A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Two young heroes race against time to discover buried treasure in this innovative story, written originally as part of a genuine treasure hunt staged to help promote tourism to the Isle of Man.
A Short Story
by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF
Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd.
Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2014
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Ebook Edition © JUNE 2014 ISBN 9780007560271
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Manx Gold (#u663d4f3d-8a2f-5936-b580-60295a91ecbe)
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Manx Gold (#ulink_9c912ea1-7274-5530-a565-a565d0132151)
‘Manx Gold’ was first published in The Daily Dispatch between 23–28 May 1930 as a treasure hunt to promote tourism in the Isle of Man.
Old Mylecharane liv’d up on the broo.
Where Jurby slopes down to the wold,
His croft was all golden with cushag and furze,
His daughter was fair to behold.
‘O father, they say you’ve plenty of store,
But hidden all out of the way.
No gold can I see, but its glint on the gorse;
Then what have you done with it, pray?’
‘My gold is locked up in a coffer of oak,
Which I dropped in the tide and it sank,
And there it lies fixed like an anchor of hope,
All bright and as safe as the bank.’
‘I like that song,’ I said appreciatively, as Fenella finished.
‘You should do,’ said Fenella. ‘It’s about our ancestor, yours and mine. Uncle Myles’s grandfather. He made a fortune out of smuggling and hid it somewhere, and no one ever knew where.’
Ancestry is Fenella’s strong point. She takes an interest in all her forebears. My tendencies are strictly modern. The difficult present and the uncertain future absorb all my energy. But I like hearing Fenella singing old Manx ballads.
Fenella is very charming. She is my first cousin and also, from time to time, my fiancée. In moods of financial optimism we are engaged. When a corresponding wave of pessimism sweeps over us and we realize that we shall not be able to marry for at least ten years, we break it off.
‘Didn’t anyone ever try to find the treasure?’ I inquired.
‘Of course. But they never did.’
‘Perhaps they didn’t look scientifically.’
‘Uncle Myles had a jolly good try,’ said Fenella. ‘He said anyone with intelligence ought to be able to solve a little problem like that.’
That sounded to me very like our Uncle Myles, a cranky and eccentric old gentleman, who lived in the Isle of Man, and who was much given to didactic pronouncements.
It was at that moment that the post came – and the letter!
‘Good Heavens,’ cried Fenella. ‘Talk of the devil – I mean angels – Uncle Myles is dead!’
Both she and I had only seen our eccentric relative on two occasions, so we could neither of us pretend to a very deep grief. The letter was from a firm of lawyers in Douglas, and it informed us that under the will of Mr Myles Mylecharane, deceased, Fenella and I were joint inheritors of his estate, which consisted of a house near Douglas, and an infinitesimal income. Enclosed was a sealed envelope, which Mr Mylecharane had directed should be forwarded to Fenella at his death. This letter we opened and read its surprising contents. I reproduce it in full, since it was a truly characteristic document.
‘My dear Fenella and Juan (for I take it that where one of you is the other will not be far away! Or so gossip has whispered), You may remember having heard me say that anyone displaying a little intelligence could easily find the treasure concealed by my amiable scoundrel of a grandfather. I displayed that intelligence – and my reward was four chests of solid gold – quite like a fairy story, is it not?
Of living relations I have only four, you two, my nephew Ewan Corjeag, whom I have always heard is a thoroughly bad lot, and a cousin, a Doctor Fayll, of whom I have heard very little, and that little not always good.
My estate proper I am leaving to you and Fenella, but I feel a certain obligation laid upon me with regard to this ‘treasure’ which has fallen to my lot solely through my own ingenuity. My amiable ancestor would not, I feel, be satisfied for me to pass it on tamely by inheritance. So I, in my turn, have devised a little problem.