“I wish,” he said at length, “I wish I had known this only two months ago. I wish I had paid more attention to Iris. What a dreadful thing it is to have a grandfather who keeps secrets from his grandson. What a game we might have had over this job! What a game we might have still if—”
And here he stopped, for the first germ or conception of a magnificent coup dawned upon him, and fairly dazzled him so that his eyes saw a bright light and nothing else.
“If Lotty would,” he said. “But I am afraid she won’t hear of it.” He sprung to his feet and caught sight of his own face in the looking glass over the fireplace. He smiled. “I will try,” he said, “I think I know by this time, how to get round most of ’em. Once they get to feel there are other women in the world besides themselves, they’re pretty easy worked. I will try.”
One has only to add to the revelations already made that Joe paid a second visit to the shop, this time early in the morning. The shutters were only just taken down. James was going about with that remarkable watering-pot only used in shops, which has a little stream running out of it, and Mr. Emblem was upstairs slowly shaving and dressing in his bedroom. He walked in, nodded to his friend the assistant, opened the safe, and put back the roll.
“Now,” he murmured, “if the old man has really been such a dunder-headed pump as not to open the packet all these years, what the devil can he know? The name is different; he hasn’t got any clew to the will; he hasn’t got the certificate of his daughter’s marriage, or of the child’s baptism—both in the real name. He hasn’t got anything. As for the girl here, Iris, having the same christian-name, that’s nothing. I suppose there is more than one woman with such a fool of a name as that about in the world.
“Foxy,” he said cheerfully, “have you found anything yet about the investments? Odd, isn’t it? Nothing in the safe at all. You can have your key back.”
He tossed him the key carelessly and went away.
The question of his grandfather’s savings was grown insignificant beside this great and splendid prize which lay waiting for him. What could the savings be? At best a few thousands; the slowly saved thrift of fifty years; nobody knew better than Joe himself how much his own profligacies had cost his grandfather; a few thousands, and those settled on his Cousin Iris, so that, to get his share, he would have to try every kind of persuasion unless he could get up a case for law. But the other thing—why, it was nearly all personal estate, so far as he could learn by the will, and he had read it over and over again in the room at Somerset House, with the long table in it, and the watchful man who won’t let anybody copy anything. What a shame, he thought, not to let wills be copied! Personalty sworn under a hundred and twenty thousand, all in three per cents, and devised to a certain young lady, the testator’s ward, in trust, for the testator’s son, or his heirs, when he or they should present themselves. Meantime, the ward was to receive for her own use and benefit, year by year, the whole income.