Page:Dickens - Our Mutual Friend, ed. Lang, 1897, vol.1.djvu/63

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was very retired, had no summons to appear, and was merely present in the shades of Mr. Inspector's mind.

The case was made interesting to the public, by Mr. Mortimer Lightwood's evidence touching the circumstances under which the deceased, Mr. John Harmon, had returned to England; exclusive private proprietorship in which circumstances was set up at dinner-tables for several days, by Veneering, Twemlow, Podsnap, and all the Buffers: who all related them irreconcilably with one another, and contradicted themselves. It was also made interesting by the testimony of Job Potterson, the ship's steward, and one Mr. Jacob Kibble, a fellow-passenger, that the deceased Mr. John Harmon did bring over, in a hand-valise with which he did disembark, the sum realised by the forced sale of his little landed property, and that the sum exceeded, in ready money, seven hundred pounds. It was further made interesting, by the remarkable experiences of Jesse Hexam in having rescued from the Thames so many dead bodies, and for whose behoof a rapturous admirer subscribing himself "A Friend to Burial" (perhaps an undertaker), sent eighteen postage stamps, and five "Now Sir"s to the editor of the Times.

Upon the evidence adduced before them, the Jury found, That the body of Mr. John Harmon had been discovered floating in the Thames, in an advanced state of decay, and much injured; and that the said Mr. John Harmon had come by his death under highly suspicious circumstances, though by whose act or in what precise manner there was no evidence before this Jury to show. And they appended to their verdict, a recommendation to the Home Office (which Mr. Inspector appeared to think highly sensible), to offer a reward for the solution of the mystery. Within eight-and-forty hours, a reward of One Hundred Pounds was proclaimed, together with a free pardon to any person or persons not the actual perpetrator or perpetrators, and so forth in due form.

This Proclamation rendered Mr. Inspector additionally