R. Holmes & Co.
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R. Holmes & Co.


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of R. Holmes & Co., by John Kendrick BangsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.orgTitle: R. Holmes & Co.Author: John Kendrick BangsRelease Date: February 11, 2007 [EBook #20559]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK R. HOLMES & CO. ***Produced by Douglas EthingtonR. HOLMES & CO.Being the Remarkable Adventures of Raffles Holmes, Esq., Detective andAmateur Cracksman by Birthby John Kendrick BangsContentsI. INTRODUCING MR. RAFFLES HOLMESII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE DORRINGTON RUBY SEALIII. THE ADVENTURE OF MRS. BURLINGAME'S DIAMOND STOMACHERIV. THE ADVENTURE OF THE MISSING PENDANTSV. THE ADVENTURE OF THE BRASS CHECKVI. THE ADVENTURE OF THE HIRED BURGLARVII. THE REDEMPTION OF YOUNG BILLINGTON RANDVIII. "THE NOSTALGIA OF NERVY JIM THE SNATCHER"IX. THE ADVENTURE OF ROOM 407X. THE MAJOR-GENERAL'S PEPPERPOTSR. HOLMES & CO.I INTRODUCING MR. RAFFLES HOLMESIt was a blistering night in August. All day long the mercury in the thermometer had been flirting with the figures at the topof the tube, and the promised shower at night which a mendacious Weather Bureau had been prophesying as a slightmitigation of our sufferings was conspicuous wholly by its absence. I had but one comfort in the sweltering hours of ...



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of R. Holmes & Co.,by John Kendrick BangsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: R. Holmes & Co.Author: John Kendrick BangsRelease Date: February 11, 2007 [EBook #20559]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK R. HOLMES & CO. ***Produced by Douglas EthingtonR. HOLMES & CO.Being the Remarkable Adventures of RafflesHolmes, Esq., Detective and
Bureau had been prophesying as a slight mitigationof our sufferings was conspicuous wholly by itsabsence. I had but one comfort in the swelteringhours of the day, afternoon and evening, and thatwas that my family were away in the mountains,and there was no law against my sitting around allday clad only in my pajamas, and otherwiseconcealed from possibly intruding eyes by thewreaths of smoke that I extracted from thenineteen or twenty cigars which, when there is noprotesting eye to suggest otherwise, form my dailyallowance. I had tried every method known to theresourceful flat-dweller of modern times to get cooland to stay so, but alas, it was impossible. Eventhe radiators, which all winter long had never oncegiven forth a spark of heat, now hissed to thetouch of my moistened finger. Enough coolingdrinks to float an ocean greyhound had passed intomy inner man, with no other result than to makeme perspire more profusely than ever, and in sofar as sensations went, to make me feel hotterthan before. Finally, as a last resource, alongabout midnight, its gridiron floor having had achance to lose some of its stored-up warmth, Iclimbed out upon the fire-escape at the rear of theRichmere, hitched my hammock from one of therailings thereof to the leader running from the roofto the area, and swung myself therein some eightyfeet above the concealed pavement of ourbackyard—so called, perhaps, because of itsdimensions which were just about that square. Itwas a little improvement, though nothing to bragof. What fitful zephyrs there might be, caused nodoubt by the rapid passage to and fro on the roof
above and fence-tops below of vagrant felines onCupid's contentious battles bent, to the disturbanceof the still air, soughed softly through the meshesof my hammock and gave some measure of relief,grateful enough for which I ceased the perfervidlanguage I had been using practically sincesunrise, and dozed off. And then there enteredupon the scene that marvelous man, RafflesHolmes, of whose exploits it is the purpose ofthese papers to tell.I had dozed perhaps for a full hour when the firststrange sounds grated upon my ear. Somebodyhad opened a window in the kitchen of the first-floor apartment below, and with a dark lantern wasinspecting the iron platform of the fire-escapewithout. A moment later this somebody crawled outof the window, and with movements that inthemselves were a sufficient indication of thequestionable character of his proceedings, madefor the ladder leading to the floor above, uponwhich many a time and oft had I too climbed tohome and safety when an inconsiderate janitor hadlocked me out. Every step that he took wasstealthy—that much I could see by the dimstarlight. His lantern he had turned dark again,evidently lest he should attract attention in theapartments below as he passed their windows inhis upward flight."Ha! ha!" thought I to myself. "It's never too hot forMr. Sneak to get in his fine work. I wonder whosestuff he is after?"
Turning over flat on my stomach so that I might themore readily observe the man's movements, andbreathing pianissimo lest he in turn should observemine, I watched him as he climbed. Up he came assilently as the midnight mouse upon a soft carpet—up past the Jorkins apartments on the secondfloor; up stealthily by the Tinkletons' abode on thethird; up past the fire-escape Italian garden of littleMrs. Persimmon on the fourth; up past thewindows of the disagreeable Garraways' kitchenbelow mine, and then, with the easy grace of afeline, zip! he silently landed within reach of myhand on my own little iron veranda, and craning hisneck to one side, peered in through the openwindow and listened intently for two full minutes."Humph!" whispered my inner consciousness toitself. "He is the coolest thing I've seen since lastChristmas left town. I wonder what he is up to?There's nothing in my apartment worth stealing,now that my wife and children are away, unless itbe my Jap valet, Nogi, who might make a veryexcellent cab driver if I could only find words toconvey to his mind the idea that he is discharged."And then the visitor, apparently having correctlyassured himself that there was no one within,stepped across the window sill and vanished intothe darkness of my kitchen. A moment later I tooentered the window in pursuit, not so close a one,however, as to acquaint him with my proximity. Iwanted to see what the chap was up to; and alsobeing totally unarmed and ignorant as to whetheror not he carried dangerous weapons, I determined
to go slow for a little while. Moreover, the situationwas not wholly devoid of novelty, and it seemed tome that here at last was abundant opportunity for anew sensation. As he had entered, so did he walkcautiously along the narrow bowling alley thatserves for a hallway connecting my drawing-roomand library with the dining-room, until he came tothe library, into which he disappeared. This was notreassuring to me, because, to tell the truth, I valuemy books more than I do my plate, and if I were tobe robbed I should much have preferred his takingmy plated plate from the dining-room than any oneof my editions-deluxe sets of the works of MarieCorelli, Hall Caine, and other standard authorsfrom the library shelves. Once in the library, hequietly drew the shades at the windows thereof tobar possible intruding eyes from without, turned onthe electric lights, and proceeded to go through mypapers as calmly and coolly as though they werehis own. In a short time, apparently, he found whathe wanted in the shape of a royalty statementrecently received by me from my publishers, and,lighting one of my cigars from a bundle of brevas infront of him, took off his coat and sat down toperuse the statement of my returns. Simple thoughit was, this act aroused the first feeling ofresentment in my breast, for the relations betweenthe author and his publishers are among the mostsacred confidences of life, and the peeping Tomwho peers through a keyhole at the courtship of ayoung man engaged in wooing his fiancée is noworse an intruder than he who would tear aside theveil of secrecy which screens the official returns ofa "best seller" from the public eye. Feeling,
therefore, that I had permitted matters to proceedas far as they might with propriety, I instantlyentered the room and confronted my uninvitedguest, bracing myself, of course, for the defensiveonslaught which I naturally expected to sustain. Butnothing of the sort occurred, for the intruder, with acomposure that was nothing short of marvelousunder the circumstances, instead of rising hurriedlylike one caught in some disreputable act, merelyleaned farther back in the chair, took the cigar fromhis mouth, and greeted me with:"Howdy do, sir. What can I do for you this beastlyhot night?"The cold rim of a revolver-barrel placed at mytemple could not more effectually have put me outof business than this nonchalant reception.Consequently I gasped out something about itsbeing the sultriest 47th of August in eighteenyears, and plumped back into a chair opposite him."I wouldn't mind a Remsen cooler myself," he wenton, "but the fact is your butler is off for to-night,and I'm hanged if I can find a lemon in the house.Maybe you'll join me in a smoke?" he added,shoving my own bundle of brevas across the table."Help yourself.""I guess I know where the lemons are," said I. "Buthow did you know my butler was out?""I telephoned him to go to Philadelphia thisafternoon to see his brother Yoku, who is ill there,"said my visitor. "You see, I didn't want him around
to-night when I called. I knew I could manage youalone in case you turned up, as you see you have,but two of you, and one a Jap, I was afraid mightinvolve us all in ugly complications. Between youand me, Jenkins, these Orientals are pretty livelyfighters, and your man Nogi particularly has got jiu-jitsu down to a pretty fine point, so I had to dosomething to get rid of him. Our arrangement is amatter for two, not three, anyhow.""So," said I, coldly. "You and I have anarrangement, have we? I wasn't aware of it.""Not yet," he answered. "But there's a chance thatwe may have. If I can only satisfy myself that youare the man I'm looking for, there is no earthlyreason that I can see why we should not come toterms. Go on out and get the lemons and the ginand soda, and let's talk this thing over man to manlike a couple of good fellows at the club. I meanyou no harm, and you certainly don't wish to doany kind of injury to a chap who, even thoughappearances are against him, really means to doyou a good turn.""Appearances certainly are against you, sir," said I,a trifle warmly, for the man's composure wasirritating. "A disappearance would be more likely to.do you credit at this moment""Tush, Jenkins!" he answered. "Why waste breathsaying self-evident things? Here you are on theverge of a big transaction, and you delayproceedings by making statements of fact, mixed
in with a cheap wit which, I must confess, I findsurprising, and so obvious as to be visible even tothe blind. You don't talk like an author whose stuffis worth ten cents a word—more like a penny-a-liner, in fact, with whom words are of such smallvalue that no one's the loser if he throws away awhole dictionary. Go out and mix a couple of yourbest Remsen coolers, and by the time you getback I'll have got to the gist of this royaltystatement of yours, which is all I've come for. Yoursilver and books and love letters and manuscriptsare safe from me. I wouldn't have 'em as a gift.""What concern have you with my royalties?" Idemanded."A vital one," said he. "Mix the coolers, and whenyou get back I'll tell you. Go on. There's a goodchap. It'll be daylight before long, and I want toclose up this job if I can before sunrise."What there was in the man's manner to persuademe to compliance with his wishes, I am sure Icannot say definitely. There was a cold, steelyglitter in his eye, for one thing. With it, however,was a strengthfulness of purpose, a certainpleasant masterfulness, that made me feel that Icould trust him, and it was to this aspect of hisnature that I yielded. There was something franklyappealing in his long, thin, ascetic looking face, andI found it irresistible."All right," said I with a smile and a frown toexpress the conflicting quality of my emotions. "So
be it. I'll get the coolers, but you must remember,my friend, that there are coolers and coolers, justas there are jugs and jugs. The kind of jug thatremains for you will depend upon the story youhave to tell when I get back, so you'd better seethat it's a good one.""I am not afraid, Jenkins, old chap," he said with ahearty laugh as I rose. "If this royalty statementcan prove to me that you are the literary partner Ineed in my business, I can prove to you that I'm agood man to tie up to—so go along with you."With this he lighted a fresh cigar and turned to aperusal of my statement, which, I am glad to say,was a good one, owing to the great success of mybook, Wild Animals I Have Never Met—theseventh-best seller at Rochester, Watertown, andMiami in June and July, 1905—while I went out intothe dining-room and mixed the coolers. As youmay imagine, I was not long at it, for my curiosityover my visitor lent wings to my corkscrew, and infive minutes I was back with the temptingbeverages in the tall glasses, the lemon curl givingit the vertebrate appearance that all stiff drinksshould have, and the ice tinkling refreshingly uponthe sultry air."There," said I, placing his glass before him. "Drinkhearty, and then to business. Who are you?""There is my card," he replied, swallowing a goodlyhalf of the cooler and smacking his lipsappreciatively, and tossing a visiting card across to