The Vanishing Man eBook

R Austin Freeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about The Vanishing Man.

“I watched the progress of events with profound interest.  An attempt had been made (by Mr. Jellicoe or some other person) to get the will administered without producing the body of John Bellingham; and that attempt had failed.  The coroner’s jury had refused to identify the remains; the Probate Court had refused to presume the death of the testator.  As affairs stood, the will could not be administered.

“What would be the next move?

“It was virtually certain that it would consist in the production of something which would identify the unrecognised remains as those of the testator.

“But what would that something be?

“The answer to that question would contain the answer to another question:  Was my solution of the mystery the true solution?

“If I was wrong, it was possible that some of the undoubtedly genuine bones of John Bellingham might presently be discovered; for instance, the skull, the knee-cap, or the left fibula, by any of which the remains could be positively identified.

“If I was right, only one thing could possibly happen.  Mr. Jellicoe would have to play the trump card that he had been holding back in case the Court should refuse the application; a card that he was evidently reluctant to play.

“He would have to produce the bones of the mummy’s finger, together with John Bellingham’s ring.  No other course was possible.

“But not only would the bones and the ring have to be found together.  They would have to be found in a place which was accessible to Mr. Jellicoe, and so far under his control that he could determine the exact time when the discovery should be made.

“I waited patiently for the answer to my question.  Was I right or was I wrong?

“And in due course, the answer came.

“The bones and the ring were discovered in the well in the grounds of Godfrey Bellingham’s late house.  That house was the property of John Bellingham.  Mr. Jellicoe was John Bellingham’s agent.  Hence it was practically certain that the date on which the well was emptied was settled by Mr. Jellicoe.

“The Oracle had spoken.

“The discovery proved conclusively that the bones were not those of John Bellingham (for if they had been the ring would have been unnecessary for identification).  But if the bones were not John Bellingham’s, the ring was; from which followed the important corollary that whoever had deposited those bones in the well had had possession of the body of John Bellingham.  And there could be no doubt that that person was Mr. Jellicoe.

“On receiving this final confirmation of my conclusions, I applied forthwith to Doctor Norbury for permission to examine the mummy of Sebek-hotep, with the result that you are already acquainted with.”

As Thorndyke concluded, Mr. Jellicoe regarded him thoughtfully for a moment, and then said:  “You have given us a most complete and lucid exposition of your method of investigation, sir.  I have enjoyed it exceedingly, and should have profited by it hereafter—­under other circumstances.  Are you sure you won’t allow me to fill your glass?” He touched the stopper of the decanter, and Inspector Badger ostentatiously consulted his watch.

Project Gutenberg
The Vanishing Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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