The railroad and the sleeping car company, of course, refused to acknowledge responsibility for Mr. Bulson’s valuables. Nor on mere suspicion could Mr. Bulson get a justice in Tillbury to issue a warrant for Mr. Sherwood.
But Ravell Bulson had been to the Sherwood cottage on Amity Street, and had talked very harshly. Besides, the fat man had in public loudly accused his victim of being dishonest.
Mr. Sherwood’s reputation for probity in Tillbury was well founded; he was liked and respected; those who really knew him would not be influenced by such a scandal.
But as Mr. Sherwood was making plans to open an agency in Tillbury for a certain automobile manufacturing concern, he feared that the report of Mr. Bulson’s charge would injure his usefulness to the corporation he was about to represent. To sue Bulson for slander would merely give wider circulation to the story the fat man had originated.
Ravell Bulson was a traveling man and was not often in Tillbury—that was one good thing. He had a reputation in his home town of Owneyville of being a quarrelsome man, and was not well liked by his neighbors.
Nevertheless a venomous tongue can do a great deal of harm, and a spiteful enemy may sometimes bring about a greater catastrophe than a more powerful adversary.
ADVENTURES IN A GREAT CITY
“Now! what do you know about this?” Bess Harley demanded, with considerable vexation.
“Of course, it’s a mistake—or else that big clock’s wrong,” declared Nan Sherwood.
“No fear of a railroad clock’s being wrong,” said her chum, grumpily. “That old time table was wrong. They’re always wrong. No more sense to a time table than there is to a syncopated song. It said we were to arrive in this station three-quarters of an hour ago—and it turns out that it meant an entirely different station and an entirely different train.”
Nan laughed rather ruefully. “I guess it is our own fault and not the time table’s. But the fact remains that we are in the wrong place, and at the wrong time. Walter and Grace, of course, met that other train and, not finding us, will have gone home, not expecting us till to-morrow.”
“Goodness, what a pickle!” Bess complained. “And how will we find the Mason’s house, Nan Sherwood?”
The chums had the number and street of their friends’ house, but it occurred to neither of them to go to a telephone booth and call up the house, stating the difficulty they were in. Nor did the girls think of asking at the information bureau, or even questioning one of the uniformed policemen about the huge station.
“Now, of course,” Nan said firmly, “some street car must go within walking distance of Grace’s house.”
“Of course, but which car?” demanded Bess.
“That is the question, isn’t it?” laughed Nan.