Nevertheless, no one ever questioned the wealth of the Crudens, least of all did the Crudens themselves, who took it as much for granted as the atmosphere they breathed in.
On the day on which our story opens Mr Cruden had driven down into the City on business. No one knew exactly what the business was, for he kept such matters to himself. It was an ordinary expedition, which consisted usually of half a dozen calls on half a dozen stockbrokers or secretaries of companies, with perhaps an occasional visit to the family lawyer or the family bank.
To-day, however, it had consisted of but one visit, and that was to the bank. And it was whilst returning thence that Mr Cruden was suddenly seized with the stroke which ended in his death. Had immediate assistance been at hand the calamity might have been averted, but neither the coachman nor footman was aware of what had happened till the carriage was some distance on its homeward journey, and a passer-by caught sight of the senseless figure wi