"You seem to be in an awful hurry to see me," said Luke, grumbling. "I was just getting to sleep."
"I've lost my pocketbook. Have you seen it?"
"Have I seen it? That's a strange question. How should I have seen it?"
"I lost it on the way from the store to the house."
"Do you mean to charge me with taking it?"
"I haven't said anything of the sort," said Harry; "but you were with me, and I thought you might have seen it drop out of my pocket."
"Did you drop it out of your pocket?"
"I can't think of any other way I could lose it."
"Of course I haven't seen it. Was that all you woke me up about?"
"Is that all? You talk as if it was a little thing losing thirty-three dollars."
"Thirty-three dollars!" repeated Luke, pretending to be surprised. "You don't mean to say you've lost all that?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well," said Luke, yawning, "I wish I could help you; but I can't. Good night."
"Good night," said Harry, turning away disappointed.
"What success, Harry?" inquired Mr. Leavitt, who had deferred going to bed in order to hear his report.
"None at all," answered Harry.
"Is there anything by which you can identify any of the bills?"
"Yes," answered Harry, with sudden recollection, "I dropped a penful of ink on one of the bills--a two-dollar note--just in the center. I had been writing a letter, and the bill lay on the table near by."
"Good!" said Mr. Leavitt. "Now, supposing Luke has taken this money, how is he likely to spend it?"
"At the tailor's, most likely. He is always talking about new clothes; but lately he hasn't had any because Merrill shut down on him on account of an unpaid bill."
"Then you had better see Merrill and ask him to take particular notice of any bills that Luke pays him."
"Innocence must often be suspected, or guilt would never be detected. It is the only way to get on the track of the missing bills."
Harry saw that this was reasonable and decided to call on Merrill the next day.
"Do you think Luke took it?" asked the tailor.
"I don't know. I don't like to suspect him."
"I haven't much opinion of Luke. He owes me a considerable bill."
"He prefers your clothes to Hayden's, and if he has the money, he will probably come here and spend some of it."
"Suppose he does, what do you want me to do?"
"To examine the bills he pays you, and if you find an ink spot on the center of one let me know."
"I understand. I think I can manage it."
"My money was mostly in ones and twos."
"That may help you. I will bear it in mind."
Two days afterwards, Luke Harrison met Harry.
"Have you found your money, Walton?" he asked.
"No, and I am afraid I never shall," said our hero.
"What do you think has become of it?"
"That's just what I would like to find out," said Harry.
"The only thing you can do is to grin and bear it."
"And be more careful next time."
"He's given it up," said Luke to himself. "I think I can venture to use some of it now. I'll go round to Merrill's and see what he's got in the way of pants."
Accordingly he strolled into Merrill's that evening.
"Got any new cloths in, Merrill?" asked Luke.
"I've got some new cloths for pants."
"That's just what I want."
"You're owing me a bill."
"How much is it?"
"Some over thirty dollars."
"I can't pay it all, but I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll pay you fifteen dollars on account, and you can make me a new pair of pants. Will that answer?"
"All right. Of course I'd rather you'd pay the whole bill. Still I want to be accommodating."
"Let me look at your cloths."
The tailor displayed a variety of cloths, one of which suited Luke's fancy.
"Here's fifteen dollars," he said. "Just credit me with that on the bill, will you?"
"All right," said Merrill.
He proceeded to count the money, which consisted of consisted of ones and twos, and instantly carne to the conclusion that it was from Harry's missing pocketbook, particularly as he came upon the identical note with the blot in the center.
Unaware of the manner in which he had betrayed himself, Luke felt quite complacent over his reestablished credit, and that without any expense to himself.
"Have you got any new cloth for coats?" he asked.
"I shall have some new cloths in next week."
"All right. When will you have the pants done?"
"You may call round in two or three days."
"Just make'em in style, Merrill, and I'll send all my friends here."
"Very well. I hope you'll soon be able to pay me the balance of my bill."
"Oh, yes, to be sure. You won't have to wait long."
He swaggered out of the shop, lighting a cigar.
"My young friend," soliloquized the tailor, watching his exit, "you have walked into my trap neatly. Colman,"--turning to a young man present at the time--"did you see Luke Harrison pay me this money?"
"Yes; to be sure."
"Do you see this blot on one of the bills--a two?"
"Yes; What of it?"
"Nothing. I only called your attention to it."
"I don't see what there is strange about that. Anybody might get ink on a bill, mightn't he?"
Colman was puzzled. He could not understand why he should have been called upon to notice such a trifle; but the tailor had his reasons. He wanted to be able to prove by Colman's testimony that the blotted bill was actually put into his hands by Luke Harrison.