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anything for you; let me tell you, you ought to have asked

2023-12-01 11:04:51 [theory] source:Headwind and Evil Waves Network

"The nature of the case is such, however, as to admit the possibility--and it is a bare possibility only--of the existence of William Stanley. It is not necessarily impossible that he may have escaped from the wreck of the Jefferson; although the weight of probability against such an escape, has more than a hundred-fold the force of that which would favour a contrary supposition. Such being the circumstances, Mr. Stanley's executors, and his legatee, actuated by the same motives which have constantly guided them since his death, are prepared in the present instance to discharge their duty, at whatever cost it may be. They are prepared to receive and examine any proofs, in the possession of yourself and your client, as to the identity of the individual purporting to be William Stanley, only son of the late John William Stanley, of ----- county, Pennsylvania. They demand these proofs. But, they are also prepared, sir, to pursue with the full force of justice, and the law of the land, any individual who shall attempt to advance a false claim to the name and inheritance of the dead. This matter, once touched, must be entirely laid bare: were duty out of the question, indignation alone would be sufficient to urge them, at any cost of time and vexation, to unmask one who, if not William Stanley, must be a miserable impostor--to unravel what must either prove an extraordinary combination of circumstances, or a base conspiracy.

anything for you; let me tell you, you ought to have asked

"Prepared, then, to pursue either course, as justice shall dictate, Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys, executors of the late Mr. Stanley, and myself, his legatee, demand: First, an interview with the individual claiming to be William Stanley. Secondly, whatever proofs of the identity of the claimant you may have in your possession. And we here pledge ourselves to acknowledge the justice of the claim advanced, if the evidence shall prove sufficient to establish it; or in the event of a want of truth and consistency in the evidence supporting this remarkable claim, we shall hold it a duty to bring to legal punishment, those whom we must then believe the guilty parties connected with it.

anything for you; let me tell you, you ought to have asked

"Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys wish you, sir, to understand this letter as an answer to those addressed by you to themselves. They are on the point of returning to Longbridge, where I shall also join them; and we request that your farther communications to us, on this subject, may be addressed to Wyllys-Roof.

anything for you; let me tell you, you ought to have asked

This letter was written, and approved by Mrs. Stanley and Mr. Wyllys, before the consultation broke up; it was also signed by them, as well as by Harry.

The amazement of Miss Wyllys and Elinor, on hearing the purport of Mr. Clapp's letters, was boundless. Had they seen William Stanley rise from the ground before them, they could scarcely have been more astonished; not a shadow of doubt as to his death in the Jefferson, had crossed their minds for years. Like their friends, they believed it a plot of Mr. Clapp's; and yet his daring to take so bold a step seemed all but incredible.

When some hours' consideration had made the idea rather more familiar to the minds of our friends, they began to look at the consequences, and they clearly saw many difficulties and vexations before the matter could be even favourably settled; but if this client of Mr. Clapp's were to succeed in establishing a legal claim to the Stanley estate, the result would produce much inconvenience to Mrs. Stanley, still greater difficulties to Mr. Wyllys, while Harry would be entirely ruined in a pecuniary sense; since the small property he had inherited from his father, would not suffice to meet half the arrears he would be obliged to discharge, in restoring his share of the Stanley estate to another. Hazlehurst had decided, from the instant the claim was laid before him, that the only question with himself would regard his own opinion on the subject; the point must first be clearly settled to his own judgment. He would see the man who claimed to be the son of his benefactor, he would examine the matter as impartially as he could, and then determine for himself. Had he any good reason whatever for believing this individual to be William Stanley, he would instantly resign the property to him, at every cost.

All probability was, however, thus far, against the identity of the claimant; and unless Hazlehurst could believe in his good faith and honesty, every inch of the ground should be disputed to the best of his ability. Mr. Wyllys was very confident of defeating one whom he seriously believed an impostor: it was a dirty, disagreeable job to undertake, but he was sanguine as to the result. Mrs. Stanley was at first quite overcome by agitation and astonishment; she had some doubts and anxieties; misgivings would occasionally cross her mind, in spite of herself, in spite of Mr. Wyllys's opinion; and the bare idea of opposing one who might possibly be her husband's son, affected all her feelings. Like Hazlehurst, she was very desirous to examine farther into the matter, without delay; scarcely knowing yet what to hope and what to fear.

Ellsworth and Mrs. Creighton soon learned the extraordinary summons which Harry had received; he informed them of the facts himself.

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