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time：2023-12-03 13:29:12 Source: Originally writtenedit：music
"No, I merely do myself justice. Silly Billy smelt that faulty grindstone; and I can't smell a rat a yard from my nose, it seems. You shall judge for yourself. There have been several burglaries in this town of late, and planned by a master. This put me on my mettle, and I have done all I could, with my small force, and even pryed about in person, night after night, and that is not exactly my business, but I felt it my duty. Well, sir, two nights ago, no more, I had the luck to come round a corner right upon a job: Alderman Dick's house, full of valuables, and the windows well guarded; but one of his cellars is only covered with a heavy wooden shutter, bolted within. I found this open, and a board wedged in, to keep it ajar: down I went on my knees, saw a light inside, and heard two words of thieves' latin; that was enough, you know; I whipped out the board, jumped on the heavy shutter, and called for the police."
"Not much. These jobs are timed so as not to secure the attendance of the police. But assistance of another kind came; a gentleman full dressed, in a white tie and gloves, ran up, and asked me what it was. 'Thieves in the cellar,' said I, and shouted police, and gave my whistle. The gentleman jumped on the shutter. 'I can keep that down,' said he. 'I'm sure I saw two policemen in acorn Street: run quick!' and he showed me his sword-cane, and seemed so hearty in it, and confident, I ran round the corner, and gave my whistle. Two policemen came up; but, in that moment, the swell accomplice had pulled all his pals out of the cellar, and all I saw of the lot, when I came back, was the swell's swallow-tail coat flying like the wind toward a back slum, where I and my bobbies should have been knocked on the head, if we had tried to follow him; but indeed he was too fleet to give us the chance."
"Well," said Henry, "that was provoking: but who can foresee every thing all in a moment? I have been worse duped than that a good many times."
Ransome shook his head. "An old officer of police, like me, not to smell a swell accomplice. I had only to handcuff that man, and set him down with me on the shutter, till, in the dispensation of Providence, a bobby came by."
He added by way of corollary, "You should send to London for a detective."
"Not I," said Henry. "I know you for a sagacious man, and a worthy man, and my friend. I'll have no one to help me in it but you."
"Won't you?" said Ransome. "Then I'll go in. You have done me good, Mr. Little, by sticking to a defeated friend like this. Now for your case; tell me all you know, and how you know it."
Henry complied, and Ransome took his notes. Then he said, he had got some old memoranda by him, that might prove valuable: he would call in two days.
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