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To Catch A Thief
Society persons are not likely to have forgotten the series of audacious robberies
by which so many of themselves suffered in turn during the brief course of a
recent season. Raid after raid was made upon the smartest houses in town, and
within a few weeks more than one exalted head had been shorn of its priceless
tiara. The Duke and Duchess of Dorchester lost half the portable pieces of their
historic plate on the very night of their Graces' almost equally historic costume
ball. The Kenworthy diamonds were taken in broad daylight, during the
excitement of a charitable meeting on the ground floor, and the gifts of her belted
bridegroom to Lady May Paulton while the outer air was thick with a prismatic
shower of confetti. It was obvious that all this was the work of no ordinary thief,
and perhaps inevitable that the name of Raffles should have been dragged from
oblivion by callous disrespecters of the departed and unreasoning apologists for
the police. These wiseacres did not hesitate to bring a dead man back to life
because they knew of no living one capable of such feats; it is their heedless and
inconsequent calumnies that the present paper is partly intended to refute. As a
matter of fact, our joint innocence in this matter was only exceeded by our
common envy, and for a long time, like the rest of the world, neither of us had the
slightest clew to the identity of the person who was following in our steps with
such irritating results.
"I should mind less," said Raffles, "if the fellow were really playing my game. But
abuse of hospitality was never one of my strokes, and it seems to me the only
shot he's got. When we took old Lady Melrose's necklace, Bunny, we were not
staying with the Melroses, if you recollect."