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Title: In a Fog Author: Anonymous * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 0606651h.html Language: English Date first posted: August 2006 Date most recently updated: August 2006 This eBook was produced by: Richard Scott Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au
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A FEW minutes before one o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 8th of February, 1857, Policeman Smithers, of the Third District, was meditatively pursuing his path of duty through the quietest streets of Ward Five, beguiling, as usual, the weariness of his watch by reminiscent Aethiopianisms, mellifluous in design, though not severely artistic in execution. Passing from the turbulent precincts of Portland and Causeway Streets, he had entered upon the solitudes of Green Street, along which he now dragged himself dreamily enough, ever extracting consolations from lugubrious cadences mournfully intoned. Very silent was the neighborhood. Very dismal the night. Very dreary and damp was Mr. Smithers; for a vile fog wrapped itself around him, filling his body with moist misery, and his mind with anticipated rheumatic horrors. Still he surged heavily along, tired Nature with tuneful charms sweetly restoring.
As he wound off a tender tribute to the virtues of the Ancient Tray, and was about sounding the opening notes of a requiem over the memory of the lost African Lily, surnamed Dale, one o'clock was announced by the bell of the Lynde-Street Church. Mr. Smithers's heart warmed a little at the thought of speedy respite from his midnight toil, and with hastening step he approached Chambers Street, and came within range of his relief post. He paused a moment upon the corner, and gazed around. It is the peculiar instinct of a policeman to become suspicious at every corner.
Nothing stirring. Silence everywhere. He listens acutely. No sound. He strains his eyes to penetrate the misty atmosphere. He is satisfied that order reigns. He prepares to resume his march, and the measure of his melancholy chant.
Three seconds more, and Policeman Smithers is another being. Now his hand convulsively grasps his staff; his foot falls lightly on the pavement; his carol is changed to a quick, sharp inhalation of the breath; for directly before him, just visible through the fog, a figure, lightly clad, leans from a window close upon the street, then clambers noiselessly upon the sill, leaps over, and dashes swiftly down Chambers Street, disappearing in the darkness.
Gathering himself well together, in an instant, Mr. Smithers is off and away in pursuit. His heavy rubber-boots spatter over the bricks with an echo that startles the sober residents from their slumbers. Strong of limb, and not wholly unaccustomed to such exercise, he rapidly gains upon the fugitive, who, finding himself so hotly followed, utters a faint cry, as if unable to control his terror, and suddenly darts into one of the numerous narrow passages which connect Chambers and Leverett Streets.
Not prepared for this sharp dodge, Mr. Smithers is for a moment unable to check his headlong plunges, and shoots past the opening a yard or two before the wet sidewalk affords him a foothold.
In great wrath, he turns about, and gropes his way cautiously through the lane in the narrow labyrinth of which the fugitive has disappeared,--always cautiously, for there are precipitous descents in Hammond Avenue, and deep arched door-ways, from which a sudden onslaught might be dangerous. But he meets no interruption here. Emerging into Leverett Street, he with difficulty descries a white garment distantly fluttering in the feeble light of a street-lamp. Any other color would have eluded him, but the way is clear now, and it is a mere question of strength and speed. He sets his teeth together, takes a full breath, and gives chase again.
Mr. Smithers has now passed the limits of his own beat, and he fears his adventure may be shared by some of his associates. For the world he would not have this happen. Nothing could tempt him at this moment to swing his rattle. His blood is roused, and he will make this capture himself, alone and without aid.
He rapidly reconsiders the chances.
"This fellow does not know the turns," he thinks, "or he would have taken Cushman Avenue, and then I should have lost him."
This is in his favor. On the other hand, Mr. Smithers's action is impeded by his heavy overcoat and rubber boots, and he knows that the pursued is un-incumbered in all his movements.
It is a fierce, desperate struggle, that mad race down Leverett Street, at one o'clock on Sunday morning.
At each corner, the street lamps throw a dull red haze around, revealing the fugitive's slender form as he rushes wildly through. Another moment, and the friendly fog shelters and conceals him from view.
Breathless, panting, sobbing, he ere long is forced to relax his speed. The policemen, who has held his best energies in reserve, now puts forth his utmost strength.
Presently he gains upon the runaway so that he can detect the white feet pattering along the red bricks, rising and falling quite noiselessly. He ejects imprecations about his own stout boots, which not only fail to fasten themselves firmly to the slippery pavements, but continually betray by their noisy splashing his exact position.
As they pass the next lamp, Mr. Smithers sees plainly enough that the end is near. The fugitive touches the ground with only the balls of his feet, as if each step were torture, and expels his breath with unceasing violence. He does not gasp or pant,--he groans.
Just at the bend in Leverett Street, leading to the bridge, there is a dark and half-hidden aperture among the ill-assorted houses. Into this, as a forlorn hope, the fugitive endeavors to fling himself. But the game is up. Here, at last, he is overhauled by Mr. Smithers, who, dropping a heavy hand upon his shoulder, whirls him violently to the ground. Having accomplished this exploit with rare dexterity, he forthwith proceeds to set the captive on his feet again, and to shake him about with sprightly vigor, according to established usage.
Mr. Smithers next makes a rapid but close examination of his prize, who, bewildered by the fall, stares vacantly around, and speaks no word. He was a young man, apparently about twenty years old, with nothing peculiar in appearance except an unseasonable deficiency in clothing. Coat, waistcoat, trousers, boots, hat, had he none; shirt, drawers, and stockings made up his scant raiment. Mr. Smithers set aside the suspicion of burglary, which he had originally entertained, in favor of domestic disorder. The symptoms did not, to his mind, point towards delirium tremens.
Suddenly recovering consciousness, the youth was seized with a fit of trembling so violent that he with difficulty stood upright, and cried out in piteous tones,--
"For God's sake, let me go! let me go!"
Mr. Smithers answered by gruffly ordering the prisoner to move along with him.
By some species of inspiration--for, as the era of police uniforms had not then dawned, it could have been nothing else--the young man conceived the correct idea of the function of his custodian, and, after verifying his belief, expressed himself enraptured.
All his perturbation seemed to vanish at the moment.
The affair was getting too deep for Mr. Smithers, who could not fathom the idea of a midnight malefactor becoming jubilant over his arrest. So he gave no ear to the torrent of excited explanations that burst upon him, but silently took the direct route to the station.
Here he resigned his charge to Captain Morrill's care, and, after narrating the circumstances, went forth again, attended by two choice spirits, to continue investigations. On reaching Chambers Street, he became confused and dubious. A row of houses, all precisely alike excepting in color, stood not far from the corner of Green Street. From a lower window of one of these he believed that the apparition had sprung; but, in his agitation, he had neglected to mark with sufficient care the precise spot. Now, no open window nor any other trace of the event could be discovered.
The three policemen, having arrived at the end of their wits, went back to the station for an extension.
There they found Captain Morrill listening to a strange and startling story, the incidents of which can here be more coherently recapitulated than they were on that occasion by the half-distracted sufferer.
On the morning of Saturday, February the 7th, this young man, whose name was Richard Lorrimer, and who was a clerk in a New-York mercantile house, started from that city in the early train for Boston, whither he had been despatched to arrange some business matters that needed the presence of a representative of the firm. It chanced to be his first journey of any extent; but the day was cheerless and gloomy, and the novelty of travel, which would otherwise have been attractive, was not especially agreeable. After exhausting the enlivening resources of a package of morning papers, which at that time overflowed with records of every variety of crime, from the daily murder to the hourly garrote, he dozed. At Springfield he dined. Here, also, he fortified himself against returning ennui with a supply of the day's journals from Boston. Singularly enough, five minutes after resuming his place, he was once more peacefully slumbering. The pause at Worcester scarcely roused him; but near Framingham a sharp shriek from the locomotive, and the rapid working of the brakes, banished his dreams, and put an end to his drowsy humor for the remainder of the journey. It was soon made known that the engine was suffering from internal disarrangement, and that a delay of an hour or more might be expected. The red flag was despatched to the rear, the lamps were lighted, and the passengers composed themselves, each as patiently and as comfortably as he could.
Lorrimer felt no inclination for further repose. He was much disturbed at the prospect of long detention, having received directions to execute a part of his commission that evening. Comforting himself with the profound reflection that the fault was not his, he turned wearily to his newspaper-files.
A middle-aged man with a keen nose and a snapping eye asked permission to share the benefit of his treasures of journalism. As the middle-aged man glanced over the New York dailies, he ventured an anathema upon the abominations of Gotham.
The patriotic pride of a genuine New-Yorker never deserts him. Lorrimer discovered that the maligner of his city was a Bostonian, and a stormy debate ensued.
As between cat and dog, so is the hostility which divides the residents of these two towns. So the conversation became at once spirited, and eventually spiteful.
Boston pointed with sarcastic finger to the close columns heavily laden with iniquitous recitals, the result of a reporter's experience of one day in the metropolis.
New York, with icy imperturbability, rehearsed from memory the recent revelations of matrimonial and clerical delinquencies which had given the City of Notions an unpleasant notoriety.
Boston burst out in eloquent denunciation of the Bowery assassin's knife.
New York was placidly pleased to revert to a tale of bloodshed in the abiding-place of Massachusetts authority, the State Prison.
Boston fell back upon the garrote,--"the meanest and most diabolical invention of Five-Point villany,--a thing unknown, Sir, and never to be known with us, while our police system lasts!"
New York quietly folded together a paper so as to reveal one particular paragraph, which appeared in smallest type, as seeking to avoid recognition. Boston read as follows:--
"The garroting system of highway robbery, which has been so fashionable for some time past in New York, and which has so much alarmed the people of that city, has been introduced in Boston, and was practised on Thomas W. Steamburg, barber, on Thursday night. While crossing the Common to his home, he was attacked by three men; one seized him by the throat and half strangled him, another sealed his mouth with a gloved hand, and the third abstracted his wallet, which contained about seventy-five dollars in money."
This was from the "Courier" of that morning. New York had triumphed, and Boston, with eyes snapping virulently, sought another portion of the car, perhaps to hunt up his temper, which had been for some time on the point of departure, and had now left him altogether.
Lorrimer took to himself great satisfaction, in a mild way, and laughed inwardly at his opponent's discomfiture.
Presently, the vitalities of the locomotive having been restored, the train rolled on, and Lorrimer took to calculating the chances of fulfilling his appointment that evening. He at length abandoned the hope, and resigned himself to the afflicting prospect of a solitary Sunday in a strange place.
At eight o'clock, P. M., the Boston station was achieved. Then followed, for Mr. Lorrimer, the hotel, the supper, the vain search for Saturday-evening amusements, and a discontented stroll in a wilderness of unfamiliar streets, with spirits dampened by the dismal foggy weather.
He found the Common, and secretly admired, but longed for an opportunity to vilify it to some ardent native. His point of attack would be, that it furnished dangerous opportunities for crime, as illustrated in the case he had recently been discussing. He looked around for some one to accost, and felt aggrieved at finding no available victim. Finally, in great depth of spirits, and anxious for a temporary shelter from the all-penetrating moisture, he wandered into a saloon of inviting appearance, and sought the national consolation,--Oysters.
While he was accumulating his appetite, a stranger entered the same stall, and dropped, with a smile and a nod, upon the opposite seat. "I wouldn't intrude, Sir," he said, "but every other place is filled. It's wonderful how Boston gives itself up to oysters on Saturday nights,--all other sorts of rational enjoyment being legally prohibited."
Lorrimer welcomed the stranger, and, delighted at the opportunity of a bit of discussion, and still cherishing the malignant desire to injure somebody's feelings in the matter of the Common, opened a conversation by asking if Boston were really much given to bivalvular excesses.
The stranger, who was a strongly built and rough-visaged man, with nothing specially attractive about him, except a humorous and fascinating eye-twinkle, straightened himself, and delivered a short oration.
"Bless me, Sir!" said he, "are you a foreigner? Why, oysters are the universal bond of brotherhood, not only in Boston, but throughout this land. They harmonize with our sharp, wide-awake spirit. They are an element in our politics. Our statesmen, legislators, and high-placed men, generally, are weaned on them. Why, dear me! oysters are a fundamental idea in our social system. The best society circles around 'fried' and 'stewed.' Our 'festive scenes,' you know, depend on them in no small degree for their zest. That isn't all, either. A full third of our population is over 'oysters' every morning at eleven o'clock. Young Smith, on his way down town after breakfast, drops into the first saloon and absorbs some oysters. At precisely eleven o'clock he is overcome with hunger and takes a few on the 'half-shell.' In the course of an hour appetite clamors, and he 'oysters' again. So on till dinner-time, and, after dinner, oysters at short intervals until bed-time."
And the stalwart stranger leaned back and laughed lustily for a few seconds, until, abruptly checking his mirth, he, in solemn tones, directed the waiter to introduce ale.
Then occurred an interesting exchange of courtesies. Social enlightenment was vividly illustrated. The sparkling ale was set upon the table. In silent contemplation, the two gentlemen awaited the subsidence of the head. Then, smiling intensely, they cordially grasped the flowing mugs; they made the edges click; they paused.
"Sir," said one, with genial blandness.
"Sir," responded the other, in like manner.
Contemporaneously they partook of the cheering fluid. Gradually each gentleman's nose was eclipsed by the aspiring orb of pottery. The mugs assumed a lofty elevation, then fell, to rise no more. The two gentlemen beamed with amity. Each respected the other, and the acquaintance was formed.
Lorrimer was charmed to meet an intelligent being who would talk and be talked to. He flattered himself he had exploited a "character," and was determined not to allow him to slip away. He cautiously broke to his new companion the fact that he was a native of New York, and was a little surprised to see the announcement followed by no manifestation of awe, but only a lively wink. He reserved his defamatory intentions respecting the Common, and endeavored to draw the stranger out, who, in return, shot forth eccentricities as profusely as the emery wheel of the street grinder emits sparks when assailed by a scissors-blade.
Lorrimer learned that this delightful fellow's name was Glover, and rejoiced greatly in so much knowledge.
Mr. Glover ordered in ale, and Mr. Lorrimer ordered in oysters,--and from oysters to ale they pleasantly alternated for the space of two hours.
Cloud-compelling cigars varied at intervals the monotony of the proceedings.
At length the young gentleman from New York vanquished his last "fried in crumb," and victory perched upon his knife. Just then the gas-burners began to meander queerly before his eyes. Around and above him he beheld showers of glittering sparks,--snaky threads of light,--fantastic figures of fire,--jets of liquid lustre. He communicated, in confidence, to Mr. Glover, that his seat seemed to him of the nature of a rocking-chair operating viciously upon a steep slated roof. Mr. Glover laughed, and proposed an adjournment.
As they settled their little bills, Lorrimer thoughtlessly displayed a plethoric pile of bank-notes. He saw, or fancied he saw, his companion gaze at them in a manner which made him restless; but the circumstances soon passed from his mind, until later events enforced the recollection.
When they walked into the open air, Mr. Lorrimer first became intimate with a lamp-post, which he was loath to leave, and then bitterly bewailed his ignorance of localities. Glover good-naturedly suggested that his young friend would do well to take up quarters with him, that night, and promised to conduct him wherever he desired to go, the next morning. His young friend was not in the humor for hesitation, and, distrusting his own perambulatory powers, gave himself up, without reserve, to Glover's guidance. Linked together by their arms, they sailed along, like an energetic little steam-tug, puffing, plunging, sputtering, under the shadow of a serene and stately India-man.
The fog had now gathered solidity, and hung chillingly over the city's heart. How desolate were the thoroughfares! The street-lamps gleamed luridly from their stands, serving only to make the dreary darkness visible. Lorrimer's late merry fancies were all extinguished as suddenly as they had blazed forth. Even his sturdy guide showed a depression and constraint that strangely contrasted with his former gayety. He vainly drew upon his mirth-account; there was no issue. "Beastly fog!" said he, "we might drill holes in it, and blast it with gunpowder!" They approached the Common, and the hideous structure opposite West Street glared on them like a fiery monster, and seemed exactly the reverse of the gate to a forty-acre Paradise. Sheltering their faces from the wind, which now added its inconveniences to the saturating atmosphere, they struck the broad avenue, and pushed across towards the West End.
The wind sang most doleful strains, and the bending branches of the trees sighed sadly over them. Lorrimer was filled with an anxious tribulation, as he remembered the story of the villany that, two nights before, near the spot where they now walked, and perhaps at the same hour, had been perpetrated. An impulse, which he could not restrain, caused him to whisper his fears to his companion. Glover laughed, a little uneasily, he thought, but made no answer.
Soon they reached the opposite boundary of the Common, and continued through Hancock Street, ascending and descending the hill. While passing the reservoir in that dull gray darkness, Lorrimer felt as if under the shadow of some giant tomb. Hastening forward, for it was growing late, they threaded a number of the short avenues of Ward Three, and at length, when young New York's endurance was nearly exhausted, reached their destination in Chambers Street. It must have been the fatigue which, as they crossed the threshold, propelled Mr. Lorrimer against the door, causing him to stain himself unbecomingly with new paint.
They mounted the stairs, and entered a comfortable apartment, in which a fresh fire was diffusing a most welcome glow, and a spacious bed luxuriously invited occupancy. Lorrimer had but one grief, which he freely communicated to his host,--his fingers were liberally decorated with dark daubs, to which he pointed with unsteady anguish.
"It's a filthy shame!" said he, with more energy of manner than certainty of utterance.
A section of the chamber was separated from the rest by a screen. Into this retreat Glover disappeared, and immediately returned with a bottle, from which he poured an acid that effaced the spots. "It will wash away anything," said he, laughing.
Lorrimer was superabundantly profuse in thanks, and announced that his mind was now at ease. By some mysterious process, not clearly explicable to himself, he contrived to lay aside a portion of his dress, and to dispose himself within the folds of balmy bedclothes that awaited him. In forty seconds he was dreaming.
Nearly an hour had elapsed when he half woke from an uneasy slumber, and strove to collect his drowsy faculties. His sleep had been disturbed by frightful visions. He had passed through a scene of violence on the Common; he had been engaged in a life-and-death struggle with his new acquaintance; he had been seized by unseen hands, and thrown into a vast vault. His brain throbbed and his heart ached, as he endeavored to disentangle the bewildering fancies of his sleep from wakeful reality.
He lay with his face to the wall, and the grotesque decorations of the paper assumed ghostly forms, and moved menacingly before his eyes, thrilling him through and through.
In a few moments the murmur of voices close at hand aroused him more effectually. He then recollected the incidents of the night, and reproached himself for his wild excesses, and his reckless and imprudent confidence in a stranger. He dreaded to think what the consequences might be, and again became confused with the memories of his distressing dreams.
Three facts, however, were fastened upon his mind. He could not forget Glover's singular glance at his roll of bank-notes,--the hesitation to converse about the garrote,--nor the bottle of acid which would "wash away anything." Would it wash away stains of blood?
The sounds of subdued conversation again arrested his attention. He listened earnestly, but without changing his position.
"Speak softly," said a voice which he recognized as Glover's,--"speak softly; you will wake my guest."
Then the words failed to reach him for a few moments. He strained his ears, and hardly breathed, for fear of interrupting a syllable. Presently he was able to distinguish a few sentences.
"Do you call this a profitable job?" said a strange voice.
"Oh, very fair,--worth about fifty dollars, I should guess. I wouldn't undertake such a piece of work at a smaller chance," said Glover.
"Shall you cut the face?" said the other, after a minute's pause.
"Of course," was the answer; "it's the only way to do it handsomely."
"Hum!--what do you use? steel?"
"Steel, by all means."
"I like it better; and I have a nice bit that has done service in this way before."
From Lorrimer's brow exuded a deadly sudor. His heart ceased to palpitate. His muscles became rigid; his eyes fixed. His terror was almost too great for him to bear. With difficulty he controlled himself, and listened again.
"Can it be done here?" asked the strange voice;--"will not the features be recognized?"
"There is nothing deeply marked, except the eyes," said Glover, "and I can easily remove them, you know."
"You can try the acid."
"The other way is best."
"I suppose it must be done quickly."
"So quickly that there will be no chance for any proof."
Lorrimer gasped feebly, and clutched the bedclothes with a nervous, convulsive movement. He had no power to reflect upon his situation; but he felt that he was lost. Alone and unaided, he could not hope to combat the evil designs of two men, a single one of whom he knew was vastly his superior in strength. His blood seemed to cease flowing in his veins. He thought for an instant of springing from the bed, and imploring mercy; but the nature of their conversation, with its minutiae of cruelty, forbade all hope in that direction. His brain whirled, and he thought that reason was about to forsake him. But a movement in the room restored him to a sense of his peril.
He saw the shadows changing their places, and knew that the light was moving. He heard faint footsteps. Hope deserted him, and he closed his eyes, quite despairing. When he opened them a minute later, he was in darkness.
Then hope returned. There might yet be a means of escape. They had left him,--for how long he could not conjecture; but now, at least, he was alone. What a flood of joy came over him then!
Swiftly and softly he threw off the bedclothes, and by the uncertain light of the fire, which was still glimmering, found his way noiselessly to the floor.
His trembling limbs at first refused to sustain him, but the thought of his impending fate, should he remain, invested him with an unexpected courage. Passing around the foot of the bed, he approached the door of the chamber.
As he moved, his shadow, dimly cast by the flickering embers, fell across the mouth of the inclosure whence Glover had brought the acid. He shuddered to think what might be hidden by that screen. He burned with curiosity, even in that moment of danger. For a moment he even rashly thought of seeking to penetrate the mystery.
Treading lightly, and partially supporting himself by the wall, lest his feet should press too heavily upon some loose board and cause it to rattle beneath him, he reached the door. It was not wholly closed, and with utmost gentleness he essayed to pull it open. With all his care he could not prevent it from creaking sharply. His nerves were again shaken, and a new tremor assailed him. Tears filled his eyes. His heart was like ice, only heavier, within him.
He stood for a minute motionless and half-unconscious. Then recovering himself by a powerful effort, he advanced once more. Without venturing to open the door wider, he worked through the narrow aperture, inch by inch, stopping every few seconds for fear that the rustle of his shirt against the jamb might be overheard. At length, by almost imperceptible movements, he succeeded in gaining the head of the staircase.
Then he believed that his deliverance was near at hand. He had thus far eluded detection, and it only remained for him to descend, and depart by the outer door.
Bending forward at every step to catch the slightest echo of alarm, he felt his way down through the darkness. The difficulty at this point was great. As one recovered from a long illness finds his knees yield under him at the first attempt to descend a staircase, just so it was with Lorrimer. At one time a faintness came over him, and he was obliged to sit down and rest. A movement above aroused him, and, starting up, he hurriedly groped his way to the street-door.
The darkness was absolute. He could discern nothing, but, after a short search, he caught hold of the handle and turned it slowly. The door remained immovable. By another exploration he discovered a large key suspended from a nail near the centre of the door. This he inserted in the lock, and turned with all the caution he could command. It was not enough, for it snapped loudly.
A voice from the head of the stairs cried out, "Who is there?"
Lorrimer was appalled. He shook the door, but it remained fast. Like lightning he passed his hand up and down the crevice in search of a hidden bolt. He found nothing, and felt that he was in the hands of the murderers;--for he could entertain no doubt of their design. In the agony of desperation he flung out his arms, and a door beside him flew open. He entered, and rushed to a window, which was easily lifted, and out of which he threw himself at the moment that a light streamed into the apartment behind him.
When Mr. Lorrimer had finished relating to Captain Morrill, with all the energy of truth, the more important of the above circumstances, that officer arose, and, calling to his assistance a couple of his force, started out in great haste in the direction of Chambers Street. Lorrimer, who had been provided with shoes, hat, and coat, went with them. After a little search, a row of houses with windows close upon the street was found. More diligent examination showed that the door of one of these was freshly painted. A vigorous assault upon the panels brought down the household. Mr. Glover, and another person whose voice was identified by Lorrimer, were marched off with few words to the station. Mr. Lorrimer's clothes were rescued, and an officer was left to look after the premises.
Mr. Glover, on arriving at the station, expressed great indignation, and employed uncivil terms in speaking of his late guest. Under the subduing influences of Captain Morrill's treatment, he soon became tranquil, and subsequently manifested an excess of hilarity, which the guardians of the night strove in vain to check. But he answered unreservedly all the questions which Captain Morrill put to him. His statement ran somewhat thus:--
"I met this young man, for the first time, a few hours ago, at an oyster-saloon on Washington Street. We drank a good deal of ale, and he lost his balance. I kept mine. I saw he had a pretty large amount of money, and doubted his ability to keep as good a watch over it as he ought to. So I took him home with me. On the way he would talk uneasily about garrote robberies, but I refused to encourage him.
"You want to know about that alarming conversation? Well,"--(here Mr. Glover was so overcome with merriment, that, after a proper time, the interposition of official authority became necessary,)--"well, I am an engraver. My business is mainly to cut heads. Sometimes I use steel, sometimes copper. My brother, who is also an engraver, and I were discussing a new commission. I told him I should make use of a good bit of steel, which had already been engraved upon, but not so deeply but that the lines could be easily removed, excepting the eyes, which would have to be scraped away. My allusion to proof is easily explained: it is common for engravers to have a proof-impression taken of their work after it is finished, by which they are enabled to detect any imperfections, and remedy them.
"I am very sorry that my young friend should have considered me so much of a blood-thirsty ruffian. But the ale of Boston is no doubt strange to him, and his confusion at finding himself in a large city is quite natural. Besides, his suspicions were in some degree reciprocated. When I saw him flying out of the window, I was convinced that he must be an ingenious burglar, and instantly ran back to examine my tools. I am glad to find that I was wrong. If he will return now with me, he shall be welcome to his share of the bed."
Mr. Lorrimer politely, but positively, declined.
Captain Morrill urbanely apologized to Mr. Glover, and engaged himself to make it right in the morning; whereupon Mr. Glover withdrew in cachinnatory convulsions. Mr. Lorrimer was instructed to resume his proper garments, and was then conveyed safely to his hotel, where he remained in deep abstraction until Monday, when, after transacting his business, he took the afternoon return-train for New York.
The case was not entered upon the records of the Third District Police.
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