“This is strange. Can I have been robbed?”
“Was there much in that satchel, Mr. Vane?”
“Yes, those mining shares and some other articles of value.”
“Then we must find the satchel by all means.”
“I’ll question the porter about this.”
The colored man was called and questioned, but he denied having seen the bag. By this time quite a few passengers became interested.
“Has anybody left this car?” asked Maurice Vane.
“The gen’men that occupied Numbers 9 and 10, sah,” said the porter.
“When did they get off?”
“’Bout three o’clock, sah—when de train stopped at Snapwood.”
“I haven’t any tickets for Snapwood,” said the conductor, who had appeared on the scene.
“Then they must have had tickets for some other point,” said Joe.
“That looks black for them.”
The porter was asked to describe the two men and did so, to the best of his ability. Then another search was made, and in a corner, under a seat, a bottle was found, half filled with chloroform.
“It’s as plain as day to me,” said Maurice Vane. “Joe, I was chloroformed.”
“Perhaps I was, too. That’s what gave us the dizzy feeling.”
“And those two men—”
“Must have been Caven and Malone in disguise,” finished our hero.
JOE MAKES A DISCOVERY.
“Who are Caven and Malone?” asked the conductor of the train, while a number of passengers gathered around, to hear what Maurice Vane and our hero might have to say.
“They are two rascals who are trying to do me out of my share of a mine,” explained Maurice Vane. “I had my mining shares in that satchel.”
“If you wish I’ll telegraph back to Snapwood for you,” went on the train official.
“How many miles is that?”
“A little over two hundred.”
“What is the next stop of this train?”
“When will we get there?”
“In ten minutes.”
A telegram was prepared and sent back to Snapwood as soon as Leadington was reached. The train was held for five minutes and it was learned that nobody had been seen at the station there at three in the morning, as the night operator and station master were away, there being no passengers to get on the train bound West.
Maurice Vane was much disturbed and did not know what to do.
“To go back and look for them at Snapwood may be a mere waste of time,” said he. “On the other hand, I don’t feel much like going on while the shares are out of my possession.”
“If you wish it, Mr. Vane, I’ll go back,” said Joe. “You can go ahead, and if anything turns up I will telegraph to you.”
This pleased the gentleman, and he said Joe could go back on the very next train. The conductor was again consulted, and our hero left the train bound West a quarter of an hour later.