Leaving Dean in Denver, let us go back to Waterford, and see how
matters stood in that quiet little village.
With Adin Dunham they did not go well. He had an attack of rheumatism
during the winter which hindered him from working for several weeks,
and so abridged his earnings. Both he and his wife missed Dean, whose
lively and cheerful temperament enlivened the house. They were troubled
too because months had passed since they had heard from him.
“I don’t know what has happened to Dean,” said Adin one Saturday
evening, when he sat beside the kitchen fire with his wife. “Seems to
me he’d write if he was in good health. I am afeared something has gone
wrong with the boy.”
“I hope not, father,” said Sarah Dunham, pausing in her knitting.
“So do I, Sarah, but you must agree that it’s strange he don’t write.”
“That’s true, Adin. He was always a thoughtful, considerate boy. The
house seems lonesome without him.”
“So it does, Sarah. But if I only knew he was doin’ well I wouldn’t
mind that. He may have got sick and—-”
“Don’t say such things, father,” said Mrs. Dunham in a tremulous voice.
“I can’t bear to think anything’s happened to the boy.”
“But we must be prepared for the worst, if so be the worst has come.”
“I am sure he is alive and well,” said Sarah Dunham, who was of a more
hopeful temperament than her husband.
“Then why don’t he write?”
“To be sure, Adin. That’s something I can’t explain. But Dean’s
healthy, and he’s a good boy, who wouldn’t be likely to get into
mischief. Instead of being prepared for the worst, suppose we hope for
“Maybe you’re right, Sarah. I try to be cheerful, but since I was
robbed of that thousand dollars luck seems to have been against me.
And the worst of it is Sarah, I’m not getting younger. I shall be
sixty-five next month.”
“I’m not much behind you, Adin, as far as years go.”
“I did hope that Dean would be in a position to help me when I got
along in years. I mistrust I made a mistake when I let him go out West.
If he’d stayed here, he might have been a good deal of help to us both.”
“Still there didn’t seem to be much of a prospect for the boy.”
“He could have managed the farm when he got a little older.”
“That is true, but it has never given you a living, Adin. You’ve had to
depend upon your trade.”
“He could have learned the same trade. A trade’s a good thing for a boy
to have to fall back upon.”
“He may come back, and realize all your expectations, Adin. We mustn’t
despond till we have reason to.”
“There’s another thing that’s worryin’ me, Sarah—it’s the mortgage.
Next week six months’ interest falls due—twenty-four dollars—and I
haven’t the money to meet it.”
“Squire Bates won’t push you, surely.”
“I don’t know. Once or twice lately when I met the squire he dropped a
hint that he was short of money. I didn’t say much, but it struck me
he had an object in sayin’ what he did.”
“It’s the first time you haven’t been ready with the interest, isn’t
“Yes, the very first time.”
“Then perhaps he will overlook it this time. You’d better manage to see
him about it.”
“I’ll do it the first time I see him.”
That time came sooner than either of them thought.
Adin Dunham had scarcely completed his sentence when a knock was heard
at the door (Adin had never so far fallen in with city customs as to
introduce a door bell.)
Mrs. Dunham rose and opened the door.
“Good-evening, Mrs. Dunham,” said the visitor, suavely.
“Good-evening, Squire Bates,” said Sarah in surprise. “Won’t you walk
“Yes, thank you. Is your husband at home?”
“Oh, yes, he never goes out in the evening. Adin,” she said, preceding
the visitor, “here is Squire Bates, who has called to see you.”
“I am glad to see you, squire,” said the carpenter.
“Take a chair, and excuse my gettin’ up. My old enemy, the rheumatism,
has got hold of me, and I’m too stiff to move easy.”
“Oh, you are quite excusable, Mr. Dunham. I am sorry to hear that you
are so afflicted.”
“It isn’t altogether comfortable. Besides, it puts me behindhand. I’ve
lost at least four weeks this winter from these rheumatic pains.”
“Yes, and as you can imagine, that is a serious thing to a poor man.”
“I suppose so,” assented the squire, coughing.
“I am glad you came in, squire, because I wanted to speak to you about
the interest on that mortgage.”
“It falls due next week,” said Squire Bates, promptly.
“Just so, and I am sorry to say that for the first time I shall be
unable to meet it.”
“Indeed!” returned the squire, his voice stiffening. “That is very
“So it is, squire, but I hope, as it is the first time, you will
overlook it,” said Adin Dunham, anxiously.
“My dear sir,” said the squire, “it is hardly necessary to say that I
truly sympathize with you. You believe that, I hope?”
“I thought you would squire. I didn’t believe you’d be hard on me.”
“But—you misunderstand me a little, neighbor Dunham—I cannot be as
considerate as I would like to be. The fact is, I am _very_ short of
money, embarrassed in fact, and I depended on that payment. Perhaps you
can borrow it?”
“There’s no one in the village likely to accommodate me with a loan
unless it’s you, squire.”
“And I am very short of cash. Indeed it would hardly do for me to lend
you money to pay me, would it now?”
“I am afraid not,” said the carpenter, ruefully.
“In fact, neighbor Dunham, I came here this evening to ask if you
couldn’t arrange to pay the mortgage.”
“_Pay_ the mortgage!” echoed Adin Dunham, with a blank look.
“Yes; I thought you might raise the money in some way.”
“I wish you’d tell me where, Squire Bates. Eight hundred dollars! Why
it’s as big to me as the national debt! I did expect to pay off the
mortgage with that thousand dollars, that I was so wickedly robbed of.”
“Oh, ah, to be sure! It was a great pity that you were prevented from
“That robbery broke me down, Squire Bates. I believe it has made me
five years older, though it happened less than a year ago. It makes me
feel kind of rebellious at times to think that such a villain as the
man that robbed me should go unpunished.”
“It isn’t best to cry over spilt milk,” said the squire who felt
obviously uncomfortable under these allusions.
“I can’t help thinkin’ of it though, squire.”
“To be sure, to be sure!”
“When it was gone, I hoped that Dean would be able to help me to pay up
the mortgage some time.”
“Have you heard from your nephew lately?”
“Not for months. Have you heard from the man he went out with?”
“Yes, I have heard several times.”
“Does he say anything about Dean?”
“He says—but perhaps I had better not tell you. I don’t want to
distress you,” and the squire hesitated.
“Say what you have to say. I can stand it.”
“He says he discharged Dean for dishonesty.”
“Dean dishonest! Why, squire, you must be jokin’.”
“I am sorry to say, neighbor Dunham, that there is no joke about it.
Mr. Kirby is not likely to be mistaken.”
“I tell you, Squire Bates,” said Adin Dunham angrily, “that my nephew
Dean is as honest as I am myself. The man that charges him with
dishonesty is a liar! It’s a word I don’t often use, but I must use it
“I agree with my husband,” said Sarah Dunham, her mild blue eye
sparkling with indignation. “Nothing would induce Dean to steal.”
“Of course you are prejudiced in your nephew’s favor,” said the squire
with a slight sneer. “It is very natural, but you can’t expect others
to agree with you. However, we will drop this subject. I am afraid Dean
will never be able to help you. I used to think well of him, though my
son Brandon didn’t agree with me.”
“What can your son Brandon know of Dean compared with mother and me,
who have known the boy since his birth?” the carpenter rejoined warmly.
“I won’t argue the question, neighbor Dunham. Indeed I feel for you
in your disappointment. But to come back to business. You mustn’t
blame me if I foreclose the mortgage, as the law gives me a right to
do. I wouldn’t do it, I assure you, if circumstances did not make it
“Foreclose the mortgage!” repeated Adin in consternation.
“Yes, or I’ll give you eight hundred dollars for the place over and
above the mortgage.”
“Only eight hundred dollars! Why, that would be robbery!”
“Think it over, neighbor Dunham, and don’t decide hastily. You’ll
think differently, I am sure, when you have had time to consider it. I
must bid you good-evening now, as I am in haste,” and the squire rose
quickly, and left the room, followed to the door mechanically and in
silence by Sarah Dunham.
“Sarah,” said the carpenter with grief-stricken countenance, “this is
worse than all. It looks as if we were indeed forsaken by Providence.”
“Hush, Adin! That is wicked. It looks hard, but the Lord may yet give
“I am afraid we shall end our days in the poorhouse, Sarah,” said the
“It won’t be this year or next, Adin. Eight hundred dollars will
support us for two years, and then there is your work besides. Let us
look on the bright side!”
But that was not easy for either of them. It seemed to Adin Dunham that
his cup of bitterness was full.
We return to Denver, where business required Dean and Ben Rawson to
remain two or three days. Eben Jones was too impatient to reach home
to bear them company, but started at once for Connecticut. Rawson and
Dean secured a large room in the leading hotel, which they made their
Denver was at that time far from being the handsome city it has since
become. Society was mixed, and the visitors who were continually
arriving and departing embraced all sorts and conditions of men. There
was no small sprinkling of adventurers, both good and bad, and it was
necessary for the traveler to be wary and prudent, lest he should fall
a prey to those of the latter kind.
The second night our two friends retired late, having passed a busy and
as it proved profitable day, for it was on that day Dean effected his
purchase of lots already referred to.
“I feel fagged out, Dean,” said Rawson, as he prepared for bed. “I have
been working harder than I did at the mines.”
“I am tired too, but I have passed a pleasant day,” said Dean. “I think
I would rather live here than at the mines.”
“You can have your choice when you return, but for my part I like the
mines. I prefer the freedom of the mining camp to the restraints of the
“There isn’t much restraint that I can see.”
“There will be. Five years hence Denver will be a compact city.”
“In that case my lots will have risen in value.”
“No doubt of it. You have made a good purchase. But what I was going
to say is this. I am so dead tired that it would take an earthquake
to wake me. Now, as you know, we have considerable money in the room,
besides what we have outside. Suppose some thief entered our room in
“I wake easily,” said Dean.
“That is lucky. There’s a fellow with a hang-dog look rooms just
opposite, whose appearance I don’t like. I have caught him spying about
and watching us closely. I think he is after our money.”
“What is his appearance, Ben?”
“He has red hair and a red beard. There is something in his expression
that looks familiar, but I can’t place him. I feel sure at any rate
that he is a dangerous man.”
“I haven’t noticed him, Rawson.”
“I have got it into my head somehow that he will try to enter our room
when we are asleep.”
“But the door is locked.”
“If the man is a professional, he will be able to get in in spite of
that. Now Dean, I want you to take my revolver and put it under your
pillow, to use in case it should be necessary. Of course you will wake
me also in case of a visit.”
“Very well, Ben.”
The two undressed and got into bed. There were two beds in the room,
the smaller one being occupied by Dean. This was placed over against
the window, while Rawson’s was closer to the door, on the right.
Dean as well as Rawson, was tired, and soon fell asleep. But for some
reason his sleep was troubled. He tossed about, and dreamed bad dreams.
It might have been the conversation that had taken place between Rawson
and himself, which shaped the dreams that disturbed him.
It seemed to him that a man had entered the room, and was rifling
Rawson’s pockets. The dream excited him so much that it awakened him,
and none too soon, for there, bending over the chair on which Rawson
had thrown his clothes, was the very man whom his companion had
described. The moonlight that flooded the room revealed him clearly,
with his red hair and beard, just as he had presented himself to Dean
in his dreams.
Dean rose to a sitting posture, and quietly drew out the revolver from
underneath his pillow.
“What are you doing there?” he demanded.
The intruder started, and, turning quickly, fixed his eyes upon Dean.
He didn’t appear so much alarmed as angry at the interruption.
“Lie down, and keep still, if you know what’s good for yourself, kid!”
he said, in a menacing tone.
“And let you rob my friend? Not much!” said Dean, boldly. “Lay down
“When I get ready.”
“I command you to lay them down!” said Dean, boldly.
“I’ll wring your neck if you don’t keep quiet,” said the robber,
“Rawson!” cried Dean, raising his voice.
“Confusion!” muttered the thief, as, dropping his booty, he took a step
towards Dean’s bed.
“Look out for yourself!” said Dean, in a tone of warning. “Come nearer,
and I fire!”
Then for the first time the intruder noticed that the boy was armed. He
drew back cautiously.
Just then Rawson asked sleepily, “What’s the matter, Dean?”
“Wake up, Rawson, quick!” said Dean.
Ben Rawson opened his eyes, and took in the situation at once. He
sprang from the bed, and placed himself between the thief and the door.
“Let me go!” exclaimed the intruder, as he made a dash forward, only to
be seized by the powerful miner.
“Now let me know who you are, and whether you have taken anything,” he
said, resolutely. “Dean, let us have some light.”
The thief struggled to escape, but in vain. His captor was stronger
than himself. Dean lighted the gas, and both scrutinized the thief
closely. Then a light flashed upon Dean.
“I know him in spite of his false hair and beard,” he said. “It’s Peter
Rawson pulled off the disguise, and Kirby stood revealed.
“Yes, it’s Kirby!” he said, doggedly. “What are you going to do with me?”
“Put you in the hands of the police,” answered Rawson, coolly.
Kirby remained silent a moment, and then said: “I’ll make it worth your
while to let me go.”
“How?” asked Rawson, briefly.
“That boy’s uncle was robbed near a year since of a thousand dollars. I
can tell him the name of the thief.”
“Was it Squire Bates?” asked Dean, eagerly.
“Till my safety is assured I can tell nothing.”
“Can you enable me to recover the money?”
“I can. I will be willing to make a statement, and swear to it before a
“Is not Squire Bates the head of a gang of robbers?”
“I am not prepared to say. I will do what I agreed.”
Rawson and Dean conferred together briefly, and decided to release
Kirby on the terms proposed. But it was necessary to wait till morning,
and they didn’t dare to release him. They tied the villain hand and
foot, and kept him in this condition till daylight. Then they took him
before a magistrate, his statement was written out and sworn to, and
they released him.
“I wouldn’t have done this,” said Kirby, “if Bates had treated me right;
but he has been working against me, and I have sworn to get even.”
Dean did not trouble himself about Kirby’s motives, but he was
overjoyed to think that through his means the mystery at Waterford had
been solved at last, and his uncle would recover his property.
“Now I shall go home happy,” he said to Rawson, “for I shall carry
happiness to my good uncle and aunt.”
Arriving in New York, Dean was tempted to buy a handsome suit of
clothes, being fully able to spare the money. But on second thought
he contented himself with purchasing a cheap, ready-made suit at one
of the large clothing stores on the Bowery. He wanted to surprise his
uncle and aunt. Besides, he wished to see what kind of a reception his
old friends would give him if he appeared in shabby attire and apparent
poverty. He could let them know the truth later on.
The evening before his arrival in Waterford Adin Dunham had another
call from Squire Bates.
“Have you got my interest ready, neighbor Dunham?” he inquired.
“No, squire; I can give you a part of it, as I told you the other day.”
“That will not answer,” said Bates in an uncompromising tone. “I need
the money at once. Some of my recent investments have paid me poorly,
and though I would like to be considerate I cannot favor you.”
“I will try to borrow the money. Perhaps Dean can let me have twenty
“Dean!” repeated Squire Bates with a sneer. “Do you think I can wait
till you hear from him?”
“I have heard from him,” answered the carpenter.
“You have heard from your nephew! Where is he?” Squire Bates asked in
“Here is his letter. It came to hand this morning.”
Squire Bates took the proffered letter and read as follows:
NEW YORK, July 15.
DEAR UNCLE AND AUNT:—I have got so far on my way home from the West.
I will remain here a day or two. Perhaps I can hear of a place, as I
suppose there is nothing for me to do in Waterford. I think I shall be
with you on Saturday.
Your affectionate nephew,
“He doesn’t appear to have made his fortune,” said the squire, handing
back the letter to the carpenter.
“He doesn’t say whether he has prospered or not.”
“If he had he wouldn’t be looking for a boy’s position in New York.”
“Very likely you’re right, Squire Bates. It’s something that he has
been able to get home to his friends.”
“Wait till you’ve seen him,” said the Squire, significantly. “He will
probably return home in rags.”
“Even if he does he will be welcome,” rejoined the carpenter warmly.
“Even if he comes home without a penny, he won’t lack for a welcome,
will he, Sarah?”
“I should think not, Adin,” said his wife in mild indignation.
“That is all very pretty and sentimental,” said the Squire. “Perhaps
you have a fatted calf to kill for the returning prodigal.”
“Dean never was a prodigal,” answered Adin Dunham. “If your friend had
treated him well he might have had some money to return with. It wasn’t
a very creditable thing to throw the poor boy upon his own resources so
far away from home.”
“We spoke on that subject yesterday, and I distinctly told you that
Mr. Kirby had a very good reason to discharge Dean. You didn’t agree
with me. I suppose it is natural to stand up for your own. However, I
will give you three days to make up the interest. That will carry us
to Monday. But I shall also require you to pay the mortgage, or else
accept my offer for the place. I will give you another week to do that.”
Squire Bates went out of the room, leaving Adin and Sarah Dunham in
some trouble of mind. There seemed to be no help for it. They must be
dispossessed of what had been their home for many years.
Just before leaving Denver, Dean, in passing through Lawrence Street,
came upon a boy, miserably clad, who held in his hand a few daily
papers which he was trying to sell. There was something in the boy’s
face that looked familiar.
“Guy Gladstone!” he exclaimed in great surprise.
“Dean Dunham!” replied Guy, looking both pleased and ashamed.
“How came you here? I thought you were hunting Indians on the prairies.”
Guy blushed scarlet.
“Don’t say a word about it!” he replied. “I was a fool and I have
suffered for my folly.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I got out of money and have nearly starved. I have done anything I
could to make a little money. I have blacked boots, set up pins in a
bowling alley, and now I am selling papers.”
“Why don’t you go home?”
“I would if I had the money.”
“Then you shall have the money. I start East to-morrow, and will take
you along with me.”
“Then you have prospered?” asked the wondering Guy.
“Yes, but not all the time. I have seen hard times, too. Mr. Kirby
discharged me, and I lived some time by giving concerts on the
“Really and truly!”
“Yes,” answered Dean, laughing. “I don’t wonder you are surprised. But
here, give away your papers to that newsboy across the street and come
to my hotel.”
“But I haven’t any money.”
“I have enough for both.”
Dean had the pleasure of restoring Guy to his family, who received him
kindly. It is safe to say that he will never again go West in quest of
A little before noon on Saturday Dean reached Waterford, and walked
home. On the way he met Brandon Bates.
“Halloa, so you’re back!” said Brandon, eying him curiously.
“Yes, Brandon. Thank you for your warm welcome.”
“I didn’t mean to give you a warm welcome,” said Brandon, ungraciously.
“I beg your pardon; I made a mistake.”
“I suppose you came home without a cent.”
“You’re mistaken. I’ve got over a dollar in my pocket.”
“What’s a dollar?” sneered Brandon.
“It isn’t much, to be sure.”
“You won’t hear very good news at your uncle’s.”
“Why? Is he sick—or my aunt?” asked Dean uneasily.
“No, but he can’t pay the mortgage, and my father’s going to take
possession of the place.”
“Oh, is that all?” said Dean, relieved.
“I should think it was enough.”
“Oh, perhaps your father will think better of it, as I am at home now
and can help Uncle Adin pay it off.”
“What can you do?” asked Brandon, mockingly.
“That’s the great question. However, I’m in a hurry to get home, and
must leave you. You are kind to be so much interested in me, Brandon.”
“I’m not interested in you at all,” returned Brandon, tartly.
Dean laughed and passed on.
“That boy’s as impudent as ever,” soliloquized Brandon. “He’ll feel
differently on Monday.”
In the joy of seeing Dean again his uncle and aunt lost sight for a
time of their troubles, but after a while Adin Dunham said gravely,
“It’s well you came home as you did, Dean, for the old home is about to
pass from me.”
“How is that, Uncle Adin?”
“Squire Bates is going to foreclose the mortgage. He offers to buy the
place and give me eight hundred dollars over and above what I owe him.”
“Of course you declined?”
“It will do no good. I must yield to necessity.”
“Squire Bates shall never have the place,” said Dean, resolutely.
“Who will prevent it?”
“But, Dean, what power have you? The squire is firmly resolved.”
“So am I.”
“Uncle Adin, ask me no questions, but rest easy in the thought that you
won’t lose your home. Leave the matter in my hands. That is all you
need to do.”
“Sarah, what does the boy mean?”
“He means something, Adin. We may as well leave it in his hands as he
“Very well, I don’t know as he can do any harm—or good.”
“That remains to be seen, uncle.”
Dean went to church on Sunday, and received a warm welcome from nearly
all the congregation, for he was popular with those of all ages. He
wore a smiling, untroubled look which puzzled Squire Bates and Brandon.
“Does he know that I am going to foreclose the mortgage?” asked the
squire of Brandon.
“Yes, for I told him.”
“It seems strange that he should be so cheerful.”
“He won’t be—to-morrow.”
“No, I apprehend not.”
When Squire Bates called at the carpenter’s modest home Dean opened
the door, and invited him into the sitting-room, where the two found
“I want to see your uncle,” said the squire.
“If it’s about the mortgage, I will attend to that matter.”
“Yes, I feel competent to settle the matter.”
“There is only one way of settling it, by paying the money.”
“I propose to pay it as soon as—-”
“Well, as soon as what?”
“As soon as you restore to my uncle, with interest, the thousand
dollars you stole from him nearly a year since.”
“What do you mean by this insolence?” demanded Squire Bates, springing
to his feet and glaring at Dean.
“I mean,” answered Dean, slowly, “that I have the sworn testimony of
Peter Kirby, given me at Denver, implicating you in that robbery.”
“Show it to me,” said the squire, turning livid.
“Here is a copy. The original is in the hands of a New York lawyer.”
Squire Bates took the paper in his trembling fingers, and read it
“This is a lie!” he exclaimed hoarsely.
“The matter can come before the courts if you wish it. My uncle
recognized you at the time of the robbery, but no one would believe his
testimony. Fortunately, it will be substantiated now.”
“But this is the most utter absurdity. Does anybody believe that a man
of my reputation would be implicated in a highway robbery?”
“They will find it equally hard to believe that you are the captain
of a band of robbers with headquarters in Colorado. I have been in the
cave where your booty is congealed, and know what I am talking about.”
After fifteen minutes more the squire capitulated, only making it a
condition that Dean would keep secret the serious discoveries which he
“I will do so, unless I am summoned to testify in court,” said Dean.
“Leave me to explain matters to your uncle,” said the squire.
Dean called the carpenter into the room.
“Mr. Dunham,” said Squire Bates with his old suavity, “I have arranged
matters satisfactorily with your nephew. He has recovered the large
sum of which you were robbed a year ago, and paid the mortgage, or is
prepared to do so. Dean, if you will accompany me to my office we will
arrange this affair.”
“But, who stole the money?” asked Adin Dunham, bewildered.
“I promised not to tell,” said Dean. “Was I right?”
“Yes, yes, as long as you got the money back.”
Dean received the mortgage back canceled, and something over two
hundred dollars besides, which he placed in his uncle’s hands. Adin
Dunham looked ten years younger, and his face was radiant. His joy was
increased when Dean told him how he had prospered out West, and gave
his aunt five hundred dollars, reserving for himself the remainder of
the thousand which he had brought home.
Two months later Dean returned to Denver to find that his lots had
considerably increased in value. Gradually he sold them off for twice
what he paid, and entered business in the Queen City of Colorado.
Squire Bates soon removed from Waterford, and the villagers have heard
nothing of him since. But Dean could tell them that his connection with
the band of robbers was discovered, and that he is upon conviction
serving a protracted term in a Western prison. What has become of
Brandon or his mother is not known to the general public, but it is
less than a year since Dean, while leaving the Denver post-office, was
accosted by a shabbily dressed young man who asked for assistance.
“Are you not Brandon Bates?” asked Dean after a brief glance.
Brandon was about to hurry away, but Dean detained him. “Don’t go,” he
said. “I am glad to help you,” and he placed two gold eagles in the
hands of the astonished Brandon.
“Come to me again if you are in need,” said Dean in a friendly manner.
“Thank you! I didn’t expect this from you,” said Brandon. “I thought
you would triumph over me.”
“If I did I should show myself unworthy of the good fortune that has
come to me. I wish you good luck.”
That was the last Dean has seen of Brandon. Let us hope that he will
deserve good luck, and attain it.
Adin Dunham still lives, happy in the companionship of his good wife,
and the prosperity of his nephew. But there is one thing that puzzles
him. He has never been able to solve THE WATERFORD MYSTERY.