Название: Mr. Wray's Cash Box
Автор: Wilkie Collins
A good bookshelf is not complete without this charming little tale. It is founded on what was related to the author as a fact, as to the first obtaining of the well-known cast of the face of Shakespeare, by a stonemason, who was repairing the church at Stratford-on Avon. He was found out, and by the local authorities forthwith threatened with severe penalties; and not knowing how far his deed was culpable, and their threats dangerous, he thought it best to make a hasty retreat from the place with his treasure. It was only for love and admiration of the poet that he had been prompted to procure the memorial for himself, but he was advised afterwards to turn it to profitable account. His casts, neatly mounted on black marble, were soon spread far and wide through England and America. From this fact, or tradition, the story of Mr. Wray and his family is conceived. The title of the story, as of a 'Mysterious Cash-Box," arises from the opening scene, where a pretty and interesting girl comes into a chemist's shop, which is also the branch bank of a little country town. She asks leave to put a written bill in the window, advertising that «Mr. Reuben Wray, pupil of the late celebrated John Kemble, gives lessons on elocution and delivery at two-and-sixpence an hour.» That pupils are prepared for the stage, and various announcements, the long advertisement also sets forth. Speculation was soon afloat in the town of Tidbury-on-the-Marsh, about this Mr. Wray and the fair stranger who had brought the announcement to the bank window. Mr. Dark, one of the partners, had seen one of the gentlemen who lodged at No. 12, with a large cash-box, and it puzzled him how a man with a cash-box needed to give lessons in reading at half-a-crown an hour. The connection between the mask and the mystery may now be guessed. The story is very pleasantly told, and what Mr. Collins calls a slight sketch, is a beautifully-drawn picture of domestic life and quite a tale for an English or American winter fireside.