E. W. Hornung: A Thief in the Night

8. The Spoils of Sacrilege (continued)

My only other excuse may be none at all. in any eyes but mine. It was my passionate desire at this period to "keep up my end" with Raffles in every department of the game felonious. He would insist upon an equal division of all. proceeds; it was for me to earn my share. So far I had been useful only at a pinch; the whole credit of any real success belonged invariably to Raffles. It had always been his idea. That was the tradition which I sought to end, and no means could compare with that of my unscrupulous choice. There was the one house in England of which I knew every inch, and Raffles only what I told him. For once I must lead, and Raffles follow, whether he liked it or not. He saw that himself; and I think he liked it better than he liked me for the desecration in view; but I had hardened my heart, and his feelings were too fine for actual remonstrance on such a point.

I, in my obduracy, went to foul extremes. I drew plans of all. the floors from memory. I actually descended upon my friends in the neighborhood, with the sole object of obtaining snap-shots over our own old garden wall. Even Raffles could not keep his eyebrows down when I showed him the prints one morning in the Albany. But he confined his open criticisms to the house.

"Built in the late 'sixties, I see," said Raffles, "or else very early in the 'seventies."

"Exactly when it was built," I replied. "But that's worthy of a sixpenny detective, Raffles! How on earth did you know?"

"That slate tower bang over the porch, with the dormer windows and the iron railing and flagstaff atop makes us a present of the period. You see them on almost every house of a certain size built about thirty years ago. They are quite the most useless excrescences I know."

"Ours wasn't," I answered, with some warmth. "It was my sanctum sanctorum in the holidays. I smoked my first pipe up there, and wrote my first verses."

Raffles laid a kindly hand upon my shoulder - "Bunny, Bunny, you can rob the old place, and yet you can't hear a word against it?"

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