“So you did. You kept that baseball bat of mine until the right minute came. Only for that my name might have been mud,” laughed Paul.
“And if you’d only open your heart now, and give me a hint about the fellow you believe has been playing that trick on me with my old coins—”
“Just you wait a little. It’s coming soon. So-long!” and with a click the connection was cut off.
“How are you, Paul?”
It was Mr. Jared Pender who came out of the post-office as Paul happened to be passing the next day, and addressed the boy he had met on the preceding evening at the house of the Stormways.
“Why, how do you do, Mr. Pender? Been at work, I see,” replied Paul, with a suggestive look in the direction of the post-office.
The tall dark gentleman looked a little perplexed, and followed Paul’s glance. Then an expression of understanding passed over his face.
“Ah! yes, I see, you are a good guesser, Paul. But please do not mention the fact to any one. We Government officials sometimes have to work sub rosa, as the saying is; that means without any one knowing what we are at. You understand, Paul?”
“Yes, sir, I guess I do; but I hope there’s nothing wrong here at our post-office. We all think the world of Mr. Mygatt, and his clerks,” said Paul.
“Oh! don’t mention such a thing. We have to investigate many times just to discover how smoothly things are going on. Isn’t that Jack’s dog coming out with a package of papers in his mouth? Has he actually been down for the mail?” went on the gentleman.
“That’s Carlo, all right. Sometimes they give him the mail when there are no letters, as you see.”
“And will he carry the bundles home safely, without stopping to play with other dogs, or to fight?”
“Oh! Carlo knows his duty. He never forgets what is expected of him. There, sir, look at him halting for a minute at the open door of the butcher shop, to wag his tail, and peep in. It smells mighty inviting to him, I wager; but will he go in? Not much. See, there he goes along, heading straight for home. If another dog picked a fight with him, Carlo would lay that package down, give the cur a good licking, then pick the papers up again, and trot along.”
“I see you know his traits well, Paul,” remarked the gentleman, smiling.
“Some of them, but not all. He’s a great dog, all right, and Jack’s fond of him.”
“I suppose money couldn’t buy him, then?” suggested Mr. Pender.
“It would be useless to try it, sir, I think. Will you stay long with Mr. Stormways?”
“That I cannot say. My business may be completed in a day, and it may keep me in this vicinity for a week. That depends on circumstances. You have been around more or less, Paul; do you happen to remember seeing a large red touring car, with a khaki-colored cover, and occupied by two men, one of whom has a glass eye?”