A man with a wallet under his arm arrives in the town of San Rosario. He goes to the First National Bank and presents himself as J.F.C. Nettlewick, the National Bank Examiner.
He proceeds to meticulously examine the bank's cash, counting it and weighing the silver. He then moves on to the bank's records, questioning the bookkeepers and examining the loans. Finally, he confronts the bank's president, Major Tom Kingman, about missing securities.
Major Tom admits to taking the securities to help a friend in need.
‘The securities were taken by me,’ repeated the major. ‘It was not for my own use, but to save an old friend in trouble.’
He explains that he and his friend, Bob, have been through many hardships together and have always helped each other. Major Tom reveals that Bob had confessed to stealing money from the bank years ago, but it was actually Major Tom who had taken the money and hidden it to protect Bob. The bank examiner is taken aback by Major Tom's confession and examines the securities, finding them to be in order.
‘You’ll find those securities there, sir, every stock, bond, and share of ‘em. I took them from the notes while you were counting the cash. Examine and compare them for yourself.’
He leaves the bank feeling perplexed and unsure of what to do next.