THE WAPSHAW'S WHARF MYSTERY.
There was a great commotion in Lower Thames Street on the morning of
January 12, 1887. When the early members of the staff arrived at
Wapshaw's Wharf they found that the safe had been broken open, a
considerable sum of money removed, and the offices left in great
disorder. The night watchman was nowhere to be found, but nobody who had
been acquainted with him for one moment suspected him to be guilty of
the robbery. In this belief the proprietors were confirmed when, later
in the day, they were informed that the poor fellow's body had been
picked up by the River Police. Certain marks of violence pointed to the
fact that he had been brutally attacked and thrown into the river. A
watch found in his pocket had stopped, as is invariably the case in such
circumstances, and this was a valuable clue to the time of the outrage.
But a very stupid officer (and we invariably find one or two stupid
individuals in the most intelligent bodies of men) had actually amused
himself by turning the hands round and round, trying to set the watch
going again. After he had been severely reprimanded for this serious
indiscretion, he was asked whether he could remember the time that was
indicated by the watch when found. He replied that he could not, but he
recollected that the hour hand and minute hand were exactly together,
one above the other, and the second hand had just passed the forty-ninth
second. More than this he could not remember.
What was the exact time at which the watchman's watch stopped? The watch
is, of course, assumed to have been an accurate one.
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