that the pair would take the same line that had brought me to Chicago.
I was not mistaken; for when we reached the depot a few questions put by the sergeant revealed the fact that the two men had purchased tickets for New York but a minute before.
"And when does the train leave?" I asked.
"Her time's up now."
At that instant a bell rang.
"There's the bell."
"We must catch her," I cried, and ran though the gate and on to the platform.
But the train was already moving. I tried to catch her, but failed; and a minute later the cars rolled out of sight.
Mr. Aaron Woodward and Chris Holtzmann had escaped me.
What was to be done next?