You haven't been around to see me, by the way. You and Hall must think a confidence-man isn't a proper acquaintance." "We're coming around soon, Miller. The fact is, I well, I made such a mutt of myself that last time " "Oh, nonsense! That's all right, Edwards. Don't let that worry you. Besides, you took my advice, I guess, and that squares it. Mind if I give you some more, by the way?"
Miller's lean, good-looking face had lighted up with enthusiasm during his recital, and, when he had ended, as though impatient to begin the campaign which was to end in the rout of the enemy, he got up and took a turn the length of the room. He didn't look the least bit in the world like a confidence-man to-night and the two boys marvelled at their earlier suspicions.
It was, he reflected agitatedly, absolutely marvellous the way these fellows learned things! In a moment the fellow would tell him his name! The fellow didn't, though. He only said: "Tannersville is a fine town. Ever been there?" Tom shook his head energetically. "Never!" he fibbed. "Oh!" The confidence-man for Tom had fully decided that such he was seemed disappointed. But he wasn't discouraged.
His career had equipped him with histrionic powers that were exceptional. As a bank-sneak and confidence-man he had long since learned perfect control of his features, perfect composure even under the most discomforting circumstances. "Hello, Connie!" said the detective facing him. He spoke quietly, and his attitude seemed one of unconcern.
He was too anxious to begin the search for the "confidence-man" to do justice to the rest of his supper, and when, at last, they were once more outside the building he gazed up and down the Row eagerly and was disappointed to find that neither his quarry nor anyone else was visible in the half-darkness.
"I don't blame you," said the latter. "I was an awful knot-head, but you taught me a lesson." "Pshaw!" The confidence-man shrugged his shoulders carelessly. "The best of 'em fall for the shells. I was up against it and had to get some rough money, but it's a hard way to make a living. These pilgrims squawk so loud it isn't safe you'd think their coin was soldered onto 'em. That's why I'm here.
The old woman's unreasonable complaint that she was an encumbrance to her had eaten deeply into the child's mind. During the last year she had been a waitress for some time at a sailors' tavern down in Nyhavn with an innkeeper Elleby, the confidence-man who had fleeced Pelle on his first arrival in the city.
As he walked toward his temporary home he beheld quite a gathering of citizens, and paused long enough to note that they were being harangued by the confidence-man who had first initiated him into the subtleties of the three-shell game. Mr. Broad had climbed upon a raised tent platform and was presenting an earnest argument against capital punishment.
It was getting perilously near a quarter to four now and still Steve had not returned. Tom watched the long hand crawl toward the figure IX, saw it reach it and pass. He would, he decided then, give Steve another five minutes. His gaze fell on "Four-Fingered Phillips" and he viewed that gentleman perplexedly. He didn't look in the least like a confidence-man.
It was, he thought, odd that a confidence-man should carry a suit-case, but that might be only an attempt to avert suspicion. The bag held the inscription "A. L. M., Orange, N. J." Probably the bag had been stolen. Tom fixed that inscription firmly in his mind. "I'll have to be going," said "A. L. M." "Sorry I can't be of assistance to you, kid.