"Let's read it right away," Nancy begged.
Mr. Jensen handed the sheets to Mr. Drew. "Maybe you can decipher this. The handwriting is too much for me."
The lawyer took the will. Then, as Nancy looked over his shoulder, he haltingly read aloud, giving an interpretation rather than a word by word account.
"Mr. Jensen—Mr. Warren, your bank has been named as executor," he said.
"Very good." The president smiled. "But I expect Mr. Topham won't be happy to hear this."
Mr. Drew had turned to the last page. "The signature of Josiah is in order," he remarked, "and there are two witnesses—Dr. Nesbitt and Thomas Wackley. No wonder this will didn't come to light. Both those men died in April."
As Nancy tried to decipher the handwriting, she noticed to her delight that the Hoover girls and Abby Rowen were mentioned.
At this moment the president said, "Mr. Drew, the bank's regular lawyer had just left for Europe on an extended vacation. Since you and your daughter have solved the mystery and are so vitally interested in it, would you handle this case for us?"
Nancy's eyes sparkled and Mr. Drew smiled. "I'd certainly be very glad to," he said.
"What instructions have you for us?" Mr. Warren asked.
Mr. Drew thought a moment, then said, "Because of the unusual aspects of this case, I believe that first of all I'd like you to have photostats of the will made, so I can study the contents carefully."
"We'll be happy to do that," Mr. Jensen replied. "And then?"
"After I'm sure everything is legal," Mr. Drew went on, "I'll deliver the original will for probate and notify the people who will benefit from Mr. Crowley's estate."
"Fine," said Mr. Jensen. "We have photostating equipment right here. I'll have a couple of copies made while you wait. Or shall I send them to your office?"
Mr. Drew glanced at his daughter. "We'll wait," he said, smiling.
While the photostats were being made, Nancy's mind was racing. "Oh, I hope Allison receives enough money to pay for singing lessons, and the other deserving people get nice amounts," she whispered to her father, who nodded.
The wait seemed interminable to Nancy, who could not sit still. She walked back and forth until finally her father remarked teasingly, "You're like a caged lion."
Nancy pretended to pout. "At least I'm not growling," she said, and Mr. Drew grinned.
Soon a messenger brought back the will, together with two photostats of the document
"Thank you," said Mr. Jensen, who handed the photostatic copies to Mr. Drew.
"I'll work on this at once," the lawyer promised as he put the papers in his brief case. Then he and his daughter left the bank.
Mr. Drew insisted that he and Nancy stop for lunch and refused to let her look at the will while they were waiting to be served. "Relax, young lady," he warned. "There's no point in letting any prying eyes know our secret."
As he saw his daughter's animation fading, Mr. Drew said, "Suppose you come to my office with me and we'll work on the problem together. I'll have the will typed. In this way its full meaning can be understood more easily."
"Oh, thanks, Dad," said Nancy.
In the lawyer's office the young sleuth sat down beside his typist, Miss Lamby. As each page came from the machine, Nancy read it avidly.
"Mr. Crowley certainly seemed to know the correct phraseology for drawing up a will," she remarked.
Finally, when the typing had been completed, Nancy said to the secretary, "I have a lot of questions to ask Dad."
Miss Lamby smiled. "If they're legal ones, he'll know all the answers," she said. "There's no better lawyer in River Heights than your father."
Nancy smiled as she dashed into her father's office. The two Drews sat down to study Josiah Crowley's last will and testament.
"If this does prove to be legal," said Nancy, "it will certainly be a blow to the Tophams."
"I'm afraid so."
"Dad, when you call a meeting of all the relatives and read the will aloud," Nancy said, "please may I be there?"
Mr. Drew laughed. "I'll humor you this time, Nancy. You may be present when the Tophams get the surprise of their lives!"