The Vanishing Man eBook

R Austin Freeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 280 pages of information about The Vanishing Man.

“To the side of Hurst, I should say, without doubt,” replied Thorndyke.  “The case stands thus—­on the facts presented to us:  Hurst appears to have had no motive for killing the deceased (as we will call him); but the man was seen to enter his house, was never seen to leave it, and was never again seen alive.  Bellingham, on the other hand, had a motive, as he believed himself to be the principal beneficiary under the will.  But the deceased was not seen at his house, and there is no evidence that he went to the house or to the neighbourhood of the house, excepting the scarab that was found there.  But the evidence of the scarab is vitiated by the fact that Hurst was present when it was picked up, and that it was found on a spot over which Hurst had passed only a few minutes previously.  Until Hurst is cleared, it seems to me that the presence of the scarab proves nothing against the Bellinghams.”

“Then your opinions on the case,” said I, “are based entirely on the facts that have been made public.”

“Yes, mainly.  I do not necessarily accept those facts just as they are presented, and I may have certain views of my own on the case.  But if I have, I do not feel in a position to discuss them.  For the present, discussion has to be limited to the facts and inferences offered by the parties concerned.”

“There!” exclaimed Jervis, rising to knock out his pipe, “that is where Thorndyke has you.  He lets you think you’re in the very thick of the ‘know’ until one fine morning you wake up and discover that you have only been a gaping outsider; and then you are mightily astonished—­and so are the other side, too, for that matter.  But we must really be off now, mustn’t we, reverend senior?”

“I suppose we must,” replied Thorndyke; and, as he drew on his gloves, he asked:  “Have you heard from Barnard lately?”

“Oh, yes,” I answered.  “I wrote to him at Smyrna to say that the practice was flourishing and that I was quite happy and contented, and that he might stay away as long as he liked.  He writes by return that he will prolong his holiday if an opportunity offers, but will let me know later.”

“Gad,” said Jervis, “it was a stroke of luck for Barnard that Bellingham happened to have such a magnificent daughter—­there! don’t mind me, old man.  You go in and win—­she’s worth it, isn’t she, Thorndyke?”

“Miss Bellingham is a very charming young lady,” replied Thorndyke.  “I am most favourably impressed by both the father and the daughter, and I only trust that we may be able to be of some service to them.”  With this sedate little speech Thorndyke shook my hand, and I watched my two friends go on their way until their fading shapes were swallowed up in the darkness of Fetter Lane.

CHAPTER XII

A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

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The Vanishing Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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