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Phil Jones, who unexpectedly hung himself,
because he was not altogether happy in his
mind. Lastly, there was the lovely Mary
Anne Jones, who had terminated a short
sojourn in the metropolis by leaping from
Waterloo Bridge. Strange to say, the sole
surviving Jones (for such he showed himself
to be) went through this catalogue of misery
with an air of malicious satisfaction, as if
the misfortunes of his kindred were rather
gratifying than otherwise. He concluded
with the remark that the Joneses were a bad
lot. He believed that he himself was the
best of them: but he considered that he
himself was of no great 'count.

After a few moments pause, occupied with
the digestion of this mass of family history,
Samson Brown abruptly exclaimed:

"Mr. Jones, would you like nine hundred

As this was a question that only admitted
of one answer, Jonathan Jones made no
answer at all.

"Would you like to have nine hundred
pounds?" repeated Samson Brown.
"Because, if you would, I will give it to you

"Give me nine hundred pounds,—now!
Come, come, a joke's all very well——"

"There is no joke in the matter. The
discovery has been made that a thousand
pounds is due to you from the estate of a
certain party deceased, and the discoverer
claims one hundred pounds as the reward of
his zeal and integrity. So you have only to
sign this receipt, and take the money," and
he presented a small document duly stamped.

From a state of dogged stupidity, Jones
had passed into a state of dogged shrewdness.
He seemed more ready for information than
for ready cash. "Who's this here Mrs.
Stubbs, that this here thing talks about?"
he growled forth.

"Sign, my dear sir, without troubling
yourself to ask questions," said Samson Brown,

"Well, but one likes to know what one is
about; and then it seems I'm to have only
nine hundred pounds, and I'm to sign for a
thousand. The other hundred is for the
hagent, you say. Are you the hagent?
Because, if you are, I think you have taken care
of yourself, anyhow."

"No matter who is the agent, and who is
not. The hundred pounds in question is
agreed to by Mrs. Stubbs."

"That mother Stubbs seems very free with
other people's money," growled Jones. "And,
I say," he continued, with increasing acumen,
"if Mother Stubbs is dead, how can she
agree to anything?"

For the infinitesimal fraction of a second,
Samson Brown felt embarrassed; but,
immediately recovering himself, he said:

"Mr. Jonathan Jones, my time is valuable.
Sign that paper, without asking any questions,
and I put nine hundred pounds in hard
money on that table. Ask one single question
more, I walk out of the shop, and you'll
never hear of the nine hundred pounds
again as long as you live."

Jones made no observation that was
distinctly audible; but, muttering something
about a poor man's rights, and something
else about something being very hard, he
directed his steps to a shelf, whence he took
a broken tea-cup containing a little ink, and
a very short pen, black from one extremity
to the other. With this unseemly instrument
he scrawled his name at the bottom of
the document; and, whether it was through
fate, or whether it was by accident, he spelt
Jones with an a (Joanes), precisely after the
fashion of Mrs. Stubbs.

"There!" cried Samson Brown, after
counting out the money, which he placed on
the table.

"There, you!" gruffly replied Jones, as he
flung the signed receipt across the table to
Samson Brown.

Samson Brown retired, and betook himself
to his troubled house. Jonathan Jones,
having secured his newly acquired fortune
under lock and key, sauntered to the nearest
tap, where he expended a penny in the
purchase of half-a-pint of beer. During the
whole day he was observed to repeat this
process at intervals much shorter than

At ten minutes before midnight, Mr. Samson
Brown, who was sitting alone in the
room where he had first made acquaintance
with the late Mrs. Stubbs, heard the now
familiar rustle of stiff silk, and immediately
afterwards the ghost was visible, with
something like animosity expressed in its

"Ha!" exclaimed Samson Brown, in a
cheerful tone; "I knew this business
concerned you more than me; for here you are,
ten minutes before your time. Will this be
sufficient?" he continued, presenting the

The ghost extended its hand, apparently
closed its thumb and finger on the document,
and then Samson Brown was alone. The
receipt was gone; the ghost was gone.
Whether it had departed by chimney, chink,
or key-hole; whether it had ascended or
descended, he could not tell. He only knew
that he was alone, and that his hundred
pounds were still safe in his pocket. He had
slapped the pocket, by a sort of instinct, at
the moment when the spectre vanished.

On the following morning, Samson Brown
was aroused from a refreshing slumber by a
loud knocking at his door. Of course he
opened it himself, and perceived the agent of
whom he had taken the house. His safe
egress from the terrible domicile on the
previous day, and his bold return to it in the
evening, had been observed by several of his