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A Thief in the Night

"Exactly when it was built," I replied. "But that's worthy of a sixpenny detective,
Raffles! How on earth did you know?"
"That slate tower bang over the porch, with the dormer windows and the iron
railing and flagstaff atop makes us a present of the period. You see them on
almost every house of a certain size built about thirty years ago. They are quite
the most useless excrescences I know."
"Ours wasn't," I answered, with some warmth. "It was my sanctum sanctorum in
the holidays. I smoked my first pipe up there, and wrote my first verses."
Raffles laid a kindly hand upon my shoulder - "Bunny, Bunny, you can rob the old
place, and yet you can't hear a word against it?"
"That's different," said I relentlessly. "The tower was there in my time, but the
man I mean to rob was not."
"You really do mean to do it, Bunny?"
"By myself, if necessary? I averred.
"Not again, Bunny, not again," rejoined Raffles, laughing as he shook his head.
"But do you think the man has enough to make it worth our while to go so far
afield?"
"Far afield! It's not forty miles on the London and Brighton."
"Well, that's as bad as a hundred on most lines. And when did you say it was to
be?"
"Friday week."
"I don't much like a Friday, Bunny. Why make it one?"
"It's the night of their Hunt Point-to-Point. They wind up the season with it every
year; and the bloated Guillemard usually sweeps the board with his fancy flyers."
"You mean the man in your old house?"
"Yes; and he tops up with no end of dinner there," I went on, "to his hunting pals
and the bloods who ride for him. If the festive board doesn't groan under a new
regiment of challenge cups, it will be no fault of theirs, and old Guillemard will
have to do them top-hole all. the same."
"So it's a case of common pot-hunting," remarked Raffles, eyeing me shrewdly
through the cigarette smoke.
"Not for us, my dear fellow," I made answer in his own tone. "I wouldn't ask you
to break into the next set of chambers here in the Albany for a few pieces of
modern silver, Raffles. Not that we need scorn the cups if we get a chance of
lifting them, and if Guillemard does so in the first instance. It's by no means
certain that he will. But it is pretty certain to be a lively night for him and his pals
- and a vulnerable one for the best bedroom!"
"Capital!" said Raffles, throwing coils of smoke between his smiles. "Still, if it's a
dinner-party, the hostess won't leave her jewels upstairs. She'll wear them, my
boy."
"Not all. of them, Raffles; she has far too many for that. Besides, it isn't an
ordinary dinner-party; they say Mrs. Guillemard is generally the only lady there,
and that she's quite charming in herself. Now, no charming woman would clap on
all. sail in jewels for a roomful of fox-hunters."
"It depends what jewels she has."
"Well, she might wear her rope of pearls."
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