Ainsley, a post-office sorter, turned the envelope over and over in his hands. The letter was addressed to his wife and had an Australian stamp.
Ainsley knew that the sender was Dicky Soames, his wife’s cousin. It was the second letter Ainsley received after Dicky’s departure. The first letter had come six months before, he did not read it and threw it into the fire. No man ever had less reason for jealousy than Ainsley. His wife was frank as the day, a splendid housekeeper, a very good mother to their two children. He knew that Dicky Soames had been fond of Adela and the fact that Dicky Soames had years back gone away to join his and Adela’s uncle made no difference to him. He was afraid that some day Dicky would return and take Adela from him.
Ainsley did not take the letter when he was at work as his fellow-workers could see him do it. So when the working hours were over he went out of the post-office together with his fellow workers, then he returned to take the letter addressed to his wife. As the door of the post-office was locked, he had to get in through a window. When he was getting out of the window the postmaster saw him. He got angry and dismissed Ainsley. So another man was hired and Ainsley became unemployed. Their life became hard; they had to borrow money from their friends.
Several months had passed. One afternoon when Ainsley came home he saw the familiar face of Dicky Soames. «So he had turned up,» Ainsley thought to himself.
Dicky Soames said he was delighted to see Ainsley. «I have missed all of you so much,» he added with a friendly smile.
Ainsley looked at his wife. «Uncle Tom has died,» she explained «and Dicky has come into his money».
«Congratulation,» said Ainsley, «you are lucky.»
Adela turned to Dicky. «Tell Arthur the rest,» she said quietly. «Well, you see,» said Dicky, «Uncle Tom had something over sixty thousand and he wished Adela to have half. But he got angry with you because Adela never answered the two letters I wrote to her for him. Then he changed his will and left her money to hospitals. I asked him not to do it, but he wouldn’t listen to me!» Ainsley turned pale. «So those two letters were worth reading after all,» he thought to himself. For some time everybody kept silence. Then Dicky Soames broke the silence, «It’s strange about those two letters. I’ve often wondered why you didn’t answer them?» Adela got up, came up to her husband and said, taking him by the hand. «The letters were evidently lost.» At that moment Ansley realized that she knew everything.