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Acton's Feud eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about Acton's Feud.

“Oh, a thrashing, perhaps, and a stringing up for the rest of the term.”

“We went to the Blue Cow on wet days.  Billiards, beer, and ’baccy, Mr. Acting, was the true bill there.  What’s the law on those fancy articles?”

“A thrashing for first course, and et ceteras which you wouldn’t understand.”

“Well, he’s earned ’em.  We couldn’t do any betting on the horses, since the Lincolnshire Handicap is not in sight yet, but he fluttered a little on the Sporting Club matches; and he was lucky—­more than ordinary.”

“You didn’t wing him there, then?”

“Nothing to speak of.  He may have dropped half a sov. altogether, but I doubt it.”

“Then, Raffles, you’re a fool.  Do you think I brought you down here to be moral instructor to young Bourne, you grey old badger?  Couldn’t you bag an innocent of sixteen or so?  Besides, what the deuce do you mean by tipping me the wink as Bourne and I used to get on our ‘bikes’?  You always did it, and I thought you were winding up the youngster hand over hand.”

“Them winks,” said Raffles, diplomatically, “was meant to show that I was moving—­moving slow, but sure.  You’ve observed, Mr. Acting, yourself, as ’ow the young shaver had a head on ’is shoulders.”

“Yes, but I didn’t bargain for yours being off your shoulders.”

“Well, what with bunnies, cartridges, and the Blue Cow, and the other extras, he is about cleaned out now.”

“Cleaned out!” said Acton, with intense irritation.  “That’s not what I wanted.  I told you distinctly that I must have him five pounds deep at the least.  How can I engineer my schemes if my sharpers can’t cut?  You’ll look blue, Raffles, when I settle your account, take my word for it.”

“Not quite so quick off the mark, Mr. Acting.  What do you value this piece of ironmongery at?”

Raffles fished up the gun which had burst in Jack’s hands that afternoon from behind the corn-chest, and held it up to the light.

“A burst gun!” said Acton.  “It’s worth throwing away; no more.”

“It was worth this morning, say fifteen bob, before Bourne blew its ribs out.”

“Jove!” said Acton, “let me handle the thing.”  He looked at the torn breech, and whistled with involuntary horror.  “Much of a squeak, Raffles?”

“Touch and go, sir.  He’ll never be nearer pegging out than he was this afternoon; for he scraped the gates of his family buryin’-place, in a manner of speakin.’  It went clean through his hat—­rim and crown.”

“Did he know his luck?”

“Nobody better.”

“He looked more than average queer as we trotted home.  I thought he was digesting your little bill, Raffles.”

“No; he only owes me a matter of shillin’s.  But I could say that I ticketed the gun at L5 or L6, when the old shooter wasn’t worth——­”

“Fifteen bob,” said Acton, looking at the worn barrel.

“See where I have—­where you have—­the youngster tied neatly up?  He owes me—­or you—­seven, eight, nine pounds, or any fancy figure I—­or you—­ like to mention for that old piece of iron there.”

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