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under the signature on the third page of the
Letter, which you saw, but which you unhappily
omitted to read. All the probabilities point
to these lines as written by Admiral Bartram;
and the position which they occupy is
certainly consistent with the theory that they
touch the important subject of his own sense of
obligation under the Trust.

"I wish to raise no false hopes in your mind.
I only desire to satisfy you that we have a case
worth trying.

"As for the dark side of the prospect, I need
not enlarge on it. After what I have already
written, you will understand that the existence
of a sound provision unknown to us in the
Trust, which has been properly carried out by
the admiralor which can be properly carried
out by his representativeswould be necessarily
fatal to our hopes. The legacy would be, in
this case, devoted to the purpose or purposes
contemplated by your husbandand, from that
moment, you would have no claim.

"I have only to add, that as soon as I hear
from the late admiral's man of business, you
shall know the result.

"Believe me, dear Madam, faithfully yours,

"JOHN LOSCOMBE."

VII.
FROM GEORGE BARTRAM TO MISS GARTH.

"St. Crux, May 15th.

"Dear Miss Garth,—I trouble you with
another letter: partly to thank you for your
kind expression of sympathy with me, under the
loss that I have sustained; and partly to tell
you of an extraordinary application made to my
uncle's executors, in which you and Miss
Vanstone may both feel interested, as Mrs. Noel
Vanstone is directly concerned in it.

"Knowing my own ignorance of legal
technicalities, I enclose a copy of the application,
instead of trying to describe it. You will notice
as suspicious, that no explanation is given of
the manner in which the alleged discovery of
one of my uncle's secrets was made, by persons
who are total strangers to him.

"On being made acquainted with the
circumstances, the executors at once applied to
me. I could give them no positive information
for my uncle never consulted me on matters of
business. But I felt bound in honour to tell them,
that during the last six months of his life, the
admiral had occasionally let fall expressions of
impatience in my hearing, which led to the
conclusion that he was annoyed by a private
responsibility of some kind. I also mentioned that
he had imposed a very strange condition on me
a condition which, in spite of his own assurances
to the contrary, I was persuaded could not have
emanated from himselfof marrying within a
given time (which time has now expired), or of
not receiving from him a certain sum of money,
which I believed to be the same in amount as
the sum bequeathed to him in my cousin's will.
The executors agreed with me that these
circumstances gave a colour of probability to an
otherwise incredible story; and they decided
that a search should be instituted for the Secret
Trustnothing in the slightest degree
resembling this same Trust having been discovered,
up to that time, among the admiral's papers.

"The search (no trifle in such a house as this)
has now been in full progress for a week. It is
superintended by both the executors, and by my
uncle's lawyerwho is personally, as well as
professionally, known to Mr. Loscombe (Mrs.
Noel Vanstone's solicitor), and who has been
included in the proceedings at the express request
of Mr. Loscombe himself. Up to this time,
nothing whatever has been found. Thousands and
thousands of letters have been examinedand
not one of them bears the remotest
resemblance to the letter we are looking for.

"Another week will bring the search to an
end. It is only at my express request that it
will be persevered with so long. But as the
admiral's generosity has made me sole heir to
everything he possessed, I feel bound to do the
fullest justice to the interests of others,
however hostile to myself those interests may be.

"With this view, I have not hesitated to
reveal to the lawyer a constitutional peculiarity
of my poor uncle's, which was always kept a
secret among us at his own requestI mean
his tendency to somnambulism. I mentioned that
he had been discovered (by the housekeeper
and his old servant) walking in his sleep, about
three weeks before his death, and that the
part of the house in which he had been seen,
and the basket of keys which he was carrying
in his hand, suggested the inference that he
had come from one of the rooms in the east
wing, and that he might have opened some of
the pieces of furniture in one of them. I
surprised the lawyer (who seemed to be quite
ignorant of the extraordinary actions constantly
performed by somnambulists), by informing him
that my uncle could find his way about the house,
lock and unlock doors, and remove objects of
all kinds from one place to another, as easily
in his sleep, as in his waking hours. And I
declared that, while I felt the faintest doubt
in my own mind whether he might not have
been dreaming of the Trust on the night in
questionand putting the dream in action in his
sleepI should not feel satisfied unless the
rooms in the east wing were searched again.

"It is only right to add that there is not the
least foundation in fact for this idea of mine.
During the latter part of his fatal illness, my
poor uncle was quite incapable of speaking on
any subject whatever. From the time of my
arrival at St. Crux, in the middle of last month,
to the time of his death, not a word dropped
from him which referred in the remotest way to
the Secret Trust.

"Here then, for the present, the matter rests.
If you think it right to communicate the
contents of this letter to Miss Vanstone, pray tell
her that it will not be my fault if her sister's
assertion (however preposterous it may seem to
my uncle's executors) is not fairly put to the
proof.

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