Two men were scuffling at my feet. One was Kennedy. As I dropped down quickly to help him I saw that the other was Danfield, his face purple with the violence of the struggle.
“Don’t be alarmed, gentlemen,” I heard O’Connor shout, “the explosions were only the flash-lights of the official police photographers. We now have the evidence complete. Gentlemen, you will now go down quietly to the patrol-wagons below, two by two. If you have anything to say, say it to the magistrate of the night court.”
“Hold his arms, Walter,” panted Kennedy.
I did. With a dexterity that would have done credit to a pickpocket, Kennedy reached into Danfield’s pocket and pulled out some papers.
Before the smoke had cleared and order had been restored, Craig exclaimed: “Let him up, Walter. Here, DeLong, here are the I.O.U.’s against you. Tear them up—they are not even a debt of honor.”
The Great K.& A. Train Robbery
BY PAUL LEICESTER FORD
THE PARTY ON SPECIAL NO. 218
Any one who hopes to find in what is here written a work of literature had better lay it aside unread. At Yale I should have got the sack in rhetoric and English composition, let alone other studies, had it not been for the fact that I played half-back on the team, and so the professors marked me away up above where I ought to have ranked. That was twelve years ago, but my life since I received my parchment has hardly been of a kind to improve me in either style or grammar. It is true that one woman tells me I write well, and my directors never find fault with my compositions; but I know that she likes my letters because, whatever else they may say to her, they always say in some form, “I love you,” while my board approve my annual reports because thus far I have been able to end each with “I recommend the declaration of a dividend of —— per cent from the earnings of the current year.” I should therefore prefer to reserve my writings for such friendly critics, if it did not seem necessary to make public a plain statement concerning an affair over which there appears to be much confusion. I have heard in the last five years not less than twenty renderings of what is commonly called “the great K.& A. train robbery,”—some so twisted and distorted that but for the intermediate versions I should never have recognized them as attempts to narrate the series of events in which I played a somewhat prominent part. I have read or been told that, unassisted, the pseudo-hero captured a dozen desperadoes; that he was one of the road agents himself; that he was saved from lynching only by the timely arrival of cavalry; that the action of the United States government in rescuing him from the civil authorities was a most high-handed interference with State rights; that he received his reward from a grateful railroad by being promoted; that a lovely woman as recompense for his villainy—but bother! it’s my business to tell what really occurred, and not what the world chooses to invent. And if any man thinks he would have done otherwise in my position, I can only say that he is a better or a worse man than Dick Gordon.