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.Insiders fear that Soames’s death will mean an overturn of the vote, which is set to be reaffirmed two weeks from now, after discussion, because it is generally thought that the conservative Sir James Maitland will fill the vacant spot on the board.Maitland has made it known that he would have voted differently from Soames.Soames was also an excellent horseman and traveled among the best country houses for the shooting and the riding.“He will be missed,” said Lord Stearns.“He made any shooting party better.”Until the police release a report, his friends will have to wait for consolation.As is customary, Parliament will conduct a tribute to him on both sides of the aisle, and the Speaker will offer a eulogy.“He had high potential,” said Newton Duff, MP, a friend.“The country is losing a valuable servant.”Lenox read this with mild interest.He paid closest attention to the quotes.Stearns was a good fellow, but it surprised him to hear Duff’s praise, never given lightly.The rest of the papers added very little except for a penny paper called the Post, which was of low repute but high circulation.It offered the same eulogistic tone, the same descriptions of Oxford, the Army, Parliament, and the Pacific Trust, but at the end it contained a variation:It is painful to bring up now, but we must be True to our faithful readers and write that there was some gossip out of turn concerning the late Member’s finances.To put it plain, People have been whispering that Soames was at the end of his means and that the Creditors, though they could not touch him while Parliament was sitting, as the law demands, were prepared to land on him as soon as the session was over.People spoke, as they will, of the Turf, and of expensive habits on slender means—in short, it was widely reported that he had no further money left.It is the honor of the Post to report otherwise.A confidential Source at a certain bank revealed that Mr.Soames had been continuing at his usual rate of getting and spending.In point of fact, this rumor was incorrect; in truth, Mr.Soames was very comfortable, as befits a former Hero on the oar and a distinguished Member of Parliament.We are glad to put the rumor of the only blemish on this fine man’s character to rest, especially as it would be hard to hear Mr.Soames ill-spoken of after his death.The Post, as usual, has now Set the Record Straight.This last phrase was the paper’s motto, which they repeated in nearly every article, whether it was relevant or not.Now here was an interesting fact.People far and wide had said that Soames was definitely broke—far and wide enough even to reach Lenox’s ears, and Lenox was by no means a gossip.Everybody had mentioned it, here and there, as a known fact: his brother, Lady Jane.And yet, if The Post was to be believed—and rag or not, it generally was, Lenox found—it was all false.It was really a rather remarkable thing.He had laid down the last of the papers and was again thinking, his hands behind his head, when Graham knocked once more and entered.“Sir Edmund Lenox, sir,” he said.“Downstairs already?”“Yes, sir.”“Drat.I need to dress,” he said, getting out of bed.“Tell him I’ll be a moment.Offer him some tea, please, or some breakfast if he hasn’t had any.Oh, and give him those papers,” he said, gesturing to the nightstand.“Yes, sir.”Graham left, and Lenox put on the clothes that had been laid out for him on the armchair; black cloak, gray pants, and a homburg.He took the time to tie his tie neatly but otherwise rather rushed, so it was only a short time later that he went downstairs to join his brother.Chapter 37Have you glanced over the papers yet?” said Lenox, coming through the double doors of the library.Sir Edmund was sitting in one of the two armchairs before the fire.“It’s really terribly cold out,” he said crossly.“Oh, Edmund, I’m sorry,” said Charles, trying not to smile.“Well, all right, all right.”“Those are the demands upon the investigator, you know.Harsh weather, for one.”Now this seemed to appease Sir Edmund.“Really?” he said.“By Jove, yes, I suppose that’s right.Well, at your service, then.” He mimicked a salute.“Have you looked at the papers?”“Oh, yes, the papers.Well, The Times.”“Not the Post?”Sir Edmund shuddered.“Gracious, no [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]