Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- Jim Cummings - 3/26 -
to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that will clear you Honest to God, I will. You've been pretty generous to-night; given me lots of swag, and I'll never go back on you.
"Give my love to Billy Pinkerton when you see him. Tell him Jim Cummings did this job."
As he uttered these words, the train commenced slacking up, and as it stopped, Cummings, opening the door, with his valuable valise, leaped to the ground, closed the door behind him, the darkness closed around him and he was gone.
Inside the car, a rifled safe, a bound and gagged messenger, and the Adams Express Company was poorer by $100,000 than it was when the 'Frisco train pulled out of the depot the evening before.
PINKERTON TO THE RESCUE.
The next day the country knew of the robbery. Newspapers in every city had huge head lines, telling the story in the most graphic style.
JESSE JAMES OUTDONE! The Adams Express Company ROBBED OF $100,000!
THE EXPRESS MESSENGER FOUND GAGGED AND BOUND TO HIS OWN SAFE--THE ROBBER ESCAPES--ABSOLUTELY NO CLEWS--PINKERTON TO THE RESCUE!
Mr. Damsel, the superintendent of the St. Louis branch of the Adams Express Company, was pacing anxiously up and down his private office. Fotheringham was relating his exciting experience, which a stenographer immediately took down in shorthand. At frequent intervals Mr. Damsel would ask a searching question, to which the messenger replied in a straightforward manner and without hesitation. It was a trying ordeal to him. Innocent as he was, his own testimony was against him. He knew it and felt it, but nothing that he could do or say would lighten the weight of the damaging evidence. He could but tell the facts and await developments. When he was through Mr. Damsel left him in the office, and immediately telegraphed to every station between Pacific and St. Louis to look for the linen and underclothing which the robbers had thrown from the car. The wires were working in all directions, giving a full description of Cummings and such other information as would lead to his discovery.
Local detectives were closeted with Mr. Damsel all day, but so shrewdly and cunningly had the express robber covered his tracks, that nothing but the bare description of the man could be used as a clew.
Fotheringham was put through the "sweating process" time and again, but, though he gave the most minute and detailed account of the affair, the detectives could find nothing to help them.
That Fotheringham "stood in" with the robber was the universal theory. The story of the letter and order from Mr. Barrett was received with derision and suspicion.
Mr. Damsel himself was almost confident that his employee had a hand in the robbery. It was a long and anxious day, and as it wore along and no new developments turned up, Mr. Damsel became more anxious and troubled: $100,000 is a large sum and the Adams Express Company had a reputation at stake. What was to be done?
Almost instantly the answer came: telegraph for Pinkerton.
The telegram was sent, and when William Pinkerton wired back that he would come at once. Mr. Damsel felt his load of responsibility begin to grow lighter, and he waited impatiently for the morning to come.
The next morning about 10 o'clock Mr. Damsel received a note, signed "Pinkerton," requesting him to call at room 84 of the Southern Hotel. He went at once. A pleasant-faced gentleman, with a heavy mustache and keen eyes, greeted him, and Mr. Damsel was shaking hands with the famous detective, on whose shoulders had fallen the mantle of his father, Allan Pinkerton, probably the finest detective the world has ever seen.
Mr. Damsel had his stenographer's notes, which had been transcribed on the type-writer, and Mr. Pinkerton carefully and slowly read every word.
"What sort of a man is this Fotheringham?"
"He is a large, well built, and I should say, muscular young fellow. Has always been reliable before, and has been with us some years."
"Has he ever been arrested before?"
"He says twice. Once for shooting off a gun on Sunday, and again for knocking a man down for insulting a lady."
"You think he is guilty--that is, you think he had a hand in the robbery?"
"Mr. Pinkerton, I regret to say I do. It doesn't seem probable that a strong, hearty man would allow another man to disarm him, gag him, tie him hand and foot, get away with $100,000, and all that without a desperate struggle, and he hasn't the sign of a scratch or bruise on him."
"N-n-no, it doesn't. Still it could be done. You have him under arrest, then."
"Not exactly. He is in my office now, and apparently has no thought of trying to escape."
"Well, Mr. Damsel, I am inclined to think that this man Fotheringham knows no more of this robbery than he has told you. If he is in collusion with the robber, or robbers--for I think that more than one had to do with it--he would have made up a story in which two or more had attacked him. He would have had a cut in the arm, a bruised head or some such corroborating testimony to show. The fact that he was held up by a single man goes a good way, in my judgment, to prove him innocent of any criminal connection with the robbery. We must look elsewhere for the culprits."
"Had you not better see Fotheringham?"
"Of course I intend doing that. Did you secure the clothing which this so-called Cummings threw out of the train?"
"Telegrams have been sent out, and I hope to have it sent in by to- morrow."
"That is good--we may find something which we can grasp. The public generally have an idea that a detective can make something out of nothing that the merest film of a clew is all that is necessary with which to build up a strong substantial edifice of facts. It is only the Messieurs La Coqs and 'Old Sleuths' of books and illustrated weeklies that are possessed with the second sight, and can hunt down the shrewdest criminals, without being bound to such petty things as clews, circumstantial evidence or witnesses. We American detectives can generally make 4 by putting 2 and 2 together, but we must have a starting point, and an old shirt or a pair of stockings, such as this robber threw away, may contain just what we need."
A knock on the door, and an employee of the office entered.
"Mr. Damsel, the entire road has been carefully searched, and no trace of the clothing can be found."
"That's bad," said Mr. Pinkerton, "we should have found that."
Mr. Damsel bade the employee to return to the office, and turning to Mr. Pinkerton, said:
"The case is in your hands. Do what you want, if any man can run that Cummings down, you can."
"Well, I'll take it. I should advise you first to have Fotheringham arrested as an accomplice. While I do not think he is one, he may be; at any rate it will lead the principals in the case to believe we are on the wrong track, but I must confess there don't seem to be any track at all, wrong or right."
"I will do that. I will swear out a warrant to-day against him."
Mr. Damsel took his leave, and that night Fotheringham slept behind iron bars.
THE DETECTIVE AND THE MESSENGER.
After Mr. Damsel had left the hotel, Mr. Pinkerton sat in deep thought. He had carefully re-read Fotheringham's statement, but could find nothing that could be put out as a tracer; no little straw to tell which way the wind was blowing.
"Cummings, Cummings, Jim Cummings. By George, that can't be the Jim Cummings that used to flock with the Jesse James gang. That Cummings was a gray-haired man, while this Cummings is young, about 26 years old. Besides he is a much larger than Jesse James' Jim Cummings. That name is evidently assumed.
"This statement says he was dressed in a good suit of clothes, and wore a very flashy cravat. Furthermore, he bragged a good deal about what he would do with the money. Also that he would write a letter to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat exonerating the messenger. Well, a man who will brag like that, and wears flashy articles of neck-wear, is just the man that will talk too much, or make some bad break. If he writes that letter, he's a goner. There will be something in it that will give me a hold. The paper, the ink, the hand-writing, the place and time it was mailed--something that will give him away,"
"I must see this messenger, and I must see him here; alone. He may be able to give me a little glimmer of light."
To think with "Billy" Pinkerton was to act.
He pressed the annunciator button, and sitting down, wrote a short note to Mr. Damsel, requesting him to bring Fotheringham with him to his room.
The bell-boy who answered the call bore the note away with him, and in a short time, Mr. Pinkerton, looking out of his window, saw Mr. Damsel in
Previous Page Next Page
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 20 26
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything