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2. The Paradise of Thieves (continued)
"Yes," said the poet quite simply.
"Does she care about you?"
"I think so," was the equally grave reply.
"Then go over there and offer yourself," said the priest: "offer her everything you can; offer her heaven and earth if you've got them. The time is short."
"Why?" asked the astonished man of letters.
"Because," said Father Brown, "her Doom is coming up the road."
"Nothing is coming up the road," argued Muscari, "except the rescue."
"Well, you go over there," said his adviser, "and be ready to rescue her from the rescue."
Almost as he spoke the hedges were broken all along the ridge by a rush of the escaping brigands. They dived into bushes and thick grass like defeated men pursued; and the great cocked hats of the mounted gendarmerie were seen passing along above the broken hedge. Another order was given; there was a noise of dismounting, and a tall officer with cocked hat, a grey imperial, and a paper in his hand appeared in the gap that was the gate of the Paradise of Thieves. There was a momentary silence, broken in an extraordinary way by the banker, who cried out in a hoarse and strangled voice: "Robbed! I've been robbed!"
"Why, that was hours ago," cried his son in astonishment: "when you were robbed of two thousand pounds."
"Not of two thousand pounds," said the financier, with an abrupt and terrible composure, "only of a small bottle."
The policeman with the grey imperial was striding across the green hollow. Encountering the King of the Thieves in his path, he clapped him on the shoulder with something between a caress and a buffet and gave him a push that sent him staggering away. "You'll get into trouble, too," he said, "if you play these tricks."
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