As soon as he had gone through his letters on the following morning, Laverick, in
response to a second and more urgent message, went round to his bank. Mr. Fenwick
greeted him gravely. He was feeling keenly the responsibilities of his position. Just how
much to say and how much to leave unsaid was a question which called for a full
measure of diplomacy.
"You understand, Mr. Laverick," he began, "that I wished to see you with regard to the
arrangement we came to the day before yesterday."
Laverick nodded. It suited him to remain monosyllabic.
"Well?" he asked.
"The arrangement, of course, was most unusual," the manager continued. "I agreed to it
as you were an old customer and the matter was an urgent one."
"I do not quite follow you," Laverick remarked, frowning. "What is it you wish me to do?
Withdraw my account?"
"Not in the least," the manager answered hastily.
"You know the position of our market, of course," Laverick went on. "Three days ago I
was in a situation which might have been called desperate. I could quite understand that
you needed security to go on making the necessary payments on my behalf. To-day,
things are entirely different. I am twenty thousand pounds better off, and if necessary I
could realize sufficient to pay off the whole of my overdraft within half-an-hour. That I
do not do so is simply a matter of policy and prices."
"I quite understand that, my dear Mr. Laverick," the bank manager declared. "The
position is simply this. We have had a most unusual and a strictly private inquiry, of a
nature which I cannot divulge to you, asking whether any large sum in five hundred
pound banknotes has been passed through our account during the last few days."
"You have actually had this inquiry?" Laverick asked calmly.
"We have. I can tell you no more. The source of the inquiry was, in a sense, amazing."
"May I ask what your reply was?"
"My reply was," Mr. Fenwick said slowly, "that no such notes had passed through our
account. We asked them, however, without giving any reasons, to repeat their question in
a few days' time. Our reply was perfectly truthful. Owing to your peculiar stipulations,
we are simply holding a certain packet for you in our security chamber. We know it to
contain bank-notes, and there is very little doubt but that it contains the notes which have
been the subject of this inquiry. I want to ask you, Mr. Laverick, to be so good as to open