Under the circumstances I do not begrudge
the money. When first
advised of Ruggam’s escape, it was hot-headed impulse which
me to offer a reward so large. The old clan-blood of the Wileys
have made me murder-mad that Ruggam should regain his freedom
after the hellish thing he did to my brother. The newspapers heard
and then I could not retract.
That, however, is a thing of the past.
I always did detest a
and if this money is going to a woman to whom it will be manna from
heaven—to use your words—I am satisfied. Convey to her my
congratulations, gratitude and best wishes.
C. V. D. WILEY.
“Good old Chris!” muttered the sheriff. “He’s rich because he’s white.” He thrust both check and letter back into the long envelope and headed for the office of our local daily paper at a smart pace.
The earning of five thousand dollars reward-money by Cora McBride made an epochal news-item, and in that night’s paper we headlined it accordingly—not omitting proper mention of the sheriff and giving him appropriate credit.
Having so started the announcement permeating through the community, the old man employed the office phone and called the local livery-stable. He ordered a rig in which he might drive at once to the McBride house in the northern part of town.
“But half that money ought to be yourn!” protested the proprietor of the stable as the sheriff helped him “gear up the horse” a few minutes later.
“Under the circumstances, Joseph, can you see me takin’ it? No; it ain’t in me to horn in for no rake-off on one o’ the Lord’s miracles.”
The old man climbed into the sleigh, took the reins from the liveryman and started the horse from the livery yard.
Two weeks ago—on Monday, the twenty-seventh of the past October—the telephone-bell rang sharply in our newspaper-office a few moments before the paper went to press. Now, the telephone-bell often rings in our newspaper-office a few moments before going to press. The confusion on this particular Monday afternoon, however, resulted from Albany calling on the long-distance. Albany—meaning the nearest office of the international press-association of which our paper is a member—called just so, out of a clear sky, on the day McKinley was assassinated, on the day the Titanic foundered and on the day Austria declared war on Serbia.
The connection was made, and over the wire came the voice of young Stewart, crisp as lettuce.
“Special dispatch ... Wyndgate, Vermont, October 27th ... Ready?” The editor of our paper answered in the affirmative. The rest of us grouped anxiously around his chair. Stewart proceeded:
“’Hapwell Ruggam, serving a life-sentence for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Martin Wiley at a Lost Nation kitchen-dance two years ago, killed Jacob Lambwell, his guard, and escaped from prison at noon to-day.