Now, the door was open to the staircase, and the door of communication between the shop and the house-passage was also open. This seems a detail hardly worth noting; yet it proved of the greatest importance. From such small trifles follow great events. Observe that as yet no positive proof was in the hands of the two conspirators which would actually connect Iris with Claude Deseret. The proofs were in the stolen papers, and though Clara had those papers, who was to show that these papers were actually those in the sealed packet?
When Mr. Emblem finished speaking, no one replied, because Arnold and Lala knew the facts already, but did not wish to spread them abroad: and next, because to Iris it was nothing new that her cousin was a bad man, and because she thought, now that the Man in Possession was gone, they might just as well forget the papers, and go on as if all this fuss had not happened.
In the silence that followed this speech, they heard the voice of James down-stairs, saying:
“I am sorry to say, sir, that Mr. Emblem is ill upstairs, and you can’t see him to-day.”
“Ill, is he? I am very sorry. Take him my compliments, James. Mr. Frank Farrar’s compliments, and tell him—”
And then Mr. Emblem sprung to his feet, crying:
“Stop him! stop him! Go down-stairs, some one, and stop him! I don’t know where he lives. Stop him! stop him!”
Arnold rushed down the stairs. He found in the shop an elderly gentleman, carrying a bundle of books. It was, in fact, Mr. Farrar come to negotiate the sale of another work from his library.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” said Arnold, “Mr. Emblem is most anxious to see you. Would you step upstairs?”
“Quick, Mr. Farrar—quick,” the old man held him tight by the hand. “Tell me before my memory runs away with me again—tell me. Listen, Iris! Yet it doesn’t matter, because you have already—Tell me—” He seemed about to wander again, but he pulled himself together with a great effort. “You knew my son-in-law before his marriage?”
“Surely, Mr. Emblem; I knew your son-in-law, and his father, and all his people.”
“And his name was not Aglen, at all?” asked Arnold.
“No; he took the name of Aglen from a fancied feeling of pride when he quarreled with his father about—well, it was about his marriage, as you know, Mr. Emblem; he came to London, and tried to make his way by writing, and thought to do it, and either to hide a failure or brighten a success, by using a pseudonym. People were more jealous about their names in those days. He had better,” added the unsuccessful veteran of letters, “he had far better have made his living as a—as a”—he looked about him for a fitting simile—“as a bookseller.”
“Then, sir,” said Arnold, “what was his real name?”
“His name was Claude Deseret, of course.”
“Iris,” said Arnold, taking her hand, “this is the last proof. We have known it for four or five days, but we wanted the final proof, and now we have it. My dear, you are the cousin of Clara Holland, and all her fortune, by her grandfather’s will, is yours. This is the secret of the safe. This was what the stolen papers told you.”