Tales of Mystery
6. The Jew's Breastplate (continued)
"This is how the note runs: `Sir,--I should strongly advise
you to keep a very careful watch over the many valuable things
which are committed to your charge. I do not think that the
present system of a single watchman is sufficient. Be upon your
guard, or an irreparable misfortune may occur.'"
"Is that all?"
"Yes, that is all."
"Well," said I, "it is at least obvious that it was written by
one of the limited number of people who are aware that you have
only one watchman at night."
Ward Mortimer handed me the note, with a curious smile. "Have
you an eye for handwriting?" said he. "Now, look at this!" He put
another letter in front of me. "Look at the c in
`congratulate' and the c in `committed.' Look at the capital
I. Look at the trick of putting in a dash instead of a stop!"
"They are undoubtedly from the same hand--with some attempt at
disguise in the case of this first one."
"The second," said Ward Mortimer, "is the letter of
congratulation which was written to me by Professor Andreas upon my
obtaining my appointment."
I stared at him in amazement. Then I turned over the letter in
my hand, and there, sure enough, was "Martin Andreas" signed upon
the other side. There could be no doubt, in the mind of anyone who
had the slightest knowledge of the science of graphology, that the
Professor had written an anonymous letter, warning his successor
against thieves. It was inexplicable, but it was certain.
"Why should he do it?" I asked.
"Precisely what I should wish to ask you. If he had any such
misgivings, why could he not come and tell me direct?"
"Will you speak to him about it?"
"There again I am in doubt. He might choose to deny that he