given up in despair."
"And you want me to find the owner of the fortune?"
"I certainly will perform a great detective feat if I succeed."
"Yes, you will."
"Accident may aid me; I owe a great deal to accident in my past investigations."
"I will tell you one thing: it is worth your while to succeed."
"I do not doubt that."
"You will earn more money for this one success than you could possibly earn in many years--indeed, I can promise you twenty-five thousand dollars in case you discover the real heir and furnish absolute proofs as to identity."
"But remember, I have not a single clue. Forty years have elapsed since the fortune was placed in your hands. The chances are that all the heirs are dead."
"That is true," said Mr. Townsend.
"True practically, and yet there is a possibility that an heir lives, and is ignorant of a fortune which would be his or hers in case of identification."
"Again, that is true."