“I brought that in. I remember it very well.” “Where did you get it?” asked Larry, eagerly. “A man gave it to me last night, just as I was taking the mail from a box down near the river,” was the unexpected reply.
LARRY IS BAFFLED
This was much better than Larry had expected. To have the envelope remembered so soon was good, but to have the carrier who brought it in say he recalled having received it from the person who mailed the letter, was better yet.
“What sort of a man was he?” asked Larry, his heart beating high with hope.
“Why do you ask?” inquired the carrier.
“I’m a reporter from the Leader, and I’m trying to locate Mr. Potter, the missing millionaire,” said Larry. “This letter was from him.”
“Then I can’t be of much service to you,” the postman went on. “This was given to me by a man who bore no resemblance to Mr. Potter, whose picture I have lately seen in the papers.”
“But what sort of a looking man gave you this envelope?” asked Larry.
“He was a smooth-shaven man, rather poorly dressed. I’ll tell you how it was. This box, at which I was when the man gave me the letter, is at the foot of a street leading to the river. It is the last one I collect from at night. I had taken out all the mail in the box, and was just locking it up again when some one came up the street in a hurry. I looked around, for the neighborhood is a lonely one, and, as I did so, I saw a man come to a halt, as if he was surprised to see me at the box. I could see he had a letter in his hand.
“‘Come on,’ I said, for often people run up to me at the last minute to have me take letters. ‘Come on,’ I said, for I was in a hurry. ‘I’ll take the letter.’
“At that the man pulled his hat down over his eyes and advanced slowly. He held the letter out to me, and, as he did so, I caught a glimpse of his face, as the light from a street lamp flashed on it. I could see he was smooth shaven. I took the letter and put it in my bag. As I did so the man seemed to melt away in the shadows. I thought it rather queer at the time, for it seemed as if the fellow was afraid I’d recognize him. But I’d never seen him before, so far as I know, so he needn’t have been alarmed. I brought the letter to the office, and as I sorted my mail, I noted that the stamp had been stuck on with plenty of mucilage. I also saw the blot, and, as the envelope was unlike any I had ever seen before, as far as size and quality of paper went, the thing was impressed on my mind.
“That’s all I know about it,” the carrier finished, “but I’m sure the man who gave me the letter was not the missing millionaire. I’ve seen his picture too many times lately to be mistaken.”
“Then who could it have been?” asked Larry.
“That’s a hard question, young man,” said the carrier. “It might have been any one else. I think it was a person who didn’t care about being seen, and didn’t want to attract any attention. I guess he would have been better satisfied to have dropped the letter in the box when no one was looking, but seeing me there he came up with it before he knew what he was doing.”