As we moved out of the station I saw him going toward the iron gate with a satchel in his hand."
"Good; we'll catch him. Let's lay a plan."
"Send description to the Baltimore police?"
"Why, what are you talking about? No. Do you want them to get the reward?"
"What shall we do, then?"
The Colonel reflected.
"I'll tell you. Put a personal in the Baltimore Sun. Word it like this:
"A. DROP ME A LINE, PETE."
"Hold on. Which arm has he lost?"
"Good. Now then--
"A. DROP ME A LINE, PETE, EVEN IF YOU HAVE to write with your left hand. Address X. Y. Z., General Postoffice, Washington. From YOU KNOW WHO."
"There--that'll fetch him."
"But he won't know who--will he?"
"No, but he'll want to know, won't he?"
"Why, certainly--I didn't think of that. What made you think of it?"
"Knowledge of human curiosity. Strong trait, very strong trait."
"Now I'll go to my room and write it out and enclose a dollar and tell them to print it to the worth of that."
The day wore itself out. After dinner the two friends put in a long and harassing evening trying to decide what to do with the five thousand dollars reward which they were going to get when they should find One- Armed Pete, and catch him, and prove him to be the right person, and extradite him, and ship him to Tahlequah in the Indian Territory. But there were so many dazzling openings for ready cash that they found it impossible to make up their minds and keep them made up. Finally, Mrs. Sellers grew very weary of it all, and said:
"What is the sense in cooking a rabbit before it's caught?"
Then the matter was dropped, for the time being, and all went to bed. Next morning, being persuaded by Hawkins, the colonel made drawings and specifications and went down and applied for a patent for his toy puzzle, and Hawkins took the toy itself and started out to see what chance there might be to do something with it commercially. He did not have to go far. In a small old wooden shanty which had once been occupied as a dwelling by some humble negro family he found a keen-eyed Yankee engaged in repairing cheap chairs and other second-hand furniture. This man examined the toy indifferently; attempted to do the puzzle; found it not so easy as he had expected; grew more interested, and finally emphatically so; achieved a success at last, and asked:
"Is it patented?"
"Patent applied for."
"That will answer. What do you want for it?"
"What will it retail for?"
"Well, twenty-five cents, I should think."
"What will you give for the exclusive right?"
"I couldn't give twenty dollars, if I had to pay cash down; but I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll make it and market it, and pay you five cents royalty on each one."
Washington sighed. Another dream disappeared; no money in the thing. So he said:
"All right, take it at that. Draw me a paper." He went his way with the paper, and dropped the matter out of his mind dropped it out to make room for further attempts to think out the most promising way to invest his half of the reward, in case a partnership investment satisfactory to both beneficiaries could not be hit upon.
He had not been very long at home when Sellers arrived sodden with grief and booming with glad excitement--working both these emotions successfully, sometimes separately, sometimes together. He fell on Hawkins's neck sobbing, and said:
"Oh, mourn with me my friend, mourn for my desolate house: death has smitten my last kinsman and I am Earl of Rossmore--congratulate me!"
He turned to his wife, who had entered while this was going on, put his arms about her and said--"You will bear up, for my sake, my lady--it had to happen, it was decreed."
She bore up very well, and said:
"It's no great loss. Simon Lathers was a poor well-meaning useless thing and no account, and his brother never was worth shucks."
The rightful earl continued:
"I am too much prostrated by these conflicting griefs and joys to be able to concentrate my mind upon affairs; I will ask our good friend here to break the news by wire or post to the Lady Gwendolen and instruct her to--"
"What Lady Gwendolen?"
"Our poor daughter, who, alas!--"
"Sally Sellers? Mulberry Sellers, are you losing your mind?"
"There-please do not forget who you are, and who I am; remember your own dignity, be considerate also of mine.