The Gem Collector (Large Print Edition)
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The supper room of the Savoy Hotel was all brightness and glitter and gayety. But Sir James Willoughby Pitt, baronet, of the United Kingdom, looked round about him through the smoke of his cigarette, and felt moodily that this was a flat world, despite the geographers, and that he was very much alone in it. He felt old. If it is ever allowable for a young man of twenty-six to give himself up to melancholy reflections, Jimmy Pitt might have been excused for doing so, at that moment. Nine years ago he had dropped out, or, to put it more exactly, had been kicked out, and had ceased to belong to London. And now he had returned to find himself in a strange city. Jimmy Pitt's complete history would take long to write, for he had contrived to crowd much into those nine years. Abridged, it may be told as follows: There were two brothers, a good brother and a bad brother. Sir Eustace Pitt, the latter, married money. John, his younger brother, remained a bachelor. It may be mentioned, to check needless sympathy, that there was no rivalry between the two. John Pitt had not the slightest desire to marry the lady of his brother's choice, or any other lady. He was a self-sufficing man who from an early age showed signs of becoming some day a financial magnate. Matters went on much the same after the marriage. John continued to go to the city, Eustace to the dogs. Neither brother had any money of his own, the fortune of the Pitts having been squandered to the ultimate farthing by the sportive gentleman who had held the title in the days of the regency, when White's and the Cocoa Tree were in their prime, and fortunes had a habit of disappearing in a single evening. Four years after the marriage, Lady Pitt died, and the widower, having spent three years and a half at Monte Carlo, working out an infallible system for breaking the bank, to the great contentment of Mons. Blanc and the management in general, proceeded to the gardens, where he shot himself in the orthodox manner, leaving many liabilities, few assets, and one son.
something out of the ordinary; but it could not be a harder job than some of those he had tackled. The pearls shone in the lamplight. They seemed to be winking at him. Chapter X In a cozy corner of the electric flame department of the infernal regions there stands a little silver gridiron. It is the private property of his Satanic majesty, and is reserved exclusively for the man who invented amateur theatricals. It is hard to see why the amateur actor has been allowed to work his will
Thomas’ dressing room. At the door, he stopped and listened. There was no sound. The house might have been deserted. He opened the door, and switched on the electric light. Fortune was with him. On the dressing table, together with a bunch of keys and some small change, lay a brown leather pocketbook. Evidently Sir Thomas did not share Lady Blunt’s impression that the world was waiting for a chance to rob him as soon as his back was turned. Spennie opened the pocketbook, and counted the
“Go on. What happened, then?” “Dey begins to scrap good and hard in de dark. Dey couldn’t see me, and I couldn’t see dem, but I could hear dem bumpin’ about an’ sluggin’ each odder, all right, all right. And by an’ by one of dem puts de odder to de bad, so dat he goes down and takes de count; an’ den I hears a click. And I know what dat is. One of de guys has put de irons on de odder guy. Den I hears him strike a light–I’d turned de switch what lights up de passage before I got into de room–and
money. Paste it is, and paste it always will be.” “It can’t be paste. How do you know?” “How do I know? I’m an expert. Ask a jeweler how he knows diamonds from paste. He can feel them. He can almost smell them.” “Let me look. It’s impossible.” “Certainly. I don’t know the extent of your knowledge of pearls. If it is even moderate, I think you will admit that I am right.” Sir Thomas snatched the necklace from the table and darted with it to the electric light. He scrutinized it, breathing
Paddington with a quarter of an hour to spare. Nearly all London seemed to be at the station, with the exception of Spennie. Of that light-haired and hearted youth there were no signs. But just as the train was about to start, the missing one came skimming down the platform and hurled himself in. For the first ten minutes he sat panting. At the conclusion of that period, he spoke. “Dash it!” he said. “I’ve suddenly remembered I never telegraphed home to let ‘em know what train we were coming by.