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The Paradise Mystery eBook

J. S. Fletcher
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about The Paradise Mystery.

“Isn’t there a register of burials within the Cathedral?” he inquired.  “Some book in which they’re put down?  I was looking in the Memorials of Wrychester the other day, and I saw some names I want to trace.”

Campany lifted his quill pen and pointed to a case of big leather-bound volumes in a far corner of the room.

“Third shelf from the bottom, doctor,” he replied.  “You’ll see two books there—­one’s the register of all burials within the Cathedral itself up to date:  the other’s the register of those in Paradise and the cloisters.  What names are you wanting to trace?”

But Bryce affected not to hear the last question; he walked over to the place which Campany had indicated, and taking down the second book carried it to an adjacent table.  Campany called across the room to him.

“You’ll find useful indexes at the end,” he said.  “They’re all brought up to the present time—­from four hundred years ago, nearly.”

Bryce turned to the index at the end of his book—­an index written out in various styles of handwriting.  And within a minute he found the name he wanted—­there it was plainly before him—­Richard Jenkins, died March 8th, 1715:  buried, in Paradise, March 10th.  He nearly laughed aloud at the ease with which he was tracing out what at first had seemed a difficult matter to investigate.  But lest his task should seem too easy, he continued to turn over the leaves of the big folio, and in order to have an excuse if the librarian should ask him any further questions, he memorized some of the names which he saw.  And after a while he took the book back to its shelf, and turned to the wall on which the charts and maps were hung.  There was one there of Paradise, whereon was marked the site and names of all the tombs and graves in that ancient enclosure; from it he hoped to ascertain the exact position and whereabouts of Richard Jenkins’s grave.

But here Bryce met his first check.  Down each side of the old chart—­dated 1850—­there was a tabulated list of the tombs in Paradise.  The names of families and persons were given in this list—­against each name was a number corresponding with the same number, marked on the various divisions of the chart.  And there was no Richard Jenkins on that list—­he went over it carefully twice, thrice.  It was not there.  Obviously, if the tomb of Richard Jenkins, who was buried in Paradise in 1715, was still there, amongst the cypresses and yew trees, the name and inscription on it had vanished, worn away by time and weather, when that chart had been made, a hundred and thirty-five years later.  And in that case, what did the memorandum mean which Bryce had found in the dead man’s purse?

He turned away at last from the chart, at a loss—­and Campany glanced at him.

“Found what you wanted?” he asked.

“Oh, yes!” replied Bryce, primed with a ready answer.  “I just wanted to see where the Spelbanks were buried—­quite a lot of them, I see.”

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