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Newspaper Page Text
again, please, and then 111 go up
He Inspected the vase, jotted dowr
some notes, and took his departure.
He returned late at night, bewildered.
"The peachblow is in the museum,"
he said. "I saw it with my own
eyes. It's the genuine peachblow.
Jones, I believe if you look in your
safe you'll find the vase missing."
But it wasn't missing. It remained
in the safe, shining with all its deli
cate transpaf ency of pink and white.
"I'll come tomorrow and go over it
inch by inch," said the 'expert
, He did so and pronounced the vase
genuine. "It's a twin brother of the
museum 'one," he said. "The same
man made both in the time of the
Ming dynasty. It's genuine I guar
antee that But I'm going to see the
one in the museum once more."
However, the curator refused to let
him handle the museum vase. He
was suspicious of the. critic's eager
ness, and thought that he meant to
decry the authenticity of the famous
vase, ior which the museum had paid
$40,000 a year before. 3Besides,'he
was not willing to risk the breakage
of $40,000 worth of percelain by an
unfortunate slip of the expert's hand.
Smith, standing beside the case,
examined the vase. It stood in a
case similar to that in which its fel
lows reposed in the pawnbroker's
safe, of red leather, lined with velvet
and open at the front He compared
it with his notes with the utmost
care. He could see hardly -a yaria
tion. And yet there was undoubted
ly the slightest variation justenough
to- convince him that the two vases
were indubitably two.
"I guarantee that the vase in your
possession is genuine," he told the
pawnbroker. "But I'm suspicious. If
that fellow is the one who played
that trick on old Campion there's
something strange about it."
Once more he went to the curator.
He almost went down on his knees
to him, but the curator was adamant
He refused in the strongest terms" to
allow anybody to handle the peachy
diow vase. v
"I guess I've done all that is pos- x
sible," Smith said toe pawnbrok-"
er. "Now it's up to you."
"I don't care about the money,"
said Jones. "But I mean to Jiavc,
possession of that vase for a few
weeks before I die."
However, the day before that set
by the stranger for his return Jones
went down to his shop to find the
safe drilled open and the vase only
the vase gone.
The horrified old man sent for
Smith. "He won't come for it," said
Smith with conviction. "I'd have a
couple of detectives ready in case "he
did. The police are still looking for
,him in connection with the Campion
The stranger failed to appear. A
second week passed, Jones had al
most become reconciled to-the situa
tion. Noj; so the critic.
Since his pleas to the curator a
guard had unostentatiously been sta
tioned before the peachblow vase in
the museum. The guard did not know
Smith. He watched with only Ian-
guid interest the well-dressed, unob
trusive man who was looking at the
peachblow. Suddenly Smith raised
his arm. There was the sound' of
splintering glass. An instant later
the famous peachblow vase lay shat
tered into a hundred pieces on the
"Now send for the curator," said
the expert, making no resistance.
Less than ten minutes later the
curator arrived. When he saw Smith
he tore his hair; he shook his fist in
Smith's face. '
"I'll have you sent up for life for
this!" he bawled.
"I took a big chance," answered
Smith. "But take a look at your
The curator stopped in his denun-""
ciations. Something in Smith's face "
made him obey. Gingerly he picked
up one fragment He was handling: