“Raffles, we’re in luck! Luck has served me better than all your downy work.”
“It has,” said that bright specimen of humanity, regretfully. “I can’t pretend that I’d any hand in the blowing out of them blessed barrels.”
“All right, Raffles; don’t weep. You’d have done it, of course, if you’d thought about it,” said Acton, with a curious sneer; “but this is my plan—as far as you’re concerned. When young Bourne comes, you’re to ask for L7 10s. And you’re to be an adamantine Jew; you’re to have the money instanter, or there’ll be a rumpus.”
“I twig. Make it seven guineas, though,” said Raffles, generously.
“Seven guineas! So be it. You can suggest that, unless you get the cash, you would see Moore.”
“Corker, D.D.? I’m on.”
“Or Bourne, senior.”
“The shaver’s brother. I’m tumbling to the dodge.”
“Bourne will curl up at this.”
“But you’re still the blood-thirsty Jew.”
“Moses, and Aaron, and the rest.”
“You’ll suggest at last that I be tackled for a loan.”
“And you’ll lend it him!” said Raffles, with an unspeakable leer.
“The business wants careful handling, remember. Young Bourne will think twice about borrowing, and, perhaps, if he could keep me out of it, would stand your racket, or Corker’s either. So drive him lightly.”
“You’ll see him on the borrowing tack to-morrow, Mr. Acting.”
“And the rest is my business.”
“Where do I come in?”
“You can cleave to the seven guineas—if you earn ’em.”
“Seven pounds ten, Mr. Acting.”
“Seven pound seven, Mr. Raffles. Your own proposal.”
“Orl right,” said Raffles, resignedly. “I think I know them ropes.”
“Good!” said Acton. “Then you can scuttle now to Rotherhithe, or where the deuce else you like. I’m off.”
Acton wheeled out his bicycle and melted into the gathering dark, and his jackal lurched off to the station and reached Rotherhithe to dream of his seven guineas which he was going to get. Raffles felt sure of those seven guineas.
As I said before, Jack Bourne, after the first bloom of his forbidden pleasures had worn off, rather repented of the Raffles’ connection, and would gladly have exchanged it for the old, easy, open, and above-board society of his chums. Grim, Rogers, Wilson, Poulett, etc., were, on their side, rather sore at Jack’s continual desertion of them and their causes. They had just seen him pedalling easily after Acton, throwing them a rather mirthless joke as he ran past, and they had, naturally, held a council to consider matters.
“Wherever can the beggar get to is what I want to know,” said Wilson.
“Can any one tell me what he wants with Acton?” said Grim.