A short distance away a carriage stood before the door of a private banker. A woman of perhaps thirty came out through the doorway, carrying a small handbag.
Seeming almost to rise from the ground, so suddenly did he appear, a ragged Mexican bumped violently against the woman.
There was a scream, and in a twinkling the ragged Mexican was in full flight, carrying the handbag as he ran.
“After that rascal, Rogers!” cried Dave Darrin, aghast at the boldness of this daylight robbery.
“Aye, aye, sir, and with a hearty good will!” called back Rogers, as both sailors started in full chase.
A “FIND” OF A BAD KIND
In the nature of timings it could not be a long chase, for Ensign Dave Darrin was a swift runner, of many years’ training.
Rogers, slim and lithe, was also an excellent runner.
Less than a block’s distance, and Darrin had
gripped the fleeing
Mexican by the collar.
His left hand reached for the bag, and in a moment Dave had it in his custody. Not a man of the Vera Cruz police force was in sight, to whom to turn the wretch over, so Darrin flung the fellow from him.
That the handbag had not been opened Darrin was sure, for he had kept his eye upon it through the chase.
Going to the ground in a heap, the Mexican thief was upon his feet instantly. A knife glittered in his right hand as he rushed at the young ensign.
But Seaman Rogers was too quick for the fellow. One of his feet shot up, the kick landing on the Mexican’s wrist. That kick broke the fellow’s wrist and sent the knife spinning through the air.
“We must go back to the woman from whom this was taken,” Dave declared, and he and Rogers faced about, walking briskly back to the carriage.
The woman was completely unnerved, and trembling with fright. Her coachman stood beside her, and already a crowd of a dozen curious natives had gathered.
“Is this your property, madam?” Dave Darrin inquired, holding up the bag.
“Yes, it is!” she cried, in excellent English. “Oh, thank you! Thank you!”
Hastily she opened the bag, disclosing a thick roll of bills.
“It is all I have in the world,” she murmured, her eyes now filling with tears.
“It looks to me like a whole lot and then plenty more,” uttered Seaman Rogers under his breath. “Whee! There must be a fortune there.”
“I am afraid you will not be safe in the streets of Vera Cruz with so much money in your possession,” Dave assured her gravely.
“I am going only as far as the docks,” the woman answered. “If I may have escort that far-----”
“You shall,” Dave offered.
Another score of natives had hastened to the spot, and were looking on curiously with sullen, lowering faces. Darrin began to fear that the plot to rob this woman of her money was a well planned one, with many thieves interested in it.