Sam was led by curiosity to open the wallet. When he saw the thick roll of bills, he was filled with amazement and delight.
“Oh, what a rascal he was!” ejaculated the boy. “I guess he’s been robbing a safe. I wonder how much is here?”
He was tempted to sit down on the grass and count the bills, but he was prevented by the thought that the professor might discover his loss, and returning upon his track, question him as to whether he had found it. Sam determined that he wouldn’t give it up, at any rate.
“I guess I could wrastle with him,” he thought. “He looks rather spindlin’, but then he’s bigger than I am, and he might lick me, after all.”
I desire to say emphatically that Sam was strictly honest, and never for a moment thought of appropriating any of the money to his own use. He felt that as a detective he had been successful, and this made him feel proud and happy.
“I may as well go home,” he said. “If he’s stolen this money from Mr. Perry, I’ll come in for a reward.”
Sam did not hurry, however. He was not now in pursuit of any one, and could afford to loiter and recover his breath.
Meanwhile, Professor Riccabocca, in happy unconsciousness of his loss, continued his run to the station. He arrived there breathless, and hurried to the ticket-office.
“Give me a ticket to Chambersburg,” he said.
“All right, sir. Ninety cents.”
If Riccabocca had been compelled to take out his wallet, he would at once have discovered his loss, and the ticket would not have been bought. But he had a two-dollar bill in his vest, and it was out of this that he paid for the ticket to Chambersburg. Armed with the ticket, he waited anxiously for the train. He had five minutes to wait—five anxious moments in which his flight might be discovered. He paced the platform, looking out anxiously for the train.
At length he heard the welcome sound of the approaching locomotive. The train came to a stop, and among the first to enter it was the eminent elocutionist. He took a seat beside the window looking out toward the village. What did he see that brought such an anxious look in his face?
A buggy was approaching the depot at breakneck speed. It contained Mr. Gates, the landlord, and the young musician. Mr. Gates was lashing the horse, and evidently was exceedingly anxious to arrive at the depot before the train started.
Beads of perspiration stood on the anxious brow of the professor. His heart was filled with panic terror.
“The girl must have told them of my flight,” he said to himself. “Oh, why didn’t I think to give her a quarter to keep her lips closed? Why doesn’t the train start?”
The buggy was only about ten rods away. It looked as if Philip and his companion would be able to intercept the fugitive.
Just then the scream of the locomotive was heard. The train began to move. Professor Riccabocca gave a sigh of relief.