Nothing, however, was heard by the police or by ourselves for the next three or four days; and then—I think it was the fourth day after the inquest—I looked up from my desk in Mr. Lindsey’s outer office one afternoon to see Maisie Dunlop coming in at the door, followed by an elderly woman, poorly but respectably dressed, a stranger.
“Hugh,” said Maisie, coming up to my side, “your mother asked me to bring this woman up to see Mr. Lindsey. She’s just come in from the south, and she says she’s yon James Gilverthwaite’s sister.”
THE MARINE-STORE DEALER
Mr. Lindsey was standing just within his own room when Maisie and the strange woman came into the office, and hearing what was said, he called us all three to go into him. And, like myself, he looked at the woman with a good deal of curiosity, wanting—as I did—to see some likeness to the dead man. But there was no likeness to be seen, for whereas Gilverthwaite was a big and stalwart fellow, this was a small and spare woman, whose rusty black clothes made her look thinner and more meagre than she really was. All the same, when she spoke I knew there was a likeness between them, for her speech was like his, different altogether from ours of the Border.
“So you believe you’re the sister of this man James Gilverthwaite, ma’am?” began Mr. Lindsey, motioning the visitor to sit down, and beckoning Maisie to stop with us. “What might your name be, now?”
“I believe this man that’s talked about in the newspapers is my brother, sir,” answered the woman. “Else I shouldn’t have taken the trouble to come all this way. My name’s Hanson—Mrs. Hanson. I come from Garston, near Liverpool.”
“Aye—just so—a Lancashire woman,” said Mr. Lindsey, nodding. “Your name would be Gilverthwaite, then, before you were married?”
“To be sure, sir—same as James’s,” she replied. “Him and me was the only two there was. I’ve brought papers with me that’ll prove what I say. I went to a lawyer before ever I came, and he told me to come at once, and to bring my marriage lines, and a copy of James’s birth certificate, and one or two other things of that sort. There’s no doubt that this man we’ve read about in the newspapers was my brother, and of course I would like to put in my claim to what he’s left—if he’s left it to nobody else.”
“Just so,” agreed Mr. Lindsey. “Aye—and how long is it since you last saw your brother, now?”
The woman shook her head as if this question presented difficulties.
“I couldn’t rightly say to a year or two, no, not even to a few years,” she answered. “And to the best of my belief, sir, it’ll be a good thirty years, at the least. It was just after I was married to Hanson, and that was when I was about three-and-twenty, and I was fifty-six last birthday. James came—once—to see me and Hanson soon after we was settled down, and I’ve never set eyes on him from that day to this. But—I should know him now.”