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The Ghost upon the Rail. Chapter Six

After leaving the dead body, Mr Cox rode to Fisher's house, in which Mr Smith was now living. Mr Smith received him with respect. Mr Cox asked if he could speak with him for a few minutes. Mr Smith replied, "Most certainly, sir," and took his visitor into the best room in the house.

"I have come to speak with you on a matter of business," said the magistrate. "Will the farm and the animals be sold to whoever makes the highest offer?" "Yes, sir." "And the buyer must pay cash?" "Those are Mr Fisher's orders." "How much money do you think the farm will bring, including all the animals and everything that is on it?" "Well, sir, it ought to be worth £1,500. "I hear that everything Mr Fisher owned is to be sold." "Yes, sir."

"What will it be worth, do you think, in cash?" "Not under £12,000, I should say, sir." "I believe that Mr Fisher gave you an official paper so you could do business for him. What is the date on it?" "I"ll tell you, sir, in one minute," and Mr Smith brought the paper and put it into Mr Cox's hand.

Mr Cox did not know Fisher's signature well enough to recognize it, although he had seen him write. He did, however, know the signatures of the two witnesses, for they were his own lawyers. "And do you have the letter telling you to sell for cash?" "Here's the letter, sir," said Mr Smith.

Mr Cox read the letter carefully. This is what it said:

Dear Sir,

I got home all right, and found my friends and relations quite well. I am so happy among them, I shan"t return to New South Wales. So sell everything, but only for cash, as I want the money quickly. I"m going to buy a share in a business with it. The house and farm ought to be worth about £17,000. But do your best, and let me have it quick, whatever it is.

Your faithful friend, John Fisher.

There was no postmark on the letter. In those days the postage on letters was very high, and it was common for people to send letters with people who were travelling. The letter was signed in the same way as the official paper.

"All this is most satisfactory," said Mr Cox. "Is this letter, dated five months ago, the last you have received?" "Yes, sir. It came by the last ship, and there has not been another one in since." "Good morning, Mr Smith." "Good morning, sir."

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