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George Barr McCutcheon
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 305 pages of information about The Man from Brodney's.

“I have a proposition to make to you, Tazzy,” said Mr. Wyckholme, late in the night.

“I think I’ll listen to it, Jackie,” replied Mr. Skaggs, quite soberly.

As the outcome of this midnight proposition, Taswell Skaggs and John Wyckholme arrived, two months later, at the tiny island of Japat, somewhere south of the Arabian Sea, there to remain until their dying days and there to accumulate the wealth which gave the first named a chance to make an extraordinary will.  For thirty years they lived on the island of Japat.  Wyckholme preceded Skaggs to the grave by two winters and he willed his share of everything to his partner of thirty years’ standing.  But there was a proviso in Wyckholme’s bequest, just as there was in that of Skaggs.  Each had made his will some fifteen years or more before death and each had bequeathed his fortune to the survivor.  At the death of the survivor the entire property was to go to the grandchild of each testator, with certain reservations to be mentioned later on, each having, by investigation, discovered that he possessed a single grandchild.

The island of Japat had been the home of a Mohammedan race, the outgrowth of Arabian adventurers who had fared far from home many years before Wyckholme happened upon the island by accident.  It was a British possession and there were two or three thousand inhabitants, all Mohammedans.  Skaggs and Wyckholme purchased the land from the natives, protected and eased their rights with the government and proceeded to realise on what the natives had unwittingly prepared for them.  In course of time the natives repented of the deal which gave the Englishmen the right to pick and sell the rubies and other precious stones that they had been trading away for such trifles as silks, gewgaws and women; a revolution was imminent.  Whereupon the owners organised the entire population into a great stock company, retaining four-fifths of the property themselves.  This seemed to be a satisfactory arrangement, despite the fact that some of the more warlike leaders were difficult to appease.  But, as Messrs. Wyckholme and Skaggs owned the land and the other grants, there was little left for the islanders but arbitration.  It is only necessary to add that the beautiful island of Japat, standing like an emerald in the sapphire waters of the Orient, brought millions in money to the two men who had been unlucky in love.

And now, after more than thirty years of voluntary exile, both of them were dead, and both of them were buried in the heart of an island of rubies, their deed and their deeds remaining to posterity—­with reservations.

CHAPTER II

AN EXTRAORDINARY DOCUMENT

It appears that the Messrs. Skaggs and Wyckholme, as their dual career drew to a close, set about to learn what had become of their daughters.  Investigation proved that Wyckholme’s daughter had married a London artist named Ruthven.  The Ruthvens in turn had one child, a daughter.  Wyckholme’s wife and his daughter died when this grandchild was eight or ten years old.  By last report, the grandchild was living with her father in London.  She was a pretty young woman with scores of admirers on her hands and a very level head on her shoulders.

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