“You told me yourself that you had written to her in the country,” he pursued.
“And that letter!” I rejoined, in a fresh wave of bitterness: “that letter she had written at 佛山桑拿夜生活论坛 dead of night, and stolen down to post, it was the one I have been waiting for all these days! I should have got it to-morrow. Now I shall never get it, never hear from her again, nor have another chance in this world or in the next. I don’t say it was all your fault. You no more knew that she was there than I did. But you told me a deliberate lie about her people, and that I never shall forgive.”
I spoke as vehemently as I could under my breath. The hansom was waiting at the curb.
“I can say no more than I have said,” returned Raffles with a shrug. “Lie or no lie, I didn’t tell it to bring you with me, but to get you to give me certain information without feeling a beast about it. But, as a matter of fact, it was no lie about old Hector Carruthers and Lord Lochmaben, and anybody but you would have guessed the truth.”
“‘What is the truth?”
“I as good as told you, Bunny, 佛山桑拿会所按摩全套 again and again.”
“Then tell me now.”
“If you read your paper there would be no need; but if you want to know, old Carruthers headed the list of the Birthday Honors, and Lord Lochmaben is the title of his choice.”
And this miserable quibble was not a lie! My lip curled, I turned my back without a word, and drove home to my Mount Street flat in a new fury of savage scorn. Not a lie, indeed! It was the one that is half a truth, the meanest lie of all, and the very last to which I could have dreamt that Raffles would stoop. So far there had been a degree of honor between us, if only of the kind understood to obtain between thief and thief. Now all that was at an end. Raffles had cheated me. Raffles had completed the ruin of my life. I was done with Raffles, as she who shall not be named was done with me.
And yet, even while I blamed him most bitterly, and utterly abominated 佛山夜生活兼职mm his deceitful deed, I could not but admit in my heart that the result was put of all proportion to the intent: he had never dreamt of doing me this injury, or indeed any injury at all. Intrinsically the deceit had been quite venial, the reason for it obviously the reason that Raffles had given me. It was quite true that he had spoken of this Lochmaben peerage as a new creation, and of the heir to it in a fashion only applicable to Alick Carruthers. He had given me hints, which I had been too dense to take, and he had certainly made more than one attempt to deter me from accompanying him on this fatal emprise; had he been more explicit, I might have made it my business to deter him. I could not say in my heart that Raffles had failed to satisfy such honor as I might reasonably expect to subsist between us. Yet it seems to me to require a superhuman sanity always and unerringly to separate cause from effect, achievement from 佛山夜生活888 intent. And I, for one, was never quite able to do so in this case.
I could not be accused of neglecting my newspaper during the next few wretched days. I read every word that I could find about the attempted jewel-robbery in Palace Gardens, and the reports afforded me my sole comfort. In the first place, it was only an attempted robbery; nothing had been taken, after all. And then—and then—the one member of the household who had come nearest to a personal encounter with either of us was unable to furnish any description of the man—had even expressed a doubt as to the likelihood of identification in the event of an arrest!
I will not say with what mingled feelings I read and dwelt on that announcement It kept a certain faint glow alive within me until the morning brought me back the only presents I had ever made her. They were books; jewellery had been tabooed by the authorities. And the books came back without a word, though the parcel was directed in her hand.
I had made up my mind not to go near Raffles again, but in my heart I already regretted my resolve. I had forfeited love, I had sacrificed honor, and now I must deliberately alienate myself from the one being whose society might yet be some
recompense for all that I had lost. The situation was aggravated by the state of my exchequer. I expected an ultimatum from my banker by every post. Yet this influence was nothing to the other. It was Raffles I loved. It was not the dark life we led together, still less its base rewards; it was the man himself, his gayety, his humor, his dazzling audacity, his incomparable courage and resource. And a very horror of turning to him again in mere need of greed set the seal on my first angry resolution. But the anger was soon gone out of me, and when at length Raffles bridged the gap by coming to me, I rose to greet him almost with a shout.
He came as though nothing had happened; and, indeed, not very many days had passed, though they might have been months to me. Yet I fancied the gaze that watched me through our smoke a trifle less sunny than it had been before. And it was a relief to me when he came with few preliminaries to the inevitable point.
“Did you ever hear from her, Bunny?” he asked.
“In a way,” I answered. “We won’t talk about it, if you don’t mind, Raffles.”
“That sort of way!” he exclaimed. He seemed both surprised and disappointed.
“Yes,” I said, “that sort of way. It’s finished. What did you expect?”
“I don’t know,” said Raffles. “I only thought that the girl who went so far to get a fellow out of a tight place might go a little farther to keep him from getting into another.”
“I don’t see why she should,” said I, honestly enough, yet with the irritation of a less just feeling deep down in my inmost consciousness.
“Yet you did hear from her?” he persisted.
“She sent me back my poor presents, without a word,” I said, “if you call that hearing.”
I could not bring myself to own to Raffles that I had given her only books. He asked if I was sure that she had sent them back herself; and that was his last question. My answer was enough for him. And to this day I cannot say whether it was more in relief than in regret that he laid a hand upon my shoulder.
“So you are out of Paradise after all!” said Raffles. “I was not sure, or I should have come round before. Well, Bunny, if they don’t want you there, there’s a little Inferno in the Albany where you will be as welcome as ever.”
And still, with all the magic mischief of his smile, there was that touch of sadness which I was yet to read aright.
The Chest of Silver
Like all the tribe of which I held him head, Raffles professed the liveliest disdain for unwieldy plunder of any description; it might be old Sheffield, or it might be solid silver or gold, but if the thing was not to be concealed about the person, he would none whatever of it. Unlike the rest of us, however, in this as in all else, Raffles would not infrequently allow the acquisitive spirit of the 佛山桑拿干磨水磨服务 mere collector to silence the dictates of professional prudence. The old oak chests, and even the mahogany wine-cooler, for which he had doubtless paid like an honest citizen, were thus immovable with pieces of crested plate, which he had neither the temerity to use nor the hardihood to melt or sell. He could but gloat over them behind locked doors, as I used to tell him, and at last one afternoon I caught him at it. It was in the year after that of my novitiate, a halcyon period at the Albany, when Raffles left no crib uncracked, and I played second-murderer every time. I had called in response to a telegram in which he stated that he was going out of town, and must say good-by to me before he went. And I could only think that he was inspired by the same impulse toward the bronzed salvers and the tarnished teapots with which 佛山桑拿那里好 I found him surrounded, until my eyes lit upon the enormous silver-chest into which he was fitting them one by one.
“Allow me, Bunny! I shall take the liberty of locking both doors behind you and putting the key in my pocket,” said Raffles, when he had let me in. “Not that I mean to take you prisoner, my dear fellow; but there are those of us who can turn keys from the outside, though it was never an accomplishment of mine.”
“Not Crawshay again?” I cried, standing still in my hat.
Raffles regarded me with that tantalizing smile of his which might mean nothing, yet which often meant so much; and in a flash I was convinced that our most jealous enemy and dangerous rival, the doyen of an older school, had paid him yet another visit.
“That remains to be seen,” was the measured reply; “and I for one have not set naked eye on 佛山桑拿男人加油站 the fellow since I saw him off through that window and left myself for dead on this very spot. In fact, I imagined him comfortably back in jail.”
“Not old Crawshay!” said I. “He’s far too good a man to be taken twice. I should call him the very prince of professional cracksmen.”
“Should you?” said Raffles coldly, with as cold an eye looking into mine. “Then you had better prepare to repel princes when I’m gone.”
“But gone where?” I asked, finding a corner for my hat and coat, and helping myself to the comforts of the venerable dresser which was one of our friend’s greatest treasures. “Where is it you are off to, and why are you taking this herd of white elephants with you?”
Raffles bestowed the cachet of his smile on my description of his motley plate. He joined me in one of his favorite cigarettes, only shaking a 佛山桑拿蒲友 superior head at his own decanter.
“One question at a time, Bunny,” said he. “In the first place, I am going to have these rooms freshened up with a potful of paint, the electric light, and the telephone you’ve been at me about so long.”
“Good!” I cried. “Then we shall be able to talk to each other day and night!”
“And get overheard and run in for our pains? I shall wait till you are run in, I think,” said Raffles cruelly. “But the rest’s a necessity: not that I love new paint or am pining for electric light, but for reasons which I will just breathe in your private ear, Bunny. You must not try to take them too seriously; but the fact is, there is just the least bit of a twitter against me in this rookery of an Albany. It must have been started by that tame old bird, Policeman Mackenzie; it isn’t very bad as yet, but it needn’t 东莞佛山桑拿按摩网 be that to reach my ears. Well, it was open to me either to clear out altogether, and so confirm whatever happened to be in the air, or to go off for a time, under some arrangement which would give the authorities ample excuse for overhauling every inch of my rooms. Which would you have done, Bunny?”
“Cleared out, while I could!” said I devoutly.
“So I should have thought,” rejoined Raffles. “Yet you see the merit of my plan. I shall leave every mortal thing unlocked.”
“Except that,” said I, kicking the huge oak case with the iron bands and clamps, and the baize lining fast disappearing under heavy packages bearing the shapes of urns and candelabra.