Randy, bluntly. "The money was to come to us and nobody else."
"Where did you lose that letter?"
"I lost it on the road between Naddy Brook and Spruceville," replied Earl, and gave some of the particulars. The full story of his uncle's offer to Randy and himself followed, to which Mr. Stone listened closely. He was a fair judge of human nature, and saw at once that the two boys were no sharpers and that their story was most likely true.
"Well, if you are the real Portney brothers, we are out exactly three hundred dollars," he said, after considerable talking. "I paid over that money in good faith, too, on the strength of the letter and the identification."
"We had nothing to do with that," answered Earl, stoutly, feeling he must stand up for his rights.
"Of course not, but— Just wait here a few minutes, and I'll try to find that clerk from the restaurant who identified the rascals."
Mr. Stone put on a silk hat and went out, to be gone nearly or quite half an hour. He returned accompanied by another man—a police official—to whom the particulars of the occurrence had been given.
"That identification was also part of the swindle," the broker explained. "I could not find the clerk at the restaurant, and I am convinced now that he was not the man he made me believe he was."