“Hit it the first time. Look at that Roe; cast your eye on that elegant bit of literature, Weaver,” and Cummings, greatly excited, paced up and down the room, whistling, and indulging in other signs of huge gratification.
“Well done, Jim, well done. Now write the other one, and we’ll go and licker up.”
Again Cummings picked up his facile pen, and was soon successful in writing the following letter, purporting to be from this same J. B. Barrett.
“Springfield, Mo., Oct. 21, ’86.
“John Bronson, Esq., St. Louis, Mo.
“Dr. Sir: Come at once to Peirce City by train No. 3, leaving St. Louis 8:25 p.m. Inclosed find note to messenger on the train, which you can use for a pass in case you see Mr. Damsel in time. Agent at Peirce City will instruct you further.
“Respectfully, J. B. Barrett, R. A.”
Jim drew a long, deep sigh of relief as he muttered:
“Half the work is done; half the work is done.”
Drawing the railroad map of the Chicago & Alton road toward him, he put the pen point on St. Louis, and slowing following the St. L. & S. F. Division, paused at Kirkwood.
“Roe, here’s the place I shall tackle this messenger. It is rather close to St. Louis, but it’s down grade and the train will be making fast time. She stops at Pacific—here, and we will jump the train there, strike for the river, and paddle down to the K. & S. W. You must jump on at the crossing near the limits, plug the bell cord so the damned messenger can’t pull the rope on me, and I will have him foul.”
Roe listened attentively to these instructions, nodding his head slowly several times to express his approval, and said:
“When will we go down?”
Jim Cummings, looking at the time-table, answered:
“This is—what date is this, Weaver?”
“Two weeks from to-day will be the 25th. That is on—let’s see, that is Tuesday.”
“Two weeks from to-day, Roe, you will have to take the train at St. Louis; get your ticket to Kirkwood. I see by this time-table that No. 3 does stop there. When you get off, run ahead, plug the bell-cord, and I will wait till she gets up speed after leaving Kirkwood before I draw my deposit.”
Thus did these three men plan a robbery that was to mulet the Adams Express Company of $100,000, baffle the renowned Pinkertons for weeks and excite universal admiration for its boldness, skill, and completeness.
The papers upon which Cummings had exercised his skill, were torn into little bits, the time-tables and maps were folded and placed in coat pockets, the lamp extinguished, and three men were soon strolling down Lake street as calmly as if they had no other object than to saunter into their favorite bar-room, and toss off a social drink or two.