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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Telegraph Boy - Chapter 22. Following Up A Clue
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The Telegraph Boy - Chapter 22. Following Up A Clue Post by :gwynaedd Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1993

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The Telegraph Boy - Chapter 22. Following Up A Clue


This is not a detective story, and I shall not, therefore, detail the steps by which our young hero succeeded in tracing out the agency of Haynes in defrauding the firm by which he was employed. It required not one week, but three, to follow out his clues, and qualify himself to make a clear and intelligible report to Mr. Hartley. He had expressly requested the merchant not to require any partial report, as it might interfere with his working unobserved. Towards the end of the third week he asked an interview with Mr. Hartley.

"Well, Frank," said the merchant, familiarly, "who is the rogue?"

"Mr. Haynes," answered our hero.

"You speak confidently," said his employer; "but surmise will not do. I want proof, or I cannot act."

"I will tell you what I have discovered," said Frank; "and I leave you to judge for yourself."

"Have you a customer in Hartford named Davis?" he asked.

"Yes; and a very good customer. He is frequent in his orders, and makes prompt payments. I wish I had more like him."

"If you had more like him you would soon be bankrupt," said Frank, quietly.

"What do you mean?" asked Mr. Hartley, in genuine surprise. "How can a customer who buys largely, and pays promptly, be undesirable?"

"Did you know that Mr. Davis is a brother-in-law of Mr. Haynes?"

"No; but even if he is I have to thank Mr. Haynes for securing me so excellent a customer."

Hartley spoke confidently, evidently believing that Frank was on the wrong tack.

"I have noticed," said Frank, "that when goods are packed to go to Mr. Davis, Mr. Haynes personally superintends the packing, and employs one particular man to pack."

"What then?"

"I think he has something to conceal."

"I don't understand what he can have to conceal. If Davis is his brother-in-law, it is natural that he should feel a special interest in filling his orders."

"I shouldn't wonder if Mr. Haynes were a partner as well as a brother-in-law of Mr. Davis."

Mr. Hartley looked surprised.

"That may be true; though I don't know why you should conjecture it. Admitting that you are right, I don't know that I have any right to object. I should like it better, however, if I were frankly told by Mr. Haynes of this circumstance."

"I will tell you what I think I have discovered," continued Frank. "The cases that are shipped to Mr. Davis not only contain the goods he has ordered, but valuable silks that he has not ordered, and does not propose to pay for."

"I see, I see," exclaimed Mr. Hartley, a light dawning upon him for the first time. "I was stupid not to comprehend your meaning earlier. What warrant have you for suspecting this?"

"First, your steady losses of goods; next, the ease with which Mr. Haynes, in his position of trust, could carry out this plan. Why should he superintend the packing of Mr. Davis's goods, alone of all your customers?"

"There is weight in what you say, Frank. You are certainly an extraordinary boy. You have shown so much shrewdness that I now ask your advice. What steps shall I take to ascertain whether Mr. Haynes is really guilty of what we suspect him?"

"There is an order now being filled for Mr. Davis," answered Frank. "When the order is filled, can't you open the case, and find out whether the contents correspond exactly to the bill?"

"The very thing. To facilitate matters I will send Mr. Haynes to Brooklyn on a confidential errand. Fortunately there is a matter that will give me a good excuse for doing so. Go back to your post, and when Mr. Haynes appears to be at liberty send him to me."

Half an hour later Mr. Haynes entered the counting room of his employer.

"You sent for me, sir?" he said, a little uneasily; for, when conscience accuses, the mind is always apprehensive.

"Yes, Mr. Haynes," said the merchant, in his usual tone. "Have you any objection to go to Brooklyn for me, on a confidential errand?"

"None in the world, sir," said Haynes, relieved. "I shall be glad to take the trip this fine morning. It is almost too pleasant to remain in-doors."

"Thank you; I will give you your instructions, and shall be glad to have you go at once."

It is not necessary to our story that we should know the nature of the errand on which Haynes was sent. It served the purpose of getting him out of the way.

When the suspected clerk was fairly on his way Mr. Hartley went to the packing-room, and looked about him till he discovered the case addressed to

H. L. DAVIS & CO.,

"Open this case," said he to one of the workmen. "There was a mistake recently in sending some goods to Davis, and I wish to compare these with the bill."

"I think they are all right, sir," said the man addressed. "Mr. Haynes saw them packed."

"Mr. Haynes will not be responsible for any mistake," said Mr. Hartley. "I would rather see for myself."

The case was opened, and the merchant discovered about two hundred dollars' worth of silk, which was not included in the bill.

"Go and call Mr. Hunting," said Mr. Hartley, quietly.

Mr. Hunting filled one of the most important positions in the establishment. To him his employer explained the nature of his discovery.

"Mr. Hunting," he said, "I wish you to see and attest the fraud that has been attempted upon me. This case was packed under the special charge of Mr. Haynes."

"Is it possible that Mr. Haynes knew of this?" exclaimed his fellow-clerk.

"Davis is his brother-in-law," said Mr. Hartley, significantly.

"Has this been going on long, do you think, sir?"

"For several years, I suspect. Mr. Haynes has, no doubt, found it very profitable."

"Shall I close up the case again, sir?" asked the workman.

"Yes, but it is not to go. You may await my further orders."

The silk was taken out, and replaced in the silk department.

"So much has been saved, at least," said the merchant.

"When Mr. Haynes comes back," he said to the usher, "send him to me."

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