Luke was in Chicago, but what to do next he did not know. He might have advertised in one or more of the Chicago papers for James Harding, formerly in the employ of John Armstrong, of New York, but if this should come to the knowledge of the party who had appropriated the bonds, it might be a revelation of the weakness of the case against them. Again, he might apply to a private detective, but if he did so, the case would pass out of his hands. Luke had this piece of information to start upon. He had been informed that Harding left Mr. Armstrong's employment June 17, 1879, and, as was supposed, at once proceeded West. If he could get hold of a file of some Chicago daily paper for the week succeeding, he might look over the last arrivals, and ascertain at what hotel Harding had stopped. This would be something.
"Where can I examine a file of some Chicago daily paper for 1879, Mr. Lawrence?" he asked of the clerk.
"Right here," answered the clerk. "Mr. Goth, the landlord, has a file of the Times for the last ten years."
"Would he let me examine the volume for 1879?" asked Luke, eagerly.
"Certainly. I am busy just now, but this afternoon I will have the papers brought down to the reading-room."
He was as good as his word, and at three o'clock in the afternoon Luke sat down before a formidable pile of papers, and began his task of examination.
He began with the paper bearing date June 19, and examined that and the succeeding papers with great care. At length his search was rewarded. In the paper for June 23 Luke discovered the name of James Harding, and, what was a little singular, he was registered at the Ottawa House.
Luke felt quite exultant at this discovery. It might not lead to anything, to be sure, but still it was an encouragement, and seemed to augur well for his ultimate success.
He went with his discovery to his friend the clerk.
"Were you here in June, 1879, Mr. Lawrence?" he asked.