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Raffles

A Jubilee Present
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.
"The older I grow, Bunny, the less I think of your so-called precious stones. When
did they ever bring in half their market value in L. s. d. 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. 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
 
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