Mr. Barron, the rich banker in Broad
street, was seated at his desk in his private office
one day when the door was opened by the porter, who
“There’s a newsboy out
here who says he must see you, sir.”
“Go and tell him to let you
know what he wants. If it’s a situation,
tell him we have none vacant.”
The porter went back to the outer
office. In a minute or two the door opened again
and the newsboy entered and closed the door behind
him. The banker recognized him as the boy who
had brought him the afternoon papers daily for a year
“The bouncer told me to go away,
sir,” the boy said, doffing his hat as he spoke,
“but I knew my business better than he does.
There’s a couple of men putting up a big job
on your bank, and I knew if I didn’t tell you
about it they’d scoop you for a big pile.”
The banker wheeled his chair around
so as to face the boy, and laid his gold glasses on
“Who are they, and how did you
find out about it?” he asked.
“I don’t know who they
are, but I found it out by overhearing their talk.”
“What is their plan?”
“A forged check.”
“Whose name is forged?”
“I don’t know, sir.
They had a genuine check and were comparing it to
the forged one. They said it was perfect and would
be paid if presented when the cashier was busy.”
“Ah! I see. That means
a little before three o’clock. Now, my boy,
do you think you could point them out to a detective
when they come up to the cashier’s window?”
“Not afraid of them, eh?”
“No, sir. I am not afraid of anybody.”
The banker smiled, reached over on
his desk and tapped a small bell. The door opened
and a messenger appeared.
“Tell Caruth to come here,” the banker
said to him.
The messenger disappeared, and a few
moments later the bank detective came in.
“Caruth,” said the banker,
“this boy tells me he overheard two men plotting
to present a forged check to-day. Take him out
there with you and arrest the man he points out to
you. Let the man get the money, though, so as
to make a good case against him.”
Caruth looked at the boy and said:
“I know you by sight. What’s your
“Well, go along with him, Fred,”
the banker said to him. “It may be a bad
business if you make a mistake.”
“Come on, Halsey,” and
the detective led the way out into the public hall
of the bank.
Fred followed him, and the two were
soon in a crowd of people, who were coming and going
all the time. Caruth took up a position near the
cashier’s window where he could see every man
who stopped there. Fred stood by his side and
closely scanned the faces of those who came and went.
More than an hour passed, and still
they stood there on the watch. The detective
was used to it, but Fred had been more active, and
he began to wish the men would come along. Suddenly
he nudged Caruth with his elbownudged
him good. Caruth leaned over till his face was
on a level with Fred’s.
“That’s himthe man in the
Caruth looked up and saw a man in
a gray ulster and with gold glasses on.
“Do you see the other one?” he asked.
“No, I don’t see him.”
“Well, look for him. Sure you have the
right man now?”
“Yes. That’s one of ’em.”
Caruth did not pretend to look at
the man in the line. But he kept him in view
all the time. The man finally got up to the window
and presented a check. The cashier looked at
the check and then at the endorsement. He gave
the man a hasty glance and then began counting out
a large sum of money, using bills of large denomination
to expedite the counting. He handed out the money
and the man gathered it up and was putting it into
his pocket when Caruth laid a hand on his arm and said:
“The president of the bank wants
to see you in his private office a few moments.”
Suddenly, and without any warning,
the stranger kicked Caruth’s feet from under
him, and he fell heavily on the tiled flooring, his
head striking it so hard that he became instantly
unconscious. The stranger made a break for the
street entrance. Quick as a flash Fred Halsey
sprang forward in front of him, darted between his
legs, and caused him to fall forward on his face.
The man was quick, though, and caught on his hands.
He was on his feet again in an instant. Again
Fred darted between his legs and threw him. This
time he rolled completely over and Fred saw the handle
of a revolver protruding from a hip pocket. He
grabbed it, cocked it, and held the muzzle within a
foot of the forger’s head, saying:
The man lay still, glaring at the
black muzzle of the weapon like one confronting a
ghost. Mr. Barron heard the noise of the three
falls, and rushed out of the office in time to see
Fred aim the revolver at the head of the forger.
“Arrest that man!” he cried. “He
is a forger.”
A forger is the one criminal most
hated in Wall Street, and as soon as it was announced
that he was one, the stranger was instantly surrounded
and captured. A policeman came in from the street
and put the nippers on him.
“Bring him into my office, officer,”
said the banker. “He has a lot of the bank’s
money in his possession.”
The officer took him to the president’s
room, and Fred followed, with the pistol still in
his hand. He was searched, and the money found
in his pocket. The cashier brought in the check
and said he did not believe it was forged.
“Send for Mr. Manson and see
what he says about it,” suggested the banker.
Manson was a rich broker, whose name
had been forged to the check. He was found at
his office and came over to the bank immediately.
Taking the check, which was for $10,000, he made a
close examination of it.
“I never gave that check to
any one,” he said. “It is a forgery,
but such a good one that ordinarily I would not be
able to detect it myself.”
“I took it in good faith,”
said the stranger. “Can you swear it was
“Yes, for I have given out no
check for that amount to-day.”
“The date is nothing. Is that your signature?”
“It is very much like it, but
I did not write it, nor did I ever give a check to
any such party.”
“You will swear to that?” Barron asked
“Yesa thousand times.”
“Then I’ll take the responsibility
of the man’s arrest and prosecution. You
may take him away, officer.”
The policeman led his prisoner out,
and a dozen prominent brokers got around Barron to
congratulate him on the arrest. Barron looked
around and saw Fred standing near the door, still
holding the revolver in his hand.
“Ah! There’s the
one to whom I am indebted for the arrest,” and
he went over to where Fred was standing, extended
his hand to him, and added:
“He not only came and gave me
warning, but actually made the arrest himself.
Caruth, our detective, was hurt, and the forger would
have escaped but for this boy here,” and he,
wrung Fred’s hand as he spoke.
“That’s so,” remarked
a broker, shaking Fred’s hand. “I
saw the whole business myself, but didn’t know
what it meant. Shake, my dear boy,” and
he gave him a hearty handshake. A half dozen others
followed, and one said:
“Here, let’s set him up.
We want to encourage boys like him,” and he
drew a ten-dollar bill from the inside pocket of his
vest and laid it on the desk. “Cover that
with as much as you please, gentlemen.”
Seven other laid down similar amounts,
and Barton remarked;
“Whatever you give, gentlemen, I’ll double
“Very good,” said another, putting down
a ten. “We’ll all chip in.”
The sum of $130 was laid on the desk
while Fred stood there looking on, with his heart
way up in his throat.
“Now, Fred Halsey,” the
banker said to the newsboy. “I am going
to double this sum, giving you two hundred and sixty
dollars. What are you going to do with so much
“Set up a bank of my own,”
was the prompt reply at which the banker and the brokers
broke into a roar of laughter.
“Gimme ten dollars,” Fred
said, “and keep the rest in the bank for me.”
“Very well; here’s the
ten,” and Fred took the bill and went out on
the street, feeling richer than ever before in his