THE BANK OE ENGLAND.
CURIOUS INCIDENTS. There is no institution tbat has more romance attached to it than the Bank of England. It has been nearly ruined on several occasions, it has been beset with thieves—one gang robbed it of over £100,000 thirty years ago—forgery and frauds have been practised upon it by the most accomplished criminals in history, and yet "safe as the Bank of England" is a saying which, in spite of the institution's many ups and downs, is true to tbe letter. SAVED BY A RUSE, Had it not been for a very smart ruse on the part of one of the directors, the Bank would have smashed oVer a century ago. This is what happened. A panic sprang up among bank-note holders, a panic' that spread and spread before anyone was aware of what was happening.
One morning, just after the Bank opened, an angry and excited crowd thronged the street demanding cash for notes. There was actually double tbe money in notes in the hands of that mob to what there was gold in the Bank, and the outlook was a bad one. Gold hnd to be got in to pay off every claimant, but 'that took time. So the directors sent men with notes into the crowd, whose claims they attended to first, and paid each claim ln sixpences and shillings. Some men walked away with _acks of shillings over their backs, but the time gained by this method of payment saved the Bank, and every claim was paid.
After this the Bank decided to reassure Its depositors by displaying in the Bank windows and near th- cashiers' desks sacks overflowing with sovereigns, but the public did not know that the sacks were full of coal with only a layer of sovereigns on topi HOW THE BANK FOUGHT A FORGER
The man who gave the bank the most trouble was one named Charles Price, auu he was given the nickname of "Old Patch" because he often wore a black patch over his right eye for no reason save ns a disguise. He was one of the finest engravers in the world, beating even the Bank engravers. He put forged notes into circulation with surprising skill, and a buttle royal began between him and the Bank.
Had he not been a master of disguise, he would have been caught long before he was, but he managed to swindle the Bank out of more than £60,000 before he slipped into the hands of the law in a curious manner, lie used to dress ln a .long black cloak which generally covered the lower part of his face, and, although he employed more than a dozen agents, none had ever seen him out of his disguise.
It was one of these agents who turned upon him. Realising that the man was making a fortune, he lay in wait for him and slunk into the corner of a doorway when the muffled figure drew near. Then leaping upon him, he tore away his disguise, and threatened to betray him to the police unless he acceded to certain preposterous terms. Price refused, so his agent carried out his word, and two months Inter the arch-erluiinal was convicted and -anged
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