“I have a straight tip from a friend in New York and he wouldn’t steer me wrong. The truth about him is this: He used to work for our company, but took some money that didn’t belong to him. It got him a sentence in the pen. He’s just out, and he knows a whole lot about these robbers. Some of them were in Sing Sing with him. The leader wanted him to join the gang and he half-way consented. His duty is to keep the gang posted on what the officers in New York are doing. See?”
“Of course,” breathed Anderson.
“Well, my friend wants to reform. All he asks is a slice of the reward. If we capture the gang, we can afford to give him a thousand or so, can’t we?”
“Of course,” was the dignified response.
“Here’s his letter to me. I’ll read it to you.” In the gathering dusk Gregory read the letter to the marshal of Tinkletown. “Now, you see,” he said, at the close of the astounding epistle, “this means that if we observe strict secrecy, we may have the game in our hands. No one must hear a word of this. They may have spies right here in Tinkletown. We can succeed only by keeping our mouths sealed.”
“Tighter’n beeswax,” promised Anderson Crow.
Briefly, the letter to Andrew Gregory was an exposure of the plans of the great train-robber gang, together with their whereabouts on a certain day to come. They were to swoop down on Tinkletown on the night of the open-air performance of “As You Like It,” and their most desperate coup was to be the result. The scheme was to hold up and rob the entire audience while the performance was going on. Anderson Crow was in a cold perspiration. The performance was but three days off, and he felt that he required three months for preparation.
“How in thunder are we goin’ to capture that awful gang, jest you an’ me?” he asked, voicing his doubts and fears.
“We’ll have to engage help, that’s all.”
“We’ll need a regiment.”
“Don’t you think it. Buck up, old fellow, don’t be afraid.”
“Afeerd? Me? I don’t know what it is to be skeered. Didn’t you ever hear about how I landed them fellers that kidnaped my daughter Rosalie? Well, you jest ast some one ’at knows about it. Umph! I guess that was a recommend fer bravery. But these fellers will be ready fer us, won’t they?”
“We can trick them easily. I’ve been thinking of a plan all afternoon. We don’t know just where they are now, so we can’t rake them in to-night. We’ll have to wait until they come to us. My plan is to have a half-dozen competent private detectives up from New York. We can scatter them through the audience next Thursday night, and when the right time comes we can land on every one of those fellows like hawks on spring chickens. I know the chief of a big private agency in New York, and I think the best plan is to have him send up some good men. It won’t cost much, and I’d rather have those fearless practical men here than