Nick Hanson and Job Worth were of the same class in the department, and had been admitted on the same date. Nick was every inch an athlete, fearless and enduring. He was anything but good looking with his broad face, short limbs, and heavy body. He had made pugilism and wrestling his study, because they were his delight. Every man in the service respected his prowess. They all knew that Nick had never been out-classed in athletic sports. Yet, better than any or all of these qualifications, were his character and disposition. He was the soul of honor and gentle as a little child. He had a gentle and musical voice. Men used to say that Nick Hanson’s laugh was worth fifty dollars a month. They called him “Old Nick,” but no man among them was further away from that august personage in character and personality.
“Yes, Job,” Nick continued as the two shook hands, “I came in to congratulate you on your successful trip and to welcome you home again. I think the bank has done the right thing by you.”
It did not take many minutes for Nick to discover that his congratulations, while appreciated, were not entirely acceptable, and he went on to say: “Job, there was not a man among us that as much as suspected those kids of having done that slick job at the bank.”
And, sure enough, this was true, and Worth unquestionably deserved credit for the original thought as well as for the ends accomplished. And although he had not succeeded in capturing the thief, he had restored one third of the stolen money. Surely, this merited the congratulations of all honest men.
Worth could not withstand the cheery words and more cheery laugh of his friend. Indeed no one could. None had ever heard Nick speak an angry word. He brought sunshine with him everywhere, even when engaged in the most serious work of his profession. He was the hardest man in the department to comprehend, and yet he was without a peer in frankness and good nature. Nick’s genial spirit had somewhat restored job to his usual equanimity, and Nick knew it.
“It seems, Job,” remarked Hanson, “that there were three of those rascals, and they divided the spoils equally. Let me see—Thurston, McLaren, and Blair. There is only one left. Is there no way to find out which it is? Two have been exempted from further prosecution, and I suppose the third one will be, if the money is given up.”
“Would you know the third one if you could come across him, Nick?”
“Yes,” replied Hanson, “I would know them all anywhere. And I think I could find McLaren, but since I believe he is one of the men forgiven—having given up the money—I don’t want him. Blair is the fellow we want. Good-by, Job, I’m going away.”
And it was four months before these two friends met again during which interval one of them, at least, had an eventful experience.