“In about a fortnight I think.”
“You must go to the theater tonight. There is a good play on at the Madison Square.”
“I don’t mind. When can I get ticket?”
“I’ll go and secure some. It is only a few blocks away.”
“Do so. How much are the tickets?”
“A dollar and a half or two dollars each.”
“Here are five dollars, if it won’t trouble you too much.”
“My dear friend, I meant to pay for the tickets. However, I will pay next time. If you will remain here I will be back in twenty minutes.”
Louis Wheeler left the hotel with the five dollars tucked away in his vest pocket.
He had no sooner disappeared than Rodney went forward and occupied his seat.
“Excuse me, sir,” he said to the miner, “but do you know much of the man who has just left you?”
“I only met him here. He seems a good natured fellow. What of him?”
“He said he was a man of independent means.”
“He is a thief and an adventurer.”
The miner was instantly on the alert.
“How do you know this?” he asked.
“Because he stole a box of jewelry from me in the cars some months ago.”
“Did you get it again?”
“Yes; he left the train, but I followed him up and reclaimed the jewelry.”
“Was it of much value?”
“They were family jewels, and were worth over a thousand dollars.”
“Do you think he wants to bunco me?”
“I have no doubt of it.”
“I have given him money to buy theater tickets. Do you think he will come back?”
“Yes. He wouldn’t be satisfied with that small sum.”
“Tell me about your adventure with him.”
“I will do it later. The theater is so near that he might come back and surprise us together. I think he would recognize me.”
“Do you advise me to go to the theater?”
“Yes, but be on your guard.”
“Where can I see you again?”
“Are you staying at this hotel?”
“Yes. Here is my card.”
Rodney read this name on the card:
“I wish you were going to the theater with us.”
“It wouldn’t do. Mr. Wheeler would remember me.”
“Then come round and breakfast with me tomorrow—at eight o’clock, sharp.”
“I will, sir. Now I will take a back seat, and leave you to receive your friend.”
“Don’t call him my friend. He seems to be a mean scoundrel.”
“Don’t let him suspect anything from your manner.”
“I won’t. I want to see him expose his plans.” Five minutes afterwards Louis Wheeler entered the hotel.
“I’ve got the tickets,” he said, “but I had to buy them of a speculator, and they cost me more than I expected.”