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16: Bradshaw

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« on: April 11, 2023, 11:35:31 am »

A MONTH later Gilbert Standerton came back from the Foreign Office to his little house in St. John’s Wood.

“There is a man to see you, Gilbert,” said his wife.

“I think I know, it is my bank manager,” he said.

He greeted the tall man who rose to meet him with a cheery smile.

“Now, Mr. Brown,” he said, “I have to explain to you exactly what I want done. There is a man in America, he has been there a week or two, to whom I owe a large sum of money---eighty thousand pounds, to be exact---and I want you to see that I have sufficient fluent capital to pay it.”

“You have quite sufficient, Mr. Standerton,” said the manager, “even now, without selling any of your securities.”

“That is good. You will have all the particulars here,” said Gilbert, and took a folded sheet of paper from his pocket. “It is really a trust, in the sense that it is to be transferred to two men, Thomas Black and George Smith. They may sub-divide it again, because I believe,” he smiled, “they have other business associates who happen to be entitled to share.”

“I did not congratulate you, Mr. Standerton,” said the bank manager, “upon the marvellous service you rendered the city. They say that through you every penny which was stolen by the famous Wallis gang has been recovered.”

“I think that pretty well described the position,” said Gilbert quietly.

“I was reading an account of it in a paper the other day,” the bank manager went on. “It was very providential that there was an alarm of fire next door to their headquarters.”

“It was providential that it was found before the fire reached the Safe Company’s premises,” said Gilbert. “Fortunately the firemen saw me through the skylight. That made things rather easy, but it was some time before they got me out, as you probably know.”

“Did you ever see this man Wallis?” asked the bank manager curiously.

“Didn’t the papers tell you that?” bantered Gilbert with a dry smile.

“They say you learnt in some way that there was to be a burglary at your uncle’s, and that you went up to his place, and there you saw Mr. Wallis under the very window of the library, on the parapet or something.”

“On the terrace it was,” said Gilbert quietly.

“And that he flew at the sight of you?”

“That is hardly true,” said Gilbert, “rather put it that I persuaded him to go. I was not sure that he had not already secured the necklace, and I went through the window into the room without realising there was anybody there. You see, there were heavy curtains which hid the light. Whilst I was there he escaped, that is all.”

He made one or two suggestions regarding the transfer of the money and showed the bank manager out, then he joined Edith in the drawing-room.

She came to him with a little smile.

“Does the Foreign Office seem very strange to you?” she asked.

“It did seem rather strange after my other exploits.”

He laughed.

“I never thought Sir John had sufficient influence to get you back.”

“I think he has greater influence than you imagine,” he said; “but then there were other considerations. You see, I was able to render the Foreign Office one or two little acts of service in the course of my nefarious career, and they have been very good.”

She looked at him wistfully.

“And do we go back now to where we started?” she asked.

“Where did we start?” he countered.

“I do not know that we started anywhere,” she said thoughtfully.

She had been looking at a time table when he came into the room, and now she picked it up and turned the pages idly.

“Are you interested in that Bradshaw?”

“Very,” she said. “I am just deciding.”

“Deciding what?” he asked.

“Where---where we shall spend our honeymoon,” she faltered.


THE END

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