“Where am I?” asked Wheeler in a tone of apparent bewilderment.
“Oh, it’s you, Mr. Wheeler?” said Jefferson. “Don’t you know where you are?”
“Oh, it is my friend, Mr. Pettigrew. Is it possible I am in your room?”
“It is very possible. Now tell me why you are here?”
“I am really ashamed to find myself in this strange position. It is not the first time that I have got into trouble from walking in my sleep.”
“Oh, you were walking in your sleep!”
“Yes, friend Petttigrew. It has been a habit of mine since I was a boy. But it seems very strange that I should have been led to your room. How could I get in? Wasn’t the door locked?”
“It is locked now?”
“It is strange! I don’t understand it,” said Wheeler, passing his hand over his forehead.
“Perhaps you understand why you have that bag of gold in your hand.”
“Can it be possible?” ejaculated Wheeler in well counterfeited surprise. “I don’t know how to account for it.”
“I think I can. Rodney, unlock the door and come in.”
The key was turned in the lock, and Rodney entered with a lighted candle in his hand.
“You see, Rodney, that I have a late visitor. You will notice also that my bag of gold seems to have had an attraction for him.”
“I am ashamed. I don’t really know how to explain it except in this way. When you displayed the gold last night it drew my attention and I must have dreamed of it. It was this which drew me unconsciously to your door. It is certainly an interesting fact in mental science.”
“It would have been a still more interesting fact if you had carried off the gold.”
“I might even have done that in my unconsciousness, but of course I should have discovered it tomorrow morning and would have returned it to you.”
“I don’t feel by any means sure of that. Look here, Mr. Wheeler, if that is your name, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes. You are a thief, neither more nor less.”
“How can you misjudge me so, Mr. Pettigrew?”
“Because I know something of your past history. It is clear to me now that you were the person that stole John O’Donnell’s money.”
“Indeed, Mr. Pettigrew.”
“It is useless to protest. How much of it have you left?”
Louis Wheeler was compelled to acknowledge the theft, and returned one hundred dollars to Jefferson Pettigrew.
“Now,” said Jefferson, “I advise you to leave the hotel at once. If the boys find out that you are a thief you will stand a chance of being lynched. Get out!”
The next morning Jefferson Pettigrew told the other boarders that Louis Wheeler had had a sudden call East, and it was not for a week that he revealed to them the real reason of Wheeler’s departure.
RODNEY FALLS INTO A TRAP.