“Evenin’ all!” bowed Harmony Diggs, clinging tightly to a bundle which he held under his arm.
“Find that robber yet?” inquired Bunch, winking at me.
“That’s just what I dropped around for to tell you, thinkin’ maybe you’d be kinder interested in knowin’ the facts in the case,” Harmony went on, carefully placing the precious bundle on the steps.
“I got a clue from this here gent,” he said, pointing a bony finger at Bunch, “and I ups and chases that there maleyfactor for four miles, well knowin’ that the cause of justice would suffer and the reward of fifty dollars be nil and voidless if the critter got away. But I got him, by crickey, I got him!”
He looked from one to the other, seeking a sign of applause, and Bunch said, “Where did you catch him?”
“About four miles yonder,” Diggs explained, indefinitely. “It was a fierce fight while it lasted, but they ain’t no maleyfactor livin’ can escape the clutches of these here hands oncet they entwines him. I pulled the dem cuss out of his clothes!”
With this thrilling announcement he opened the bundle and proudly displayed the burglar harness which Bunch had worn on that memorable night.
“And the burglar himself?” Bunch questioned.
Diggs raised his head slowly, and with theatrical effect answered, “I give the cussed scoun’rel the doggonest drubbin’ a mortal maleyfactor ever got and let him go. That was nearly two weeks ago, and he ain’t showed up since, dag him!”
“You win, Mr. Ananias!” said Bunch, handing Diggs a ten dollar bill, as he whispered to me, “That story is worth the money.”
“What’s that for?” inquired Diggs, somewhat taken aback.
“That’s my contribution to the reward for the robber,” Bunch told him.
“Well,” spluttered Diggs; “it don’t seem zactly right, seein’ as how I on’y pulled the cuss out of his clothes and then let him go with a lambastin’.”
“The ten-spot is for the clothes you pulled him out of,” Bunch said, picking up the garments and handing them to me. “Keep them, John, as a souvenir of your first burglar—and true friend, Bunch!”
I took them reverently, and said, “For your sake, Bunch, they’ll be handed down from generation to generation.”
Clara J. blushed and said, “Oh, John!” and I thought Uncle Peter would chuckle himself into a delirium.
“Good-night, Mr. Ananias!” Bunch called, as Diggs made a farewell bow and turned to go.
“Good-night, one and all,” replied Diggs, then a thought struck him and he turned with, “Say, who’s this here Mr. Annienias? Seems like the name’s familiar, but it ain’t mine.”
“Mr. Ananias is the first detective mentioned in history,” Bunch explained, and Mr. Diggs beamed over us all.
“Wait a moment, Mr. Officer,” Aunt Martha piped in; “have a drop of refreshment before you go. Tacks, run in and pour Mr. Officer a drink from that bottle on the sideboard!”