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12. A SEA OF TROUBLES (continued)
He declined to run the risk. Quietly and by degrees he had sold out the stocks and shares in which his fortune was invested, and deposited the money in his London bank. Six piles of large notes, dividing the total into six equal parts; six letters couched in a strain of reminiscent pathos and manly resignation; six envelopes, legibly addressed; six postage-stamps; and that part of his preparations was complete. He licked the stamps and placed them on the envelopes; took the notes and inserted them in the letters; folded the letters and thrust them into the envelopes; sealed the envelopes; and unlocking the drawer of his desk produced a small, black, ugly-looking bottle.
He opened the bottle and poured the contents into a medicine-glass.
It had not been without considerable thought that Mr Meggs had decided upon the method of his suicide. The knife, the pistol, the rope--they had all presented their charms to him. He had further examined the merits of drowning and of leaping to destruction from a height.
There were flaws in each. Either they were painful, or else they were messy. Mr Meggs had a tidy soul, and he revolted from the thought of spoiling his figure, as he would most certainly do if he drowned himself; or the carpet, as he would if he used the pistol; or the pavement--and possibly some innocent pedestrian, as must infallibly occur should he leap off the Monument. The knife was out of the question. Instinct told him that it would hurt like the very dickens.
No; poison was the thing. Easy to take, quick to work, and on the whole rather agreeable than otherwise.
Mr Meggs hid the glass behind the inkpot and rang the bell.
'Has Miss Pillenger arrived?' he inquired of the servant.
'She has just come, sir.'
'Tell her that I am waiting for her here.'
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