[MANAGER. Just a reminder that Mr. T.P. O’Connor has to pass this before it can be produced.]—he married her—
[MANAGER. Oh, I beg pardon.]—and for some weeks they lived happily together. One day he informed Jessie that he would have to go back to his work in London, and that it might be a year or more before he could acknowledge her openly as his wife to his rich and proud parents. Jessie was prostrated with grief; and late that afternoon her hat and fringe-net were discovered by the edge of the waters. Realizing at once that she must have drowned herself in her distress, Andrew took an affecting farewell of her father and the sheep, and returned to London. A year later he married a distant cousin, and soon rose to a condition of prosperity. At the time our film begins to unwind, he was respected by everybody in the City, a widower, and the father of a beautiful girl of eighteen called Hyacinth.
[MANAGER. Now we’re off. What do we start with?]
On the sunny side of Fenchurch Street—
[MANAGER. Ah, then I suppose we’d better keep back the Rescue from the Alligator and the Plunge down Niagara in a Barrel.]
—Andrew Bellingham was dozing in his office. Suddenly he awoke to find a strange man standing over him.
“Who are you?” asked Mr. Bellingham. “What do you want?”
“My name is Jasper,” was the answer, “and I have some information to give you.” He bent down and hissed, “Your first wife is still alive!”
Andrew started up in obvious horror. “My daughter,” he gasped, “my little Hyacinth! She must never know.”
“Listen. Your wife is in Spain—
[MANAGER. Don’t waste her. Make it somewhere where there are sharks.
AUTHOR. It’s all right, she’s dead really.]—and she will not trouble you. Give me a thousand pounds and you shall have these; and he held out a packet containing the marriage certificate, a photograph of Jessie’s father dipping a sheep, a receipted bill for a pair of white gloves, size 9-1/2, two letters signed “Your own loving little Andy Pandy,” and a peppermint with “Jess” on it in pink. Once these are locked up in your safe, no one need ever know that you were married in Cornwall twenty-five years ago.”
Without a moment’s hesitation Mr. Bellingham took a handful of bank notes from his pocketbook, and the exchange was made. At all costs he must preserve his little Hyacinth from shame. Now she need never know. With a forced smile he bowed Jasper out, placed the packet in his safe and returned to his desk.
But his mysterious visitor was not done with yet. As soon as the door had closed behind him Jasper re-entered softly, drugged Andrew hastily, and took possession again of the compromising documents. By the time Mr. Bellingham had regained his senses the thief was away. A hue-and-cry was raised, police whistles were blown, and Richard Harrington, Mr. Bellingham’s private secretary, was smartly arrested.