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PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRAR ES



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TOM PAULD1NG




THE STEALING OP THB TREASURE,



TOM PAULDING



THE STORY OF A SEARCH FOR BURIED TREASURE
IN THE STREETS OF NEW YORK






BY



BRANDER MATTHEWS




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THE CENTURY CO.



Copyright, 1891, 1892, by
THE CENTUBY Co,

Copyright renewed, 1919



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THIS STORY OF A YOUNG AMERICAN IS INSCRIBED TO

THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON,
WHO HAS DESERVED WELL OF ALL AMERICANS, WHITE
AND BLACK, WOMEN AND MEN, YOUNG FOLKS AND OLD,



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CONTENTS



I


THE SCENE OF THE STORY


PAGE
1


II


AROUND THE BONFIRE


10


III


^ WALK BY THE RIVER


21


IV


PAULINE AND THE CAREFUL KATIE


30


V


AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE


40


VI


THE Box OF PAPERS


51


VII


CAKES AND A COMPOSITION


68


VIII


A QUARREL AND AN ARRIVAL


77


IX


UNCLE DICK


87


X


A LESSON IN GEOGRAPHY


105


XI


SANTA CLAUS BRINGS A SUGGESTION


112


XII


THE FATE OF JEFFREY KERR


130


XIII


CHRISTMAS MORNING AND CHRISTMAS NIGHT


138


XIV


THE BATTLE OF THE CURLS


150


XV


A NEW-YEAR'S-DAY DEPARTURE


162



PAGE

XVI TOM HAS PATIENCE 171

XVII ENLISTING ALLIES 181

XVIII MAKING READY 192

XIX JEFFREY KERB'S BOOTY 204

XX THE " WORKING HYPOTHESIS" 214

XXI A STARTLING DISCOVERY 226

XXII COUNSEL 237

XXIII CONCLUSION 245



ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

THE STEALING OF THE TREASURE FRONTISPIECE

SKETCH IN UPPER NEW YORK 4

TYPICAL SKETCHES OF UPPER NEW YORK 5

"TOM WAS TIED TO A STAKE, WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND

HIM" 19

" TOM HAD MADE HER A SEAT ON ONE SlDE OF THIS TREE " 35

" 1 1 'M GOING TO SEE IF WE CAN'T GET BACK SOME OF THAT

STOLEN MONEY,' SAID TOM" 49

"ToM HAD TO PUZZLE OUT AND PIECE TOGETHER, BUT AT
LAST HE GOT AT ALL THE FACTS SO FAR AS IT WAS
POSSIBLE TO DISCOVER THEM" 57

"' GUESS WHAT I 'VE FOUND!' SHE CRIED" 72

"ToM WAS ABLE TO FIND MOST OF THE POSITIONS INDI-
CATED ON THE MAP" 83

PAULINE AND UNCLE DICK INSPECTING THE "CAT-RANCH" 89
UNCLE DICK TELLS TOM AND POLLY HIS ADVENTURES 97

UNCLE DICK TELLS POLLY ABOUT THE DIAMOND-FIELDS 109



PAGE

MR. JOSHUA HOFFMANN HAS A TALK WITH UNCLE DICK 115

"CORKSCREW" TELLS UNCLE DICK AND TOM OF THE DIS-

COVERY BY THE AQUEDUCT LABORERS 123

'"1 THINK I KNOW WHERE THE THIEF is,' THE BOY BEGAN" 131
UNCLE DICK AND TOM GO TO THE FIRE 146

" INVOLUNTARILY TOM RAISED HIS HAND TO HIS HEAD, AND

HE FELT THE LITTLE TWISTS OF PAPER" 159

"TOM WOULD PRETEND TO SOUND ROCKS WITH A STICK" 175

"TOM SAID SOLEMNLY, 'FELLOWS, CAN YOU KEEP A

SECRET?'" 186

"THUS THE PROCESSION SET OUT" 201

A SECOND HE WAS SOAKED THROUGH" 212



"TOM PAULDING STOOPED AND PICKED OUT A DOZEN YEL-

LOW COINS" 215

"TAKING UP THE STOPPER, HE TOUCHED A DROP OF THE

LIQUID TO THE MARKS" 235

"TOM TOLD HER THE WHOLE STORY" 243

MRS. PAULDING RECEIVES HER CHRISTMAS PRESENT 251



TOM PATJLDING.




CHAPTER I.

THE SCENE OF THE STORY.

N every great city there are unexplored
fastnesses as little known to the world
at large as is the heart of the Dark Con-
tinent. Now and again it happens that
a sudden turn in the tide of business or
of fashion brings into view these hither-
to unexplored regions. Then there begins at once a strug-
gle between the old and the new, between the conditions
which obtained when that part of the city was ignored, and
those which prevail now that it has been brought to the
knowledge of men. The struggle is sharp, for a while ; but
the end is inevitable. The old cannot withstand the new;
and in a brief space of time the unknown region wakes up,
and there is a fresh life in all its streets ; there is a tearing
down, and there is a building up ; and in a few months the
place ceases to be old, although it has not yet become new.



2 TOM PAULDING.

During this state of transition there are many curious
changes; and a pair of sharp eyes can see many curious
things.

In this Manhattan Island of ours, there is more than one
undiscovered country of this kind ; and in a city as active and
as restless as New York it is only a question of time how soon
such a quarter shall be discovered, and rescued from neglect.
Though a place may have been abandoned for a century,
sooner or later some one will find it out again. Though it
may have been left on one side during the forced march of
improvement, sooner or later some one will see its advan-
tages, and will make them plain.

At the time of this story, when our hero, young Tom
Paulding, set forth upon his quest for buried treasure, in the
ninth decade of the nineteenth century, the quarter of New
York where he lived, and where he sought what had been
lost more than a hundred years before, was passing through
a period of transition. This part of New York lies above
Central Park, behind Morningside Park and beside the Hud-
son River, where the Riverside Drive stretches itself out for
two miles and more along the brow of the wooded hill.

This portion of the city has much natural beauty and not
a little historic interest. Just beyond the rocky terrace of
Morningside Park was fought the battle of Harlem Plains on
September 16, 1776. Then it was that the British troops,
having occupied the lower part of the island, assaulted the
Continental forces, and were beaten back. For days there-
after, General Washington had his headquarters within a



THE SCENE OF THE STORY. 3

mile or two of the spot where General Grant now lies
buried.

In the fourscore years which elapsed between the retire-
ment of Washington from the presidency of these United
States and the election of Grant to that exalted position, the
part of Manhattan Island where Tom Paulding lived, and
where his father, and his grandfather, and his great-grand-
father had lived before him, changed very little. In 1876 it
seemed almost as remote from the centers of trade and of
fashion as it had been in 1776. Although it was not out of
town, it was beyond the beaten track of traffic. Just before
the Revolution, and immediately after it, handsome country-
seats had been built here and there on the heights over-
looking the Hudson. And here and there, on the rocky
knobs that thrust themselves up through the soil, squatters
had since set up their little wooden shanties, increasing in
number as the edges of the city spread out nearer and
nearer.

In time the Riverside Drive was laid out along the river j
and then the transformation began. Day by day there were
changes; and year by year the neighborhood was hardly
recognizable.

Here had been one of the few spots on Manhattan Island
where nature was allowed to run wild and to do as she
thought best, unimpeded by man ; and by great good fort-
une the advancing tide of city life was not allowed to over-
whelm altogether the natural beauty of the region. The
irregularities of the surface were planed over, it is truej



TOM PATJLDING.



streets were cut through the walls of rock which then arose
in jagged cliffs high above the sidewalks on both sides, and
avenues were carried across sunken meadows, leaving deep,
wide hollows where the winter snows collected.

Around the shanties which were perched upon the rocks,
sheer above the new streets, goats browsed on the scanty

herbage 5 and down in the
hollows which lay below the
level of the same thorough-
fares, geese swam about
placidly, and squawked
when a passing boy was
carelessly cruel enough to
throw a stone at the peace-
ful flock.

It is a region of contrasts
as it is a time of transition.
In one block can be seen the
old orchard which girt about
one of the handsome coun-
try-places built here early in
the century; and in the next can be seen the frames of a
market-gardener, who is raising lettuce under glass, on
ground which the enterprising builder may demand any day.
The patched and weather-stained shanty of the market-gar-
dener may be within the shadow of a new marble mansion
with its plate-glass conservatory. An old wooden house with
a Grecian portico is torn down to make room for a tall flat,




SKETCH IN UPPER NEW YORK.




TYPICAL SKETCHES OF UPPER NEW YORK.



THE SCENE OF THE STOKY. 7

stretching itself seven stories high, with accommodation for a
dozen families at least. The builder is constantly at work.
The insignificant whistle of his engine announces the morn-
ing ; and the dull report of blasting is of daily frequency.

"With its many possibilities, this is perhaps the part of New
York where a boy can find the most wholesome fun. He is
in the city, although he has many of the privileges of the
country. He can walk under trees and climb hills ; and yet
lie is not beyond the delights of the town. There are long
slopes down which he may coast in winter j and there are as
yet many vacant lots where he may play ball in summer.
There is the Morningside Park with its towering battlements,
just the place for a sham fight. There is the Riverside Park
with its broad terrace extending nearly three miles along the
river front, and with its strip of woodland sloping steeply to
the railroad track by the river.

It is a place with nearly every advantage that a boy can
wish. For one thing, there is unceasing variety. If he takes
a walk by the parapet of the Riverside, the freight-trams on
the railroad below rush past fiercely, and are so long that the
engine will be quite out of sight before the caboose at the
end comes into view. From the brow of the hill the moving
panorama of the Hudson unrolls itself before him ; above
are the Palisades rising sheer from the water's edge and
crowned with verdure; opposite is Weehawken, and just
below are the Elysian Fields, now sadly shorn of their green
beauty. No two views of the river are ever alike, except
possibly in winter when the stream may freeze over. In the



8 TOM PAULDING.

summer there is an incessant change; yachts tack across
against the breeze ; immense tows of canal-boats come down
drawn by one broad and powerful steamboat j and pert little
tugs puff their way up and down, here and there. The day-
boats go up every morning and the night-boats follow them
every evening. Excursions and picnic parties go by in
double-decked barges, lashed together side by side, and gay
with flags and music. Sometimes a swift steam-yacht speeds
up stream to West Point, and sometimes a sloop loaded
with brick from Haverstraw drifts down with the tide.

On land there is a change almost as incessant. Buildings
are going up everywhere ; shanties are being torn down ; and
streets are being cut through here and filled up there, and
paved, and torn up again to lay pipe, and repaired again, and
torn up yet once more. There is a constant effort toward
the completion of the Riverside Park, and of Morningside
Park but a few blocks beyond it. There is also the new
aqueduct, bringing more water from the Croton hills to the
host of dwellers in the city.

When Tom Paulding first saw the men at work on this
great undertaking, he little knew how necessary that water
would one day be to him in his quest, or how the laborers
who were laying the gigantic pipes in deep trenches under-
ground would unwittingly lend him their aid.

But there is no need to dally longer over this description
of the place where the young New Yorker lived who is to be
the chief character of the story set forth in the following
It is time now to introduce Tom Paulding himself;



THE SCENE OF THE STORY. 9

to show you what manner of boy he was j to make you ac-
quainted with his friends and companions ; to explain how
it happened that his uncle returned home in time to advise j
and to tell how it was that he set out to find the treasure.
What the final result of his quest was will be fully shown
in this narrative ; but whether or not Tom Paulding was
successful in his endeavor, every reader must decide for
himself.




CHAPTER II.




AROUND THE BONFIRE.

N one of the side streets extending east-
ward from the Riverside Park, a dozen
boys were gathered about a barrel, which
had been raised on four stones. It was
late in the afternoon of the Tuesday fol-
lowing the first Monday in November ; and
the boys were about to exercise the im-
memorial privilege of young New Yorkers on election night.
Between the stones which supported the barrel were two or
three crumpled newspapers and a heap of shavings. Within
the wooden chimney of the barrel itself were the sides of a
broken box, six or eight short boards, and such other com-
bustible odds and ends as the boys had been able to get
together against the coming of the fiery holiday. The im-
promptu altar had been erected almost in the middle of the
street ; but as there was scarcely a house within a block on
either side, and as few carriages or carts needed to come
down that way, there was little danger that the bonfire of the
" Black Band " would frighten any horses.



ABOUND THE BONFIRE. 11

When the shavings had been inspected, and he had made
sure that the flames would be able to rise readily through
the improvised flue, the boy who seemed to be the leader
looked around and said, " Who 's got a match ! "

" Here 's a whole box ! " cried little Jimmy Wigger, thrust-
ing himself through the ring of youngsters ranged about the
barrel. He was the smallest boy of all, and he was greatly
pleased to be of service.

" Are you going to set it off now, Cissy f " a tall thin lad
asked.

" Well, I am ! > ;> answered the boy who had been making
ready for the fire. " We said that we ? d start it up at five
o'clock, did n't we ? "

The speaker was a solidly built young fellow of about four-
teen, with a round, good-natured face. His name was Mar-
cus Cicero Smith his father always called him " Cicero," and
among his playfellows and companions he was known as
" Cissy," for short.

A timid voice suggested, "What 's your hurry, Cissy?
Tom Paulding is n't here yet."

This voice belonged to Harry Zachary, a slim boy of scant
thirteen, shy in manner and hesitating in speech. He had
light golden hair and light-blue eyes.

" If Tom Paulding 's late," replied Cissy, as he stooped for-
ward and set fire to the paper and shavings, " so much the
worse for Tom, that 's all. He knows the appointed hour as
well as we do."

" I ? d just like to know what is keeping Tom. He ; s not



12 TOM PAULDING.

often late/' said the tall thin lad who had spoken before, and
as he said it he twisted himself about, looking over his
shoulders with a strange spiral movement. It was partly on
account of this peculiar habit of self -contortion that he was
generally addressed as "Corkscrew." But that nickname
had been given also because of his extraordinary inquisitive-
ness. His curiosity was unceasing and inordinate. It is to
be recorded, moreover, that he had straight red hair, and
that his thin legs were made more conspicuous by a large
pair of boots, the tops of which rose above his knees. His
real name was George William Lott.

As the wood in the barrel kindled and blazed up, the boys
heaped on more fuel from a pile outside their circle. While
taking a broken board from the stack, little Jimmy Wigger
looked up and saw a figure approaching. The street where
they were assembled had been cut through high rocks which
towered up on each side, irregular and jagged. Twilight
had begun to settle down on the city, and in the hollow
where the roadway ran between the broken crags there was
little light but that of the bonfire. It was difficult to make
out a stranger until he was close upon them.

" Some one is coming ! n cried little Jimmy, glad that he
had again been able to be useful.

The approaching figure stood still at once.

The group about the fire spread open, and Cissy careened
forward a few feet. He had always a strange swing in his
walk, not unlike the rolling gait of a sailor.

When he had swung ahead four or five paces he paused



AROUND THE BONFIRE.



13



and raising his fingers to his lips, he gave a shrill whistle
with a peculiar cadence :



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The stranger also stood still, and made the expected answer
with a flourish of its own :



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" It 's Tom Paulding," said Harry Zachary.

"I wonder what has made him so late," Corkscrew re-
marked.

Cissy Smith took another step forward, and cried, " Who
goes there ? "

The new-comer also advanced a step, which brought him
into the glare of the blazing barrel. He was seen to be a
well-knit boy of barely fourteen, with dark-brown eyes and
curly black hair.

To Cissy's challenge he answered in a clear voice, "A
friend of the Black Band."

" Advance, friend of the Black Band, and give the counter-
sign and grip."

Each of the two boys took three paces forward, and stood
face to face.

The new-comer bent forward and solemnly whispered in
Cissy's ear the secret password of the Black Band, " Captain
KMd."



14 TOM PAULDIXG.

With the same solemnity, Cissy whispered back, " As he
sailed." Then he extended his right hand.

Tom Paulding grasped this firmly in his own, slipping his
little finger between Cissy's third and little fingers ; then he
pressed the back of Cissy's hand three times with his own
thumb.

These proper formalities having been observed with due
decorum, the boys released their grasp and walked together
to the bonfire.

" What made you so late, Tom ? " asked Corkscrew.

"My mother kept me while she finished a letter to my
Uncle Dick that she wanted me to mail for her," Tom Pauld-
ing replied ; " and besides I had to find my dark lantern."

" Have you got it here ? " said Cissy.

" Oh, do let me see it ! " cried little Jimmy Wigger.

Tom Paulding unbuttoned his jacket and took the lantern
from his belt. There was at once perceptible a strong odor
of burnt varnish ; but the circle of admiring boys did not
mind this. The possession of a dark lantern increased their
admiration for its owner, who was a favorite, partly from his
frank and pleasant manner, and partly because of his ingenu-
ity in devising new sports. It was Tom Paulding who had
started the Black Band, a society of thirteen boys all solemnly
bound to secrecv and to be faithful, one to another, whatever

/

might befall. Cissy Smith, as the oldest of the thirteen, had
been elected captain, at Tom's suggestion, and Tom himself
was lieutenant.

" Is it lighted ? " little Jimmy Wigger asked, as he caught



ABOUND THE BONFIEE. 15

sight of a faint spot of light at the back of the dark lantern
in Tom's hand.

" Of course it is," Tom replied, and he turned the bull's-eye
toward the rugged wall of rocks which arose at the side of
the street, and pulled the slide. A faint disk of light ap-
peared on the stones.

" That 's bully ! " said Harry Zachary, in his usual hesita-
ting voice. " I wish I had one ! "

" What good is a dark lantern, anyhow ? " asked Corkscrew
Lott, who was almost as envious as he was curious. " What
did you bring it out for ? "

"Well/ 7 Tom answered, "I had a reason. We had n't
agreed what the Black Band was to be this evening ; and I
thought if we were burglars, for instance, it would be useful
to have a dark lantern."

" Hooray ! " said Cissy. " Let ? s be burglars."

There was a general cry of assent to this proposition.

"A burglar always has a dark lantern," Tom went on,
" and he 'most always has a jimmy "

" Well, where 's your jimmy ? " interrupted Lott.

" Here it is," Tom answered, taking a dark stick from its
place of concealment in the back of his jacket. " It ought
to be iron, you know j a jimmy 's a sort of baby crowbar.
But I made this out of an old broomstick I got from our
Katie. I whittled it down to the right shape at the end, and
then I polished it off with blacking and a shoe-brush. It
does look like iron, does n't it ? "

The jimmy was passed from hand to hand, and met with



16 TOM PAULDING.

general approval. Even Corkscrew Lott had no fault to find
with it.

" We ought to have everything real burglars have, if we
are going into the burgling business/' added Tom.

" If we are burglars/' said little Jimmy Wigger, in a plaint-
ive voice, " can't we begin burgling soon ? Because my aunt
says I must be home by eight this evening, sure."

" I said it was a mistake to let that baby into the Black
Band," Corkscrew remarked j " a pretty burglar he '11 make ! "

" Yes, I will ! " cried little Jimmy, sturdily -, " I '11 make as
good a burglar as you any day ! "

" I could tell you stories about burglars that would make
your hair curl," said Harry Zachary, noticing that little
Jimmy had shrunk back.

" Then tell them to Tom Paulding," Lott cried j " he likes
to have his hair curl. I believe he puts it up in curl-papers ! "

Now, if there was one thing which annoyed Tom more than
another, it was that his hair was curly, " like a girl's " as he
had said in disgust to his sister only that morning. And if
there was any member of the Black Band toward whom he
did not feel a brotherly cordiality, it was Lott.

" Look here, Corkscrew," he said hotly, " you let my hair
alone, or I '11 punch your head ! " (

" You had better not try it," returned Lott. " You could n't
do it."

" We '11 see about that, if you say anything more against
my hair ! " Tom replied.

" I '11 say what I please," responded Corkscrew.



ABOUND THE BONFIEE. X?

By this time Tom had recovered his temper.

" Say what you please," he answered, " and if it does n't
please me, we '11 have it out. The sooner we do, the better j
for I don't believe we can get through the winter without a
fight, and I sha'n't be sorry to have it over."

" Silence in the ranks," ordered the Captain of the Black
Band, as he saw that Lott was ready to keep up the quarrel.
" Is it agreed that we are to be burglars I "

"No," answered Corkscrew quickly, before any of the
others could speak. " We have n't got all the things. Let ; s
be Indians on the war-path. We 've got a bully fire now.
and it 's the only night we can have it. So we can play we Ve
a captive, and we can burn him at the stake, and have a
scalp-dance around the barrel."

"That 's a good idea," Harry Zachary agreed. "They
won't let us have a bonfire except on election night."

" That 's so," Cissy admitted.

Lott saw his advantage and seized it promptly.

" We can be burglars any time," he cried, " if we want to.
But to-night 's the best time to be Indians. It 's our only
chance to burn a captive at the stake."

"We might make him run the gantlet first," suggested
Harry Zachary, who was a delicate boy of a very mild ap-
pearance, but strangely fertile in sanguinary suggestions.

" Let little Jimmy Wigger be the captive," Lott proposed.
" We won't hurt him much."

"No, you don't," Tom Paulding interposed. "Little
Jimmy is too young. Besides, when his aunt let him join



i8 TOM PAULDING.

the Black Band, I promised that I would keep him out of
mischief."

" Then who '11 run the gantlet ? " asked Lott, sulkily.

" I will/' Tom answered. " I 'd just as lief. In fact, I 'd
liefer. I Ve never been burned at the stake yet, and the
Sioux shall see how a Pawnee can die ! ' ;

Then, at the command of Cissy Smith, 1he Black Band
formed in a double row facing inward, and Tom Paulding
ran the gantlet. When he came to the end of the lines he
broke away, and the whole troop pursued him. After a


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Online LibraryBrander MatthewsTom Paulding : the story of a search for buried treasure in the streets of New York → online text (page 1 of 13)