Who Took the Money?
Mr Smith gave his wife ten pounds for her birthday-ten
pretty pound notes. So the day after her birthday, Mrs Smith went
shopping. She queued for a bus, got on and sat down next to an old lady.
After a while, she noticed that the old lady's handbag was open. Inside
it, she saw a wad of pound notes exactly like the one her husband had
given her. So she quickly looked into her own bag- the notes had
Mrs Smith was
sure that the old lady who was sitting next to her had stolen them. She
thought she would have to call the police; but, as she disliked making a
fuss and getting people into trouble, she decided to take back the money
from the old lady's handbag and say nothing more about it. She looked
round the bus to make sure nobody was watching, then she carefully put her
hand into the old lady's bag , took the notes and put them in her own bag.
When she got home that evening, she showed her husband
the beautiful hat she had bought.
´How did you pay for it?' he asked.
´With the money you gave me for my birthday, of
course,' she replied.
´Oh? What's that, then?' he asked, as he pointed
to a wad of ten pound notes on the table.
'Goodbye, darling,' said Mr Mackin. 'I'll be late
tonight.' Poor George, she thought. He was always in a hurry in the
morning, and it wasn't unusual for him to come home late at night. He
worked for a shoe company in Lceds. and therc was such a lot of work that
he normally staycd in the office till seven or cight.
When George had left the house Mrs Mackin sat down. in
an armchair and turned on the radio. It was a few minutes past eight , and
she heard the last words of the news :'...wman who escaped from I.ceds
prison yesterday is still free. The police warn you not to open your door
to strangers. '
She turned off the radio. The housework was waiting for
her. Shc made the beds and washed the dishes. There wasn't auy shopping to
do. and so she thought for a moment of all the Work in the garden.
The Mackins lived in a house with a large garden in a
suburb of Leeds. Behind the garden there were some trees. and then the
Suddenly Mrs Mackin remembered the news. She laughed
uneasily. That prison is only 15 miles away, she thought. She didn't work
in the garden, she mended her husband 's shirts instead And she care.fully
lockcd the front door and closed all the windows.
It was getting dark. She turned on the lights in the
livingroom.Thcn she noticed that she had turned on the lights in most of
the roonss in the house.
'How silly I am!' she said nervously and went into the
other rooms and turned the leghts on.
The person at the door said something loudly. but she
was so frightened that she dien't understand a word.
Do you believe in ghosts? I don't, eitlter-or at least
I didn't until I heard a strange story the other day from Mr Mike Paton,
of 19 Marlborough llill.
It all began on November 28, whcn Mr Paton's eight-ycar-old
son, Bob , was playing in the big back garden of his parents' house. He
met an old man with a long white beard. The old man told Bob he was
builcling the underground railway there, but Bob didn't believe him. Bob
told me afterwards that he knew the underground ran under Marlborough Hill
itself. The old man said there had been an accident the day before.
Then he went away.
At first the Patons didn't believe Bob's story. Mrs
Paton told me that Bob often made up stories about ghosts and monsters,
like other children of his age. But Mr Paton was curious and decided that
he would go to the library to check up on the facts.
He found that the railway compapy had started to build
the line to the west of Marlborough Hill in 1881. but they had run into an
underground river. Ten workmen had died in an accident and the Company had
changed the direction of the line and built the present tunnel under
Marlborough Hill. At first I didn't believe Mr Paton's storv either, so I
did some research myself.
Inspector Bright of the Metropolitan Police said it was
natural to find tramps in the district in winter, but no one had reported
one answering the description I had given him since last August.
Mr Joseph Griffiths of London Transport checked the
files on the accident for me. He told me that the accident had apparently
taken place on or very near the junction of Marlborough Hill and Woodstock
Avenue on 27 November 1881. Mr Paton's house stands on the corner!
The source of this extraordinary story was not affected
by the news. 'I told Mummy it was true,' young Bob Paton told me
yesterday. When I left the house he was playing happily with his toy
cars-in the garden!