A Thief in the Night
"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 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.
"That," replied Raffles, "is neither to go with me nor to remain here."
"Then what do you propose to do with it?"
"You have your banking account, and your banker," he went on. This was
perfectly true, though it was Raffles alone who had kept the one open, and
enabled me to propitiate the other in moments of emergency.
"Well, pay in this bundle of notes this afternoon, and say you have had a great
week at Liverpool and Lincoln; then ask them if they can do with your silver while
you run over to Paris for a merry Easter. I should tell them it's rather heavy - a lot
of old family stuff that you've a good mind to leave with them till you marry and
I winced at this, but consented to the rest after a moment's consideration. After
all, and for more reasons that I need enumerate, it was a plausible tale enough.
And Raffles had no banker; it was quite impossible for him to explain, across any
single counter, the large sums of hard cash which did sometimes fall into his
hands; and it might well be that he had nursed my small account in view of the
very quandary which had now arisen. On all grounds, it was impossible for me to
refuse him, and I am still glad to remember that my assent was given, on the
"But when will the chest be ready for me I merely asked, as I stuffed the notes
into my cigarette case. "And how are we to get it out of this, in banking hours,
without attracting any amount of attention at this end?"
Raffles gave me an approving nod.
"I'm glad to see you spot the crux so quickly, Bunny. I have thought of your taking
it round to your place first, under cloud of night; but we are bound to be seen
even so, and on the whole it would look far less suspicious in broad daylight. It