Cancel anytime. Raffles, the legendary gentleman thief, returns in a sparkling new short story, first published as part of the longer e-book Raffles: Caught Out. In this tale, Harry "Bunny" Manders finds himself badly in debt.
Bunny must pay off a loan to an unscrupulous moneylender, Alexander "Shylock" Cardinal, or else lose all of his assets - or worse, his life. Bunny puts his faith in his best friend to save the day but can even Raffles pull off a job at such short notice - and raise such a large sum of money? By: Richard Foreman. Narrated by: Jeremy Clyde. That's Chateau Margaux, sir, and I should judge it's what you'd call an eighteen-carat article.
In the cab which we took to the vicinity of the flat, I was instantly snubbed for asking questions which the driver might easily overhear, and took the repulse just a little to heart. I could make neither head nor tail of Raffles's dealings with the man from Regent Street, and was naturally inquisitive as to the meaning of it all. But I held my tongue until we had regained the flat in the cautious manner of our exit, and even there until Raffles rallied me with a hand on either shoulder and an old smile upon his face.
You looked as puzzled as the other poor devil; but you wouldn't if you had known what my game really was. It was not tied. It was not sealed. It flew open from the force of the impact. And the diamond ring that cost L95, the necklet for L, and my flaming star at another L, all three lay safe and snug in the jeweller's own cotton-wool! One was already packed and weighted, and in my pocket. I don't know whether you noticed me weighing the three things together in my hand?
I know that neither of you saw me change the boxes, for I did it when I was nearest buying the bee-brooch at the end, and you were too puzzled, and the other Johnny too keen. It was the cheapest shot in the game; the dear ones were sending old Theobald to Southampton on a fool's errand yesterday afternoon, and showing one's own nose down Regent Street in broad daylight while he was gone; but some things are worth paying for, and certain risks one must always take. Nice boxes, aren't they? I only wished they contained a better cigarette; but a notorious brand was essential; a box of Sullivans would have brought me to life to-morrow.
Meanwhile, Bunny, I may call upon you to dispose of the boodle. My voice rang true, I swear, but it was the way of Raffles to take the evidence of as many senses as possible. I felt the cold steel of his eyes through mine and through my brain. But what he saw seemed to satisfy him no less than what he heard, for his hand found my hand, and pressed it with a fervor foreign to the man. Only remember, Bunny, it's my turn next to pay the shot!
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The Room of Gold, in the British Museum, is probably well enough known to the inquiring alien and the travelled American. A true Londoner, however, I myself had never heard of it until Raffles casually proposed a raid. When did they ever bring in half their market value in L. There was the first little crib we ever cracked together—you with your innocent eyes shut. A thousand pounds that stuff was worth; but how many hundreds did it actually fetch.
The Ardagh emeralds weren't much better; old Lady Melrose's necklace was far worse; but that little lot the other night has about finished me.
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A cool hundred for goods priced well over four; and L35 to come off for bait, since we only got a tenner for the ring I bought and paid for like an ass. I'll be shot if I ever touch a diamond again! Not if it was the Koh-I-noor; those few whacking stones are too well known, and to cut them up is to decrease their value by arithmetical retrogression. Besides, that brings you up against the Fence once more, and I'm done with the beggars for good and all. You talk about your editors and publishers, you literary swine. Barabbas was neither a robber nor a publisher, but a six-barred, barbed-wired, spike-topped Fence.
What we really want is an Incorporated Society of Thieves, with some public-spirited old forger to run it for us on business lines. Raffles uttered these blasphemies under his breath, not, I am afraid, out of any respect for my one redeeming profession, but because we were taking a midnight airing on the roof, after a whole day of June in the little flat below.
The stars shone overhead, the lights of London underneath, and between the lips of Raffles a cigarette of the old and only brand. I had sent in secret for a box of the best; the boon had arrived that night; and the foregoing speech was the first result. I could afford to ignore the insolent asides, however, where the apparent contention was so manifestly unsound. But gold is gold, from Phoenicia to Klondike, and if we cleared the room we should eventually do very well.
And you CAN make them. That I knew, and so said nothing for a time, remaining a hostile though a silent critic, while we paced the cool black leads with our bare feet, softly as cats. We might find some hiding-place for a night; that, I am afraid, would be our only chance. It's a long time since I read of it—I can't remember where—but I know they have got a gold cup of sorts worth several thousands.
A number of the immorally rich clubbed together and presented it to the nation; and two of the richly immoral intend to snaffle it for themselves. At any rate we might go and have a look at it, Bunny, don't you think?
Raffles : To Catch a Thief : II by E.W. Hornung @ Classic Reader
Our medico had married the week before, nor was any fellow-practitioner taking his work—at least not that considerable branch of it which consisted of Raffles—during his brief absence from town. There were reasons, delightfully obvious to us, why such a plan would have been highly unwise in Dr. I, however, was sending him daily screeds, and both matutinal and nocturnal telegrams, the composition of which afforded Raffles not a little enjoyment. I saw the porter that night, and, I still think, bought his absolute allegiance for the second coin of the realm.
My story, however, invented by Raffles, was sufficiently specious in itself.
That sick gentleman, Mr. Maturin as I had to remember to call him , was really, or apparently, sickening for fresh air. Theobald would allow him none; he was pestering me for just one day in the country while the glorious weather lasted.
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I was myself convinced that no possible harm could come of the experiment. Would the porter help me in so innocent and meritorious an intrigue? The man hesitated. I produced my half-sovereign. The man was lost. And at half-past eight next morning—before the heat of the day—Raffles and I drove to Kew Gardens in a hired landau which was to call for us at mid-day and wait until we came.
The porter had assisted me to carry my invalid downstairs, in a carrying-chair hired like the landau from Harrod's Stores for the occasion.
It was little after nine when we crawled together into the gardens; by half-past my invalid had had enough, and out he tottered on my arm; a cab, a message to our coachman, a timely train to Baker Street, another cab, and we were at the British Museum—brisk pedestrians now—not very many minutes after the opening hour of 10 A.
It was one of those glowing days which will not be forgotten by many who were in town at the time. The Diamond Jubilee was upon us, and Queen's weather had already set in. Raffles, indeed, declared it was as hot as Italy and Australia put together; and certainly the short summer nights gave the channels of wood and asphalt and the continents of brick and mortar but little time to cool.
At the British Museum the pigeons were crooning among the shadows of the grimy colonnade, and the stalwart janitors looked less stalwart than usual, as though their medals were too heavy for them.