HOW A GOOD MAN WENT WRONG
THE TREASURER OF WAYUP left town somewhat unexpectedly the other day, and in order to explain his absence to his family, sent a note home by a District Messenger boy.
The Treasurer had been gone about two weeks, when it began to be rumored about the City Hall that nobody knew where he was. An enterprising newspaper got wind of the affair, and a morning edition of the Daily Screecher came out with a four-column article, inquiring in guarded but significant language: "Where is Treasurer Barnstable?"
By noon the report was pretty general that the City Treasurer had absconded. By two o'clock a meeting of the city finance committee had been held, and an examination of the books had disclosed the fact that there was $300,000 of the city's money in the Treasurer's possession.
At three o'clock an expert was called in to open the Treasurer's vault, of which the absconded official alone knew the combination. By four o'clock the rumored defalcation had been telegraphed to the four quarters of the globe.
In the gray dawn of the following morning, after a night of ceaseless toil, the expert succeeded in opening the vault. It was empty!
This discovery intensified the prevailing excitement. The defaulting Treasurer's bondsmen attached all his property. A warrant was issued charging him with embezzlement, and a description of his person was telegraphed all over the world. A crop of lawsuits sprung up; the newspapers flourished like a green bay-tree.
When, on the morning of the eighteenth day of his absence, Treasurer Barnstable walked into his office, set his grip-sack on the floor, and hung his hat on its accustomed nail, you would have thought from their looks that the clerks in the office had seen a ghost. The news of his return spread like wildfire. In thirty seconds the Mayor was in the office.
"Barnstable, old man!" he exclaimed; "where have you been?"
"Why, I 've been down in New Jersey, fishing. What 's been going on? I hope I have n't been missed?"
The Mayor groaned.
"Where is the $300,000?" he inquired, as soon as he could command his voice.
"The $300,000? Why, it 's in the vault; where else should it be?"
"Don't ask me now, Barnstable, but show me the money; I 'll tell you why afterward."
The Treasurer was mystified; but he knew his friend the Mayor too well to think he would ask any thing of the kind except for some good reason. He unlocked the vault, entered it; and, taking down an old cigar-box from an upper shelf, unwrapped a bundle covered with brown paper, and revealed to the glad eyes of the Mayor $300,000 worth of cash and good securities.
An explanation followed; and, as soon as the astounded Treasurer could pull himself together, he took a carriage and was driven rapidly to his home.
As he mounted the steps of his house, he met the messenger boy coming down; he had just delivered the message.