“He’s stringin’ us, Bill,” said the other.
“Sure,” growled Bill. “It’s a nice way to treat us, mister. Move along now and don’t turn ’round.”
“Well, you’re a couple of nice highwaymen,” cried Monty in disgust.
“Sh—not so loud.”
“That is no way to attend to business. Do you expect me to go down in my pocket and hand you the goods on a silver tray?”
“Keep your hands up! You don’t woik dat game on me. You got a gun there.”
“No, I haven’t. This is on the level. You over-looked a roll of bills in your haste and I’m not the sort of fellow to see an earnest endeavorer get the worst of it. My hands are up. See for yourself if I’m not telling you the truth.”
“What kind of game is dis?” growled Bill, dazed and bewildered. “I’m blowed if I know w’at to t’ink o’ you,” cried he in honest amazement. “You don’t act drunk, and you ain’t crazy, but there’s somethin’ wrong wid you. Are you givin’ it to us straight about de wad?”
“You can find out easily.”
“Well, I hate to do it, boss, but I guess we’ll just take de overcoat and all. It looks like a trick and we takes no chances. Off wid de coat.”
Monty’s coat came off in a jiffy and he stood shivering before the dumfounded robbers.
“We’ll leave de coat at de next corner, pardner. It’s cold and you need it more’n we do. You’re de limit, you are. So long. Walk right straight ahead and don’t yell.”
Brewster found his coat a few minutes later, and went whistling away into the night. The roll of bills was gone.
Brewster made a good story of the “hold-up” at the club, but he did not relate all the details. One of the listeners was a new public commissioner who was aggressive in his efforts at reform. Accordingly Brewster was summoned to headquarters the next morning for the purpose of looking over the “suspects” that had been brought in. Almost the first man that he espied was a rough-looking fellow whose identity could not be mistaken. It was Bill.
“Hello, Bill,” called Monty, gaily. Bill ground his teeth for a second, but his eyes had such an appeal in them that Monty relented.
“You know this fellow, Mr. Brewster?” demanded the captain, quickly. Bill looked utterly helpless.
“Know Bill?” questioned Monty in surprise. “Of course I do, Captain.”
“He was picked up late last night and detained, because he would give no account of his actions.”
“Was it as bad as that, Bill?” asked Brewster, with a smile. Bill mumbled something and assumed a look of defiance. Monty’s attitude puzzled him sorely. He hardly breathed for an instant, and gulped perceptibly.
“Pass Bill, Captain. He was with me last night just before my money was taken, and he couldn’t possibly have robbed me without my knowledge. Wait for me outside, Bill. I want to talk to you. I’m quite sure neither of the thieves is here, Captain,” concluded Brewster, after Bill had obeyed the order to step out of the line.