“The history of the two Rembrandts forms one of the most curious and unique episodes in criminal annals, and not the least remarkable feature of the story is the manner in which it is pieced together by the statement of Stephen Foster and the confession of Noah Hawker. When Lamb and Drummond purchased the original Rembrandt from the collection of the late Martin Von Whele, and exhibited it in London, Stephen Foster and his confederate, Victor Nevill, laid clever plans to steal the picture. They knew that a duplicate Rembrandt, an admirable copy, was in the possession of Mr. John Vernon, the well-known artist, who was lately accused wrongfully of murder. By a cunning ruse Foster stole the duplicate, and on the night of the robbery he exchanged it for the real picture, while Nevill engaged the watchman in conversation in the Crown Court public-house. But two other men, Noah Hawker and a companion called the Spider, had designs on the same picture. Hawker, while prowling about, saw Stephen Foster emerge from Crown Court, but thought nothing of that circumstance until long afterward. So he and the Spider stole the false Rembrandt which Foster had substituted, believing it to be the real one.
“Hawker and his companion went abroad, and when they tried to dispose of their prize in Munich they learned that it was of little value. They sold it, however, for a trifling sum, and the dealer who bought it disposed of it as an original to Sir Lucius Chesney. On his return to England, hearing for the first time of the robbery, Sir Lucius took the painting to Lamb and Drummond and discovered how he had been tricked. Meanwhile Hawker and his companion quarreled and separated. Both had been under suspicion since a short time after the theft of the Rembrandt, and when the Spider was arrested in Belgium, for a crime committed in that country, he made some statements in regard to the Lamb and Drummond affair. Hawker, coming back to London, fell into the hands of the police. He had before this suspected Stephen Foster’s crime, and when he found how strong the case was against himself, he told all that he knew. Scotland Yard took the matter up, and quickly discovered more evidence, which warranted them in arresting Foster yesterday. They found the original Rembrandt in his safe, and the unfortunate man, after writing a complete confession, committed suicide. His fellow-criminal, Victor Nevill, must have received timely warning. The police have not succeeded in apprehending him, and it is believed that he crossed to the Continent last night.”
It was not until the middle of the day that the papers printed the complete story. Sir Lucius and Jack had a long talk about that and other matters, and in the afternoon they went together to the house at Strand-on-the-Green, and left messages of sympathy for Miss Foster; she was too prostrated to see any person, Mrs. Sedgewick informed them. Three days later, after the burial of Stephen Foster, Jack returned alone. He found the house closed, and a neighbor told him that Madge and Mrs. Sedgewick had gone away and left no address.