The Old Man in the Corner eBook

Baroness Emma Orczy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Old Man in the Corner.

“Of course, she was fully aware that her husband could easily clear himself, and the worst that could be said of her was that she had thought him guilty and had tried to save him.  She trusted to the future to clear her of any charge of complicity in the theft.

“By now every one has forgotten most of the circumstances; the police are still watching the career of James Fairbairn and Mrs. Ireland’s expenditure.  As you know, not a single note, so far, has been traced to her.  Against that, one or two of the notes have found their way back to England.  No one realizes how easy it is to cash English bank-notes at the smaller agents de change abroad.  The changeurs are only too glad to get them; what do they care where they come from as long as they are genuine?  And a week or two later M. le Changeur could not swear who tendered him any one particular note.

“You see, young Robert Ireland went abroad, he will come back some day having made a fortune.  There’s his photo.  And this is his mother—­a clever woman, wasn’t she?”

And before Polly had time to reply he was gone.  She really had never seen any one move across a room so quickly.  But he always left an interesting trail behind:  a piece of string knotted from end to end and a few photos.



“I always thought that the history of that forged will was about as interesting as any I had read,” said the man in the corner that day.  He had been silent for some time, and was meditatively sorting and looking through a packet of small photographs in his pocket-book.  Polly guessed that some of these would presently be placed before her for inspection—­and she had not long to wait.

“That is old Brooks,” he said, pointing to one of the photographs, “Millionaire Brooks, as he was called, and these are his two sons, Percival and Murray.  It was a curious case, wasn’t it?  Personally I don’t wonder that the police were completely at sea.  If a member of that highly estimable force happened to be as clever as the clever author of that forged will, we should have very few undetected crimes in this country.”

“That is why I always try to persuade you to give our poor ignorant police the benefit of your great insight and wisdom,” said Polly, with a smile.

“I know,” he said blandly, “you have been most kind in that way, but I am only an amateur.  Crime interests me only when it resembles a clever game of chess, with many intricate moves which all tend to one solution, the checkmating of the antagonist—­the detective force of the country.  Now, confess that, in the Dublin mystery, the clever police there were absolutely checkmated.”


“Just as the public was.  There were actually two crimes committed in one city which have completely baffled detection:  the murder of Patrick Wethered the lawyer, and the forged will of Millionaire Brooks.  There are not many millionaires in Ireland; no wonder old Brooks was a notability in his way, since his business—­bacon curing, I believe it is—­is said to be worth over L2,000,000 of solid money.

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The Old Man in the Corner from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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