The Amateur Cracksman - E. W. Hornung - Страница 1 из 187


THE AMATEUR CRACKSMAN
BY
E. W. HORNUNG
TO
A. C. D.
THIS FORM OF FLATTERY
THE AMATEUR CRACKSMAN
CONTENTS
THE IDES OF MARCH
A COSTUME PIECE
GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS
LE PREMIER PAS
WILFUL MURDER
NINE POINTS OF THE LAW
THE RETURN MATCH
THE GIFT OF THE EMPEROR
THE IDES OF MARCH
I
It was half-past twelve when I returned to the Albany as a last
desperate resort. The scene of my disaster was much as I had left it.
The baccarat-counters still strewed the table, with the empty glasses
and the loaded ash-trays. A window had been opened to let the smoke
out, and was letting in the fog instead. Raffles himself had merely
discarded his dining jacket for one of his innumerable blazers. Yet he
arched his eyebrows as though I had dragged him from his bed.
"Forgotten something?" said he, when he saw me on his mat.
"No," said I, pushing past him without ceremony. And I led the way
into his room with an impudence amazing to myself.
"Not come back for your revenge, have you? Because I'm afraid I can't
give it to you single-handed. I was sorry myself that the others--"
We were face to face by his fireside, and I cut him short.
"Raffles," said I, "you may well be surprised at my coming back in this
way and at this hour. I hardly know you. I was never in your rooms
before to-night. But I fagged for you at school, and you said you
remembered me. Of course that's no excuse; but will you listen to
me--for two minutes?"
In my emotion I had at first to struggle for every word; but his face


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