Mr. Proctor Gets the Bag

Saturday evening, the telephone in Colonel Morrell’s office rang. After
a short conversation he sent an orderly in quest of Don and Jim, as well
as Douglas and Hudson. When they were all assembled he told them what he
had in mind.

“I have just had a call from Mr. Proctor, boys. He has the black bag
with the 1933 trophy in it!”

“He has?” cried Don. “That’s fine.”

“Yes, and he is on his way here now. I wanted you young men on the spot
to get a good look at it as soon as I did. All we have to do is to wait
until the detective comes.”

It took Mr. Proctor a good half hour to arrive, but at last they heard a
taxi drive up to the front of Locke Hall and a door slam. A moment later
and Mr. Proctor was with them, a satisfied expression on his sleek face.
In his hand he carried a small black bag, of which he took excellent
care.

“Well, so we have it at last, eh?” boomed the colonel. “How did you get
hold of it?”

“I didn’t get it in the house at all,” the detective explained. “Mr.
Burgess, the visitor from Canada, kept it so close beside him that I
didn’t have a chance. I had to wait until after he was gone. I followed
him down to the station and watched my chance, but it didn’t come until
after I got on the train. He had placed it in the rack overhead and when
we came to a small station I got up, took the bag and made for the door,
just as he raised a cry. It was good and dark, so I just beat it away
and took a cab here. I called you up from Orangeville, colonel.”

“I see,” said the colonel. “Well, now let’s have a look at that cup.”

Mr. Proctor went to work on the bag, which was locked, but with the aid
of some keys and a huge knife forced the top open, while the cadets
looked on in breathless interest. As the bag split open with a rush they
all craned forward to see what was in it.

It was full of old newspapers, and nothing more.

For just a minute there was complete silence in the room. The boys
looked from one to another and the detective looked as though his eyes
would pop out with surprise and mortification. The colonel breathed
hard.

“Looks as though something had been put over on you, Mr. Proctor,” he
said quietly.

The detective nodded miserably. All the way to the school he had been
congratulating himself on his cleverness and now it turned out to be but
a mockery.

“Then he must have the thing in his suitcase!” he cried. “But I
distinctly heard Gates tell him to take the cup in the black bag.”

“It looks very much as though they both knew you were on the trail and
switched the cup to the suitcase,” Hudson remarked.

“If that is the case, the cup is lost, for it is on its way to Canada,”
the colonel declared.

“I don’t see how they could have gotten onto me,” the detective cried.
“I never did a better job in my life.”

“I have just thought of something,” ventured Don. “Do you remember the
night you called up the school here and told the colonel all about it,
Mr. Proctor?”

“Yes,” replied the man.

“Was Arthur Gates at home when you called?”

“Yes, but he was upstairs, for I made sure of that. Oh, he couldn’t have
heard me!” the man protested.

“When I was at that house, on the night we took Mr. Gates home from the
accident, I noticed a telephone upstairs. Do you suppose—”

“Ah!” almost shouted the detective. “That click on the wire!”

“Did it sound as though someone upstairs picked up the telephone
receiver while you were talking?” pressed Don quietly.

“Yes,” acknowledged the detective. “Now that you put it that way, it
did. I remember hearing a click while I was explaining things to Colonel
Morrell, but I thought nothing of it. Somebody, probably Arthur Gates
himself, must have heard that conversation.”

After the crestfallen detective had departed they talked it over,
realizing that the game was up. There was now no hope of ever recovering
the cup.

“I guess we’ll just have to go without knowing what was on that cup that
made it worth while for Gates to steal,” the colonel admitted. “Now, the
only thing for me to do is to have another Alumni meeting soon after
Christmas and have Long there. At that meeting we’ll publicly clear him
and let it go at that.”

“All I can say is that Mr. Proctor is not the best detective in the
world,” said Douglas.

“No,” seconded the colonel. “He should never have called up from the
house, or from any other place. He should have come directly here and
told me things personally. Well, boys, that is the end of the cup
affair. I thank you most heartily for your very real interest in it and
your services to Mr. Long. That ends the matter of the 1933 class’s
trophy as far as we are concerned, with the exception of the apology to
Long.”