<-- Version 1.1; released as HTML: 97-jul-27 -->

The following is a Gaslight etext....

A message to you about copyright and permissions

"Lord Chizelrigg's missing fortune"

     from _The triumphs of Eugene Valmont"  (1906)

       by Robert Barr



THE name of the late Lord Chizelrigg never comes to my mind
without instantly suggesting that of Mr. T.A. Edison.  I never
saw the late Lord Chizelrigg, and I have met Mr. Edison only
twice in my life, yet the two men are linked in my memory, and it
was a remark the latter once made that in great measure enabled
me to solve the mystery which the former had wrapped round his

  There is no memorandum at hand to tell me the year in which
those two meetings with Edison took place.  I received a note
from the Italian Ambassador in Paris requesting me to wait upon
him at the Embassy.  I learned that on the next day a deputation
was to set out from the Embassy to one of the chief hotels, there
to make a call in state upon the great American inventor, and
formally present to him various insignia accompanying certain
honors which the King of Italy had conferred upon him.  As many
Italian nobles of high rank had been invited, and as these
dignitaries would not only be robed in the costumes pertaining to
their orders, but in many cases would wear jewels of almost
inestimable value, my presence was desired in the belief that I
might perhaps be able to ward off any attempt on the part of the
deft-handed gentry who might possibly make an effort to gain
these treasures, and I may add, with perhaps some little
self-gratification, no contretemps occurred.  Mr. Edison, of
course, had long before received notification of the hour at
which the deputation would wait upon him, but when we entered the
large parlor assigned to the inventor, it was evident to me at a
glance that the celebrated man had forgotten all about the
function.  He stood by a bare table, from which the cloth had
been jerked and flung into a corner, and upon that table were
placed several bits of black and greasy machinery--cog-wheels,
pulleys, bolts, etc.  These seemingly belonged to a French
workman who stood on the other side of the table, with one of the
parts in his grimy hand.  Edison's own hands were not too clean,
for he had palpably been examining the material, and conversing
with the workman, who wore the ordinary long blouse of an iron
craftsman in a small way.  I judged him to be a man with a little
shop of his own in some back street, who did odd jobs of
engineering, assisted, perhaps, by a skilled helper or two, and a
few apprentices.  Edison looked sternly toward the door as the
solemn procession filed in, and there was a trace of annoyance on
his face at the interruption, mixed with a shade of perplexity to
what this gorgeous display all meant.  The Italian as ceremonious
as the Spaniard where a function is concerned and the official
who held the ornate box which contained the jewelry resting on a
velvet cushion stepped slowly forward, and came to a stand in
front of the bewildered American.  Then the Ambassador, in
sonorous voice, spoke some gracious words regarding the
friendship existing between the United States and Italy,
expressed a wish that their rivalry should ever take the form of
benefits conferred upon the human race, and instanced the honored
recipient as the most notable example the world had yet produced
of a man bestowing blessings upon all nations in the arts of
peace.  The eloquent Ambassador concluded by saying that, at the
command of his royal master, it was both his duty and his
pleasure to present, and so forth and so forth.

  Mr. Edison, visibly ill at ease, nevertheless made a suitable
reply in the fewest possible words, and the etalage being thus at
an end, the noblemen, headed by their Ambassador, slowly retired,
myself forming the tail of the procession.  Inwardly I deeply
sympathized with the French workman who thus unexpectedly found
himself confronted by so much magnificence.  He cast one wild
look about him, but saw that his retreat was cut off, unless he
displaced some of these gorgeous grandees.  He tried then to
shrink into himself, and finally stood helpless, like one
paralyzed.  In spite of republican institutions, there is deep
down in every Frenchman's heart a respect and awe for official
pageants, sumptuously staged and costumed as this one was.  But
he likes to view it from afar, and supported by his fellows, not
thrust incongruously into the midst of things, as was the case
with this panic-stricken engineer.  As I passed out, I cast 
glance over my shoulder at the humble artisan content with a
profit of a few francs a day, and at the millionaire inventor
opposite him.  Edison's face, which during the address had been
cold and impassive, reminding me vividly of a bust of Napoleon,
was now all aglow with enthusiasm as he turned to his humble
visitor.  He cried joyfully to the workman:
  "A minute's demonstration is worth an hour's explanation.  I'll
call round to-morrow at your shop, about ten o'clock, and show
you how to make the thing work."

  I lingered in the hall until the Frenchman came out, then,
introducing myself to him, asked the privilege of visiting his
shop next day at ten.  This was accorded with that courtesy which
you will always find among the industrial classes of France, and
next day I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Edison.  During our
conversation I complimented him on his invention of the
incandescent electric light, and this was the reply that has ever
remained in my memory:
  "It was not an invention, but a discovery.  We knew what we
wanted: a carbonized tissue, which would withstand the electric
current in a vacuum for, say, a thousand hours.  If no such
tissue existed, then the incandescent light, as we know it, was
not possible.  My assistants started out to find this tissue, and
we simply carbonized everything we could lay our hands on, and
ran the current through it in a vacuum.  At last we struck the
right thing, as we were bound to do if we kept on long enough,
and if the thing existed.  Patience and hard work will overcome
any obstacle."

  This belief has been of great assistance to me in my
profession.  I know the idea is prevalent that a detective
arrives at his solutions in a dramatic way through following
clews invisible to the ordinary man.  This doubtless frequently
happens, but, as a general thing, the patience and hard work
which Mr. Edison commends is a much safer guide.  Very often the
following of excellent clews has led me to disaster, as was the
case with my unfortunate attempt to solve the mystery of the five
hundred diamonds.

  As I was saying, I never think of the late Lord Chizelrigg
without remembering Mr. Edison at the same time, and yet the two
were very dissimilar.  I suppose Lord Chizelrigg was the most
useless man that ever lived, while Edison is the opposite.

  One day my servant brought in to me a card on which was
engraved "Lord Chizelrigg."

  "Show his lordship in," I said, and there appeared a young man
of perhaps twenty-four or twenty-five, well dressed, and of most
charming manners, who, nevertheless, began his interview by
asking a question such as had never before been addressed to me,
and which, if put to a solicitor or other professional man, would
have been answered with some indignation.  Indeed, I believe it
is a written or unwritten law of the legal profession that the
acceptance of such a proposal as Lord Chizelrigg made to me
would, if proved, result in the disgrace and ruin of the lawyer.

  "Monsieur Valmont," began Lord Chizelrigg, "do you ever take up
cases on speculation?"

  "On speculation, sir?  I do not think I understand you."

  His lordship blushed like a girl, and stammered slightly as he
attempted an explanation.

  "What I mean is, do you accept a case on a contingent fee?
That is to say, monsieur--er--well, not to put too fine a point
upon it, no results, no pay."

  I replied somewhat severely:
  "Such an offer has never been made to me, and I may say at once
that I should be compelled to decline it were I favored with the
opportunity.  In the cases submitted to me, I devote my time and
attention to their solution.  I try to deserve success, but I
cannot command it, and as in the interim I must live, I am
reluctantly compelled to make a charge for my time, at least. 
I believe the doctor sends in his bill, though the patient dies."

  The young man laughed uneasily, and seemed almost too
embarrassed to proceed, but finally he said:
  "Your illustration strikes home with greater accuracy than
probably you imagined when you uttered it.  I have just paid my
last penny to the physician who attended my late uncle, Lord
Chizelrigg, who died six months ago.  I am fully aware that the
suggestion I made may seem like a reflection upon your skill, or,
rather, as implying a doubt regarding it.  But I should be
grieved, monsieur, if you fell into such an error.  I could have
come here and commissioned you to undertake some elucidation of
the strange situation in which I find myself, and I make no doubt
you would have accepted the task if your numerous engagements had
permitted.  Then, if you failed, I should have been unable to pay
you, for I am practically bankrupt.  My whole desire, therefore,
was to make an honest beginning, and to let you know exactly how
I stand.  If you succeed, I shall be a rich man; if you do not
succeed, I shall be what I am now, penniless.  Have I made it
plain now why I began with a question which you had every right
to resent?"

  "Perfectly plain, my lord, and your candor does you credit."

  I was very much taken with the unassuming manners of the young
man, and his evident desire to accept no service under false
pretenses.  When I had finished my sentence the pauper nobleman
rose to his feet and bowed.

  "I am very much your debtor, monsieur, for your courtesy in
receiving me, and can only beg pardon for occupying your time on
a futile quest.  I wish you good morning, monsieur."

  "One moment, my lord," I rejoined, waving him to his chair
again.  "Although I am unprepared to accept a commission on the
terms you suggest, I may, nevertheless, be able to offer a hint
or two that will prove of service to you.  I think I remember the
announcement of Lord Chizelrigg's death.  He was somewhat
eccentric, was he not?"

  "Eccentric?" said the young man, with a slight laugh, seating
himself again.  "Well, rather!"

  "I vaguely remember that he was accredited with the possession
of something like twenty thousand acres of land?"

  "Twenty-seven thousand, as a matter of fact," replied my

  "Have you fallen heir to the lands as well as to the title?"

  "Oh, yes; the estate was entailed.  The old gentleman could not
divert it from me if he would, and I rather suspect that fact
must have been the cause of some worry to him."

  "But surely, my lord, a man who owns, as one might say, a
principality in this wealthy realm of England, cannot be

  Again the young man laughed.

  "Well, no," he replied, thrusting his hand in his pocket and
bringing to light a few brown coppers and a white silver piece. 
"I possess enough money to buy some food to-night, but not enough
to dine at the Hotel Cecil.  You see, it is like this.  I belong
to a somewhat ancient family, various members of whom went the
pace, and mortgaged their acres up to the hilt.  I could not
raise a further penny on my estates were I to try my hardest,
because at the time the money was lent, land was much more
valuable than it is to-day.  Agricultural depression and all that
sort of thing, have, if I may put it so, left me a good many
thousands worse off than if I had no land at all.  Besides this,
during my late uncle's life, Parliament, on his behalf,
intervened once or twice, allowing him in the first place to cut
valuable timber, and in the second place to sell the pictures of
Chizelrigg Chase at Christie's for figures which make one's mouth

  "And what became of the money?" I asked; whereupon once more
this genial nobleman laughed.

  "That is exactly what I came up in the lift to learn if
Monsieur Valmont could discover."

  "My lord, you interest me," I said, quite truly, with an uneasy
apprehension that I should take up his case after all, for I
liked the young man already.  His lack of pretense appealed to
me, and that sympathy which is so universal among my countrymen
enveloped him, as I may say, quite independent of my own will.

  "My uncle," went on Lord Chizelrigg, "was somewhat of an
anomaly in our family.  He must have been a reversal to a very,
very ancient type; a type of which we have no record.  He was as
miserly as his forefathers were prodigal.  When he came into the
title and estate some twenty years ago, he dismissed the whole
retinue of servants, and, indeed, was defendant in several cases
at law where retainers of our family brought suit against him for
wrongful dismissal, or dismissal without a penny compensation in
lieu of notice.  I am pleased to say he lost all his cases, and
when he pleaded poverty, got permission to sell a certain number
of heirlooms, enabling him to make compensation, and giving him
something on which to live.  These heirlooms at auction sold so
unexpectedly well, that my uncle acquired a taste, as it were, of
what might be done.  He could always prove that the rents went to
the mortgagees, and that he had nothing on which to exist, so on
several occasions he obtained permission from the courts to cut
timber and sell pictures, until he denuded the estate and made an
empty barn of the old manor house.  He lived like any laborer,
occupying himself sometimes as a carpenter, sometimes as a
blacksmith; indeed, he made a blacksmith's shop of the library,
one of the most noble rooms in Britain, containing thousands of
valuable books which again and again he applied for permission to
sell, but this privilege was never granted to him.  I find, on
coming into the property, that my uncle quite persistently evaded
the law, and depleted this superb collection, book by book,
surreptitiously, through dealers in London.  This, of course,
would have got him into deep trouble if it had been discovered
before his death, but now the valuable volumes are gone, and
there is no redress.  Many of them are doubtless in America or in
museums and collections of Europe."

  "You wish me to trace them, perhaps?" I interpolated.

  "Oh, no; they are past praying for.  The old man made tens of
thousands by the sale of the timber, and other tens of thousands
by disposing of the pictures.  The house is denuded of its fine
old furniture, which was immensely valuable, and then the books,
as I have said, must have brought in the revenue of a prince, if
he got anything like their value, and you may be sure he was
shrewd enough to know their worth.  Since the last refusal of the
courts to allow him further relief, as he termed it, which was
some seven years ago, he had quite evidently been disposing of
books and furniture by a private sale, in defiance of the law. 
At that time I was under age, but my guardians opposed his
application to the courts, and demanded an account of the moneys
already in his hands.  The judges upheld the opposition of my
guardians, and refused to allow a further spoliation of the
estate, but they did not grant the accounting my guardians asked,
because the proceeds of the former sales were entirely at the
disposal of my uncle, and were sanctioned by the law to permit
him to live as befitted his station.  If he lived meagerly
instead of lavishly, as my guardians contended, that, the judges
said, was his affair, and there the matter ended.

   My uncle took a violent dislike to me on account of this
opposition to his last application, although, of course, I had
nothing whatever to do with the matter.  He lived like a hermit,
mostly in the library, and was waited upon by an old man and his
wife, and these three were the only inhabitants of a mansion that
could comfortably house a hundred.  He visited nobody, and would
allow no one to approach Chizelrigg Chase.  In order that all who
had the misfortune to have dealings with him should continue to
endure trouble after his death, he left what might be called a
will, but which rather may be termed a letter to me.  Here is a
copy of it:

       MY DEAR Tom: You will find your fortune between a couple
     of sheets of paper in the library.  
                         Your affectionate uncle,
                      REGINALD MORAN, Earl of Chizelrigg.

  "I should doubt if that were a legal will," said I.  "It
doesn't need to be," replied the young man with a smile.  "I am
next of kin, and heir to everything he possessed, although, of
course, he might have given his money elsewhere if he had chosen
to do so.  Why he did not bequeath it to some institution, I do
not know.  He knew no man personally except his own servants,
whom he misused and starved; but, as he told them, he misused and
starved himself, so they had no cause to grumble.  He said he was
treating them like one of the family.  I suppose he thought it
would cause me more worry and anxiety if he concealed the money,
and put me on the wrong scent, which I am convinced he has done,
than to leave it openly to any person or charity."

  "I need not ask if you have searched the library?"

  "Searched it?  Why, there never was such a search since the
world began!"

  "Possibly you put the task into incompetent hands?"

  "You are hinting, Monsieur Valmont, that I engaged others until
my money was gone, then came to you with a speculative proposal. 
Let me assure you such is not the case.  Incompetent hands, I
grant you, but the hands were my own.  For the past six months I
have lived practically as my uncle lived.  I have rummaged that
library from floor to ceiling.  It was left in a frightful state,
littered with old newspapers, accounts, and what not.  Then, of
course, there were the books remaining in the library, still a
formidable collection."

  "Was your uncle a religious man?"

  "I could not say.  I surmise not.  You see, I was unacquainted
with him, and never saw him until after his death.  I fancy he
was not religious, otherwise he could not have acted as he did. 
Still, he proved himself a man of such twisted mentality that
anything is possible."

  "I knew a case once where an heir who expected a large sum of
money was bequeathed a family Bible, which he threw into the
fire, learning afterwards, to his dismay, that it contained many
thousands of pounds in Bank of England notes, the object of the
devisor being to induce the legatee to read the good Book or
suffer through the neglect of it."

  "I have searched the scriptures," said the youthful earl with a
laugh, "but the benefit has been moral rather than material."

  "Is there any chance that your uncle has deposited his wealth
in a bank, and has written a check for the amount, leaving it
between two leaves of a book?"

  "Anything is possible, monsieur, but I think that highly
improbable.  I have gone through every tome, page by page, and I
suspect very few of the volumes have been opened for the last
twenty years."

  "How much money do you estimate he accumulated?"

  "He must have cleared more than a hundred thousand pounds, but
speaking of banking it, I would like to say that my uncle evinced
a deep distrust of banks, and never drew a check in his life, so
far as I am aware.  All accounts were paid in gold by his old
steward, who first brought the receipted bill in to my uncle, and
then received the exact amount, after having left the room, and
waited until he was rung for, so that he might not learn the
repository from which my uncle drew his store.  I believe if the
money is ever found it will be in gold, and I am very sure that
this will was written, if we may call it a will, to put us on the
wrong scent."

  "Have you had the library cleared out?"

  "Oh, no; it is practically as my uncle left it.  I realized
that if I were to call in help, it would be well that the
newcomer found it undisturbed."

  "You were quite right, my lord.  You say you examined all the

  "Yes; so far as that is concerned, the room has been very
fairly gone over, but nothing that was in it the day my uncle
died has been removed, not even his anvil."

  "His anvil?"

  "Yes; I told you he made a blacksmith's shop, as well as
bedroom, of the library.  It is a huge room, with a great
fireplace at one end which formed an excellent forge.  He and the
steward built the forge in the eastern fireplace, of brick and
clay, with their own hands, and erected there a secondhand
blacksmith's bellows."

  "What work did he do at his forge?"

  "Oh, anything that was required about the place.  He seems to
have been a very expert ironworker.  He would never buy a new
implement for the garden or the house so long as he could get one
secondhand, and he never bought anything secondhand while at his
forge he might repair what was already in use.  He kept an old
cob, on which he used to ride through the park, and he always put
the shoes on this cob himself, the steward informs me, so he must
have understood the use of blacksmith's tools.  He made a
carpenter's shop of the chief drawing-room and erected a bench
there.  I think a very useful mechanic was spoiled when my uncle
became an earl."

  "You have been living at the Chase since your uncle died?"

  "If you call it living, yes.  The old steward and his wife have
been looking after me, as they looked after my uncle, and, seeing
me day after day, coatless, and covered with dust, I imagine they
think me a second edition of the old man."

  "Does the steward know the money is missing?"

  "No; no one knows it but myself.  This will was left on the
anvil, in an envelope addressed to me."

  "Your statement is exceedingly clear, Lord Chizelrigg, but I
confess I don't see much daylight through it.  Is there a
pleasant country around Chizelrigg Chase?"

  "Very; especially at this season of the year.  In autumn and
winter the house is a little draughty.  It needs several thousand
pounds to put it in repair."

  "Draughts do not matter in the summer.  I have been long enough
in England not to share the fear of my countrymen for a courant
d'air.  Is there a spare bed in the manor house, or shall I take
down a cot with me, or let us say a hammock?"

  "Really," stammered the earl, blushing again, "you must not
think I detailed all these circumstances in order to influence
you to take up what may be a hopeless case.  I, of course, am
deeply interested, and, therefore, somewhat prone to be carried
away when I begin a recital of my uncle's eccentricities.  If I
receive your permission, I will call on you again in a month or
two.  To tell you the truth, I borrowed a little money from the
old steward, and visited London to see my legal advisers, hoping
that in the circumstances I may get permission to sell something
that will keep me from starvation.  When I spoke of the house
being denuded, I meant relatively, of course.  There are still a
good many antiquities which would doubtless bring me in a
comfortable sum of money.  I have been borne up by the belief
that I should find my uncle's gold.  Lately I have been beset by
a suspicion that the old gentleman thought the library the only
valuable asset left, and for this reason wrote his note, thinking
I would be afraid to sell anything from that room.  The old
rascal must have made a pot of money out of those shelves.  The
catalogue shows that there was a copy of the first book printed
in England by Caxton, and several priceless Shakespeares, as well
as many other volumes that a collector would give a small fortune
for.  All these are gone.  I think when I show this to be the
case, the authorities cannot refuse me the right to sell
something, and, if I get this permission, I shall at once call
upon you."

  "Nonsense, Lord Chizelrigg.  Put your application in motion, if
you like.  Meanwhile, I beg of you to look upon me as a more
substantial banker than your old steward.  Let us enjoy a good
dinner together at the Cecil to-night, if you will do me the
honor to be my guest.  To-morrow we can leave for Chizelrigg
Chase.  How far is it?"

  "About three hours," replied the young man, becoming as red as
a new Queen Anne villa.  "Really, Monsieur Valmont, you overwhelm
me with your kindness, but nevertheless I accept your generous

  "Then that's settled.  What's the name of the old steward?"


  "You are certain he has no knowledge of the hiding-place of
this treasure?"

  "Oh, quite sure.  My uncle was not a man to make a confidant of
anyone, least of all an old babbler like Higgins."

  "Well, I should like to be introduced to Higgins as a benighted
foreigner.  That will make him despise me, and treat me like a

  "Oh, I say," protested the earl, "I should have thought you'd
lived long enough in England to have got out of the notion that
we do not appreciate the foreigner.  Indeed, we are the only
nation in the world that extends a cordial welcome to him, rich
or poor."

  "Certainement, my lord, I should be deeply disappointed did you
not take me at my proper valuation, but I cherish no delusions
regarding the contempt with which Higgins will regard me.  He
will look upon me as a sort of simpleton to whom the Lord has
been unkind by not making England my native land.  Now, Higgins
must be led to believe that I am in his own class; that is, a
servant of yours.  Higgins and I will gossip over the fire
together, should these spring evenings prove chilly, and before
two or three weeks are past I shall have learned a great deal
about your uncle that you never dreamed of.  Higgins will talk
more freely with a fellow-servant than with his master, however
much he may respect that master, and then, as I am a foreigner,
he will babble down to my comprehension, and I shall get details
that he never would think of giving to a fellow-countryman." 



THE young earl's modesty in such description of his home as he
had given me left me totally unprepared for the grandeur of
the mansion, one corner of which he inhabited.  It is such a
place as you read of in romances of the Middle Ages; not a
pinnacled or turreted French chateau of that period, but a
beautiful and substantial stone manor house of a ruddy color,
whose warm hue seemed to add a softness to the severity of its
architecture.  It is built round an outer and an inner courtyard,
and could house a thousand, rather than the hundred with which
its owner had accredited it. There are many stone-mullioned
windows, and one at the end of the library might well have graced
a cathedral.  This superb residence occupies the center of a
heavily timbered park, and from the lodge at the gates we drove
at least a mile and a half under the grandest avenue of old oaks
I have ever seen.  It seemed incredible that the owner of all
this should actually lack the ready money to pay his fare to

  Old Higgins met us at the station with a somewhat rickety cart,
to which was attached the ancient cob that the late earl used to
shoe.  We entered a noble hall, which probably looked the larger
because of the entire absence of any kind of furniture, unless
two complete suits of venerable armor which stood on either
hand might be considered as furnishing.  I laughed aloud when the
door was shut, and the sound echoed like the merriment of ghosts
from the dim timbered roof above me.

  "What are you laughing at?" asked the earl.

  "I am laughing to see you put your modern tall hat on that
mediaeval helmet."

  "Oh, that's it!  Well, put yours on the other.  I mean no
disrespect to the ancestor who wore this suit, but we are short
of the harmless, necessary hatrack, so I put my topper on the
antique helmet, and thrust the umbrella (if I have one) in behind
here, and down one of his legs.  Since I came in possession, a
very crafty-looking dealer from London visited me, and attempted
to sound me regarding the sale of these suits of armor.  I
gathered he would give enough money to keep me in new suits,
London made, for the rest of my life, but when I endeavored to
find out if he had had commercial dealings with my prophetic
uncle, he became frightened and bolted.  I imagine that if I
had possessed presence of mind enough to have lured him into one
of our most uncomfortable dungeons, I might have learned where
some of the family treasures went to.  Come up these stairs,
Monsieur Valmont, and I will show you your room."

  We had lunched on the train coming down, so after a wash in my
own room I proceeded at once to inspect the library.  It proved,
indeed, a most noble apartment, and it had been scandalously used
by the old reprobate, its late tenant.  There were two huge
fireplaces, one in the middle of the north wall and the other at
the eastern end.  In the latter had been erected a rude brick
forge, and beside the forge hung a great black bellows, smoky
with usage.  On a wooden block lay the anvil, and around it
rested and rusted several hammers, large and small.  At the
western end was a glorious window filled with ancient stained
glass, which, as I have said, might have adorned a cathedral. 
Extensive as the collection of books was, the great size of this
chamber made it necessary that only the outside wall should be
covered with bookcases, and even these were divided by tall
windows.  The opposite wall was blank, with the exception of a
picture here and there, and these pictures offered a further
insult to the room, for they were cheap prints, mostly colored
lithographs that had appeared in Christmas numbers of London
weekly journals, incased in poverty-stricken frames, hanging from
nails ruthlessly driven in above them.  The floor was covered
with a litter of papers, in some places knee-deep, and in the
corner farthest from the forge still stood the bed on which the
ancient miser had died.

  "Looks like a stable, doesn't it?" commented the earl, when I
had finished my inspection.  "I am sure the old boy simply filled
it up with this rubbish to give me the trouble of examining it. 
Higgins tells me that up to within a month before he died the
room was reasonably clear of all this muck.  Of course it had to
be, or the place would have caught fire from the sparks
of the forge.  The old man made Higgins gather all the papers he
could find anywhere about the place, ancient accounts,
newspapers, and what not, even to the brown wrapping paper you
see, in which parcels came, and commanded him to strew the floor
with this litter, because, as he complained, Higgins's boots on
the boards made too much noise, and Higgins, who is not in the
least of an inquiring mind, accepted this explanation as entirely
meeting the case."

  Higgins proved to be a garrulous old fellow, who needed no
urging to talk about the late earl; indeed, it was almost
impossible to deflect his conversation into any other channel. 
Twenty years' intimacy with the eccentric nobleman had largely
obliterated that sense of deference with which an English servant
usually approaches his master.  An English underling's idea of
nobility is the man who never by any possibility works with his
hands.  The fact that Lord Chizelrigg had toiled at the
carpenter's bench; had mixed cement in the drawing-room; had
caused the anvil to ring out till midnight, aroused no admiration
in Higgins's mind.  In addition to this, the ancient nobleman had
been penuriously strict in his examination of accounts, exacting
the uttermost farthing, so the humble servitor regarded his
memory with supreme contempt.  I realized before the drive was
finished from the station to Chizelrigg Chase that there was
little use of introducing me to Higgins as a foreigner and a
fellow-servant.  I found myself completely unable to understand
what the old fellow said.  His dialect was as unknown to me as
the Choctaw language would have been, and the young earl was
compelled to act as interpreter on the occasions when we set this
garrulous talking machine going.

  The new Earl of Chizelrigg, with the enthusiasm of a boy,
proclaimed himself my pupil and assistant, and said he would do
whatever he was told.  His thorough and fruitless search of the
library had convinced him that the old man was merely chaffing
him, as he put it, by leaving such a letter as he had written. 
His lordship was certain that the money had been hidden somewhere
else; probably buried under one of the trees in the park. Of
course, this was possible, and represented the usual method by
which a stupid person conceals treasure, yet I did not think it
probable.  All conversations with Higgins showed the earl to have
been an extremely suspicious man; suspicious of banks, suspicious
even of Bank of England notes, suspicious of every person on
earth, not omitting Higgins himself.  Therefore, as I told his
nephew, the miser would never allow the fortune out of his sight
and immediate reach.

  From the first the oddity of the forge and anvil being placed
in his bedroom struck me as peculiar, and I said to the young
  "I'll stake my reputation that that forge or anvil, or both,
contain the secret.  You see, the old gentleman worked sometimes
till midnight, for Higgins could hear his hammering.  If he used
hard coal on the forge, the fire would last through the night,
and being in continual terror of thieves, as Higgins says,
barricading the castle every evening before dark, as if it were a
fortress, he was bound to place the treasure in the most unlikely
spot for a thief to get at it.  Now, the coal fire smoldered all
night long, and if the gold was in the forge underneath the
embers, it would be extremely difficult to get at.  A robber
rummaging in the dark would burn his fingers in more senses than
one.  Then, as his lordship kept no less than four loaded
revolvers under his pillow, all he had to do, if a thief entered
his room, was to allow the search to go on until the thief
started at the forge, then, doubtless, as he had the range with
reasonable accuracy, night or day, he might sit up in bed and
blaze away with revolver after revolver.  There were twenty-eight
shots that could be fired in about double as many seconds, so you
see the robber stood little chance in the face of such a
fusillade.  I propose that we dismantle the forge."

  Lord Chizelrigg was much taken by my reasoning, and one morning
early we cut down the big bellows, tore it open, found it empty,
then took brick after brick from the forge with a crowbar, for
the old man had builded better than he knew with Portland cement. 
In fact, when we cleared away the rubbish between the bricks and
the core of the furnace we came upon one cube of cement which was
as hard as granite.  With the aid of Higgins, and a set of
rollers and levers, we managed to get this block out into the
park, and attempted to crush it with the sledge hammers belonging
to the forge, in which we were entirely unsuccessful. The more it
resisted our efforts, the more certain we became that the coins
would be found within it.  As this would not be treasure-trove in
the sense that the Government might make a claim upon it, there
was no particular necessity for secrecy, so we had up a man from
the mines near by with drills and dynamite, who speedily
shattered the block into a million pieces, more or less.  Alas!
there was no trace in its debris of "pay dirt," as the western
miner puts it.  While the dynamite expert was on the spot, we
induced him to shatter the anvil as well as the block of cement,
and then the workman, doubtless thinking the new earl was as
insane as the old one had been--shouldered his tools and went
back to his mine.

  The earl reverted to his former opinion that the gold was
concealed in the park, while I held even more firmly to my own
belief that the fortune rested in the library. 

  "It is obvious," I said to him, "that if the treasure
is buried outside, some one must have dug the hole.  A man so
timorous and so reticent as your uncle would allow no one to do
this but himself.  Higgins maintained the other evening that all
picks and spades were safely locked up by himself each night in
the tool house.  The mansion itself was barricaded with such
exceeding care that it would have been difficult for your uncle
to get outside even if he wished to do so.  Then such a man as
your uncle is described to have been would continually desire
ocular demonstration that his savings were intact, which would be
practically impossible if the gold had found a grave in the park
I propose now that we abandon violence and dynamite, and proceed
to an intellectual search of the library."

  "Very well," replied the young earl; "but as I have already
searched the library very thoroughly, your use of the word
'intellectual,' Monsieur Valmont, is not in accord with your
customary politeness.  However, I am with you.  'Tis for you to
command, and me to obey." 

  "Pardon me, my lord," I said, "I used the word 'intellectual'
in contradistinction to the word 'dynamite.'  It had no reference
to your former search.  I merely propose that we now abandon the
use of chemical reaction, and employ the much greater force of
mental activity.  Did you notice any writing on the margins of
the newspapers you examined?"

  "No, I did not." 

  "Is it possible that there may have been some communication on
the white border of a newspaper?"

  "It is, of course, possible."

  "Then will you set yourself to the task of glancing over the
margin of every newspaper, piling them away in another room when
your scrutiny of each is complete?  Do not destroy anything, but
we must clear out the library completely.  I am interested in the
accounts, and will examine them."

  It was exasperatingly tedious work; but after several days my
assistant reported every margin scanned without result, while I
had collected each bill and memorandum, classifying them
according to date.  I could not get rid of a suspicion that the
contrary old beast had written instructions for the finding of
the treasure on the back of some account, or on the flyleaf of a
book, and as I looked at the thousands of volumes still left in
the library, the prospect of such a patient and minute search
appalled me.  But I remembered Edison's words to the effect that
if a thing exists, search, exhaustive enough, will find it.  From
the mass of accounts I selected several; the rest I placed in
another room, alongside the heap of the earl's newspapers.

  "Now," said I to my helper, "if it please you, we will have
Higgins in, as I wish some explanation of these accounts."

  "Perhaps I can assist you," suggested his lordship, drawing up
a chair opposite the table on which I had spread the statements. 
"I have lived here for six months, and know as much about things
as Higgins does.  He is so difficult to stop when once he begins
to talk.  What is the first account you wish further light upon?"

  "To go back thirteen years, I find that your uncle bought a
secondhand safe in Sheffield.  Here is the bill. I consider it
necessary to find that safe."

  "Pray forgive me, Monsieur Valmont," cried the young man,
springing to his feet and laughing; "so heavy an article as a
safe should not slip readily from a man's memory, but it did from
mine.  The safe is empty, and I gave no more thought to it."

  Saying this, the earl went to one of the bookcases that stood
against the wall, pulled it round as if it were a door, books and
all, and displayed the front of an iron safe, the door of which
he also drew open, exhibiting the usual empty interior of such a

  "I came on this," he said, "when I took down all these volumes. 
It appears that there was once a secret door leading from the
library into an outside room which has long since disappeared;
the walls are very thick.  My uncle doubtless caused this door to
be taken off its hinges, and the safe placed in the aperture, the
rest of which he then bricked up."

  "Quite so," said I, endeavoring to conceal my disappointment. 
"As this strong box was bought secondhand and not made to order,
I suppose there can be no secret crannies in it?"

  "It looks like a common or garden safe," reported my assistant,
"but we'll have it out if you say so."

  "Not just now," I replied; "we've had enough of dynamiting to
make us feel like housebreakers already."

  "I agree with you.  What's the next item on the programme?"

  "Your uncle s mania for buying things at secondhand was broken
in three instances so far as I have been able to learn from a
scrutiny of these accounts.  About four years ago he purchased a
new book from Denny & Co., the well-known booksellers of the
Strand.  Denny & Co. deal only in new books.  Is there any
comparatively new volume in the library?"

  "Not one."

  "Are you sure of that?"

  "Oh, quite; I searched all the literature in the house. What is
the name of the volume he bought?"

  "That I cannot decipher.  The initial letter looks
like 'M,' but the rest is a mere wavy line.  I see, however, that
it cost twelve-and-sixpence, while the cost of carriage by parcel
post was sixpence, which shows it weighed something under four
pounds.  This, with the price of the book, induces me to think it
was a scientific work, printed on heavy paper and illustrated."

  "I know nothing of it," said the earl.

  "The third account is for wall paper; twenty-seven rolls of an
expensive wall paper, and twenty-seven rolls of a cheap paper,
the latter being just half the price of the former.  This wall
paper seems to have been supplied by a tradesman in the station
road in the village of Chizelrigg."

  "There's your wall paper," cried the youth, waving his hand;
"he was going to paper the whole house, Higgins told me, but got
tired after he had finished the library, which took him nearly a
year to accomplish, for he worked at it very intermittently,
mixing the paste in the boudoir, a pailful at a time, as he
needed it.  It was a scandalous thing to do, for underneath the
paper is the most exquisite oak paneling, very plain, but very
rich in color."

  I rose and examined the paper on the wall.  It was dark brown,
and answered the description of the expensive paper on the bill.

  "What became of the cheap paper?" I asked.

  "I don't know."

  "I think," said I, "we are on the track of the mystery.  I
believe that paper covers a sliding panel or concealed door."

  "It is very likely," replied the earl.  "I intended to have the
paper off, but I had no money to pay a workman, and I am not so
industrious as was my uncle.  What is your remaining account?"

  "The last also pertains to paper, but comes from a firm in
Budge Row, London, E.C.  He has had, it seems, a thousand sheets
of it, and it appears to have been frightfully expensive.  This
bill is also illegible, but I take it a thousand sheets were
supplied, although, of course, it may have been a thousand
quires, which would be a little more reasonable for the price
charged, or a thousand reams, which would be exceedingly cheap."

  "I don't know anything about that.  Let's turn on Higgins."

  Higgins knew nothing of this last order of paper either.  The
wall-paper mystery he at once cleared up.  Apparently the old
earl had discovered by experiment that the heavy, expensive wall
paper would not stick to the glossy paneling, so he had purchased
a cheaper paper, and had pasted that on first.  Higgins said he
had gone all over the paneling with a yellowish-white paper, and
after that was dry he pasted over it the more expensive rolls.

  "But," I objected, "the two papers were bought and delivered at
the same time; therefore he could not have found by experiment
that the heavy paper would not stick."

  "I don't think there is much in that," commented the earl; "the
heavy paper may have been bought first, and found to be
unsuitable, and then the coarse, cheap paper bought afterwards. 
The bill merely shows that the account was sent in on that date. 
Indeed, as the village of Chizelrigg is but a few miles away, it
would have been quite possible for my uncle to have bought the
heavy paper in the morning, tried it, and in the afternoon sent
for the commoner lot; but, in any case, the bill would not have
been presented until months after the order, and the two
purchases were thus lumped together."

  I was forced to confess that this seemed reasonable.

  Now, about the book ordered from Denny's.  Did Higgins remember
anything regarding it?  It came four years ago.

  Ah, yes, Higgins did; he remembered it very well indeed.  He
had come in one morning with the earl's tea, and the old man was
sitting up in bed reading this volume with such interest that he
was unaware of Higgins's knock, and Higgins himself, being a
little hard of hearing, took for granted the command to enter. 
The earl hastily thrust the book under the pillow, alongside the
revolvers, and rated Higgins in a most cruel way for entering the
room before getting permission to do so. He had never seen the
earl so angry before, and he laid it all to this book.  It was
after the book had come that the forge had been erected and the
anvil bought.  Higgins never saw the book again, but one morning,
six months before the earl died, Higgins, in raking out the
cinders of the forge, found what he supposed was a portion of the
book's cover.  He believed his master had burned the volume.

  Having dismissed Higgins, I said to the earl:
  "The first thing to be done is to inclose this bill to
Denny & Co., booksellers, Strand.  Tell them you have lost the
volume, and ask them to send another.  There is likely some one
in the shop who can decipher the illegible writing.  I am certain
the book will give us a clew.  Now, I shall write to Braun &
Sons, Budge Row.  This is evidently a French company; in fact,
the name as connected with paper making runs in my mind, although
I cannot at this moment place it.  I shall ask them the use of
this paper that they furnished to the late earl."

  This was done accordingly, and now, as we thought, until the
answers came, we were two men out of work.  Yet the next morning,
I am pleased to say, and I have always rather plumed myself on
the fact, I solved the mystery before replies were received from
London.  Of course, both the book and the answer of the paper
agents, by putting two and two together, would have given us the

  After breakfast I strolled somewhat aimlessly into the library,
whose floor was now strewn merely with brown wrapping paper, bits
of string, and all that.  As I shuffled among this with my feet,
as if tossing aside dead autumn leaves in a forest path, my
attention was suddenly drawn to several squares of paper,
unwrinkled, and never used for wrapping.  These sheets seemed to
me strangely familiar.  I picked one of them up, and at once the
significance of the name Braun & Sons occurred to me.  They are
paper makers in France, who produce a smooth, very tough sheet,
which, dear as it is, proves infinitely cheap compared with the
fine vellum it deposed in a certain branch of industry.  In
Paris, years before, these sheets had given me the knowledge of
how a gang of thieves disposed of their gold without melting it.
The paper was used instead of vellum in the rougher processes of
manufacturing gold leaf.  It stood the constant beating of the
hammer nearly as well as the vellum, and here at once there
flashed on me the secret of the old man's midnight anvil work. 
He was transforming his sovereigns into gold leaf, which must
have been of a rude, thick kind, because to produce the gold leaf
of commerce he still needed the vellum as well as a "cutch" and
other machinery, of which we had found no trace.

  "My lord," I called to my assistant (he was at the other end of
the room), "I wish to test a theory on the anvil of your own
fresh common sense."

  "Hammer away," replied the earl, approaching me with his usual
good-natured, jocular expression.

  "I eliminate the safe from our investigations because it was
purchased thirteen years ago, but the buying of the book, of wall
covering, of this tough paper from France, all group themselves
into a set of incidents occurring within the same month as the
purchase of the anvil and the building of the forge; therefore, I
think they are related to one another.  Here are some sheets of
paper he got from Budge Row.  Have you seen anything like it? 
Try to tear this sample."

  "It's reasonably tough," admitted his lordship, fruitlessly
endeavoring to rip it apart.

  "Yes.  It was made in France, and is used in gold
beating.  Your uncle beat his sovereigns into gold leaf.  You
will find that the book from Denny's is a volume on gold beating,
and now as I remember that scribbled word which I could not make
out, I think the title of the volume is 'Metallurgy.'  It
contains, no doubt, a chapter on the manufacture of gold leaf." 

  "I believe you," said the earl; "but I don't see that the
discovery sets us any farther forward.  We're now looking for
gold leaf instead of sovereigns." 

  "Let's examine this wall paper," said I. 

  I placed my knife under a corner of it at the floor, and quite
easily ripped off a large section.  As Higgins had said, the
brown paper was on top, and the coarse, light-colored paper
underneath.  But even that came from the oak panelling as easily
as though it hung there from habit, and not because of paste.

  "Feel the weight of that," I cried, handing him the sheet I had
torn from the wall.

  "By Jove!" said the earl, in a voice almost of awe.

  I took it from him, and laid it, face downward, on the wooden
table, threw a little water on the back, and with a knife scraped
away the porous white paper.  Instantly there gleamed up at us
the baleful yellow of the gold.  I shrugged my shoulders and
spread out my hands.  The Earl of Chizelrigg laughed aloud and
very heartily.

  "You see how it is," I cried.  "The old man first covered the
entire wall with this whitish paper.  He heated his sovereigns at
the forge and beat them out on the anvil, then completed the
process rudely between the sheets of this paper from France. 
Probably he pasted the gold to the wall as soon as he shut
himself in for the night, and covered it over with the more
expensive paper before Higgins entered in the morning."

  We found afterwards, however, that he had actually fastened the
thick sheets of gold to the wall with carpet tacks.

  His lordship netted a trifle over a hundred and twenty-three
thousand pounds through my discovery, and I am pleased to pay
tribute to the young man's generosity by saying that his
voluntary settlement made my bank account swell stout as a City