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HOME > Short Stories > The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp > CHAPTER X A DETECTIVE SHOWS UP.
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 As the man finished his story he glanced first at Bob and then at Jack1 as though anxious to discover whether or not they believed him. For a moment neither spoke2, then Bob asked:  
“Who are those two fellows with you?”
“Just a couple of breeds I picked up.”
“But I should think you’d be afraid to trust them if you just picked them up.”
“Oh, they don’t know what I’m after,” he replied a trifle uneasily.
“I see. But, may I ask, why did you attack us?”
“That’s what I want to explain. You see, I got the idea that you too were after that gold and it belongs to me, if I can find it.”
“I see,” Bob said dryly.
“How about last night?” Jack asked.
“You mean—”
“I mean why were you prowling around here last night?” Jack interrupted with the suspicion of a threat in his voice.
The man squirmed a bit in his chair as he answered.
“That was a mistake. We were just going through here on our way to a camp up at the head of the lake to get something I had left there one day when I was up there and Jim, that’s one of the breeds, jumped you before I had time to interfere3 and, to tell the truth, I was afraid to let you go after that so I decided4 to postpone5 the trip and take you back to the shack6.”
“I see.”
“As I said, I realize that it was wrong and I hope you will overlook it and be friends.”
“Have you heard anything about this camp being haunted?” Bob asked suddenly.
“Yes, I’ve heard it was.”
“But, of course you know nothing about it. I mean you don’t know who it is that’s responsible for it.”
“Certainly not. Why should I?”
“I’m sure I don’t know.”
“But you seem to suspect—”
“I was merely going to say that you implied that you thought I had something to do with it.”
“Not necessarily,” Bob said with a smile.
“Well, you’re mistaken if you think so,” he insisted.
“It really doesn’t matter one way or the other,” Bob said.
“It does to me,” he said as he got up from his chair and picked up his cap. “I hope you believe what I have told you but, of course, I can’t help it if you don’t.”
They waited a moment or two after he had closed the door behind him, when Jack asked:
“Not so you’d notice it.”
“Notice what?”
“Why, that’s it.”
“Say, just what are you trying to get through you?”
“You said it was well and I don’t agree with you, that’s all.”
Jack laughed.
“You know I was asking a question, not making a statement,” he declared.
“Oh, I see,” Bob drawled in an exasperating7 tone he sometimes assumed.
“What do you think?”
“I asked you first.”
“All right. I think his story’s a lot of bunk8.”
“Of course. Anyone could see that, but what did he come here for?”
“I don’t think that’s very hard. He was afraid we’d report the case to someone and spoil his game whatever it is.”
Jack remained silent for a moment in deep thought. Finally he said:
“It must be great to have brains. It’s as clear as crystal to me now but I’d never have thought of that.”
“Well, of course, it’s only a guess, but it’s the only explanation which seems to fit at all.”
“And I bet it’s the answer. But it doesn’t tell us what they’re doing up there.”
“No, I’m as much in the dark about that as ever,” Bob agreed.
“And it doesn’t help any on the question of the ghost.”
“Not a bit. We’re as far away as ever on that point so far as I can see,” Bob agreed.
“Do you think he has anything to do with it?” Jack asked a few minutes later.
“Frankly I haven’t an idea. There was nothing in his manner, when I mentioned the subject to him, that would indicate it, but it’s evident that he’s up to something and it seems to me that if it isn’t that it’s a mighty9 peculiar10 coincidence.”
An hour later they were on the wharf11 ready to start out after trout12 when a motor boat rounded the point a short distance below.
“Wonder who that is,” Jack said.
“That man in the bow’s Mr. Kane,” Bob declared.
Mr. John Kane, the sheriff of Somerset County, lived in Skowhegan and was well known to the boys. With him, in the boat, were four men, but the boys failed to recognize any of them as the boat drew up at the wharf.
“Hello Bob. Hello Jack,” the sheriff cried as he made the painter fast to a post at the end of the wharf. “How’s things?”
“Fine,” both boys spoke together as they shook hands.
The sheriff then introduced them to the men with him, informing them that they were deputies, with the exception of one who, he explained, was a detective from New York.
After they had acknowledged the introduction all around, the sheriff asked:
“Have you seen a man up here who looks anything like this?”
He took a photograph from his pocket and handed it to Bob. Jack looked over his brother’s shoulder and for a moment they stared hard at the picture.
“Put a mustache on him and it could pass for him. Don’t you think so, Jack?” Bob asked.
“I believe it’s he,” Jack answered.
“Then you think you’ve seen him?” the sheriff asked eagerly.
“I’m almost sure of it,” Bob replied. “He was here a little over an hour ago, that is, if he’s the man you mean.”
“Suppose you describe him,” the detective suggested, adding: “That picture was taken several years ago.”
Bob proceeded to describe the man as well as he was able and when he finished the detective declared that he was sure he was the man.
“What was he doing here?” he asked.
“It’s a pretty long story,” Bob replied, “but if you’ve got the time I’ll tell you all we know about it.”
“Go ahead.”
So Bob told them all about their adventures with the man and his companions.
“Congratulations,” the detective smiled when the story was ended. “You were mighty lucky to get the better of Jim the Penman.”
“Who did you say?” Bob gasped13.
“Jim the Penman. I guess you’ve heard of him, eh?”
“Who hasn’t?” Bob returned.
“Who indeed?” the detective repeated. “He’s the most dangerous man as well as the most expert counterfeiter14 in New York City or in the country for that matter.”
“But what’s he doing up here?” Jack asked.
“That’s hard to say,” the detective replied. “But I can guess. He has recently been putting out a lot of bogus ten-dollar bills in the city, and I’ve been after him for a long time. About two weeks ago I almost had him when he suddenly disappeared. I hunted for him night and day and then, when I was about ready to give up, I got word that he had been seen in Bangor. So I went there and soon got on his trail which led up here. By the way did he tell you his name?”
“He said it was George Kane and that he was a mining engineer,” Bob replied.
“Might be a relative of yours,” the detective glanced at the sheriff with a grin.
“I’m not proud of it anyway,” the latter returned,
“You needn’t worry,” the detective assured him. “He has names almost without number, but I think his real name is Patrick Ewing.”
“But how about the two men with him? Do you have an idea who they are?” the sheriff asked.
“No. I believe you said they were half-breeds,” turning to Bob.
“That’s right.”
“Probably he picked them up around here to help him.”
“Then you think he’s making counterfeit15 money up here?” Bob asked.
“Probably. Did you see anything in the shack or cave that looked suspicious?”
“Not a thing.”
“Could there have been another chamber16 in that cave?”
“I don’t think so, that is except the one underneath17. We made a pretty careful search, but I suppose it’s possible that we missed it,” Bob said.
“Do you know where this shack or cave is, Mr. Kane?” the detective asked.
“Sure I do. I’ve been there a half dozen times more or less.”
“Then I reckon we might as well be on our way.”
“How about letting us go along?” Jack asked.
“Nothin’ doing,” the detective shook his head decidedly. “It’s too risky18. You see, son, that fellow’s a bad one and if he sees you he’ll think you put us on to him and he’ll get you if he can. No, I’ve got plenty of help and it wouldn’t be right to let you take the risk.”
“He’s right, Bob,” the sheriff added. “We don’t need you and there’s no sense in running into danger just for the fun of the thing. If you should go and anything should happen to either of you I’d never be able to face your father or mother again.”
Seeing that the men were determined19 the boys said no more on the subject but wished them good luck as they pushed off.
“Just the same I’d liked to have gone along,” Jack complained as they stood on the end of the wharf and watched the boat disappear around the point.
“Same here, but I guess they were right about it,” Bob said more cheerfully. “At any rate those fellows aren’t the ghost we’re after and it’s up to us to stay on the job here.”
“How come?”
“Didn’t you hear him say that he lost him in New York only two weeks ago?”
“I remember it now that you mention it.”
“Well then, just put two and two together and see if you don’t get four. Our ghost has been on the job six weeks or more.”
“I get you. As I’ve said before, it’s a great thing to have brains.”
“Well, let’s make it snappy now or it’ll be time for supper before we get to fishing.”
But before they had time to get into the canoe Helen came running on to the wharf.
“Who were those men?” she demanded.
“One was Mr. Kane, the sheriff, and another was a real live detective and the others were deputies,” Jack told her.
“Mercy, how exciting. What did they want?”
“They were after that fellow who kidnapped Jack,” Bob said.
“You see,” Jack broke in, “he’s a noted20 counterfeiter, known by the name of Jim the Penman.”
“If it isn’t just like a detective story. Do you suppose they’ll get him?”
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