“There was, of course, the usual suicide clause in the policy. In the event of his committing suicide within a year the premiums would be forfeited. Mr. Maltravers was duly examined by the Company’s own doctor, and although he was a man slightly past the prime of life was passed as being in quite sound health. However, on Wednesday last—the day before yesterday—the body of Mr. Maltravers was found in the grounds of his house in Essex, Marsdon Manor, and the cause of his death is described as some kind of internal hæmorrhage. That in itself would be nothing remarkable, but sinister rumours as to Mr. Maltravers’ financial position have been in the air of late, and the Northern union have ascertained beyond any possible doubt that the deceased gentleman stood upon the verge of bankruptcy. Now that alters matters considerably. Maltravers had a beautiful young wife, and it is suggested that he got together all the ready money he could for the purpose of paying the premiums on a life insurance for his wife’s benefit, and then committed suicide. Such a thing is not uncommon. In any case, my friend Alfred Wright, who is a director of the Northern union, has asked me to investigate the facts of the case, but, as I told him, I am not very hopeful of success. If the cause of the death had been heart failure, I should have been more sanguine. Heart failure may always be translated as the inability of the local G.P. to discover what his patient really did die of, but a hæmorrhage seems fairly definite. Still, we can but make some necessary inquiries. Five minutes to pack your bag, Hastings, and we will take a taxi to Liverpool Street.”
“Mrs. Bangs” ses Miss Claire, wid agytashun, “plase don’t—don’t talk to me aboot——”
The other side of Arthur's mind was engaged in the contemplation of a desolate little fairy standing in the hall of Hartling House solemnly awaiting her fate. Even now, she had sometimes a look of desolation, of loneliness. He wondered if she still remembered her early troubles, if she occasionally grieved for her father and mother?
If Jorgenson had been only a businessman, it would have had no particular meaning. But he was also a person, filled with hatred of the Thrid who had condemned him for life to this small island. He saw the swinging of the fish. It gave him an idea.
The peer took it. His face darkened with anger as he read.
276These songs, the glad songs and sad songs,
And first let me run over the outline of the
“I mean knives and forks and plates and empty dishes. Ah, but it was a clever idea! Graves is a thief and a scoundrel, but what a man of method! He overhears a portion of the conversation in the morning, enough to realize that Ascanio will be in awkward position to defend himself. The following evening, about eight o’clock, he tells his master he is wanted at the telephone. Foscatini sits down, stretches out his hand to the telephone, and from behind Graves strikes him down with the marble figure. Then quickly to the service telephone—dinner for three! It comes, he lays the table, dirties the plates, knives, and forks, etc. But he has to get rid of the food too. Not only is he a man of brain; he has a resolute and capacious stomach! But after eating three tournedos, the rice soufflé is too much for him! He even smokes a cigar and two cigarettes to carry out the illusion. Ah, but it was magnificently thorough! Then, having moved on the hands of the clock to 8.47, he smashes it and stops it. The one thing he does not do is to draw the curtains. But if there had been a real dinner party the curtains would have been drawn as soon as the light began to fail. Then he hurries out, mentioning the guests to the lift man in passing. He hurries to a telephone box, and as near as possible to 8.47 rings up the doctor with his master’s dying cry. So successful is his idea that no one ever inquires if a call was put through from Flat ii at that time.”
The poor folks of the town had their arms full of house-hold goods, and stacks of beds, ta-bles, and chairs were piled up in o-pen pla-ces. Groups of peo-ple stood
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