W. W. (William Wymark) Jacobs.

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by biting a 'arf-dollar Sam owed 'im and
finding it was a bad 'un, that 'e went off to
spend the evening all alone by himself.

He felt a bit dull at fust, but arter he had
'ad two or three 'arf-pints 'e began to take a
brighter view of things. He found a very


nice, cosy little public-'ouse he hadn't been
in before, and, arter getting two and three-
pence and a pint for the 'arf-dollar with
Ginger's tooth-marks on, he began to think
that the world wasn't 'arf as bad a place as
people tried to make out.

There was on'y one other man in the little
bar Sam was in a tall, dark chap, with
black side-whiskers and spectacles, wot kept
peeping round the partition and looking
very 'ard at everybody that came in.

" I'm just keeping my eye on 'em, cap'n,"
he ses to Sam, in a low voice.

" Ho ! " ses Sam.

" They don't know me in this disguise,"
ses the dark man, "but I see as 'ow you
spotted me at once. Anybody 'ud have a
'ard time of it to deceive you ; and then
they wouldn't gain nothing by it."

" Nobody ever 'as yet," ses Sam, smiling
at 'im.

"And nobody ever will," ses the dark
man, shaking his 'ead ; " if they was all as


fly as you, I might as well put the shutters
up. How did you twig I was a detective
officer, cap'n?"

Sam, wot was taking a drink, got some
beer up 'is nose with surprise.

" That's my secret," he says, arter the 'tec
'ad patted 'im on the back and brought 'im

" You're a marvel, that's wot you are," ses
the 'tec, shaking his 'ead. " Have one with


Sam said he didn't mind if 'e did, and
arter drinking each other's healths very
perlite 'e ordered a couple o' twopenny
smokes, and by way of showing off paid for
'em with 'arf a quid.

" That's right, ain't it?" ses the barmaid,
as he stood staring very 'ard at the
change. " I ain't sure about that ; arf-
crown, now I come to look at it ; but it's
the one you gave me."

Pore Sam, with a 'tec standing alongside
of 'im, said it was quite right, and put it


into 'is pocket in a hurry and began to
talk to the 'tec as fast as he could about
a murder he 'ad been reading about in
the paper that morning. They went and
sat down by a comfortable little fire that
was burning in the bar, and the 'tec told
'im about a lot o' murder cases he 'ad
been on himself.

" I'm down 'ere now on special work,"
he ses, " looking arter sailor-men."

" Wot ha' they been doing? " ses Sam.

44 When I say looking arter, I mean
protecting 'em," ses the 'tec. " Over and
over agin some pore feller, arter working
'ard for months at sea, comes 'ome with a
few pounds in 'is pocket and gets robbed
of the lot. There's a couple o' chaps
down 'ere I'm told off to look arter
special, but it's no good unless I can
catch 'em red-'anded."

" Red-'anded ? " ses Sam.

"With their hands in the chap's
pockets, I mean," ses the 'tec.


Sam gave a shiver. "Somebody had
their 'ands in my pockets once/ 1 he ses.
" Four pun ten and some coppers they got."

"Wot was they like?" ses the 'tec,

Sam shook his 'ead. "They seemed
to me to be all hands, that's all I know
about 'em," he ses. "Arter they 'ad
finished they leaned me up agin the dock
wall an' went off."

" It sounds like 'em/' ses the 'tec
thoughtfully. " It was Long Pete and
Fair Alf, for a quid ; that's the two I'm

He put 'is finger in 'is weskit-pocket.
"That's who I am," he ses, 'anding Sam
a card ; " Detective-Sergeant Cubbins. If
you ever get into any trouble at any
time, you come to me."

Sam said 'e would, and arter they had
ad another drink together the 'tec shifted
'is seat alongside of 'im and talked in
'is ear.


" If I can nab them two chaps I shall
get promotion," he ses ; "and it's a fi'-pun
note to anybody that helps me. I wish
I could persuade you to."

"'Ow's it to be done? 11 ses Sam,
looking at J im.

" I want a respectable-looking seafaring
man," ses the 'tec, speaking very slow ;
"that's you. He goes up Tower Hill
to-morrow night at nine o'clock, walking
very slow and very unsteady on 'is pins,
and giving my two beauties the idea that
'e is three sheets in the wind. They come
up and rob 'im, and I catch 'em red-
'anded. I get promotion, and you get
a fiver."

" But 'ow do you know they'll be there?"
ses Sam, staring at 'im.

Mr. Cubbins winked at 'im and tapped
'is nose.

"We 'ave to know a good deal in our
line o' business," he ses.

" Still," ses Sam, " I don't see "


"Narks," says the 'tec; " coppers 1 narks.
You've 'card of them, cap'n? Now, look
'ere. Have you got any money ?"

" I got a matter o' twelve quid or so,"
ses Sam, in a off-hand way.

" The very thing," says the 'tec. " Well,
to-morrow night you put that in your
pocket, and be walking up Tower Hill
just as the clock strikes nine. I promise
you you'll be robbed afore two minutes
past, and by two and a 'arf past I shall
'ave my 'ands on both of 'em. Have all
the money in one pocket, so as they can
get it neat and quick, in case they get in-
terrupted. Better still, 'ave it in a purse ;
that makes it easier to bring it 'ome to

" Wouldn't it be enough if they stole the
purse ? " ses Sam. " I should feel safer
that way, too."

Mr. Cubbins shook 'is 'ead, very slow
and solemn. " That wouldn't do at all,"
he ses. "The more money they steal, the


longer they'll get ; you know that, cap'n,
without me telling you. If you could put
fifty quid in it would be so much the
better. And, whatever you do, don't make
a noise. I don't want a lot o 1 clumsy police-
men interfering in my business/'

" Still, s'pose you didn't catch 'em," ses
Sam, " where should I be ? "

"You needn't be afraid o' that," ses the
'tec, with a laugh. " Here, I'll tell you
wot I'll do, and that'll show you the trust
I put in you."

He drew a big di'mond ring off of 'is
finger and handed it to Sam.

" Put that on your finger," he ses, " and
keep it there till I give you your money back
and the fi'-pun note reward. It's worth
seventy quid if it's worth a farthing, and
was given to me by a lady of title for
getting back 'er jewellery for 'er. Put it
on, and wotever you do, don't lose it."

He sat and watched while Sam forced it
on 'is finger.


"You don't need to flash it about too
much/' he ses, looking at 'im rather anxious.
" There's men I know as 'ud cut your finger
off to get that/ 1

Sam shoved his 'and in his pocket, but
he kept taking it out every now and then
and 'olding his finger up to the light to
look at the di'mond. Mr. Cubbins got up
to go at last, saying that he 'ad got a call
to make at the police-station, and they went
out together.

" Nine o'clock sharp," he ses, as they
shook hands, "on Tower Hill."

" I'll be there," ses Sam.

"And, wotever you do, no noise, no call-
ing out," ses the 'tec, "and don't mention
a word of this to a living soul."

Sam shook 'ands with 'im agin, and then,
hiding his 'and in his pocket, went off 'ome,
and, finding Ginger and Peter Russet
wasn't back, went off to bed.

He 'eard 'em coming upstairs in the dark
in about an hour's time, and, putting the


'and with the ring on it on the counter-
pane, shut 'is eyes and pretended to be fast
asleep. Ginger lit the candle, and they
was both beginning to undress when Peter
made a noise and pointed to Sam's 'and.

"Wot's up?" ses Ginger, taking the
candle and going over to Sam's bed.
"Who've you been robbing, you fat
pirate ? "

Sam kept 'is eyes shut and 'eard 'em
whispering ; then he felt 'em take 'is hand
up and look at it.

" Where did you get it, Sam?" ses

" He's asleep," ses Ginger, " sound asleep.
I b'lieve if I was to put 'is finger in the
candle he wouldn't wake up."

" You try it," ses Sam, sitting up in bed
very sharp and snatching his 'and away.
" Wot d'ye mean coming 'ome at all hours
and waking me up ? "

" Where did you get that ring ? " ses


"Friend 'o mine," ses Sam, very short

" Who was it ? " ses Peter.

" It's a secret/' ses Sam.

" You wouldn't 'ave a secret from your old
pal Ginger, Sam, would you ? " ses Ginger.

"Old wot?" ses Sam. "Wot did you
call me this arternoon ? "

" I called you a lot o' things I'm sorry
for," ses Ginger, who was bursting with
curiosity, " and I beg your pardin, Sam."

" Shake 'ands on it," ses Peter, who was
nearly as curious as Ginger.

They shook hands, but Sam said he
couldn't tell 'em about the ring ; and several
times Ginger was on the point of calling 'im
the names he 'ad called 'im in the arter-
noon, on'y Peter trod on 'is foot and stopped
him. They wouldn't let 'im go to sleep
for talking, and at last, when 'e was pretty
near tired out, he told 'em all about it.

"Going to 'ave your pocket picked?"
ses Ginger, staring at 'im, when 'e had



11 1 shall be watched over/ 1 ses Sam.

" He's gorn stark, staring mad/ 1 ses
Ginger. "Wot a good job it is he's got
me and you to look arter 'im, Peter."

" Wot d'ye mean ? " ses Sam.

"Mean?" ses Ginger. "Why, it's a
put-up job to rob you, o' course. I should
ha' thought even your fat 'ead could ha'
seen that ! "

"When I want your advice I'll ask you
for it," ses Sam, losing 'is temper. "Wot
about the di'mond ring eh ? "

"You stick to it," ses Ginger, "and keep
out o 1 Mr. Cubbins's way. That's my
advice to you, 'Sides, p'r'aps it ain't a
real one/'

Sam told ; im agin he didn't want none of
'is advice, and, as Ginger wouldn't leave off
talking, he pretended to go to sleep. Ginger
woke 'im up three times to tell 'im wot a
fool 'e was, but 'e got so fierce that he gave
it up at last and told 'im to go 'is own way.

Sam wouldn't speak to either of 'em next


morning, and arter breakfast he went off
on 'is own. He came back while Peter
and Ginger was out, and they wasted best
part o' the day trying to find 'im.

44 We'll be on Tower Hill just afore nine
and keep 'im out o' mischief, any way,"
ses Peter.

Ginger nodded. "And be called names
for our pains," he ses. " I've a good mind
to let 'im be robbed."

44 It 'ud serve 'im right," ses Peter, "on'y
then he'd want to borrer off of us. Look
here! Why not why not rob 'im our-

44 Wot f " ses Ginger, starting.

44 Walk up behind 'im and rob 'im," ses
Peter. 44 He'll think it's them two chaps
he spoke about, and when 'e comes 'ome
complaining to us we'll tell 'im it serves
'im right. Arter we've 'ad a game with
'im for a day or two we'll give 'im his
money back."

4 ' But he'd reckernise us," ses Ginger.


" We must disguise ourselves," ses Peter,
in a whisper. " There's a barber's shop
in Cable Street, where I've seen beards
in the winder. You hook 'em on over
your ears. Get one of 'em each, pull our
caps over our eyes and turn our collars
up, and there you are."

Ginger made a lot of objections, not
because he didn't think it was a good
idea, but because he didn't like Peter
thinking of it instead of 'im ; but he gave
way at last, and, arter he 'ad got the
beard, he stood for a long time in front
o' the glass thinking wot a difference it
would ha' made to his looks if he had 'ad
black 'air instead o' red.

Waiting for the evening made the day
seem very long to 'em ; but it came at
last, and, with the beards in their pockets,
they slipped out and went for a walk round.
They 'ad 'arf a pint each at a public-'ouse
at the top of the Minories, just to steady
themselves, and then they came out and


hooked on their beards ; and wot with
them, and pulling their caps down and
turning their coat-collars up, there wasn't
much of their faces to be seen by any-

It was just five minutes to nine when
they got to Tower Hill, and they walked
down the middle of the road, keeping a
bright look-out for old Sam. A little way
down they saw a couple o' chaps leaning
up agin a closed gate in the dock wall
lighting their pipes, and Peter and Ginger
both nudged each other with their elbows
at the same time. They 'ad just got to
the bottom of the Hill when Sam turned
the corner.

Peter wouldn't believe at fust that the
old man wasn't really the worse for liquor,
'e was so life-like. Many a drunken man
would ha' been proud to ha 1 done it 'arf
so well, and it made 'im pleased to think
that Sam was a pal of 'is. Him and Ginger
turned and crept up behind the old man on


tip-toe, and then all of a sudden he tilted
Sam's cap over 'is eyes and flung his arms
round 'im, while Ginger felt in 'is coat-
pockets and took out a leather purse chock-
full o' money.

It was all done and over in a moment,
and then, to Ginger's great surprise, Sam
suddenly lifted 'is foot and gave 'im a fearful
kick on the shin of 'is leg, and at the same
time let drive with all his might in 'is face.
Ginger went down as if he 'ad been shot,
and as Peter went to 'elp him up he got a
bang over the 'ead that put 'im alongside
o* Ginger, arter which Sam turned and
trotted off down the Hill like a dancing-

For 'arf a minute Ginger didn't know
where 'e was, and afore he found out the
two men they'd seen in the gateway came
up, and one of 'em put his knee in Ginger's
back and 'eld him, while the other caught
hold of his 'and and dragged the purse out
of it. Arter which they both made off up



the Hill as 'ard as they could go, while
Peter Russet in a faint voice called " Police ! "
arter them.

He got up presently and helped Ginger
up, and they both stood there pitying them-
selves, and 'elping each other to think of
names to call Sam.

"Well, the money's gorn, and it's 'is
own silly fault," ses Ginger. " But wotever
'appens, he mustn't know that we had a
'and in it, mind that."

" He can starve for all I care," ses Peter,
feeling his 'ead. " I won't lend 'im a
ha'penny not a single, blessed ha'penny."

14 Who'd ha' thought 'e could ha' hit like
that ? " says Ginger. " That's wot gets over
me. I never 'ad such a bang in my life
never. I'm going to 'ave a little drop o'
brandy my 'ead is fair swimming."

Peter 'ad one, too ; but though they went
into the private bar, it wasn't private enough
for them ; and when the landlady asked
Ginger who'd been kissing 'im, he put 'is


glass down with a bang and walked straight
off 'ome.

Sam 'adn't turned up by the time they
got there, and pore Ginger took advantage
of it to put a little warm candle-grease on
'is bad leg. Then he bathed 4s face very
careful and 'elped Peter bathe his 'ead.
They 'ad just finished when they heard
Sam coming upstairs, and Ginger sat down
on 'is bed and began to whistle, while
Peter took up a bit o' newspaper and stood
by the candle reading it.

" Lor 1 lumme, Ginger! " ses Sam, staring
at 'im. " What ha' you been a-doing to
your face?"

"Me?" ses Ginger, careless-like. "Oh,
we 'ad a bit of a scrap down Limehouse
way with some Scotehies. Peter got a
crack over the 'ead at the same time."

" Ah, I've 'ad a bit of a scrap, too," ses Sam,
smiling all over, " but / didn't get marked."

"Oh!" ses Peter, without looking up
from 'is paper.


"Was it a little boy, then?" ses Ginger.

" No, it wasn't a little boy neither,
Ginger," ses Sam ; "it was a couple o' men
twice the size of you and Peter here, and
I licked 'em both. It was the two men I
spoke to you about last night."

" Oh ! " ses Peter agin, yawning.

" I did a bit o 1 thinking this morning,"
ses Sam, nodding at 'em, "and I don't
mind owning up that it was owing to wot
you said. You was right, Ginger, arter

Ginger grunted.

" Fust thing I did arter breakfast," ses
Sam, " I took that di'mond ring to a
pawnshop and found out it wasn't a
di'mond ring. Then I did a bit more
thinking, and I went round to a shop I
know and bought a couple o 1 knuckle-

" Couple o' wot ? " ses Ginger, in a
choking voice.

"Knuckle-dusters," ses Sam, "and I


turned up to-night at Tower Hill with
one on each 'and just as the clock was
striking nine. I see 'em the moment I
turned the corner two enormous big chaps,
a yard acrost the shoulders, coming down
the middle of the road You've got a
cold, Ginger ! "

"No, I ain't," ses Ginger.

" I pretended to be drunk, same as the
'tec told me," ses Sam, "and then I felt
'em turn round and creep up behind me.
One of 'em come up behind and put 'is
knee in my back and caught me by the
throat, and the other gave me a punch in
the chest, and while I was gasping for
breath took my purse away. Then I
started on 'em."

" Lor' ! " ses Ginger, very nasty.

11 1 fought like a lion," ses Sam " Twice
they 'ad me down, and twice I got up
agin and hammered 'em. They both of
'em 'ad knives, but my blood was up, and
I didn't take no more notice of 'em than


if they was made of paper. I knocked
'em both out o' their hands, and if I hit
'em in the face once I did a dozen times.
I surprised myself."

11 You surprise me," ses Ginger.

" All of a sudden," ses Sam, " they see
they 'ad got to do with a man wot didn't
know wot fear was, and they turned round
and ran off as hard as they could run.
You ought to ha 1 been there, Ginger.
You'd 'ave enjoyed it."

Ginger Dick didn't answer 'im. Having
to sit still and listen to all them lies without
being able to say anything nearly choked
'im. He sat there gasping for breath.

14 O' course, you got your purse back in
the fight, Sam?" ses Peter.

" No, mate," ses Sam. " I ain't going
to tell you no lies I did not."

" And 'ow are you going to live, then,
till you get a ship, Sam?" ses Ginger, in
a nasty voice. "You won't get nothing
out o' me, so you needn't think it."


" Nor me," ses Peter. " Not a brass

" There's no call to be nasty about it,
mates," ses Sam. " I 'ad the best fight I
ever 'ad in my life, and I must put up
with the loss. A man can't 'ave it all his
own way."

"'Ow much was it?" ses Peter.

44 Ten brace-buttons, three French ha'-
pennies, and a bit o' tin," ses Sam. " Wot
on earth's the matter, Ginger ? "


|\yr R. DOWSON sat by the kitchen fire
^** smoking and turning a docile and
well-trained ear to the heated words which
fell from his wife's lips.

" She'll go and do the same as her
sister Jenny done," said Mrs. Dowson,
with a side glance at her daughter Flora;
" marry a man and then 'ave to work
and slave herself to skin and bone to
keep him."

" I see Jenny yesterday," said her hus-
band, nodding. " Getting quite fat, she

" That's right," said Mrs. Dowson
violently, " that's right! The moment I
say something you go and try and upset

" Un'ealthy fat p'r'aps," said Mr. Dowson


hurriedly ; " don't get enough exercise,
I s'pose."

" Anybody who didn't know you, Joe
Dowson," said his wife fiercely, "would
think you was doing it a-purpose."

" Doing wot ? " inquired Mr. Dowson,
removing his pipe and regarding her open-
mouthed. " I only said "

" I know what you said," retorted his
wife. " Here I do my best from morning
to night to make everybody 'appy and
comfortable ; and what happens ? "

11 Nothing," said the sympathetic Mr.
Dowson, shaking his head. " Nothing."

" Anyway, Jenny ain't married a fool,"
said Mrs. Dowson hotly; "she's got that

11 That's right, mother," said the innocent
Mr. Dowson, "look on the bright side o 1
things a bit. If Jenny 'ad married a better
chap I don't suppose we should see half
as much of her as wot we do."

" I'm talking of Flora," said his wife,


restraining herself by an effort. " One un-
fortunate marriage in the family is enough ;
and here, instead o' walking out with young
Ben Lippet, who'll be 'is own master when
his father dies, she's gadding about with
that good-for-nothing Charlie Foss."

Mr. Dowson shook his head. " He's, so
good-looking, is Charlie," he said slowly ;
" that's the worst of it. Wot with 'is dark
eyes and his curly 'air "

" Go on ! " said his wife passionately,

Mr. Dowson, dimly conscious that some-
thing was wrong, stopped and puffed hard
at his pipe. Through the cover of the
smoke he bestowed a sympathetic wink
upon his daughter.

"You needn't go on too fast," said the
latter, turning to her mother. " I haven't
made up my mind yet. Charlie's looks
are all right, but he ain't over and above
steady, and Ben is steady, but he ain't
much to look at."


"What does your 'art say?" inquired the
sentimental Mr. Dowson.

Neither lady took the slightest notice.

" Charlie Foss is too larky," said Mrs.
Dowson solemnly ; " it's easy come and
easy go with 4m. He's just such another
as your father's cousin Bill and look what
'appened to hrm ! "

Miss Dowson shrugged her shoulders,
and, subsiding in her chair, went on with
her book, until a loud knock at the door
and a cheerful but peculiarly shrill whistle
sounded outside.

" There is my lord," exclaimed Mrs.
Dowson waspishly ; " anybody might think
the 'ouse belonged to him. And now he's
dancing on my clean doorstep."

" Might be only knocking the mud off
afore coming in," said Mr. Dowson, as he
rose to open the door. " I've noticed
he's very careful."

"I just came in to tell you a joke," said
Mr. Foss, as he followed his host into the


kitchen and gazed tenderly at Miss Dowson
"best joke I ever had in my life; I've
'ad my fortune told guess what it was !
I've been laughing to myself ever since."

"Who told it?" inquired Mrs. Dowson,
after a somewhat awkward silence.

"Old gipsy woman in Peter Street,"
replied Mr. Foss. " I gave 'er a wrong
name and address, just in case she might
ha' heard about me, and she did make a
mess of it ; upon my word she did."

"Wot did she say ? " inquired Mr. Dowson.

Mr. Foss laughed. " Said I was a
wrong 'un," he said cheerfully, " and would
bring my mother's grey hairs to the grave
with sorrow. I'm to 'ave bad companions
and take to drink ; I'm to steal money to
gamble with, and after all that I'm to 'ave
five years for bigamy. I told her I was
disappointed I wasn't to be hung, and she
said it would be a disappointment to a lot
of other people too. Laugh ! I thought
I should 'ave killed myself."



" I don't see nothing to laugh at," said
Mrs. Dowson coldly.

" I shouldn't tell anybody else, Charlie,"
said her husband. "Keep it a secret, my

" But you you don't believe it? 11 stam-
mered the crestfallen Mr. Foss.

Mrs. Dowson cast a stealthy glance at
her daughter. "It's wonderful 'ow some
o' those fortune-tellers can see into the
future," she said, shaking her head.

" Ah ! " said her husband, with a con-
firmatory nod. " Wonderful is no name
for it. I 'ad my fortune told once when I
was a boy, and she told me I should marry
the prettiest, and the nicest, and the sweetest-
tempered gal in Poplar."

Mr. Foss, with a triumphant smile, barely
waited for him to finish. " There you " he
began, and stopped suddenly.

" What was you about to remark?" inquired
Mrs. Dowson icily.

" I was going to say," replied Mr. Foss


" I was going to say I 'ad just got it
on the tip o' my tongue to say, ' There
you you you 'ad all the luck, Mr.
Dowson.' "

He edged his chair a little nearer to
Flora ; but there was a chilliness in the
atmosphere against which his high spirits
strove in vain. Mr. Dowson remembered
other predictions which had come true,
notably the case of one man who, learning
that he was to come in for a legacy, gave
up a two-pound-a-week job, and did actually
come in for twenty pounds and a bird-cage
seven years afterwards.

" It's all nonsense," protested Mr. Foss ;
" she only said all that because I made
fun of her. You don't believe it, do you,
Flora ? "

11 1 don't see anything to laugh at/'
returned Miss Dowson. " Fancy five years
for bigamy ! Fancy the disgrace of it ! "

11 But you're talking as if I was going to
do it," objected Mr. Foss. " I wish you'd


go and 'avcyour fortune told. Go and see
what she says about you. P Vaps you won't
believe so much in fortune-telling after-

Mrs. Dowson looked up quickly, and then,
lowering her eyes, took her hand out of the
stocking she had been darning, and, placing
it beside its companion, rolled the pair into
a ball.

"You go round to-morrow night, Flora/'

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