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In Jeopardy
written by "Sutphen, Van Tassel, 1861-1945"
...nk-and-white of his complexion had changed to a dull, minatory brick-red; he seemed about to speak, and I held my breath. Then, as Mr. Eldon indicated that he was on the point of resuming, the old man yielded to the insistent pressure of his son's hand, and sank back in his seat. I suppose that I must have listened physically to that next paragraph, but my mind was slow, deadly slow, in comprehending the full[Pg 44] measure of its import; then, suddenly, I understood. To dispense with legal phraseology, the testator now directed that the undivided estate of "Hildebrand Hundred," together with the remainder of all personal property, should go to his friend and near kinsman, Hugh Hildebrand, of Philadelphia, to be held by him and his heirs forever. Well, you remember that I had been expecting the bequest of a small sum of money for the purchase of some such trifle as a ring or a stick-pin; and it took me a full minute to realize that this incredible thing had actually happened: a man whom I had seen but once in my life had made me his heir, and I was now the master of a great estate and a personage to boot; I sat motionless, trying to sort out my ideas into some degree of order and sequence. Fielding Thaneford had found his feet again; he must, in his prime, have been a big and powerful man, for he still overtopped his stalwart son by full two inches of height. He looked particularly at Mr. Eldon, but with a commanding sweep of his arm he seemed to draw the entire company into the circle of his attention; he dominated us all by the sheer weight of his will; he opened his mouth to speak, and we inclined our ears to listen.[Pg 45] But the words trembling upon his lips never found utterance, for now a terrible thing had happened and Fielding Thaneford fell to the floor and lay there, his face twitching strangely. A paralytic stroke, of course, but one must be an eye witness, see the victim actually struck down, to realize the full ...

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