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About the Author: Edmund Hodgson Yates

Edmund Hodgson Yates was a British journalist, novelist and dramatist.

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Find the best price forThe Silent Witness

A Novel by

, Published in Jan 1970 by BiblioLife, LLC

ISBN10: 1147904987 | ISBN13: 9781147904987

Excerpt from The Silent Witness: A Novel
Middleham's. Nothing more nor leas. Fat, black letters on a worn brass plate, screwed on to a shabby old swinging door, its upper half of smeared, bad glass in prison between two sets of bars; its lower of wood, once brown and varnished, now paintless, notched, and indented with the boot-heels of coming and going clerks, whose ears bristled with pens, whose mouths were temporary receptacles for pendant straps or tape, whose hands were laden with enormous black leather pouches, bills for acceptance or payment fluttering between their fingers, and who had only their knees and feet left, with which to plunge at Middleham's door. Clerks came and went all day, and customers, too, for the matter of that, for Middleham's was a bank. A bank in a narrow little lane, forming the connecting link between two great thoroughfares in the city, with a provision merchant's next door to it. Few strangers ever commenced business with Middleham's, but the old families who had shown their confidence in the founder of the house more than a hundred and fifty years ago banked with it still; all the scions of the old families starting for themselves, took to Middleham's as naturally as to shaving, and spread its business far and wide. Hugh Middleham, who represented the firm in 1860, could recollect that when he was taken into partnership with his father, some five-and-twenty years before, the bank had not half the number of accounts open, and yet there were few new names in the ledgers, no increase in the number of clerks behind the counter, and no decrease in the dinginess, the ink-spottedness, and the shabbiness of the counter itself, and, in fact, of the entire establishment.
People said, and said truly, that half the success of the bank was due to Hugh Middleham himself. Though a shrewd and sensible man, making his ordinary investments with discretion, but not above an occasional speculative flight for a small amount, and with earned money, there were many commercial men in the city of London who were his equal in knowledge of finance; it was his manner, so frank and apparently sincere with men, so polished and courtier-like with women, to which Hugh Middleham was indebted for his luck. When he was a young man it had won him a pretty, graceful girl, with a pretty little fortune, for his wife; and now that he was a white-haired, fresh-colored old gentleman, invariably in a blue coat, buff waistcoat, and gray trowsers, whom the pretty girl had long since left a widower, the same luck seemed to attend him. Although there was no lady to take the position of hostess, Mr. Middleham's garden-parties, on the Thames, were attended by those persons whom the fashionable world most delights to honor and he had the opportunity - of which he but seldom took advantage - of intimacy at some of the best houses.
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