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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 20, 1913, Image 22

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The Reappearance of Raffles
The Fourth of a Series of Five Stories Involving
the Most Celebrated Criminal Character
in Modern Fiction
UvmUT who are they. Raffles, and Where's their
IJ house? There's no such club on the list in
[3 Whitaker."
"The criminologists, my near Bunny, are
too few for a local habitation, and too select to tell their
name in Oath. They are merely so many solemn stu
dents of contemporary crime, who meet and dine peri
odically at each other* clubs or houses."
"But why In the world should they ask us to dine
with them?" ,
And I brandished the invitation which, had brought
me hot foot to the Albany. It was from the Right Hon.
the Earl of Thornaby. K. G., and members of the Crimi
nologists' Club, and it requested the honor of my com
pany at dinner. In three weeks' time, at Thornaby House,
Park lane. That in itself was a disturbing compliment.
Judge then of my dismay on learning that Raffles had
been Invited, too.
"They have got it into their heads," said he, "that
the gladiatorial element is the curse, of most modern
sport. They tremble especially for the professional
gladiator. And they want to know whether my ex
perience tallies with their theory-"
"I don't believe them!"
"They suote the case of a league player, sus per
coll., and any number of suicides. It really is rather
In my public line."
"In yours. If you like, but not in mine," said L "No,
Raffles, they've got their eye on us both, and mean to
put us under the microscope, or they never would have
pitched on me."
Raffles smiled upon my perturbation.
"I almost wish you were right. Bunny! It would be
even better fun than I mean to make it as it Is. But it
may console you to hear that it was I who gave them
your name. I told them you were a far keener crimi
nologist than myself. I un delighted to hear they have
taken my hint, and that we are to meet at their grew
eome board." , . . .
"If I accept," said I with the austerity he deserved.
"If you don't," rejoined Raffles, "you will miss some
sport after both our hearts. Think of it. BunnylThes©
fellows meet to wallow In all the latest crimes. We wal
low with them as though we knew no more about it
than themselves. Perhaps we don't, for (few criminolo
gists have a soul above murder, and I quite expect to
have the privilege of lfcfUng the discussion into our own
higher walk. They shall give their morbid minds to the
fine art of burgling for a change, and while we're about
It, Bunny, we may as well extract their opinion of our
noble selves. As authors, as collaborators, we will sit
with the flower of our critics and find our own level in
the expert eye. It will be a piquant experience. If not
an invaluable one. If we are sailing too near the wind,
we are sure to hear about it. and can trim our sails
accordingly. Moreover, we shall get a very good dinner
into the bargain, or our noble host will belie a European
reputation."
"Do you know him?" I asked.
"We have a pavilion acquaintance, when It suits my
lord," replied Raffles, chuckling. "But I know all about
him. He was president one year of the M. C. C, and we
never had a better. He knows the game, though I be
lieve he never played cricket in his life. But then he
knows most things, and has never done any of them.
He has never even" married, and never opened his lips
In the house of lords. Yet they say there is no better
brain in the august assembly, and he certainly made us
a wonderful speech last time the Australians were over.
He has read everything and (to his credit in these days)
never written a line. All round he is a whale for theory
and a sprat for practice, but he looks quite capable of
both at crime."
I now longed to behold this remarkable peer in the
flesh, and with the greater ardor, since another of the
things which he evidently never did was to have his
photograph published for the benefit of the curious. I
told Raffles that I would dine with him at Lord Thorna
by's, and he nodded as though I had not hesitated for
a moment. I see now how deftly he had disposed of my
reluctance. No doubt, he had thought it all out before.
His little speeches look sufficiently premeditated as I set
them down at the dictates of an excellent memory. Let
it, however, be borne In mind that Raffles did not talk
exactly like a Raffles book; he said the things, but he
did not say them in so many consecutive breaths. They
were punctuated by puffs from his eternal cigarette, and
the punctuation was often in the nature of a line of
asterisks, while he took a silent turn up and down his
room. Nor was he ever more deliberate than when he
seemed most nonchalant and spontaneous. I came to
see it In the end. But these were early days, In which
he was more plausible to me than I can hope to make
him appear to another human being. And I saw a good
deal of Raffles Just then. It was, In fact, the one period
at which I can remember his coming round to see me
more frequently than I went round to him. Of course,
he would come at his own odd hours, often Just as ons
was dressing to turn out and dine, and I can even re
member finding him there when I returned, for I had
long since given him a key of ths fiat. It was the inhos
pitable month of February, and I can recall more than
one cozy evening when we discussed anything and every
thing but our own malpractices. Indeed, there were none
to discuss Just then. Raffles, on the contrary, was
showing himself with some industry In the most respect
able society, and by his advice I used the club more
than ever.
"There is nothing like it at this tlms of year," said
he. "In the summer I have my cricket to provide me
with decent employment in the sight of men. Keep your
self before the pubUo from morning to night, and they'll
never think of you in the still small hours."
Our behavior, In fine, had so long been irreproach
able that I arose without misgivings on the morning of
Lord Thornaby's dinner to the other criminologists and
guests. My chief anxiety was to arrive under the aegis
of my brilliant friend, and I had begged him to pick
me up on his way; but at five minutes to the appointed
hour there was no sign of Raffles or his cab. We were
bidden at a quarter to 8 for 8 o'clock, so, after aU, I had
to hurry off alone.
Fortunately, Thornaby House Is almost at the end of
my street that was, and it seemed to me another for
tunate circumstance that the house stood back as it did,
and does, In its own august courtyard; for, as I was
about to knock, a hansom came twinkling in behind me.
and I drew back, hoping it was Raffles at the last mo
ment It was not, and I knew It in time to melt from
the porch, and wait yet another minute in the shadows,
since others were as late as L And out Jumped these
others, chattering In stage whispers as they paid their
cab.
•Thornaby has a bet about It with Freddy Vereker,
who can't come, I hear. Of course, it won't be lost or
won tonight. But the dear man thinks he's been invited
as a cricketer."
"I don't believe he's the other thing," said a voice
as brusque as the first was bland. "I believe it's all
bunkum I wish I didn't, but I do."
"I think you'll find it's more than that," rejoined the
other, as the doors opened and swallowed the pair.
I leave my feelings to the popular imagination. I flung
out limp hands and smote the air. Raffles bidden to
what he had well called this "grewsome board," not as a
cricketer, but as a suspected criminal; Raffles wrong all
the time, and I right for once in my original apprehen
sion! And still no Raffles in sight—no Raffles to warn
no Raffles an/ 1 the clock striking 8!
Well may I shirk the psychology of such a moment,
for my belief is that the striking clocks struck down
my power of thought and feeling, and that I played
my poor part the better for that blessed surcease of in
tellectual sensation. On the other hand, I was never
more alive to the purely objective impressions of any
hour of my existence, and of them the memory is
startling to this day. I hear my mad knock at the
double doors; they fly open In the middle, and it is like
some sumptuous and solemn rite. A long slice of
silken-legged lackey is seen on either hand; a very
prelate of a butler bows a benediction from the sanc
tuary steps. I breathe more freely when I reach a
book-lined library, where a mere handful of men do not
overflow the Indian rug before the fire. One of them is
Raffles; he is talking to a large man with the brow off
a deml-god, and the eyes and chin of a degenerate
bulldog. And this is our noble host.
Lord Thornaby stared at me with inscrutable stolid
ity as we shook hands, and at once handed me over to
a tall, ungainly man whom he addressed as Ernest,
but whose surname I never learned. Ernest in turn
introduced me, with a shy and clumsy courtesy, to the
two remaining guests. They were the pair who had
driven up in the hansom; one turned out to be Kings
mill, Q- C.; the other I knew at a glance, from his
photographs, as Parrington, the backwoodsman of let
ters. They were admirable foils to each other, the bar
rister being plump and dapper, with a Napoleonic cast
of countenance, and the author one of the shaggiest
men I have ever seen in evening clothes. Neither took
much stock of me, but both had an eye on Raffles as 1
exchanged a few words with each in turn. Dinner,
however, was immediately announced, and the six ot
us had soon taken our places round a brilliant little
table stranded in a great dark room.
I had not been prepared for so small a party, and at
flrst I felt relieved. If the worst came to the worst, 1
was fool enough to say in my heart, they were but two
to one. But I was soon sighing for that safety which
the adage associates with numbers. We were far too
few for the confidential duologue with one's neighbor in
which I at least, would have taken refuge from the
perils of a general conversation. And the general con
versation soon resolved itself into an attack, so subtly
concerted and so artistically delivered that I could not
conceive I.jw Raffles should ever know it for an attack,
and that against himself, or how to warn him of his
peril. But to this day I am not convinced that I also
was honored by the suspicions of the club; it may
have been s.<. nn<i cney may have Ignored me for the
bigger game.
It was Lord Thornaby himself who fired the first
shot, over the very sherry. He had Raffles on his right
hand and the Wild West novelist on his left. Raffles was
hemmed in by the law on his right, while I sat between
Parrington and Ernest, who took the foot of the table,
and seemed a sort of feudatory cadet of the noble
house. But it was the motley lot of us that my lord
addressed, as he sat back blinaing his baggy eye*.
"Mr. Raffles." said he, "has bten telling me about
that poor fellow who suffered the extreme penalty last
March. A great end, gentlemen, a great end! It is
true that he had been ungallant enough to cut a lady's
throat, but his own end should take its place among
the most glorious traditions of the gallows. You tell
them, Mr. Raffles; it will be as new to my friends as it
is to me."
"I tell the tale as I heard it last time I played at
Trent Bridge; it was never in the papers, I believe,"
said Raffles gravely. "You may remember the tremen
dous excitement over the Test Matches out in Australia
at the time; It seems that the result of the crucial game
was expected on the condemned man's last day, and
he couldn't rest until he knew it. We pulled it off, if
you recollect, and he said it would make him swing
happy."
"Tell 'em what else he said!" cried Lord Thornaby,
rubbing his podgy hands.
"The chaplain remonstrated with him on his excite
ment over a game at such a time, and the convict is
said to have replied, "Why, it's the first thing they'll
ask me at the other end otf the drop!' "
The story wias new even to me, but I had no time to
appreciate its points. My concern was to watch its
effect upon the other members of the party. Ernest,
on my left, doubled up with laughter, and tittered and
shook for several minutes; my other neighbor, more
impressionable by temperament, winced flrst and then
worked himself into a state of enthusiasm which
culminated in an assault upon his shirt cuff with a
joiner's pencil. Kingsmill, Q.C., beaming tranquilly on
Raffles, seemed the one least Impressed until he spoke.
"1 am glad to hear that," he remarked in a high
bland voice. "I thought that man would die game."
"Did you know anything about him, then?" inquired
Lord Thornaby.
"I appeared for the Treasury," replied the barrister
with a twinkle. "You might almost say that I meas
ured the poor man's neck." /
The point must have been quite unpremeditated; it
was not the less effective for that. Lord Thornaby
looked askance at the callous silk. It was some mo
ments betfore Ernest tittered, and Parrington felt for
his pencil, and in the interim I had made short work
of my hock, though it was Johannisberger. As for
Raffles, one had but to see his horror to feel how com
pletely he was off his guard.
"In itself, I have heard it was not a sympathetic
case?" was the remark with which he broke the gen
eral silence.
"Not a bit."
"That must have been a comfort to you," said
Raffles dryly.
"It would have been to me." vowed our author, while
ths barrister merely smiled. "I should have been very
sorry to have had a hand in hanging Peckham and
Solomons the other day."
"Why Peckham and Solomons?" inquired my lord.
"They never meant to kill that old lady."
"But they strangled her in her bed with her own
pillow-case!"
"I don't care," said the uncouth scribe. "They didn't
"There's a most considerate scheme of pipes"
break in for that. They never thought of scragging
her. The foolish old person would make a noise, and
one of them tied too tight. I call it jolly bad luck on
them."
"On quiet, harmless, well-behaved thieves." added
Lord Thornaby, "in the unobtrusive exercise o»f their
humble avocation!"
And, as he turned to Raffles with his puffy smile, !
felt that we had reached that part of the program
which had undergone rehearsal; it had been perfectly
timed to arrive with the champagne, and I was not
afraid to signify my appreciation of that small mercy.
But Raffles laughed so quickly at hig lordship's humor,
and yet with such a natural restraint, as to leave no
doubt that he had taken kindly to my own old part,
and was playing the innocent inimitably in his turn, by
reason of his very innocence. It was a poetic judg
ment on old Raffles, and in my enjoyment of the novel
situation I was able also to enjoy some of the good
things that accrued /from this rich man's table. The
saddle of mutton more than Justified Ms place in the
menu. But it had not spoiled me for my wing of
pheasant, and I was even looking forward to a sweet,
when a further remark from the literary light recalled
me from the table to Its talk.
"But I suppose," said Parrington to Kingsmill, "it's
many a burglar you've restored to his friends and his
relations?"
"Let us say many a poor fellow who has been
charged with burglary." replied the cheery Q.C. "It's
not quite the same thing, you know, nor is 'many' the
most accurate word. I never touch criminal work in
town."
"It's the only kind I should care about," said the
novelist, eating jelly with a spoon.
"I quite agree with you," our host chimed in. "And
of all the criminals one might be called upon to defend,
give me the enterprising burglar."
"It must, indeed, be the breeziest branch of the
business," remarked Raffles while I held my breath.
But his tone was as light as gossamer, and his art
less manner a triumph of even his incomparable art.
Raffles was alive to the danger at last. I saw him
refuse more champagne, even as I drained my glass
again. But it was not the same danger to us both.
Raffles had no reason to feel surprise or alarm at such
a turn in a conversation frankly devoted to criminology;
it must seem as inevitable to him as it was sinister to
me, with my fortuitous knowledge of the suspicions that
were entertained. And there was little to put him on
his guard in the touch of his adversaries, which was
only less light than his own.
"I am not very fond of Mr. Sikes," announced the
barrister, like a man who had got his cue.
"But he is prehistoric," rejoined my lord. "A lot
of blood has flowed under the razor since the days of
sweet William."
"True, you have had Charlie Peace!" cried Par
rington. and launched out into such glowing details of
that criminal's last moments that I began to hope the
diversion might prove permanent. But Lord Thornaby
was not to be denied.
"William and Charles are both dead monarchs." said
he. "The reigning king in their department is the fel
low who gutted poor Danby's place in Bond street."
There was a guilty silence on the part of the three
conspirators—for I had long since persuaded myself that
Ernest was not in their secret—and then my blood
froze.
"I know him well," said Raffles, looking up.
Lord Thornaby stared at him in consternation. The
smile on the Napoleonic countenance of the barrister
looked forced and frozen for the first time during the
evening. The wild man of letters, who was nibbling
cheese from a knjfe, left a drop of blood upon his
beard. The futile Ernest alone met the occasion with
a hearty titter.
"What!" cried my lord. "You know the thief?"
"I wish I did," rejoined Raffles, chuckling. "No.
Lord Thornaby, I only meant the jeweler, Danby. I
go to him when I want a wedding present"
I heard three deep breaths drawn as one. Then I
drew my own.
"Rather a coincidence," observed our host dryly,
"for I believe you also know the Minchester people,
where Lady Melrose had her necklace stolen a few
months afterward."
"I was staying there at the time," said Raffles
eagerly. No snob was ever quicker to boast of basking
in the smile of the great _ .
"We believe it to be the same man, 1 said Lora
Thornaby, speaking apparently for the Criminologists'
Club, and with much less severity of voice.
"I only wish I could come across him," continued
Raffles heartily; "he's a criminal much more to my mind
than your murderers who swear on the drop or talk
cricket in the condemned cell."
"He might be in the house now," said Lord Thor
aby, looking Raffles in the face. But his manner was
that of an actor in an unconvincing part and a mood
to play it gamely to the bitter end, and he seemed
embittered, as even a rich man may be in th* moment
of losing a bet.
"What a joke if he were!" cried our man of letters.
"Absit omen!" murmured Raffles, in better taste.
"Still. I think you'll find it's a favorite time,"
argued Kingsmill, Q.C. "And it would be quite in
keeping with the character of this man, so far as it is
known, to pay a little visit to the President of the
Criminologists' Club, and to choose the evening on
which he happens to be entertaining the other mem
bers."
There was more conviction in this sally than in that
of our noble host, but this I attributed to the trained
and skilled dissimulation of the bar. Lord Thornaby.
however, was not to be amused by the elaboration of
his own idea, and it was with some asperity that he
called upon the butler, now solemnly superintending the
removal of the cloth:
"Leggett! Just send upstairs to see if all the doors
are open and the rooms in proper order. That's an
awful idea of yours, Kingsmill, or of mine!" added my
lord, recovering the courtesy of his order by an effort
that I could follow. "We should look fools! I don't
know which of us it was, by the way, who seduced the
rest from the main stream of blood into this burglarious
backwater. Are you familiar with De Quincey's mas
terpiece on Murder as a Fine Art, Mr. Raffles?"
"I believe I once read it," replied Raffles doubtfully.
"Once!" echoed the literary man.
"You must read it again," pursued the peer. "It is
the last word on a great subject; all we can hope to
add is some baleful illustration or some bloodstained
footnote, not unworthy of De Quincey's text. Well,
Leggett?"
The venerable butler stood wheezing at his elbow.
I had not hitherto observed that the man was an
asthmatic.
"I beg your lordship's pardon, but I think your
lordship must have fforgotten."
The voice came in rude gasps but words of reproach
could scarcely have achieved a finer delicacy.
"Forgotten, Leggett! Forgotten what, may I ask?"
"Locking your lordship's dressing-room door behind
your lordship, my lord," stuttered the unfortunate Leg
gett, in the short spurts of a winded man, a few ster
torous syllables at a time. "Been up myself, my lord.
Outer door—inner door—both locked inside!"
But by this time the noble master was in a worse
case than the man. His fine forehead was a tangle of
livid cords; his baggy jowl filled out like a balloon. In
another second he had abandoned his place as our host
and fled the room, and in yet another we had forgotten
ours as his guests and rushed out headlong at his heels.
Raffles was as excited as any of us now; he out
stripped us all; the cherubic little lawyer and I had a
fine race for the last place but one, which I secured,
though the butler and his panting satellites brought up
a respectful rear. It was our unconventional author,
however, who was the first to volunteer his assistance
and advice.
"No use pushing, my lord!" cried he. "If It's been
done with a wedge and gimlet, you may smash the door,
but you'll never force it. Is there a ladder in the
place?"
"There's a rope-ladder, somewhere, in case of fire.
I believe,'' said my lord vaguely, as he rolled a critical
eye over our faces. "Where is It kept, Leggett?"
"William will fetch it, sir."
And a pair of noble calves went flashing to the upper
regions.
"No need ifor him to bring It down," said Parring
ton, who had thrown back to the wilds in his excite
ment. "Let him hang it out of the window above your
lordship's, and let me climb down and in at the window!
I'll undertake to have one or other of the doors open in
two twos!"
The fastened doors were at right angles on the land
ing which we filled between us. Lord Thornaby smiled
grimly on the rest of us, when he had nodded and dis
missed the author like a hound from the leash.
"it's a good thing we know something about our
friend Parrington," said my lord. "He takes more
kindly to all this than I do, I can tell you."
"It's grist to his mill," said Raffles charitably.
"Exactly! We shall have the whole thing in his
next book."
"I hope to have it at the Old Bailey flrst," re
marked Kingsmill, Q.C.
"Refreshing to find a man of letters such a man
of action, too!"
It was Raffles who spoke again, and the remark
seemed rather trite for him, but in the tone there was
a something that just caught my private ear. And for
once I understood: the officious attitude of Parrington,
without being seriously suspicious in itself, was ad
miraby calculated to put a previously suspected person
in a grateful shade. This literary adventurer had
elbowed Raffles out of the limelight, and gratitude for
the service was what I had detected in Raffle's voice.
No need to say now grateful I felt mvseHf. But my
gratitude was shot through with flashes of unwonted
t? S H Parrington was one of those who suspected
Raffles, or at all events, one who was in the secret of
these suspicions. What if he had traded on the sus
pects presence in the house? What if he were a deep
villain himself, and the villain of this particular piece?
I had made up my mind about him, and that in the
tithe df the time I take to make it up as a rule, when
we heard my man in the dressing-room. He greeted us
with an impudent shout; in a few moments the door
was open, and there stood Parrington. flushed and dis
heveled, with a gimlet in one hand and a wedge in the
other.
Within was a scene of eloquent disorder Drawers
had been pulled out, and now stood on end, their con
tents heaped upon the carpet. Wardrobe doors stood
open; empty stud-cases strewed the floor; a clock, tied
up in a towel, had been tossed into a chair at the last
moment But a long tin lid protruded from an open
cupboard in one corner. And one had only to see Lord
rhornaby s wry face behind the lid to guess that it was
bent over a somewhat empty tin trunk.
"What a rum lot to steal:" said he, with a twitch
of humor at the corners of his canine mouth. "My
peers robes, with coronet complete!"
We rallied round him in a seemly silence. I thought
our scribe would put in his word. But even he either
feigned or felt a proper awe.
"You may say it was a rum place to keep 'em,"
continued Lord Thornanv. "But where would you gen
tlemen stable your white elephants? And these were
elephants ag white as snow; by Jove, I'll job them for
the future!"
And he made merrier over his loss than any of us
could have imagined the minute before; but the reason
dawned on me a little later, when we all trooped down
stairs, leaving the police in possession of the theater
of crime. Lord Thornaby linked arms with Raffles as
The Criminolo^sists , Club—No. 4
he led the way. His step was lighter, his gayety no
longer sardonic; his very looks bad improved. And I
divined the load that had been lifted from the hospitable
heart of our host
"I only wish," said he, "that this brought us any
nearer to the identity off the gentleman we were dis
cussing at dinner; for, of course, we owe it to all our
Instincts to assume that it was he."
"1 wonder!" said old Raffles, with a foolhardy
glance at me.
"But I'm sure of it, my dear sir!" cries my lord.
"The audacity is his and his alone. I look no further
than the fact of his honoring me on the one night otf
the year when 1 endeavor to entertain my brother
criminologists. That's no coincidence, sir, but a delib
erate irony, which would have occurred to no other
criminal mind in England."
"You may be right," Raffles had the sense to say
this time but I think it was my face that made him.
"What is still more certain," resumed the other, "is
that no other criminal in the world would have crowned
so delicious a conception with so perfect an achieve
ment. I feel sure the Inspector will agree with us."
"Raffles w is as excited as any of us now. He outstripped us all"
The hea I policeman, with the peaked cap, had
knocked and been admitted to the library as Lord
Thornaby spoke.
"I didn't hear what you said, my lord."
"Merely that the perpetrator of this amusing out
rage can be no other than the swell mobsman who
relieved Lady Melrose of her necklace and poor Danby
of half his stock a year or two ago."
"I believe your lordship has hit the nail on the
head."
"The man who took the Thimblely diamonds and
returned them to Lord Thimblely, you know.'*
"Not he! I don't mean to cry over my spilled milk.
I only wish the fellow joy of all he had time to take.
Anything fresh upstairs, by the way?"
"Yes, my lord; the robbery took place between a
quarter past eight and the half-hour."
"How on earth do you know?"
"The clock that was tied up in the towel had stopped
at twenty past."
"Have you interviewed my man?"
"I have, my lord. He was in your lordship's rooms
until close on the quarter, and all was as it should be
when he left it."
"Then do you suppose the burglar was in hiding in
the house?"
"It's impossible to say, my lord. He ts not in the
house now. for he could only be in your lordship's bed
room or dressing-room, and we have searched every
inch of both."
Lord Thornaby turned to US when the Inspector
had retreated, caressing his peaked cap.
"I told him to clear up those points first," he ex
claimed, jerking his head toward the door. "I had
reason to think my man had been neglecting his duties
up there. I am glad to find 1 am mistaken."
I ought to have been no less glad that I was mis
taken. My suspicions of our officious author were thus
proved to have been as wild as himself. I owed the
man no grudge, and yet in my human heart 1 felt
vaguely disappointed. My theory had gained color from
his behavior ever since he had admitted us to the dress
ing-room; it had changed all at once (from the familiar
to the morose, and only now was I just enough to
remember that Lord Thornaby. having tolerated those
familiarities as long as they were connected with useful
service, had administered a relentless snub the moment
that service had been well and truly performed.
But, if Partington was exonerated in my mind,
so also was Raffles reinstated in the regard of those
who had entertained a far more serious hypothesis.
It was a miracle of good luck, a coincidence among
coincidences which had whitewashed him in their sight,
at the very moment when they were straining the expert
eye to sift him through and through. But the miracle
had been performed, and its effect was visible in every
face and audible in every voice. I except Ernest, who
had never been in the secret; moreover, that gay crim
inologist had been palpably shaken by his first little
experience of crime. But the other three vied among
themselves to do honor where they had done injustice.
I heard Kingsmill. Q. C, telling Raffles the bent time
to catch him at chambers, and promising a seat in court
for any trial he might ever like to hear. Parrington
spoke of a presentation copy of his latest bushwhack
ing romance, and in paying homage to Raffles made
his peace with our host. As for Lord Thornaby. I did
overhear the name of the Athenaeum Club, a reference
to his friends on the Committee, and a whisper (as I
thought) of Rule 11. But he and Raffle? had their
heads too close together for me to swear honestly to
the Rule.
The police were still in possession when we went
our several ways, and it was all that I could do to drag
Raffles up to my rooms, though, as I have said, they
were just round the corner. He consented at last as a
lesser evil than talking of the burglary in the street,
and in mv rooms I told him of his late danger and
my own dilemma, of the few words I had overheard in
the beginning, of the thin ice on which he had cut
figures without a crack. It was all very well for him.
He had never realised his peril. But let him think of
me—listening, watching, yet unable to lift a finger,
unable to say one warning word.
Raffles heard me out, but a weary sigh followed the
last symmetrical whiff of a Sullivan which he flung
into mv fire before he spoke.
"No, I won't have another, thank you. I'm going
to talk to you, Bunny. Do you really suppose I didn't
see through these wiseacres from the first?"
I flatly refused to believe he had done so before
that evening. Why had he never mentioned his idea
to me? It had been quite the other way. as I indig
nantly reminded Raffles. Did he mean me to believe he
was the man to thrust his head into the lion's mouth
for fun? And what point would there have been in
dragging me there to see the fun?
"I might have wanted you, Bunny. I very nearly
did."
"For my face?"
"It has been my fortune before tonight. Bunny. It
has also given me more confidence than you are likely
to believe at this time of day. You stimulate me more
than you think."
"Your gallery and your prompter's box in one?"
"Capital, Bunny! But it was no joking matter with
me, either, my dear fellow; it was touch-and-go at the
time. I might have called on you at any moment, and
it was something to know I should not have called
in vain!"
"But what to do. Raffles?"
"Fight our way out and bolt!" he answered with a
mouth that meant it, and a fine gay glitter of the eyes.
I shot out of my chair.
E.W. Hornung
"You don't mean to tell me you had a hand In th»
job?"
"I had the only hand in it. my dear Bunny."
"Nonsense! You were sitting at table at th* fr»A»
No. but you may have taken some other fellow int«
the show. I always thought you would!"
"One's quit*, enough. Bunny," said Raffles
He leaned back in his chair and took cut another
cigarette. And I accepted of yet another from his case;
for it was no use losing one's temper with Raffles, and
his incredible statement was not, after all. to be ignored.
"Of course." I went on, "if you really had brought
this thing on your own account. I should be the last
tn criticise your means of reaching such an end. You
have not only scored off a far superior force, which
had laid itself out to score off you. but you have put
them in the wrong about you, and they'll eat out of
your band for the rest of their days. But don't ask me
to believe that you've done all this alone! By George!"
I cried, in a sudden wave of enthusiasm. "I don't care
how you've done it, or who has helped you. It's the
biggest thing you ever did in your life!"
And certainly I had never seen Baffles look more
radiant or better pleased with the
world and himself or nearer that
elation which he usually left to me.
"Then you shall hear all about it.
Bunny, if what I ask you "
"Ask, old chap, and the thing's
done."
"Switch off the electric light*,"
"All of them?"
"I think so."
"There, then."
"Now go to the back window and
up with the blind."
"Well?"
"I'm coming to you. Splendid! I
never had a look so late as this. It's
the only window left alight in the
house!"
His cheek against the pane, he
was pointing slightly downward and
very much aslant through a long lane
of mews to a little square light like a
yellow tile at the end. But I had
opened the window and leaned out
before 1 saw it for myself
"You don't mean to say that's
Thornaby House?"
I was not familiar with the view
from nay back windows.
"Of course I do, you rabbit! Have
a look through your own race-glass.
It has been the most useful thing of
all."
But before I had the glass in
focus, more scale had fallen from my
eyes, and now I knew why I had
seen so much of Raffles these last
few weeks and why he had always
come between 7 and 8 o'clock in tho
evening, and waited at this very
window, with these very glasses at
his eyes. I saw through them sharp
ly now. The one lighted window
pointed out by Raffles came tumbling
into the dark circles of my vision.
I could not see into the actual room,
but the shadows of those within were
quite distinct on the lowered blind, i
even thought a black thread still
dangled against the square of light.
It was, it must be, the window t<i
which the Intrepid Parrington had
desceaded from the one above.
"Exactly!" said Raffles In answer
to my exclamation. "And that's the
window 1 have been watching these
last few weeks. By daylight you can
see the whole lot above the ground
floor on this side of the house, and.
by good luck, one of them is the room
in which the master of the house ar
rayed himself in all his nightly glory.
It was easily spotted by watching at
the right time. I saw him shaved
one morning before you were up. *In
the evening his valet stays behind tr>
put things straight, and that has
been the very mischief. In the end I
had to And out something about the
man, and wire to him from his girl
to meet her outside at 8 o'clock. Of
course, he pretends he was at his
post at the time; that 1 foresaw, an<i
did the poor fellow's work before my own. I folded and
put away every garment before I permitted myself to
rag the room.
"I wonder you had time!"
"It took me one more minute, and it put the clock
on exactly fifteen. By th e way, I did that literally of
course, in the case of the clock they found; it's an'old
dodge to stop a clock and alter the time but you must
admit that it looked as though one had wrapped "it
up all ready to cart away. There was thus any Lmount
of prima facie evidence of the robbery having taken
Place when we were all at table; as a matter of fact
vafet fon r n naby L e , ft hl « dressing-room one minute, his
6 minUte after ' and 1 entered
"Through the window?"
Yon T i?., be f Ure - 1 « WHS wai tlng below In the garden
Jays h fh V n e „ t «„? ay v or y ° Ur s ' arden ln town - in more
that i ,nv loU knovv the wall - of course, and
temnU 2 * Postern? The lock was beneath con
isnt : B it? ' What ab ° Ut the window? It's on the first floor,
wither 8 took up tne cane which he had laid down
Tshed ferrul^ M W3s a StOUt bambSo w\th a po"
out of thecane a th * ferrule ' and shook
ex ,ctlv ifi, ne a diminishing series of smaller canes
ound-to'have'bee^^tL^^ Which 1
n* „. '' Hve Deen their former state A double hnnU
whence Raffles
leave your rod daifi?lnJ whu2 mes U> Way ' and you
line. Of course. know'u-h S , Warm Up your
hook on to but a man , v, W , hat you ye sot to
With a shower fixed in hi ho H has had a Porcelain bath
for me. There. a mo,t n'rr .V Slnii ' room is tne man
outside and U ne ofSh a r d t er f e scheme ol pipes
hem P^ir^%ol U n n d ny h;. "wid..***?' as he ™» d the
care for ladder-work bm t Q ,° nce niore " l never did
used a ladder it"should T\l J \ ys Said that if 1 ever
invented. This one may itS , k^ d
"But how long did*U°whVe%hi„^
m inu7erto^g h raTd rt o h ne ti ;fTh t o her earth? Abo «
another man's work " th ° Se Was spen t 1" doing
up and'down, In'and brok k ?Jft^ y ? U cllmb * d
and that big tin box and w«£i« i ,nto that cupboard
cleared out with a i'ef rob g nV P ,. th u c doors and
in rive minutes?" b6s and all the rest of it
dress rehearsal in the dead or yll; 1 had a
then I took the swag o u ? noble and " was
next door all the time but that I? 5„ ,en . d , was coring
high among my little aVhlevem^t 0 " y ke - T may stanil
took all I wanted but lift th/ m -K n , S; , or 1 not on\v
I found it. and shu things after n? IG ,R lace «*«tiy as
boy That took a good deal i,™ 6 ,lke a «ood little
simply to rag the roomi i h ? . " Ker; tonight I had
links, and lelve cv idence U P stuAs and
rotten robes tonight Tha< ,f vn?,' ™i n ? h ? ne<l tho ««
was the Qulntesientla Q E r7 h rJ t ° th nk , of il
these dear criminologists that' I rouMn't nn "Iki shown
done this trick, but that there- 1 po ? si °ly have
who could and did; and wh om » other fellow
asses to confuse with me" they ye been perfect
tlme°. U „ rapt V m a a Sf„t° n a*"
been past that pitch. If he had tnlHJJ ut 1 had lon aT
had broken into the Bank o FnLl nrt 6 n °l V that h *
should not have disbelieved him far ° r the Tow ".
was prepared to tco horn. " for a moment, t
The dinner was at ai quarter to ? tOT . my tas te!
don't mind telling you nowt! -?t I*~ eight, and I
long as I had. But no one ™ ","! cd °? tWlc « a *
wasn't down before twelve /""v ,° ur host
to be the last to arrive \s a mnttl \ 2 idn * wan t
the first, and in the draw in "-room t\Zl ° f fart ' 1 was
the hour. But it wasl a Quicker IV min " te « before
about, when ail is said."* auicker thing than I care
And his last word on the matter „ •.
went his way. may Well be mm« for" he nodded and
criminologist much less a member of W , be no
gists- riub. to remember what £ m th « Crlminolo
robes and coronet of the Rl-ht Hon S J lld wlth th «
aby, KG. He did with th*m Hon \, he ar l of Thorn
have been expected To do b the .Venn' What , b ° mi^ht
we had foregathered and he dVI it ,n iU ' With whom
characteristic of himself as turelt ♦« & mann 9: s °
their minds the last aura nf tit y t . t0 11 mOT . c fr " m
himself were the same ldea thnt h « ari 'i
ou, of the questioned any labeling or
be deprecated on obvlou. «ound2 •R™»V. d «L
the whited elephants in the" cloak room i iß A tab i ,ftd
Cross-and sent Lord Thornaby h e ticket Charln *

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