Kategoria: Sensacja, thriller, horror Język: angielski Rok wydania: 1884

The Burglar's Fate and The Detectives ebook

Allan Pinkerton

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Opis ebooka The Burglar's Fate and The Detectives - Allan Pinkerton

In the pages which follow I have narrated a story of actual occurrence. No touch of fiction obscures the truthful recital. The crime which is here detailed was actually committed, and under the circumstances which I have related. The four young men, whose real names are clothed with the charitable mantle of fiction, deliberately perpetrated the deed for which they suffered and to-day are inmates of a prison. No tint or coloring of the imagination has given a deeper touch to the action of the story, and the process of detection is detailed with all the frankness and truthfulness of an active participant.

Opinie o ebooku The Burglar's Fate and The Detectives - Allan Pinkerton

Fragment ebooka The Burglar's Fate and The Detectives - Allan Pinkerton

Chapter 1 - Geneva—The Robbery—Search for the Burglars—My Agency Notified.
Chapter 2 - The Investigation Begun—John Manning's Visit to Geneva—Eugene Pearson's Story—The Detective's Incredulity—A Miraculous Deliverance With a Ten-Cent Coin.

About Pinkerton:

Allan Pinkerton (25 August 1819 – 1 July 1884) was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, the first detective agency of the United States.

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In the pages which follow I have narrated a story of actual occurrence. No touch of fiction obscures the truthful recital. The crime which is here detailed was actually committed, and under the circumstances which I have related. The four young men, whose real names are clothed with the charitable mantle of fiction, deliberately perpetrated the deed for which they suffered and to-day are inmates of a prison. No tint or coloring of the imagination has given a deeper touch to the action of the story, and the process of detection is detailed with all the frankness and truthfulness of an active participant. As a revelation of the certain consequences which follow the perpetration of crime, I send this volume forth, in the fervent hope that those who may read its pages, will glean from this history the lessons of virtue, of honor, and of the strictest integrity. If in the punishment of Eugene Pearson, Dr. Johnson, Newton Edwards and Thomas Duncan, the young men of to-day, tempted by folly or extravagance, will learn that their condemnation was but the natural and inevitable result of thoughtless crime, and if their experience shall be the means of deterring one young man from the commission of a deed, which the repentance of years will not obliterate, I shall feel that I have not labored in vain. As a true story of detective experience, the actors in which are still living, I give this volume to the world, trusting that its perusal may not fail in its object of interesting and instructing the few or many who may read its pages.


Chapter 1 Geneva—The Robbery—Search for the Burglars—My Agency Notified.

Geneva is one of the prettiest and most thriving little towns in the west. Situated, as it is, in the midst of one of the finest agricultural districts in the country, its growth has been rapid beyond expectation, while its social progress has been almost phenomenal. Stretching for miles in all directions, over a country beautifully interspersed with gentle elevations and depressions, lie the well-cultivated farms of the honest tillers of the soil. The farm-houses, which nestle down beneath the tall trees, present an appearance of comfort and beauty rarely witnessed, while the commodious and substantial out-buildings evince the thorough neatness of systematic husbandry. Standing upon a high knoll, and gazing over the scene upon a bright sunny morning, the eye lights upon a panorama of rustic splendor that delights the vision and entrances the senses. The vast fields, with their varied crops, give indications of a sure financial return which the gathered harvests unfailingly justify, and the rural population of Geneva are, in the main, a community of honest, independent people, who have cheerfully toiled for the honest competence they so fully enjoy.

Nor is the town dependent alone upon the farmer and the herdsman for its success in a financial sense. Nature has been bounteous in her gifts to this locality, and in addition to the fertile and fruitful soil, there is found imbedded under the surface, great mines of coal, of excellent quality, and seemingly inexhaustible in quantity. This enterprise alone affords employment to hundreds of men and boys, who, with their begrimed faces and brawny arms, toil day and night in the bowels of the earth for the "black diamonds," which impart warmth and light to countless happy homes, and materially add to the wealth of the miners.

Numerous manufacturing industries also find a home here. Large buildings, out of whose huge chimneys the black smoke is pouring forth in dense volumes, and whose busy wheels and roaring furnace fires, mingled with the sound of scores of ringing hammers, make merry music throughout the day.

On certain days in the week Geneva presents a cheerful and animated appearance. On every hand are heard the sounds of honest toil and the hum of busy trade. Farmers from the surrounding country come in numbers into the village to purchase their necessary supplies and to listen to the news and gossip of the day, and the numerous stores transact a thriving business and reap a handsome profit on their wares.

The old mill, weather-beaten and white with the accumulating flour dust of ages, and with the cobwebs hanging thick and heavy from its dingy rafters, stands near by, and this too is an object of interest to the sturdy farmers of the surrounding country. From morn till night its wheels go round, transmuting the grain into the various articles of consumption for man and beast, and bringing a goodly share of "honest toll" into the coffers of the unimpeachable old miller. The mill is a great place of meeting for the farmers, and the yard in its front is daily filled with teams from the country, whose owners congregate in groups and converse upon topics of general interest, or disperse themselves, while waiting for their "grist," about the town to transact the various matters of business which had brought them hither.

In common with all progressive American towns, Geneva boasts of its school-house, a large brick building, where rosy-cheeked children daily gather to receive the knowledge which is to fit them more thoroughly for the great battle of life, when the years shall have passed and they become men and women.

Here, too, are banking institutions and warehouses, and every element that contributes to the thrift and advancement of a happy, honest, hard-working and prosperous people.

Of its history, but few words are necessary for its relation. Not many years ago it was the home of the red man, whose council fires gleamed through the darkness of the night, and who roamed, free as the air, over the trackless prairie, with no thought of the intruding footsteps of the pale-face, and with no premonition of the mighty changes which the future was to bring forth.

Then came the hardy pioneers—those brave, self-reliant men and women who sought the broad acres of the west, and builded their homes upon the "edge of civilization." From that time began the work of progress and cultivation. Towns, villages and cities sprang up as if under the wand of the magician. Fifty years ago, a small trading post, with its general store, its hand grist-mill, rude blacksmith-shop and the fort. To-day, a busy active town, with more than five thousand inhabitants, a hundred business enterprises, great railroad facilities, and every element that conduces to prosperity, honesty and happiness.

Such is Geneva to-day, a substantial, bustling, thriving and progressive village of the west.

It is a hot, sultry day in August, 18—, and the shrill whistles from the factories have just announced the arrival of six o'clock. Work is suspended for the day, and the army of workmen are preparing for their homes after the labors of the day.

At the little bank in Geneva the day has been an active one. Numerous herders have brought their stock into market, and after disposing of them have deposited their moneys with the steady little institution, in which they have implicit confidence, and through which the financial affairs of the merchants and farmers round about are transacted.

The last depositor has departed, and the door has just been closed. The assistant cashier and a lady clerk are engaged within in settling up the business of the day. At the Geneva bank the hours for business vary with the requirements of the occasion, and very frequently the hour of six arrives ere their customers have all received attention and their wants have been supplied. This had been the case upon this day in August, and breathing a sigh of relief as the last customer took his leave, the front door was locked and the work of balancing up the accounts was begun.

Suddenly, a knock is heard at the outer door, and Mr. Pearson, the assistant cashier, being busily engaged, requested the young lady with him to answer the summons. As she did so, two men, roughly dressed, and with unshaved faces, burst into the room. Closing the door quickly behind them, one of the men seized the young lady from behind and placed his hand upon her mouth. Uttering a piercing scream, the young lady attempted to escape from the grasp upon her, and with her teeth she inflicted several severe wounds upon the ruffianly hand that attempted to smother her cries. In a moment she was knocked down, a gag was placed in her mouth, and she was tied helplessly hand and foot. While this had been transpiring, the other intruder had advanced to the assistant cashier, and in a few moments he too was overpowered, bound and gagged. In less time than is required to tell the story, both of them were lying helpless before their assailants, while the open doors of the bank vault revealed the treasures which had excited the passions of these depraved men, and led to the assault which had just been successfully committed.

No time was to be lost, the alarm might be sounded in a moment, and the thieves, picking up a valise which stood near by, entered the vault, and securing all the available gold, silver and bank-notes, placed them in the satchel and prepared to leave the place.

Before doing so, however, they dragged the helpless bodies of the young man and woman into the despoiled vault, and laying them upon the floor, they deliberately closed the doors and locked them in.

Not a word had been spoken during this entire proceeding, and now, in silence, the two men picked up the satchel, and with an appearance of unconcern upon their faces, passed out of the bank and stood upon the sidewalk.

The streets were filled with men and women hurrying from their work. The sun was shining brightly in the heavens, and into this throng of human beings, all intent upon their own affairs, these bold burglars recklessly plunged, and made their way safely out of the village.

How long the two persons remained in the bank it is impossible to tell; Miss Patton in a death-like swoon, and Mr. Pearson, in the vain endeavor to extricate himself from the bonds which held him. At length, however, the young man succeeded in freeing himself, and as he did so, the young lady also recovered her consciousness. Calling loudly for help, and beating upon the iron door of their prison, they indulged in the futile hope that some one would hear their cries and come to their rescue.

At last, however, Mr. Pearson succeeded in unscrewing the bolts from the lock upon the inside of the doors of the vault, and in a few minutes thereafter, he leaped out, and dashing through a window, gave the alarm upon the street. The news spread far and wide, and within an hour after the robbery had taken place, the town was alive with an excited populace, and numerous parties were scouring the country in all directions in eager search of the fugitives. All to no avail, however, the desperate burglars were not discovered, and the crest-fallen bank officers contemplated their ruin with sorrowful faces, and with throbbing hearts.

Meanwhile, Miss Patton had been carefully removed to her home, her injuries had been attended to, and surrounded by sympathetic friends, who ministered to her wants, she was slowly recovering from the effects of the severe trial of the afternoon.

An examination of the vault revealed the fact that the robbers had succeeded in obtaining about twenty thousand dollars in gold, silver and currency—all the available funds of the bank, and the loss of which would seriously impair their standing, and which would be keenly felt by every one interested in its management.

Though sorely crippled by their loss, the bank officials were undismayed, and resolved to take immediate steps for the capture of the criminals, and the recovery of the stolen property. To this end they decided to employ the services of my agency at once, in the full hope that our efforts would be crowned with success. Whether the trust of the directors was well founded, and the result so much desired was achieved, the sequel will show.

Chapter 2 The Investigation Begun—John Manning's Visit to Geneva—Eugene Pearson's Story—The Detective's Incredulity—A Miraculous Deliverance With a Ten-Cent Coin.

On the evening of the same day on which this daring robbery occurred, and as I was preparing to leave my agency for the day, a telegram was handed to me by the superintendent of my Chicago office, Mr. Frank Warner. The message read as follows:

Geneva, August —, 18—.
Bank robbed to-day. Twenty thousand dollars taken.
Please send or come at once.
(Signed,) Henry Silby, President.

This was all. There was no detail of particulars, no statement of the means employed, only a simple, concise and urgent appeal for my services. As for myself, realizing the importance of promptness and despatch in affairs of this nature, and fully appreciating the anxiety of the bank officials, I resolved to answer their call as speedily as possible. But few words of consultation were required for the subject, and in a short time I had selected the man for the preliminary investigation, and requested his presence in my office. John Manning was the operative chosen for this task, an intelligent, shrewd and trusty young man of about thirty years of age, who had been in my employ for a long time. Well educated, of good address, and with a quiet, gentlemanly air about him that induced a favorable opinion at a glance. Frequently, prior to this, occasions had presented themselves for testing his abilities, and I had always found him equal to any emergency. Sagacious and skillful as I knew him to be, I felt that I could implicitly rely upon him to glean all the information that was required in order to enable me to devise an intelligent plan of detection, and which would, as I hoped, lead to eventual success.

Giving John Manning full instructions as to his mode of proceeding, and cautioning him to be particular and thorough in all his inquiries, I directed him to proceed as soon as possible to the scene of the robbery, and enter at once upon the performance of his duties.

In a very short time Manning had made his preparations, and at eight o'clock that evening he was at the depot awaiting the departure of the train that was to bear him to his new field of operation.

After a journey of several hours, in which the detective endeavored to snatch as much comfort as possible, the train drew up at the neat little station at Geneva, and Manning was upon the ground.

It was two o'clock in the morning when he arrived, consequently there were but few people stirring, and the station was almost entirely deserted. Two or three passengers who were awaiting the train, the persons connected with the railroad, and the runners of the two hotels (Geneva boasted of two of these very necessary establishments), were the only persons who greeted him upon his arrival.

Having never been to Geneva before, and being entirely ignorant of the accommodations afforded by either of these houses of entertainment, Manning, at a hazard, selected the "Geneva Hotel" as his place of abode. Consigning his valise to the care of the waiting porter, he was soon on his way to that hostelrie, and serenely journeyed along through the darkness, all unconscious of the reception that awaited him. On arriving at their destination, he perceived through the glimmering light that hung over the doorway, that the "Geneva Hotel" was an old, rambling frame structure, which stood in the midst of an overgrowth of bushes and shrubbery. So dense was the foliage that the detective imagined the air of the place was damp and unwholesome in consequence. Certain it was, as he discovered afterward, the air and sunshine had a desperate struggle almost daily to obtain an entrance into the building, and after a few hours engaged in the vain attempt, old Sol would vent his baffled rage upon the worm-eaten old roof, to the decided discomfort of the lodgers in the attic story.

Ceremony was an unheard-of quality at the "Geneva House," and the railway porter performed the multifarious duties of night clerk, porter, hall boy and hostler. As they entered the hotel, the porter lighted a small lamp with the aid of a stable lantern, and without further parley led the detective up two flights of stairs which cracked and groaned under their feet, as if complaining of their weight, and threatening to precipitate them to the regions below. Opening the door of a little box of a room, out of which the hot air came rushing like a blast from a furnace fire, the porter placed the lamp upon a dilapidated wash-stand and the valise upon the floor, and without uttering a word, took himself off.

With all its progressiveness, it was evident that Geneva was far behind the age in regard to her hotel accommodations; at least so thought Manning as he gazed disconsolately around upon his surroundings. The room was small, close and hot, while the furniture exceeded his powers of description. The unpainted wash-stand seemed to poise itself uneasily upon its three remaining legs—the mirror had evidently been the resort of an army of self-admiring flies, who had left their marks upon its leaden surface until reflection was impossible—two hard and uncomfortable-looking chairs—and a bed, every feature of which was a sonorous protest against being slept upon—completed the provisions which had been made for his entertainment and comfort. Casting a dismal look upon his uninviting quarters, but being thoroughly tired, the detective threw himself upon the couch, which rattled and creaked under him like old bones, and in a few moments was sound asleep.

How long he might have remained in this somnolent condition if left to himself, it is impossible to state, for a vigorous alarm upon his door cut short his slumbers, and startled him from his dreams.

Imagining that the hotel had taken fire, or that the porter had eloped with the silver ware, he jumped hastily out of bed and opened the door.

"It's late and breakfast is waitin'," was the laconic message delivered to him by the porter of the night before, as he started away.

With a muttered malediction upon this ruthless destroyer of his rest, the detective donned his clothing, and, feeling as tired and unrefreshed as though he had not slept at all, descended to the dining-room. If his experiences of the previous evening had been distressing, the breakfast which was set before him was positively heart-rending. A muddy-looking liquid which they called coffee—strong, soggy biscuits, a beefsteak that would rival in toughness a piece of baked gutta percha, and evidently swimming in lard, and potatoes which gave decided tokens of having been served on more than one previous occasion. With a smothered groan he attacked the unsavory viands, and by dint of great effort managed to appease his hunger, to the serious derangement of his digestive organs. After he had finished his repast he lighted a cigar, and as the hour was still too early for a conference with the bank officials, he resolved to stroll about the town and ascertain the locality of the Geneva bank, before entering upon the duties of the investigation.

His stroll, however, was not a very extended one, for as he started from the hotel he noticed upon the opposite side of the street the sign of the bank. The building in which it was located was a large, square brick structure, occupied in part by the bank, and in part as a store for the sale of hardware and agricultural implements. The upper floor was used as an amusement hall, and was called the "Geneva Opera House." Here the various entertainments of a musical and dramatic nature were given, to the intense delight of the people of the village.

There was no notice of the bank having suspended operations on account of the loss they had sustained, and the operative inferred from this, that business was being transacted as usual.

When the doors were at length opened the operative entered the banking room, and requesting to see Mr. Silby, was ushered into the private office of the president. As he passed through the room he took a passing inventory of the young assistant cashier, Mr. Pearson, who was busily engaged upon his books. He appeared to be a young man of about twenty-four years of age; of a delicate and refined cast of countenance and about medium height. His hair and a small curly mustache were of a light brown shade, and his complexion was as fair as a woman's. The young lady who had been the other victim of the assault was not present, and the detective concluded that she was as yet unable to attend to her duties.

These thoughts and impressions passed through his mind as he walked through the banking room into the office of the president. As he entered this apartment, he found several gentlemen evidently awaiting his appearance, all of whom wore a thoughtful, troubled look, as though they keenly felt the losses they had sustained and were resolved to bear up manfully under their misfortune.

Mr. Silby, the president, a tall, fine-looking gentleman in the prime of life, arose as the detective entered. Mr. Silby was one of those persons who instinctively impress the beholder, with a confidence closely approaching to veneration. Of a commanding presence, a broad noble face surmounted with a wealth of hair in which the silvery touch of time has left many traces, while his deep blue eyes were as bright as those of a youth of twenty. There was such an air of rugged and uncompromising honesty, of kindly feeling and warm-heartedness about the man, that even before he had spoken the detective experienced a strong impulse of regard for him, and a corresponding determination to perform his full duty in this investigation and to devote all the energy of his being to the task before him.

Presenting his letter of introduction, Mr. Silby hastily ran his eyes over the contents, and then extending his hand he gave the detective a most cordial greeting, and introduced him to the other gentlemen present, all of whom received him warmly.

"Take a seat, Mr. Manning," said Mr. Silby, drawing up a chair. "You find us anxiously awaiting your arrival, and prepared to give you any information you desire."

"Thanks," responded the operative, taking the proffered chair. "As I have come here for the purpose of making an examination into this case, I shall require all the information that is possible to obtain."

"Very well," said Mr. Silby. "Now, what do you desire first?"

"A full statement as to how the robbery was committed," answered the detective, promptly.

"Mr. Welton," said Mr. Silby, turning to a gentleman at his right, who had been introduced to the detective as the cashier of the bank, "perhaps you can relate the particulars better than I can."

"Excuse me," interrupted the detective, "but were you present at the time the robbery occurred?"

"No, sir, I was not present," replied Mr. Welton. "Mr. Pearson, our assistant cashier, and Miss Patton, were the only persons in the bank at that time."

"Then," said the detective, "suppose we have Mr. Pearson in at once, and hear the story from him. We always prefer," he added, with a smile, "to receive the particulars of these affairs from eye-witnesses."

The other gentlemen nodded a cordial assent to this proposition, and Mr. Welton arose, and going to the door, requested Mr. Pearson to enter the consulting room.

The young man entered the office, and upon being introduced, greeted the detective with an air of frank earnestness, and signified his readiness to relate all that he knew about the robbery.

He remained standing, and from his statement the facts were elicited which I have given in the preceding chapter. As he finished, he pointed to a scar upon his forehead, which he stated was the result of the blow he received at the time from the robber who attacked him. The wound did not appear to be a very serious one, although the skin had been broken and blood had evidently flowed freely.

"Mr. Pearson," inquired the detective, after the young man had concluded, "do you remember having seen either of those men before?"

The assistant cashier darted a quick glance at the detective, and then answered:

"Yes, sir; about three o'clock yesterday afternoon, a well-dressed gentleman came into the bank, carrying a small valise in his hand, which he requested permission to leave here until the next morning. I asked him if it was of any value, and he replied no. Informing him that I would then place it in the office, the man thanked me, and went away. When the two men entered the bank at six o'clock in the evening, I instantly recognized one of them as the man who had called in the afternoon. He was, however, dressed very roughly on the occasion of this last visit, and had evidently changed his clothes for the purpose of escaping detection or recognition."

"Which one of the men attacked you?" now asked the detective.

"The one who left the valise in the afternoon. While the tallest of the two was struggling with Miss Patton, who was screaming loudly, the other one came behind the counter and struck me upon the head with the butt end of his revolver. I became insensible after this, and knew nothing until I found myself in the vault."

"How did you extricate yourself from this dilemma?" inquired Manning.

"Well, sir," began Pearson; and the detective imagined that he noticed a hesitancy in his manner, which was not apparent before, "when I recovered consciousness, I found myself locked up in the vault, with Miss Patton lying beside me. When she recovered, we both shouted loudly for help, and beat with our hands upon the iron doors, in the hope of attracting attention. This failed, and we were nearly desperate. Just then, however, my foot came in contact with some loose silver upon the floor, and on stooping to pick them up, I found that they were ten-cent pieces. Instantly, the idea occurred to me, to attempt to remove the screws which fastened the lock to the inside of the door, and of using one of these coins for the purpose. To my intense joy the screws yielded to my efforts, and in a short time the heavy door swung open, and we were free. I have told you already what followed."

As John Manning jotted these recitals down in his note-book, he could not repress nor account for, a feeling of doubtfulness which crept over him at this point. He looked up into the young man's face, but there he saw only the evidence of serious truthfulness, and honest frankness; but still that lingering doubt was upon him and he could not shake it off.

At his request, young Pearson then furnished him with a description of the two men, as nearly as his memory would serve him, and these the detective noted down for future use.

At length, finding that he had obtained all the information which could be afforded him here, he thanked the gentlemen for their assistance, and promised to call again in the course of the day.

"Remember, Mr. Manning," said Mr. Silby, "we rely entirely upon the resources of Mr. Pinkerton's agency, and that we are confident that you will succeed."

"I cannot promise that," returned Manning, "but you may be assured that if success is possible, we will accomplish it."

So saying, he shook hands with the gentlemen, and left the bank. He betook himself at once to the hotel to prepare himself for further action in this investigation.