A hansom cab, somewhat woebegone in appearance, threaded its way in a curiously dejected manner through the heart of New York's East Side. A fine drizzle fell, through which the street lamps showed as through a mist; and, with the pavements slippery, the emaciated looking horse, the shafts jerking and lifting up at intervals around its ears, appeared hard put to it to preserve its footing. The cabman on his perch drove with his coat collar turned up and his chin on his breast. He held the reins listlessly, permitting the horse to choose its own gait. At times he lifted the little trap door in the roof of the cab and peered into the interior; occasionally his hand, tentatively, hesitantly, edged toward a bulge in his coat pocket--only to be drawn back again in a sort of panic haste.