Ranson's Folly eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about Ranson's Folly.

“Tell the driver of that hansom,” he called to the servant, “that I take him by the hour.”

“For the last three days,” began young Mr. Chudleigh, “as you have probably read in the daily papers, the Marquis of Edam has been at the point of death, and his physicians have never left his house.  Every hour he seemed to grow weaker; but although his bodily strength is apparently leaving him forever, his mind has remained clear and active.  Late yesterday evening, word was received at our office that he wished my father to come at once to Chetney House and to bring with him certain papers.  What these papers were is not essential; I mention them only to explain how it was that last night I happened to be at Lord Edam’s bedside.  I accompanied my father to Chetney House, but at the time we reached there Lord Edam was sleeping, and his physicians refused to have him awakened.  My father urged that he should be allowed to receive Lord Edam’s instructions concerning the documents, but the physicians would not disturb him, and we all gathered in the library to wait until he should awake of his own accord.  It was about one o’clock in the morning, while we were still there, that Inspector Lyle and the officers from Scotland Yard came to arrest Lord Arthur on the charge of murdering his brother.  You can imagine our dismay and distress.  Like everyone else, I had learned from the afternoon papers that Lord Chetney was not dead, but that he had returned to England, and, on arriving at Chetney House, I had been told that Lord Arthur had gone to the Bath Hotel to look for his brother and to inform him that if he wished to see their father alive he must come to him at once.  Although it was now past one o’clock, Arthur had not returned.  None of us knew where Madame Zichy lived, so we could not go to recover Lord Chetney’s body.  We spent a most miserable night, hastening to the window whenever a cab came into the square, in the hope that it was Arthur returning, and endeavoring to explain away the facts that pointed to him as the murderer.  I am a friend of Arthur’s, I was with him at Harrow and at Oxford, and I refused to believe for an instant that he was capable of such a crime; but as a lawyer I could not help but see that the circumstantial evidence was strongly against him.

“Toward early morning, Lord Edam awoke, and in so much better a state of health that he refused to make the changes in the papers which he had intended, declaring that he was no nearer death than ourselves.  Under other circumstances, this happy change in him would have relieved us greatly, but none of us could think of anything save the death of his elder son and of the charge which hung over Arthur.

“As long as Inspector Lyle remained in the house, my father decided that I, as one of the legal advisers of the family, should also remain there.  But there was little for either of us to do.  Arthur did not return, and nothing occurred until late this morning, when Lyle received word that the Russian servant had been arrested.  He at once drove to Scotland Yard to question him.  He came back to us in an hour, and informed me that the servant had refused to tell anything of what had happened the night before, or of himself, or of the Princess Zichy.  He would not even give them the address of her house.

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Ranson's Folly from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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