“Right around here, you mean, Frank?”
“Right on this farm, in fact,” replied the other, with a wide grin. “Think of the nerve of this learned scientist bringing this here, and telling that it represented the results of years of difficult research? You don’t wonder, now, that I just had to snicker, do you, Andy?”
“That looks bad, don’t it Frank?” Andy went on to remark, as he first glanced at the bogus collection of rare specimens, and then eyed his cousin humorously.
“One thing is sure, no man would go to the trouble and expense of buying even a dollar case of common butterflies unless he had some deep object in view, and you know that, Andy. This so-called professor must be a fraud, even if he doesn’t turn out to be the man we think he is. Perhaps, he wanting to find out whether Hoskins had discovered that wonderful gold mine. Well, you needn’t grin about it because stranger things have happened, I guess, now.”
Andy ceased laughing and turned to look around the room.
“I wonder—” he began, and then stopped short.
“Now I can finish your sentence for you,” said Frank. “You wonder if we could make any important discovery if we looked around here a bit, while Sallie is helping her ma do up some fruit jars or something like that?”
“Perhaps it wouldn’t be just the right thing,” suggested Andy, in confusion.
“Under ordinary conditions it certainly wouldn’t,” his cousin went on to say; “but when you’ve got a pretty good idea that you’re dealing with a slippery hobo, actor, past-aviator, and now a bank burglar and cracksman in general, why that puts a different face on the matter, don’t you see, my boy?”
“All right; let’s take a look,” said Andy, easily convinced that since they were really working hand in glove with the police authorities, they had a perfect right to prowl around in anybody’s room, and pick up such valuable information as could be found afloat.
But after all they found nothing that looked like incriminating evidence. The fact of the matter was that the professor did not seem to own any sort of wardrobe whatever, and had nothing belonging to him save the clothes on his back, the little case of butterflies which Frank believed he had bought for a dollar over in Cranford at the curio dealer’s shop, and a few bottles holding some strong smelling acids, which possibly were used to either kill the captured butterflies so they would not beat their wings out; or else to preserve certain specimens of bugs he expected to run across in his hunts.
“Nothing doing,” said Andy, with considerable of disgust and disappointment in his voice.
“Come here!” remarked his cousin, softly.
“Hello! don’t tell me you’ve found something?” and Andy crossed the floor in more or less haste.
He found Frank bending over a table at which there were writing materials—pen, envelopes, paper and a blotter.