“I shan’t talk,” said Baker.
“And I am to have that express package?”
“Give it to him, Stirling.”
Bart took the mysterious unclaimed package from his pocket. Colonel Harrington seized it with a satisfied cry.
“You have wronged myself and others deeply, Colonel Harrington,” said Baker in a grave, reproachful tone, “but you have made some amends. I forgive you, and I hope you will be a better man.”
Bart Stirling was a proud and happy boy as he stood at the door of the express office looking down the tracks of the B. & M.
A new spur was being constructed, and it divided to semi-inclose a substantial foundation which was the start of the new and commodious express office. The blue sky, smiling down on the busy scene, was no more serene than the prospect which the future seemed to offer for the successful young express agent.
With his last reckless crime Lem Wacker had ceased to be a disturbing element at Pleasantville. After two months’ confinement he had limped out of the hospital, out of town, and out of Bart Stirling’s life.
Colonel Jeptha Harrington himself had left town with the beginning of winter. It was said he intended to make an extended trip in Europe.
With his departure, a new Mr. Baker seemed to spring into existence. Divested of his disguise, no longer a fear-filled roustabout fugitive, Bart’s strange friend had found a steady, lucrative position at the hotel, and Bart felt that he had certainly been the means of doing some real good in the world every time he looked at the happy, contented face of his protege.
Concerning all the details of Baker’s past, Bart never knew the entire truth.
Baker felt, however, that it was due to his champion that he explain in the main the mystery of his connection with Colonel Harrington, and he told a strange story.
It seemed that the purse-proud colonel had a poor brother living in another State.
This brother owned a farm on which there lived with him a man named Adams, a widower, and his little daughter, Dorothy.
Adams was a close friend of Samuel Harrington, and out of his earnings saved the place from being taken on a mortgage.
Samuel Harrington always told Adams that he had made a will, and that in case of his sudden death the farm would go to him. He gave Adams a letter certifying to his having a claim of over three thousand dollars against the property, which he told Adams to show to his rich brother when he died, asserting that, although Colonel Harrington had shamefully neglected him, he would never dishonorably repudiate a claim of that kind.
When Samuel Harrington died, his brother appeared, took possession of the farm as only heir, and cruelly drove Mr. Adams and his child from the place.