Richard Harding Davis.

Gallegher, and other stories online

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B 3






In Memory of











KorfoooU $rrsg :

J. S. Gushing & Co. Berwick & Smith.
Boston, Mass., U.S.A.














WE had had so many office-boys before Gal
legher came among us that they had begun
to lose the characteristics of individuals, and
became merged in a composite photograph of
small boys, to whom we applied the generic
title of " Here, you " ; or, " You, boy."

We had had sleepy boys, and lazy boys,
and bright, "smart" boys, who became so
familiar on so short an acquaintance that
we were forced to part with them to save
our own self-respect.

They generally graduated into district-mes
senger boys, and occasionally returned to us
in blue coats with nickel-plated buttons, and
patronized us.

But Gallegher was something different
from anything we had experienced before.
Gallegher was short and broad in build, with



a solid, muscular broadness, and not a fat
and dumpy shortness. He wore perpetually
on his face a happy and knowing smile, as if
you and the world in general were not im
pressing him as seriously as you thought you
were, and his eyes, which were very black
and very bright, snapped intelligently at you
like those of a little black-and-tan terrier.

All Gallegher knew had been learnt on the
streets ; not a very good school in itself, but
one that turns out very knowing scholars.
And Gallegher had attended both morning
and evening sessions. He could not tell you
who the Pilgrim Fathers were, nor could he
name the thirteen original States, but he
knew all the officers of the twenty-second
police district by name, and he could distin
guish the clang of a fire-engine's gong from
that of a patrol-wagon or an ambulance fully
two blocks distant. It was Gallegher who
rang the alarm when the Woolwich Mills
caught fire, while the officer on the beat was
asleep, and it was Gallegher who led the
"Black Diamonds" against the "Wharf
Rats," when they used to stone each other
to their hearts' content on the coal-wharves
of Richmond.


I am afraid, now that I see these facts
written down, that Gallegher was not a repu
table character ; but he was so very young
and so very old for his years that we all
liked him very much nevertheless. He lived
in the extreme northern part of Philadelphia,
where the cotton- and woollen-mills run down
to the river, and how he ever got home after
leaving the Press building at two in tha
morning, was one of the mysteries of the
office. Sometimes he caught a night car, and
sometimes he walked all the way, arriving at
the little house, where his mother and him
self lived alone, at four in the morning. Oc
casionally he was given a ride on an early
milk-cart, or on one of the newspaper deliv
ery wagons, with its high piles of papers still
damp and sticky from the press. He knew
several drivers of " night hawks " those
cabs that prowl the streets at night looking
for belated passengers and when it was a
very cold morning he would not go home at
all, but would crawl into one of these cabs
and sleep, curled up on the cushions, until

Besides being quick and cheerful, Galle
gher possessed a power of amusing the Press's


young men to a degree seldom attained by
the ordinary mortal. His clog-dancing on the
city editor's desk, when that gentleman was
up-stairs fighting for two more columns of
space, was always a source of innocent joy to
us, and his imitations of the comedians of
the variety halls delighted even the dramatic
critic, from whom the comedians themselves
failed to force a smile.

But Gallegher's chief characteristic was his
love for that element of news generically
classed as "crime."

Not that he ever did anything criminal
himself. On the contrary, his was rather
the work of the criminal specialist, and his
morbid interest in the doings of all queer
characters, his knowledge of their methods,
their present whereabouts, and their past
deeds of transgression often rendered him
a valuable ally to our police reporter, whose
daily f euilletons were the only portion of the
paper Gallegher deigned to read.

In Gallegher the detective element was
abnormally developed. He had shown this
on several occasions, and to excellent purpose.

Once the paper had sent him into a Home
for Destitute Orphans which was believed to


be grievously mismanaged, and Gallegher,
while playing the part of a destitute orphan,
kept his eyes open to what was going on
around him so faithfully that the story he
told of the treatment meted out to the real
orphans was sufficient to rescue the unhappy
little wretches from the individual who had
them in charge, and to have the individual
himself sent to jail.

Gallegher's knowledge of the aliases, terms
of imprisonment, and various misdoings of the
leading criminals in Philadelphia was almost
as thorough as that of the chief of police
himself, and he could tell to an hour when
44 Dutchy Mack " was to be let out of prison,
and could identify at a glance " Dick Oxford,
confidence man," as " Gentleman Dan, petty

There were, at this time, only two pieces
of news in any of the papers. The least
important of the two was the big fight be
tween the Champion of the United States
and the Would-be Champion, arranged to
take place near Philadelphia ; the second was
the Burrbank murder, which was filling space
in newspapers all over the world, from New
York to Bombay.


Richard F. Bun-bank was one of the most
prominent of New York's railroad lawyers;
he was also, as a matter of course, an owner
of much railroad stock, and a very wealthy
man. He had been spoken of as a political
possibility for many high offices, and, as the
counsel for a great railroad, was known even
further than the great railroad itself had
stretched its system.

At six o'clock one morning he was found
by his butler lying at the foot of the hall
stairs with two pistol wounds above his heart.
He was quite dead. His safe, to which only
he and his secretary had the keys, was found
open, and $200,000 in bonds, stocks, and
money, which had been placed there only
the night before, was found missing. The
secretary was missing also. His name was
Stephen S. Hade, and his name and his de
scription had been telegraphed and cabled to
all parts of the world. There was enough
circumstantial evidence to show, beyond any
question or possibility of mistake, that he
was the murderer.

It made an enormous amount of talk, and
unhappy individuals were being arrested all,
over the country, and sent on to New York


for identification. Three had been arrested
at Liverpool, and one man just as, he landed
at Sidney, Australia. But so far the mur
derer had escaped.

We were all talking about it one night, as
everybody else was all over the country, in
the local room, and the city editor said it was
worth a fortune to any one who chanced to
run against Hade and succeeded in handing
him over to the police. Some of us thought
Hade had taken passage from some one of the
smaller seaports, and others were of the
opinion that he had buried himself in some
cheap lodging-house in New York, or in one
of the smaller towns in New Jersey.

" I shouldn't be surprised to meet him out
walking, right here in Philadelphia," said
one of the staff. " He'll be disguised, of
course, but you could always tell him by the
absence of the trigger finger on his right hand.
It's missing, you know ; shot off when he was
a boy."

" You want to look for a man dressed like
a tough," said the city editor; "for as this
fellow is to all appearances a gentleman, he
will try to look as little like a gentleman as


" No, he won't," said Gallegher, with that
calm impertinence that made him dear to us.
" He'll dress just like a gentleman. Toughs
don't wear gloves, and you see he's got to
wear 'em. The first thing he thought of after
doing for Burrbank was of that gone finger,
and how he was to hide it. He stuffed the
finger of that glove with cotton so's to make
it look like a whole finger, and the first time
he takes off that glove they've got him
see, and he knows it. So what youss want to
do is to look for a man with gloves on. I've
been a doing it for two weeks now, and I can
tell you it's hard work, for everybody wears
gloves this kind of weather. But if you look
long enough you'll find him. And when you
think it's him, go up to him and hold out
your hand in a friendly way, like a bunco-
steerer, and shake his hand ; and if you feel
that his forefinger ain't real flesh, but just
wadded cotton, than grip to it with your
right and grab his throat with your left, and
holler for help."

There was an appreciative pause.

"I see, gentlemen," said the city editor,
dryly, "that Gallegher's reasoning has im
pressed you ; and I also see that before the


week is out all of my young men will be
under bonds for assaulting innocent pedes
trians whose only offence is that they wear
gloves in midwinter."


It was about a week after this that Detec
tive Hefflefinger, of Inspector Byrnes's staff,
came over to Philadelphia after a burglar, of
whose whereabouts he had been misinformed
by telegraph. He brought the warrant, requi
sition, and other necessary papers with him,
but the burglar had flown. One of our re
porters had worked on a New York paper,
and knew Hefflefinger, and the detective
came to the office to see if he could help him
in his so far unsuccessful search.

He gave Gallegher his card, and after
Gallegher had read it, and had discovered
who the visitor was, he became so demoral
ized that he was absolutely useless.

" One of Byrnes's men," was a much more
awe-inspiring individual to Gallegher than
a member of the Cabinet. He accordingly
seized his hat and overcoat, and leaving his
duties to be looked after by others, hastened
out after the object of his admiration, who
found his suggestions and knowledge of the


city so valuable, and his company so enter*
taming, that they became very intimate, and
spent the rest of the day together.

In the meanwhile the managing editor had
instructed his subordinates to inform Galle-
gher, when he condescended to return, that
his services were no longer needed. Galle-
gher had played truant once too often. Un
conscious of this, he remained with his new
friend until late the same evening, and started
the next afternoon toward the Press office.

As I have said, Gallegher lived in the
most distant part of the city, not many min
utes' walk from the Kensington railroad sta
tion, where trains ran into the suburbs and
on to New York.

It was in front of this station that a
smoothly shaven, well-dressed man brushed
past Gallegher and hurried up the steps to
the ticket office.

He held a walking-stick in his right hand,
and Gallegher, who now patiently scrutinized
the hands of every one who wore gloves, saw
that while three fingers of the man's hand
were closed around the cane, the fourth stood
out in almost a straight line with his palm.


Galleglier stopped with a gasp and with a
trembling all over his little body, and his
brain asked with a throb if it could be pos
sible. But possibilities and probabilities were
to be discovered later. Now was the time
for action.

He was after the man in a moment, hang
ing at his heels and his eyes moist with ex

He heard the man ask for a ticket to
Torresdale, a little station just outside of
Philadelphia, and when he was out of hear
ing, but not out of sight, purchased one for
the same place.

The stranger went into the smoking-car,
and seated himself at one end toward the
door. Galleglier took his place at the oppo
site end.

He was trembling all over, and suffered
from a slight feeling of nausea. He guessed
it came from fright, not of any bodily harm
that might come to him, but at the probabil
ity of failure in his adventure and of its most
momentous possibilities.

The stranger pulled his coat collar up
around his ears, hiding the lower portion of
his face, but not concealing the resemblance


in his troubled eyes and close-shut lips to the
likenesses of the murderer Hade.

They reached Torresdale in half an hour,
and the stranger, alighting quickly, struck
off at a rapid pace down the country road
leading to the station.

Gallegher gave him a hundred yards' start,
and then followed slowly after. The road ran
between fields and past a few frame-houses
set far from the road in kitchen gardens.

Once or twice the man looked back over
his shoulder, but he saw only a dreary length
of road with a small boy splashing through
the slush in the midst of it and stopping
every now and again to throw snowballs at
belated sparrows.

After a ten minutes' walk the stranger
turned into a side road which led to only
one place, the Eagle Inn, an old roadside
hostelry known now as the headquarters
for pothunters from the Philadelphia game
market and the battle-ground of many a

Gallegher knew the place well. He and
his young companions had often stopped
there when out chestnutting on holidays in
the autumn.


The son of the man who kept it had often
accompanied them on their excursions, and
though the boys of the city streets considered
him a dumb lout, they respected him some
what owing to his inside knowledge of dog-
and cock-fights.

The stranger entered the inn at a side door,
and Gallegher, reaching it a few minutes
later, let him go for the time being, and set
about finding his occasional playmate, young

Keppler's offspring was found in the wood

" 'Tain't hard to guess what brings you out
here," said the tavern-keeper's son, with a
grin ; " it's the fight."

" What fight ? " asked Gallegher, unguard

"What fight? Why, the fight," returned
his companion, with the slow contempt of
superior knowledge. " It's to come off here
to-night. You knew that as well as me ;
anyway your sportin' editor knows it. He
got the tip last night, but that won't help
you any. You needn't think there's any
chance of your getting a peep at it. Why,
tickets is two hundred and fifty a piece I "


"Whew!" whistled Gallegher, "where's
it to be?"

"In the barn," whispered Keppler. "I
helped 'em fix the ropes this morning, I did."

" Gosh, but you're in luck," exclaimed
Gallegher, with flattering envy. " Couldn't
I jest get a peep at it ? "

" Maybe," said the gratified Keppler.
" There's a winder with a wooden shutter at
the back of the barn. You can get in by it,
if you have some one to boost you up to the

" Sa-a-y," drawled Gallegher, as if some
thing had but just that moment reminded
him. " Who's that gent who come down the
road just a bit ahead of me him with the
cape-coat ! Has he got anything to do with
the fight?"

" Him ? " repeated Keppler in tones of sin
cere disgust. " No-oh, he ain't no sport.
He's queer, Dad thinks. He come here one
day last week about ten in the morning, said
his doctor told him to go out 'en the country
for his health. He's stuck up and citified,
and wears gloves, and takes his meals private
in his room, and all that sort of ruck. They
was saying in the saloon last night that they


thought he was hiding from something, and
Dad, just to try him, asks him last night if
he was coming to see the fight. He looked
sort of scared, and said he didn't want to see
no fight. And then Dad says, 4 1 guess you
mean you don't want no fighters to see you.'
Dad didn't mean no harm by it, just passed
it as a joke ; but Mr. Carleton, as he calls
himself, got white as a ghost an' says, I'll go
to the fight willing enough, and begins to
laugh and joke. And this morning he went
right into the bar-room, where all the sports
were setting, arid said he was going into town
to see some friends ; and as he starts off he
laughs an' says, 'This don't look as if I was
afraid of seeing people, does it ? ' but Dad
says it was just bluff that made him do it,
and Dad thinks that if he hadn't said what
he did, this Mr. Carleton wouldn't have left
his room at all."

Gallegher had got all he wanted, and much
more than he had hoped for so much more
that his walk back to the station was in the
nature of a triumphal march.

He had twenty minutes to wait for the
next train, and it seemed an hour. While
waiting he sent a telegram to HefBefinger at


his hotel. It read: "Your man is near the
Torresdale station, on Pennsylvania Railroad ;
take cab, and meet me at station. Wait until

With the exception of one at midnight, no
other train stopped at Torresdale that even
ing, hence the direction to take a cab.

The train to the city seemed to Gallegher
to drag itself by inches. It stopped and
backed at purposeless intervals, waited for
an express to precede it, and dallied at sta
tions, and when, at last, it reached the ter
minus, Gallegher was out before it had
stopped and was in the cab and off on his
way to the home of the sporting editor.

The sporting editor was at dinner and came
out in the hall to see him, with his napkin in
his hand. Gallegher explained breathlessly
that he had located the murderer for whom
the police of two continents were looking,
and that he believed, in order to quiet the
suspicions of the people with whom he was
hiding, that he would be present at the fight
that night.

The sporting editor led Gallegher into his
library arid shut the door. " Now," he said,
" go over all that again."


Gallegher went over it again in detail, and
added how he had sent for Hefflefinger to
make the arrest in order that it might be
kept from the knowledge of the local police
and from the Philadelphia reporters.

"What I want Hefflefinger to do is to
arrest Hade with the warrant he has for the
burglar," explained Gallegher ; " and to take
him on to New York on the owl train that
passes Torresdale at one. It don't get to
Jersey City until four o'clock, one hour after
the morning papers go to press. Of course,
we must fix Hefflefinger so's he'll keep quiet
and not tell who his prisoner really is."

The sporting editor reached his hand out
to pat Gallegher on the head, but changed
his mind and shook hands with him instead.

"My boy," he said, "you are an infant
phenomenon. If I can pull the rest of this
thing off to-night it will mean the 15000 re
ward and fame galore for you and the paper.
Now, I'm going to write a note to the man
aging editor, and you can take it around to
him and tell him what you've done and what
I am going to do, and he'll take you back on
the paper and raise your salary. Perhaps you
didn't know you've been discharged ? "


"Do you think you ain't a-going to take
me with you?" demanded Gallegher.

" Why, certainly not. Why should I ? It all
lies with the detective and myself now. You've
done your share, and done it well. If the
man's caught, the reward's yours. ' But you'd
only be in the way now. You'd better go to
the office and make your peace with the chief."

"If the paper can get along without me,
I can get along without the old paper," said
Gallegher, hotly. "And if I ain't a-going
with you, you ain't neither, for I know where
Hefflefinger is to be, and you don't, and I
won't tell you."

" Oh, very well, very well," replied the
sporting editor, weakly capitulating. "I'll
send the note by a messenger; only mind,
if you lose your place, don't blame me."

Gallegher wondered how this man could
value a week's salary against the excitement
of seeing a noted criminal run down, and of
getting the news to the paper, and to that
one paper alone.

From that moment the sporting editor sank
in Gallegher's estimation.

Mr. Dwyer sat down at his desk and scrib
bled off the following note :


" I have received reliable information that
Hade, the Burr bank murderer, will be present
at the fight to-night. We have arranged it
so that he will be arrested quietly and in
such a manner that the fact may be kept
from all other papers. I need not point out
to you that this will be the most important
piece of news in the country to-morrow.

"Yours, etc., MICHAEL E. DWYER."

The sporting editor stepped into the wait
ing cab, while Gallegher whispered the direc
tions to the driver. He was told to go first
to a district-messenger office, and from there
up to the Ridge Avenue Road, out Broad
Street, and on to the old Eagle Inn, near

It was a miserable night. The rain and
snow were falling together, and freezing as
they fell. The sporting editor got out to
send his message to the Press office, and
then lighting a cigar, and turning up the
collar of his great-coat, curled up in the
corner of the cab.

" Wake me when we get there, Gallegher,"
he said. He knew he had a long ride, and


much rapid work before him, and he was
preparing for the strain.

To Gallegher the idea of going to sleep
seemed almost criminal. From the dark cor
ner of the cab his eyes shone with excitement,
and with the awful joy of anticipation. He
glanced every now and then to where the
sporting editor's cigar shone in the darkness,
and watched it as it gradually burnt more
dimly and went out. The lights in the shop
windows threw a broad glare across the ice
on the pavements, and the lights from the
lamp-posts tossed the distorted shadow of
the cab, and the horse, and the motionless
driver, sometimes before and sometimes be
hind them.

After half an hour Gallegher slipped down
to the bottom of the cab and dragged out a
lap-robe, in which he wrapped himself. It
was growing colder, and the damp, keen
wind swept in through the cracks until the
window-frames and woodwork were cold to
the touch.

An hour passed, and the cab was still moving
more slowly over the rough surface of partly
paved streets, and by single rows of new
houses standing at different angles to each


other in fields covered with ash-heaps and
brick-kilns. Here and there the gaudy lights
of a drug-store, and the forerunner of sub
urban civilization, shone from the end of a
new block of houses, and the rubber cape of
an occasional policeman showed in the light
of the lamp-post that he hugged for comfort.

Then even the houses disappeared, and the
cab dragged its way between truck farms,
with desolate-looking glass-covered beds, and
pools of water, half-caked with ice, and bare
trees, and interminable fences.

Once or twice the cab stopped altogether,
and Gallegher could hear the driver swearing
to himself, or at the horse, or the roads. At
last they drew up before the station at Tor-
resdale. It was quite deserted, and only a
single light cut a swath in the darkness and
showed a portion of the platform, the ties,
and the rails glistening in the rain. They
walked twice past the light before a figure
stepped out of the shadow and greeted them

" I am Mr. Dwyer, of the Press" said the
sporting editor, briskly. " You've heard of
me, perhaps. Well, there shouldn't be any
difficulty in our making a deal, should there ?


This boy here has found Hade, and we have
reason to believe he will be among the spec
tators at the fight to-night. We want you
to arrest him quietly, and as secretly as pos
sible. You can do it with your papers and
your badge easily enough. We want you to
pretend that you believe he is this burglar
you came over after. If you will do this, and
take him away without any one so much as
suspecting who he really is, and on the train
that passes here at 1.20 for New York, we
will give you $500 out of the $5000 reward.
If, however, one other paper, either in New

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Online LibraryRichard Harding DavisGallegher, and other stories → online text (page 1 of 12)