“I suppose, sir, you’re going to——”
“Oh, the cash you mean! Eh?”
“Yes, that was my meaning.”
“Your cash will be all right, man. Come down for it on Friday—can’t you?”
“How if I can’t, young shaver?” said Raffles of Rotherhithe.
“Then do without it! Anyhow, I’m going now—I’m too sick.”
“All right,” said Raffles, sulkily. “On Thursday.”
Jack, without another word, stumbled across the fields into the farmyard, and luckily found Acton ready for home. He shakily dropped into his saddle; and, with a mind pretty busy, he tailed wearily after Acton to St. Amory’s.
IN THE STABLE
After tea that day Acton went down to the farm solus, not having, as you will presently see, any need of Jack’s company, even if Bourne had felt any desire to accompany him, which he didn’t.
The monitor tinkled his bell, and in answer to the ringing, Raffles lounged out of a barn, the inseparable Warmint trotting at his master’s heels.
“Suppose we’d better go into the stable, Raffles.”
The odour of the Coon’s afternoon cigar still hung about the place, and the stable was half dark, but as Acton had an idea that his conversation with Raffles would not be a short one, and the night was rather cold, they went in.
“Fire away, Raffles. Start at the beginning.”
“Very good, sir,” said Raffles, seating himself on the corn-chest. “Agreeable to instructions received from Mr. Acting——”
“Acton,” suggested that gentleman.
“Acting—I said so, didn’t I? Very well! Agreeable to instructions received from you, sir, I prepared——”
“Don’t be so beastly legal, you ass!”
“Let a cove tell ’is tale ’is own way, sir. We’ll get on better like that. As I was going to say, following your tip, I prepared to show that young shaver, Bourne, a few things which as you told me he ought not to know of, and to do a few things which you told me he ought not to do—in fact, to put him on the way of breakin’ every blessed rule that that beak of your school ’as drawn up for the guidance of the youth and the beauties under ’is ’and. What’s the name of the beak, sir?”
“Oh, Moore!” said Acton, impatiently.
“The young shaver spoke of ’im different.”
“Corker, perhaps,” said Acton.
“That’s it,” continued Raffles. “Well, Corker ’asn’t got a thoroughbred greenhorn in Bourne, Mr. Acting.”
“No. Young Bourne’s head is on his shoulders, more or less. Get on.”
“Well, we opened the ball with a little bunny-shootin’, for he couldn’t stand Warmint’s workin’ among the rats. He shoots moderate straight, so I doctored his cartridges, or he’d have cleared out the bank. Not more than two in the half-dozen, sir. And then he couldn’t understand it. What might Corker say to the bunnies, sir?”