“Ah,” he observed, turning upon Bart and critically adjusting a single eyeglass, “is this the express agent?”
“That’s me,” assented Bart bluntly.
“I represent Monroe, Purcell & Abernethy, Attorneys,” grandly announced Stuart. “We are employed by Mrs. Harrington to prosecute an inquiry as to a missing trunk.”
Darry looked very serious, Bart smiled serenely in the face of his imperturbable visitor.
“What is there to prosecute, Mr. Stuart?” he inquired.
“We have come to demand certified copies of all entries and receipts of this office covering the trunk in question,” announced the young sprig of the law.
“Well?” interrogated Bart.
“Your employee—assistant? here, declined to act without your authority.”
“Quite right. I give it, though. Darry, make out transcripts of the records. That is all clear and regular.”
Bart turned on his heel, ran his eye over the office books, and bored young Mr. Stuart terribly by paying no further attention to him.
The latter stood watching the industrious Darry with owl-like solemnity. Finally the latter handed a duplicate receipt and a copy of the entry to Stuart.
“Will you officially attest to the correctness of these, Mr.—Ah, Mr. Agent?” propounded Stuart.
“Sure,” answered Bart with an off-handed alacrity that was distressing to the responsibility burdened personality of the accredited representative of Monroe, Purcell & Abernethy.
He dashed off an O.K. on the two documents, tendered them with exaggerated courtesy to his visitor, who he was well aware knew his name perfectly, and said, with the faintest suggestion of mimicry:
“Ah, Mr.—Representative, would you kindly inform me for what purpose you want these transcripts?”
“They form the basis of a criminal prosecution,” announced young Stuart in a tone positively sepulchral.
“So?” murmured the young express agent smoothly. “In that case, let me suggest that you also take a copy of this document to submit to your—superiors.”
Bart Stirling drew from his pocket the receipt signed by old Ben Travers on the afternoon express less than two hours previous.
Stuart adjusted his eyeglass and superciliously regarded the document. Then he turned and gasped:
“What—what is this?” he spluttered.
“A receipt for the delivery of the basis of your criminal prosecution,” said Bart simply. “Mrs. Colonel Harrington’s trunk is safe and sound on its way to its destination.”
“Hurrah!” irresistibly shouted Darry Haven.
BART STIRLING, AUCTIONEER
It was “busy times” at the little express office at Pleasantville.
Bart had made home and lunch in half the noon hour, and entered upon a renewal of his duties with a brisk hail to his subordinates and assistants, Darry and Bob Haven.