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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, August 22, 1857.
 
The Bank Vault
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From a Lawyer’s Notebook
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by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.
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  nervous twitching about the face which betrayed great uneasiness.

“What is it?” I asked, seeing that he was at a loss how to commence.

“I’m in a bad fix, sir,” he replied, spasmodically.

“Well—go on.”

“First, sir,” he said, with an energy which at once convinced me of his sincerity, “let me assure you that I am wholly, entirely innocent of any charge laid against me. I am, sir, as true as there is a God above me, who hears what I say, and who reads my inmost thoughts!”

“I believe you,” I told him, as I saw that he wished to know what impression he had made.

He seemed very grateful, and then proceeded—

“Upon an examination into the affairs of the bank, yesterday, sir, there were found to be missing some twenty thousand dollars, and probably more! My books were all straight and my vouchers all at hand; but I am suspected of having taken the money. Aye—more than . . .

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    I sat in my office, one cool, damp afternoon in spring, engaged in nothing of consequence. I think I had been looking over a volume of old reports, and had closed the book, and was reflecting upon some of the legal points raised in the work before me. I remember that I was just pulling out my cigar case, when the door was opened, and a young man presented himself. I recognized him at once. His name was Charles Degrand, and he was the paying teller of our bank. And be it remembered, that “our bank” was one of the best in the country. At all events, so it was considered by “our people.” A man who examined a bill of “The Valley Bank” ere he took it, was set down at once as excessively green; and should he chance to refer to the “Bank Note List” to test its genuineness, he was sure to be asked where he came from. Not to know the sterling worth of the notes of “The Valley Bank, of B—,” was to prove oneself unknown.

However, young Degrand came in, and took a seat. He looked pale and wan, and there was a

   

 

 


 

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