The first episode taken from The Rover issue 1 March 4th 1922
Here’s a new pal for you—TELEGRAPH TIM.
He’s a boy messenger in
There’s a complete tale of his doings every week. You’ll enjoy them—there are no flies on T.T.
TIM SCENTS TROUBLE—
---AND GETS IT.
shouted Peter Parsons, desk clerk at Bowlers Road Sub-Post Office. “Grimm!” There
was a clatter of feet, the door swung open, and No. 229 Timothy B. Grimm, boy
messenger, otherwise and better known as Telegraph Tim, popped up in front of
the desk. “Yessir!” Sharp and nippy, just like himself, was the boyish voice.
Parsons slammed a wire across the desk. “Here, you young scaramouche! Take this
message along. Look sharp! There’s a good lad. And for goodness sake hurry and
grow up. I’m always afraid I’ll have tell your mother you have slipped through
the bars of a gutter grating.” Tim did a grin, glanced at the address of the
buff envelope, then breezed off towards
He approached the Square from the north-east corner, and paused to ascertain which way he should go to find number eighty-seven. “Say, kiddy, are you streaking for number eighty-seven. Tim started as a hand fell on his shoulder. Looking up he encountered the face of a rather good-looking young man, whose eyes seemed extremely small, very bright, and for ever moving about in his head. Tim turned up his already tip-tiled nose. “Chuck it, Rastus! I ain’t giving prizes for a guessing competition. The man laughed, and at the same time a ten-shilling note appeared in his hands. “See here, bo,” he drawled. “You are a sport, I reckon. Don’t think I’m crooked, but I just happen to be doggone crazy over a girl at number eighty-seven. See? Upper housemaid she is, but her people won’t have none of the love stuff. Now, I happen to have the evening free to-night, and I want her to know. See? Here’s a note. Will you give it to her for me? And keep this for yourself.” The blue eyes of Telegraph Tim looked childishly innocent as his fingers grabbed the note and the letter. “I sure will,” he said, imitating the American drawl of the thin young man to the last degree. “But s’pose she don’t come to the door? And how did you guess I was goin’ to eighty-seven, anyhow?” “Give it to the butler, cully. He’s a pal o’ mine.” The speaker ignored Tim’s second question. Tim nodded and would have moved off, but the man’s hand still detained him. “Say! She might have a parcel for me. Does up my shirts and collars for me, y’know. Will you fetch it to me if she asks? Guess a bo wants to look real smart when he takes a girl out!” “You can trust T.T.,” said Tim as he winked and walked away. He did not look back. He went along whistling shrilly, his eyes glancing up on the lookout for number eighty-seven. But somehow he seemed thoughtful, and as he reached the gate of the house he wanted he mused, “Wot’s the giddy game, anyway?”
He gave a rat-tat at the door. A man dressed as a butler opened it. “Miss Perkins live ‘ere?” chirruped Tim. The man frowned at him angrily. “Miss who? No women here.” “Half a sec!” grinned Tim. “Telegram for ‘Howard,’ ” he said, handing out the telegram, and this note for a skivvy from a skinny Yank down the road” The butler stretched out his hand for the note, but Tim drew back. “Slow up!” he drawled. “Thought you said there wasn’t any girl here?” The man flushed. “I didn’t. I said no one named Perkins. I know the Yankee fellow who is after the maid, though. I’ll give her the note. Better wait for an answer to the wire.” The butler turned away, leaving Tim on the doorstep. The boy stared inquisitively into the hall. “Rum show this!” he said to himself, then suddenly he shivered. As he explained afterwards, he felt a worm creeping down his spine and felt his hair rise under his cap as a low moan of anguish fell on his ears then died away. It was a horrible sound—the sound of some human being in pain. He looked into the hall again, and then his blue eyes nearly fell out of his head. Upon the wallpaper he saw a smear. It was a smear of blood. For his fifteen years Tim had an uncommon amount of grit and horse sense. He crept a step forward, stretched out his fingers, and touched the wall. He shuddered as he looked at his finger tips. They were wet and dyed red. Then he drew back as his ears caught the sound of returning footsteps. The butler came to him. Under his arm he carried a parcel. “No reply to the wire, sonny,” he said. “But tell the bloke that Cissie’ll meet him to-night, and give him this parcel from her.” Tim keeping his face perfectly straight, pretended to hesitate. “Know what’s in the parcel?” he asked suspiciously. “I ain’t supposed to carry things like that, y’know. Might get me in a row.” “That’s all right,” said the man with a laugh. “I happened to see the girl packing a bit of cake and a pie and things for the young man. See?” “Oh, yes! I see,” nodded Tim as he turned and descended the steps.
was glad it was dark. He was also glad that a
Tim stared with amazed eyes. Then slowly he lifted his fingers and frowned as
he saw blood on them. Next moment he turned swiftly. From one of the houses at
his back he heard, or he thought he heard, the same faint, low moan of someone
in pain. “You can trust T.T.,” he said. With that he got to his feet, and in a
moment was shinning up the wall. “I’m going to look into this ‘ere movie
mystery.” In a moment Telegraph Tim was glancing along and counting the
dividing walls of the gardens. Number eighty-seven had been the fifth from the
end. “Here we are, then!” he grunted, as he dropped into the fifth garden, and
until he had walked some paces he could not see the house through the fog. But,
keeping behind some bushes, he approached near enough to see that the back door
of the house stood wide open. He slipped across to the wall, and flattened
himself against it. Not a soul had stirred. Silently he took off his boots, hid
them behind a box on the stone paving outside the scullery, and crept into the
house. Up the stairs he went, ready on the instant to turn or to slip his
heavily buckled belt and use it to good purpose should his escape be
threatened. On the first floor he heard the sound of voices. He did not stay to
listen, but crept up the stairs. It was lighter here than it had been, and he
could see blood marks on the walls and now and then clots of blood freshly
spilled on the stairs. At last he came to the top floor. Straight before him
was a door. The blood splashed around it was sufficient to make him want to
enter. Tim tried the handle. The door did not yield. For a moment he hesitated.
“Perishing pickles!” he exclaimed. “What the dickens am I doing here? S’pose
I’m wanted at the office? S’pose I get caught, and they cut off my ears and
chop ‘em up fine or skewer my eye lids with fret saws!” He shuddered. Despite
his broad grin, Tim felt a little afraid. He darted to the door of an adjoining
room, ducked his head inside, and laughed as he saw a key in the lock. He
extracted it, and put it in the door. The doors were very ordinary deal doors,
such as would be fitted to servants’ bedrooms on the topmost landing of a
man moved. He opened his eyes painfully, drunkenly, stupidly. “Police!” he
mumbled. “Got me in
THE HOUDINI TOUCH
Telegraph Tim was exactly four feet and six and a half inches in height, and to use his own rather impolite but very concise term, skinny in proportion. It has already been mentioned that when the Yank came upon him he was tying one bootlace, while the other remained to have that office performed. These three facts—his shortness, skinniness, and untied bootlaces—were to prove the saving grace of Tim. He lay on the coals until the laughing, sneering voices of his captors died away. He heard their feet ascending the stairs. Then he moved, first of all because a bed of coal nuts is not too soft, and secondly because Tim wanted to touch the backs of his heels. He had his arms tied behind him. His captors thought they had left nothing to chance in doing so. Actually they had given Tim a chance. With an effort his bound hands felt for the heel of his untied boot. He thrust and thrust, and finally the boot shot off. It made a horrible noise; but apparently no one heard it. The effect of removing the boot was to enable the boy to work his foot free of the rope binding his ankle. It wasn’t easily done. The nobs of coal were painfully nobbly, but at last it was done. As he freed his feet Tim heard the noise of a motor crawling up in the street and the slow tread of men coming down the stairs. He lay still. Would they come for him? Would they kill him if they came? Or would they leave him? Then he heard the sound of voices. There were four men, he judged, standing immediately in the street above the cellar talking. Tim got up, and. Balancing himself carefully, moved up the young coal mountain. It was ticklish work. Try it for yourselves—walking up a coal heap with your arms tied behind you.
But he succeeded. He knew he succeeded when he bumped his head against the stone roofing. Then very gingerly his head moved to the circular iron lid through which coalmen shoot the black nuggets. His head touched it. He stepped higher, and pushed ever so gently. If any one of the men were standing on it, it would not have budged. Tim knew that. On the other hand, if it moved a trifle he might hear. It did move. Tim did hear—not a lot and not distinctly—but he caught the words “Charing Cross Station,” “right away,” “boat train,” and something about “leaving the door open for him to be found.” The last part Tim couldn’t understand. Then, hearing one of the men run up the steps into the house, he slipped gently back on to the coal and lay down. He was just in time. He heard someone outside the cellar door. If they opened it, what would they do? Kill him? Take him with them? But they did not open the door, though Tim was certain their fingers did something to the handle outside. Then he heard the men walk to the pavement, heard a cab door shut, and a motor tune up and whirr away. Tim waited two, five, ten minutes. “I’ve ‘ad enough of this,” he told himself. “I’m chancing it.” He got to his feet, gathered himself together for a rush, and launched himself full blast at the door. Tim shot through and was brought up against the staircase opposite. He crept softly up the stairs, fearful lest one of his enemies should still be in the house. Then to his amazement he saw the side door standing wide open. Instantly he understood the conspirator’s last words. They meant someone to find the door open in the morning, investigate, and discover him. Next moment Tim, his mouth still full of gag, his hands still firmly secured behind him, rushed into the street.
THE TABLES TURNED
other police officers seemed to be getting mighty busy. There were telephone
conversations, ordering of cabs, and the dispatch of little groups of
policemen, uniformed and in plain clothes. “You’re sure they said
© D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd
Vic Whittle 2007