“I don’t understand.”
“Then I will try to make things clear to you. You have, doubtless by accident” he emphasized the last word, “taken from the car a casket belonging to my young friend here.”
“You are mistaken, sir,” said Wheeler with brazen hardihood. “That casket belongs to me.”
“Indeed. What does it contain?”
“I fail to see how that is any of your business,” returned Wheeler, determined, if possible, to bluff off his visitors.
“I admire your cheek, sir. I really do. But I am too old a traveler to be taken in by such tricks. I propose to have that casket.”
“Well, sir, you are the most impudent thief and burglar I ever met. You break into a gentleman’s room, and undertake to carry off his private property. Unless you go out at once, I will have you arrested.”
“That you can do very readily, for I have an officer within call.”
Louis Wheeler changed color. He began to see that the situation was getting serious.
“There is a great mistake here,” he said.
“I agree with you.”
The agent went to the door, and called “Constable Barlow.”
The constable promptly presented himself.
“Do you want me, sir?” he asked.
“That depends on this gentleman here. If he will peacefully restore to my young friend here yonder jewel casket I am willing to let him go. Otherwise—” and he glanced at Wheeler significantly.
“Perhaps I have made a mistake,” admitted the thief. “I had a casket exactly like this. Possibly I have taken the wrong one.”
“I have the key to the casket here,” said Rodney, “and I can tell you without opening it what it contains.”
“What did yours contain?” asked the agent.
“Jewelry,” answered Wheeler shortly.
“Never mind. I am inclined to think this casket belongs to the boy.”
“Rodney, you can take it and Mr. Wheeler will probably find his where he left it.”
No objection was made, and the discomfited thief was left a prey to mortification and disappointment.
Rodney handed a dollar to the constable which that worthy official received with thanks, and he and the agent resumed their journey by an afternoon train. They saw nothing further of Louis Wheeler who sent for dinner to be served in his room.
A YOUNG FINANCIAL WRECK.
“You have been very fortunate in recovering your jewels,” said the agent.
“I owe it to you,” replied Rodney gratefully.
“Well, perhaps so. If I have rendered you a service I am very glad.”
“And I am very glad to have found so good a friend. I hope you will let me pay for your ticket to New York.”
“It won’t be necessary. The interruption of our journey won’t invalidate the ticket we have.”