The chief corner-stone suddenly found wanting in the glittering fabric of Mr Titmouse’s fortune, so that, to the eyes of its startled architects, Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, it seemed momentarily threatening to tumble about their ears, was a certain piece of evidence which, being a matter-of-fact man, I should like to explain to the reader, before we get on any further. In order, however, to do this effectually, I must go back to an earlier period in the history than has been yet called to his attention. I make no doubt, that by the superficial and impatient novel-reader, certain portions of what has gone before, and which could not fail of attracting the attention of long-headed people, as not likely to have been thrown in for nothing, (and therefore requiring to be borne in mind with a view to subsequent explanation), have been entirely overlooked or forgotten. However this may be, I can fancy that the sort of reader whom / have in my eye, as one whose curiosity it is worth some pains to excite, and sustain, has more than once asked himself the following question, viz.—

How did Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, first come to be acquainted with the precarious tenure by which Mr Aubrey held the Yatton property? —Why, it chanced in this wise.

Samuel Warren, Ten Thousand A-Year (just try making sense of it in one go)
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