"The Interrupted Exile" is the story of how Randolph Mason "corrected" a complex financial scheme that threatened to ruin a trusting coal company operator by spotting a "scrivener's error" --- in other words, legal malpractice.
It is not an easy story to follow. General Cruger was tricked into guaranteeing a $200,000 bank loan to Myron Gates, known as "the wolf." When the latter defaulted, the bank, threatening suit, suggested the General sell a bond, backed by a mortgage on valuable coal fields of his company, to raise money to pay the debt (the General later learned that Gates himself bought the bond, and so held a lien on the company property). Distraught at losing his fortune, the General confided in Courtlandt Parks, Randolph Mason's private secretary, that he planned to flee into "exile" in Europe. Eager to help, Parks explained the matter to Mason, who glanced at the mortgage and advised Parks to tell the General to "pay his debt to the bank" (i.e., sign the mortgage). After the General complied, Mason directed him to have the directors of his coal company authorize another mortgage on "all the property of the company" to a London Trust Company, which then issued bonds that were bought by clients of a New York banker who had Mason's confidence. The money from this bond sale went to the General, who was told by Mason to go to Europe for a year and keep quiet. Puzzled that anyone would buy bonds secured by the second mortgage on property already under Gates's lien, Parks sought an explanation from the banker, who assured him that his mortgage lien was "gold," adding, "Gates got the brass one."
This story appeared in the September 27, 1912, issue of The Virginia Enterprise. It is one of a series of tales about Randolph Mason published by this newspaper for the entertainment of its readers. Other stories can be found in the "Literature" category of the archives of the MLHP.