The Man with Two Beards by G. K. Chesterton - ReadScholars

The Man with Two Beards by G. K. Chesterton - ReadScholars

The Man with Two Beards by G. K. Chesterton

Simon Stanhope is an actor, audiobook narrator, and curator of the Bitesized Audio Classics channel. The channel features narrations of classic short stories, particularly from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, including ghost stories, detective stories, and mysteries. Stanhope provides short author profiles and background notes in the video description for those interested.

He asks viewers to subscribe, like, share, and leave comments if they enjoy the content. Hello and welcome to Bitesized Audio on YouTube. I'm Simon Stanhope, actor, audiobook narrator, and curator of this channel. On the channel, you can hear my narrations – more than a hundred to date, and more to come – of classic short stories, mostly from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, including vintage ghost stories, detective stories, and other classic tales of mystery and suspense.

To accompany the narrations, I've put a short profile of the authors in the video description, as well as some general background notes on the stories for those who'd like to know more. If you enjoy this content, please hit subscribe, like, share, leave a comment if you'd like to, and thank you for listening.

Introduction to "The Man with Two Beards" by G. K. Chesterton

Father Brown tells Professor Crake a story after dinner, as they share an interest in murder and robbery. Father Brown's version is retold in a more impartial style for this video. They engage in a playful debate about whether criminology is a science, contrasting it with hagiology, the study of holy things. The professor discusses the classification of murderers and their motives.

Father Brown replies, "I'm not sure.”What's that?" asked the specialist sharply. You see, the Dark Ages tried to make science about good people. But our own humane and enlightened age is only interested in science about bad ones.

The professor's classification of murderers

The professor believes murderers can be classified. He divides killings into rational and irrational motives, focusing on the latter. Irrational motives include homicidal mania and irrational antipathy. The professor then discusses the rational motives for murder, which fall under two categories. The first category involves obtaining something the other person possesses through theft or inheritance.

The second category involves stopping the other person from acting in some way, such as killing a blackmailer or political opponent. Prudential crimes, motivated by self-interest, are within this second category. The professor concludes that the classification covers the whole ground of murder.

Well, we believe murderers can be pretty well classified. First, all killing can be divided into rational and irrational, and we'll take the last first because they are much fewer. Then we come to the true motives: of these, some are less rational in the sense of being merely romantic and retrospective. They are hopeful murderers. They fall into the larger section of the second division, of what we may call prudential crimes.

Father Brown's mysterious murder case

Father Brown apologizes for seeming absent-minded as he was thinking about a man he once knew who was a murderer. This man does not fit into the professor's classification system. The murderer was not mad and did not derive pleasure from killing. He did not have any hatred or personal motive toward the man he killed.

The victim did not possess anything the murderer desired. The victim's actions did not interfere with the murderer's plans. There was no woman involved, nor were there any political reasons. Father Brown considers the murderer's motive to be unique in human history.

Description of the Bankes' household

The Bankes household consists of John Bankes, his wife, their son Philip, and their psychic friend, Mrs. Bankes. John Bankes is a stockbroker's clerk, who is well-dressed and values appearance. Mrs. Bankes suspects their new neighbor of being a jewel thief. Daniel Devine, a friend of the Bankes family, is also present and is described as dark and exquisitely dressed with a foreign beard.

The Man with Two Beards by G. K. Chesterton - ReadScholars

Introduction of the topic of the newspaper paragraph

Devine brings up the topic of a newspaper paragraph that mentions their new and possibly alarming neighbor. This topic serves as a distraction from the quarrel between Mrs. Bankes and John Bankes. The paragraph piques their curiosity about the new neighbor's identity.

It was Devine who had introduced the topic of the newspaper paragraph, tactfully insinuating so effective an instrument of distraction at what looked like the beginning of a small family quarrel; for the psychic lady had begun the description of a vision she had had of pale faces floating in the empty night outside her window, and John Bankes was trying to roar down this revelation of a higher state with more than his usual heartiness.

Speculations about the new neighbor's identity

Mrs. Bankes wonders who the new neighbor could possibly be, as they seem to be a newcomer. She dismisses the suggestion that it could be Sir Leopold Pulman or his secretary. Devine mentions a man named Carver staying at Smith's Farm who might be their new neighbor.

Devine's impressions and plans

Devine finds Carver's choice to stay at Smith's Farm and focus on bee culture peculiar. He plans to visit Carver immediately after leaving the Bankes house.

Bankes and Smith going on a drive

Bankes agrees to go on a drive with Smith, encouraging him not to be selfish. Smith thinks about it and decides to go along with Bankes.

Devine's suspicion of Carver

Devine feels uneasy about Carver's courteous manner, comparing it to that of a brigand with a pistol. Carver addresses Devine and asks him to sit down and explains that he is a detective investigating the criminal known as Michael Moonshine, who is believed to be involved in jewel robberies.

Please sit down, Mr. Devine," said Carver; "and, with Mrs. Bankes's permission, I will follow your example. My presence here necessitates an explanation. I rather fancy you suspected me of being an eminent and distinguished burglar.

Carver's investigation and findings

Carver reveals that he has been investigating the activities of Michael Moonshine, a jewel thief known for wearing a red beard and horn-rimmed spectacles as a disguise. He shares that there has been a jewel robbery at Beechwood House, which matches Moonshine's modus operandi. Carver also mentions finding curious items related to beekeeping at Mr. Smith's house, implying Moonshine's involvement.

Jewel robberies were his specialty; and there has just been one of them at Beechwood House, which, by all the technical tests, is obviously his work.

Opal's identification of Moonshine's disguise

Opal confirms seeing the face of the man with the red beard and goggles, which matches Moonshine's disguise. She mentions that she initially thought it was a ghost.

Carver's findings and the mention of Mrs. Bankes' necklace

Carver shares that he discovered a memorandum with notes on various pieces of jewelry in the area, including mention of an emerald necklace belonging to Mrs. Bankes.

John's response and the sudden disappearance

John, eager to retrieve the stolen necklace, rushes out of the room. Opal points out the face she saw outside the window, resembling Moonshine's disguise before it quickly vanishes.

And the tiara's gone already," he roared; "and the necklace—I'm going to see about that necklace!" "There it is again!" she cried. But the gills or fins of the fish were a coppery red; they were, in truth, fierce red whiskers and the upper part of a red beard. The next moment it had vanished.

Gunshot and the discovery of Moonshine's body

Devine is stopped in his tracks by a loud shout and realizes that John has fired at the intruder at the window. The detective joins John in the garden and discovers Moonshine's lifeless body on the ground.

Devine had taken a single stride towards the window when a shout resounded through the house, a shout that seemed to shake it. Necklace gone!" shouted John Bankes, appearing huge and heaving in the doorway, and almost instantly vanishing again with the plunge of a pursuing hound. "Thief was at the window just now!" "Be careful," wailed the lady, "they have pistols and things." "So have I," boomed the distant voice of the dauntless John out of the dark garden. They flapped into silence.

Identity of the deceased thief

It is revealed that the deceased thief is indeed Moonshine, and he was shot by John in the garden. It was he who answered her. "No," he said; "it is the other." Carver had joined him, and for a moment the two figures, the tall and the short blocked out what view the fitful and stormy moonlight would allow.

Father Brown's Doubts

Father Brown admires Simon Stanhope's reformation but doesn't believe he is the Moonshine burglar. Devine is interested and asks Father Brown if he doesn't believe Stanhope is the burglar. Father Brown confirms that he knows Stanhope is the burglar but doesn't believe he came to steal jewels. Father Brown questions where the jewels are, suggesting they may be hidden or passed on to a confederate.

The "ghost" seen at the window

The young lady saw a ghost at the window. The little man explains that the young lady is psychic but mistaken in thinking she is spiritual. He reveals that what she saw was the face of a dead man.

It was a dead man who looked in at the window... It was the antic of the body freed from the soul.

John Bankes, the unexpected villain

Father Brown identifies John Bankes as the perpetrator. He argues that anyone, regardless of their background, can be capable of both good and evil deeds. However, he notes that certain types, such as brutal businesspeople, tend to be more godless.

The novel motive for murder

John Bankes devised a unique motive for murder. He planned to kill his brother, Michael, in the motor and then pretend to have killed him in the garden. This motive evolved from the fact that he had access to the dead body of a recognized burglar inside a closed car.

Michael's attachment to the old beard

Devine questions why Michael kept the old beard. Father Brown explains that Michael's attitude towards his disguises, including the old beard, was genuine and sincere. Michael didn't want to destroy the false beard because he wasn't hiding from anyone; he was comfortable with his true self.

His whole attitude was like that wig that he wore. There was no disguise about his disguises... He would have felt it false to destroy the false beard. It would have been like hiding.

Bees and wasps

Devine remarks on the similarity between bees and wasps in this world in "The Man with Two Beards". This statement alludes to the complex and intertwined nature of different characters and their actions in the story. It suggests that things are not always what they seem, and there can be unexpected connections and parallels.

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