Arthur Morrison.

The Dorrington Deed-Box



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Mr. Lugg was tempted, but he was no fool. Here was Samuel Greer at his elbow knowing everything, and without a doubt, no matter how well bribed, always ready to make more money by betraying the arrangement to Sinclair. And that would mean inevitable ruin to Lugg himself, and probably a dose of gaol. So he shook his head virtuously and said, "I couldn't think of anything of the sort, Mr. Cater, not for an instant. I am a solicitor, and I have my strict duties. It is my duty immediately to place this will in the hands of Mr. Henry Sinclair, as sole executor. I wish you a good-day, gentlemen."

And so it was that old Jerry Cater's money came at last to Sinclair. And the result was a joyful one, not only for Sinclair and his wife, but also for a number of poor debtors whose "paper" was part of the property. For Sinclair knew the plight of these wretches by personal experience, and was merciful, as neither Flint nor Paul Cater would have been. The two witnesses to the Bible will turned out to be bargemen. They had been mightily surprised to be hailed from Jerry Cater's window by the old man himself, already looking like a corpse. They had come up, however, at his request, and had witnessed the will, though neither knew anything of its contents. But they were ready to testify that it was written in a Bible, that they saw Cater sign it, and that the attesting signatures were theirs. They had helped the old man back into bed, and next day they heard that he was dead.

As for Dorrington, he had a thousand pounds to set him up in a gentlemanly line of business and villainy. Ignorant of what had happened, he attempted to tap Flint for another thousand pounds as he had designed, but was met with revilings and an explanation. Seeing that the game was finished, Dorrington laughed at both the cousins and turned his attention to his next case.

And old Jerry Cater's funeral was attended, as nobody would have expected, by two very genuine mourners – Paul Cater and Jarvis Flint. But they mourned, not the old man, but his lost fortune, and Paul Cater also mourned a sum of one thousand and ten pounds of his own. They had followed Lugg to the door when he walked off with the Bible in hope to persuade him, but he saw a wealthy client in prospect in Mr. Henry Sinclair, and would not allow his virtue to be shaken.

Samuel Greer walked away from the old house in moody case. Plainly there were no more pickings available from old Jerry Cater's wills and codicils. As he trudged by St. Saviour's Dock he was suddenly confronted by a large navvy with a black eye. The navvy stooped and inspected a peacock's feather-eye that adorned the band of the hat Greer was wearing. Then he calmly grabbed and inspected the hat itself, inside and outside. "Why, blow me if this ain't my 'at!" said the navvy. "Take that, ye dirty squintin' thief! And that too! And that!"

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