For a moment Brereton was silent. “How is it done?” he asked.
“It’s this way. One of Moody’s gang is working with Squire Hennion as hired man; and when Hennion knows that a rider is due, he drops into the ordinary, and, casual like, finds out all he can as to when he rides on, and by what road. Then he hurries off home and tells his man, and he goes and tells Moody, who gets his men together and does the business.”
“I see. And how can we know where they set the ambush, so as to set a counter one?”
“It’s easy as can be. When they have the mail, it ’s to Hennion’s barn they all goes, where they cut it open and takes out everything as Clinton will pay for, and sends it off at once on one of the boats of provisions as old Hennion is stealing into New York two or three times a week.”
“Ah, that ’s where he’s got the money to buy Greenwood, is it?”
“Yes; I tell you he’s a traitor if there ever was one, colonel. But I guess he’ll be nabbed now. All you’ve got to do is to hide your men in the barn to-morrow night, and you’ll take the whole lot red-handed.”
“And I suppose you tell me this to get your revenge for this afternoon.”
“Just a little, colonel; but don’t forget I’m a patriot, who ’s always trying to serve his country. Now I’ll tell you how we’ll do it. You bring your men down t’ other side of the river to Meegan’s place; and as soon as it ’s dark, I’ll come across the river in a sloop I own and will bring you right over to Hennion’s wharf, from which it will be easy to steal into his barn without no one seeing us.”
Brereton made no answer for a minute, then said, “Very well; I’ll adopt your plan.”
“I suppose there’ll be some reward coming to me, colonel?”
“Undoubtedly,” replied Jack, but with a twitch of contempt. “Is that all?”
“That’s enough to do the business, I guess,” rejoined Joe. “About nine clock I’ll allow to be at Meegan’s,” he said.
Without a word of assent, Jack quickened his pace. When he had gone fifty feet he looked back, but already the informer had disappeared. “What dirty work every man must do on occasion!” he muttered. “I’d suspect the scoundrel but for what I heard this afternoon, and he has it all so pat that he’s probably been in it himself more or less. However, it promises well; and ’t will he a service of the utmost importance if we can but break up the murdering gang and bring them to justice, for ’t is no time to have Clinton reading all our secrets.”
It was midnight when Brereton trotted into Chatham and dismounting from his horse walked wearily into his tent.
His servant, sleeping on the floor, waked, and hastily rose. “A despatch, sir, from headquarters,” he said, taking a paper from his pocket.
“When did it arrive?” demanded Jack, as he examined the seal, to make sure that it had not been tampered with, and then broke the letter open.