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The Evil Shepherd

Chapter 16
Francis Ledsam was himself again, the lightest-hearted and most popular member of his
club, still a brilliant figure in the courts, although his appearances there were less
frequent, still devoting the greater portion of his time, to his profession, although his
work in connection with it had become less spectacular. One morning, at the corner of
Clarges Street and Curzon Street, about three weeks after his visit to the Opera, he came
face to face with Sir Timothy Brast.
"Well, my altruistic peerer into other people's affairs, how goes it?" the latter enquired
pleasantly.
"How does it seem, my arch-criminal, to be still breathing God's fresh air?" Francis
retorted in the same vein. "Make the most of it. It may not last for ever."
Sir Timothy smiled. He was looking exceedingly well that morning, the very prototype of
a man contented with life and his part in it. He was wearing a morning coat and silk hat,
his patent boots were faultlessly polished, his trousers pressed to perfection, his grey silk
tie neat and fashionable. Notwithstanding his waxenlike pallor, his slim figure and lithe,
athletic walk seemed to speak of good health.
"You may catch the minnow," he murmured. "The big fish swim on. By-the-bye," he
added, "I do not notice that your sledge-hammer blows at crime are having much effect.
Two undetected murders last week, and one the week before. What Are you about, my
astute friend?"
"Those are matters for Scotland Yard," Francis replied, with an indifferent little wave of
the hand which held his cigarette. "Details are for the professional. I seek that corner in
Hell where the thunders are welded and the poison gases mixed. In other words, I seek
for the brains of crime."
"Believe me, we do not see enough of one another, my young friend," Sir Timothy said
earnestly. "You interest me more and more every time we meet. I like your allegories, I
like your confidence, which in any one except a genius would seem blatant. When can we
dine together and talk about crime?"
"The sooner the better," Francis replied promptly. "Invite me, and I will cancel any other
engagement I might happen to have."
Sir Timothy considered for a moment. The June sunshine was streaming down upon them
and the atmosphere was a little oppressive.
"Will you dine with me at Hatch End to-night?" he asked. "My daughter and I will be
alone."
 
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