|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||The Mystery of Phillip Bennion's Death|
The Mystery ot Philip
(By Richard Marah.)
Author cf "Thu Crime ami the Criminal," "Mrs.
Musgrave's Husband," &c, &c.
\ Mr. Vase looked ait nie as if he noora tuan half suspected that I might be such a gentleman. I am free to confess that I was conscious of a feeling of gratification as I became aware that T had got something out of Raymond Clinton which was actually worth three thousand, guineas. I had never expected to receive, from such a quarter, such a windfall. Philip Ben
nion himself could scarcely have acknowledged., our friendship more handsomely, even if he had lived to make his will. Indeed, I doubted very much if he would ever have enriched me to the extent of three thousand guineas.
"One more question I would ask you, Mr. Vose. Did you notice, or did Mr. Gent point out to you, any peculiarity about the cabinet?"
"Peculiarity!" Mr. Vose again became enthu siastic. "I noticed this striking peculiarity about it, that it was the finest cabinet I ever saw, the very finest-and there was no need to point that out to me."
I smiled. Mr. Vose had misunderstood my meaning.
"That was hardly what I meant. I meant to ask if you noticed any peculiarity in the me chanical construction of the cabinet. When you saw it was it locked?"
"No, I do not think that it was locked-I am sure that it was not. I remember, quite well, that Mr. Gent used to throw the doors open with his hands that I might look at the interior. Ah, what an interior-it was superb!"
"How often did you see it, Mr. Vose?"
"As often as Mr. Gent would let me, which was not often. He would never let me look at it without a fuss, as if he wished to let me see as little of it as he possibly could."
I made a mental note of his words, and won dered.
"Did you ever minutely examine it?" "Pretty minutely."
"And you never saw anything peculiar in itó mechanical construction?"
"And Mr. Gent never hinted at anything of the kind?"
"Not a word. Why? Has anything been found? A secret drawer, or whait is it? Ini most of these cabinets there are secret drawers?"
I let Mr. Vose'a question go unanswered. "Did you ever notice a key to dt?"
"I do not think I did. Has the key be^ii lost?" "Not that I am aware; of. I only wondered."
I paused, trying ito think if there was any othei question which it might be desirable to ask. Mr. Vosa seemed to be trying to read my countenance. He dropped) his voice to a confidential whdspar.
"Mr. Otway, if the gentleman who purchased the Medici oahinet is thinking of selling it, I woula entreat it as a favor that I should be allowed to make an offer. I think it very possible that he and I might come to terms."
"I think, Mr. Vcse, that I may venture to pro mise that if the cabinet does come into the open market, the fact shall be mentioned to you. By the way, didn't it strike you as being rather sin gular that Mr. Gent should have given up the occu pation of his shop after so short a tenancy?"
"Well, I was surprised at first, because I did not know that he was going, and when I came to 'business in the morning tie was gone. But, after wards I WHS not surprised. Ail the time I believed he had come to England only to sell the Medici oahinet-the truth iis he had nothing elsa to sell -and when he sold it, and ttirea days afterwards was gone, I knew, that I was right."
For my part I, too, was beginning to believe that Mr. Gent had only taken the shop to enable him to sell the cabinet. But why had he asked, and even been disinclined to accept, five thousand guineas from Mr. Vose, and snatched at a hun dred from Philip Bennion?
The thing was a riddle.