The Hypnotized Burglar

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The Hypnotized Burglar  (1916) 
by Herbert Jenkins

Extracted from McBride's Magazine, 1916 April, pp. 123–132. A "Joseph Bindle" story. Modified, expanded, and included (in Bindle 1916 as Chapters 1 and 2.


In Which Joseph Bindle, Furniture-Remover, and Professor Conti, the Great Mesmerist, Each Puts His Respective Accomplishments to a New Use. sop Would Have Drawn a Moral from the Tale; Can You?


Y'OUGHT to be ashamed o' yerself!” said Mrs. Bindle stormily to her husband, who stood regarding her with an expressionless face. “Y'ought to be ashamed o' yerself, yer great hulking brute”—Bindle was much below medium height and average weight—“leavin' me to keep our sticks together—me a woman, too, a-keeping you in idleness! Why, I'd steal 'fore I'd do that, that I would!”

With philosophic self-effacement, Bindle picked up his cap and coat and quickly vanished before the cloud of dust that rose from his wife's broom.

A journeyman furniture-remover by profession, Joseph Bindle was also a philosopher. Like Socrates, he bowed to the whirlwind of his wife's wrath. He had applied for every job he heard of, quite irrespective of his ability to fill it, and, knowing that he was doing all that was humanly possible, he faced the world with unruffled calm. He was a little man, bald-headed and red-nosed, but he possessed a great heart. Two things in life he loved above all others—beer and humor—yet he permitted neither to interfere with the day's work, save under very exceptional circumstances. Mrs, Bindle's careless words sank deep into his imagination. Steal! Well, he had no strongly grounded objection, provided he were not caught at it. Steal! The word seemed to open up new possibilities for him.

A week later Bindle obtained a day's work in West Kensington. Having eaten a hearty supper, and in the happiest frame of mind, he strolled along towards Walham Green. The night was young—it was barely nine o'clock—and his whole being yearned for some adventure. He was still preoccupied with the subject of larceny. His wits, Bindle argued, were of little or no use in the furniture-removing business, where mediocrity formed the standard of excellence. There would never be a Napoleon of furniture-removers, but there had been several Napoleons of crime. If a man were endowed with genius, he should also be supplied with a reasonable outlet for it.

Walking meditatively along the North End Road, Bindle's foot struck against something that jingled. He stooped and picked up two keys attached to a ring, which he swiftly transferred to one of his pockets and passed on. Someone might be watching him. Two minutes later he drew forth his find for examination. Attached to the ring was a metal tablet, upon which was engraved the words: “These keys are the property of Professor Sylvanus Conti, 13, Audrey Mansions, Queen's Club, West Kensington W. Reward for their return, 2/6.”

The keys were obviously those of the outer door of a block of mansions and the door of a flat. If they were returned, the reward was two shillings and sixpence, which would bring up the day's takings to seven shillings and sixpence. If, on the other hand, the keys were retained for the purpose of— At that moment Bindle's eye caught sight of a ticket upon a stall littered with old locks and keys, above which blazed and spluttered a paraffin. torch. “Keys cut while you wait,” it announced. Without a moment's hesitation he slipped the two keys from their ring and held them out to the proprietor of the stall.

“'Ow much to make two like 'em, mate?” he inquired.

The man took the keys, examined them for a moment, and replied—

“One an' thruppence from you, captin'.”'

“Well, think o' me as a pretty girl and say a bob, and it's done,” replied Bindle.

The man regarded him with elaborate gravity for a few moments. “If yer turn yer face away, I'll try,” he replied, and proceeded to fashion the duplicates.

Meanwhile Bindle deliberated. If he retained the keys, there would be suspicion at the flats, and perhaps locks would be changed; if, on the other hand, the keys were returned immediately, the owner would trouble himself no further. At this juncture he was not very clear as to what he intended to do. He was still undecided when the four keys were handed to him in return for a shilling.

The mind of Joseph Bindle invariably responded best to the ministrations of beer, and when, half an hour later, he left the bar of “The Scarlet House,” his plans were formed and his mind made up. He vaguely saw the hand of Providence in this discovery of Professor Conti's keys, and he had determined that Providence should not be disappointed in him, Joseph Bindle.

First he purchased a cheap electric torch, guaranteed for twelve or twenty-four hours, the shopkeeper was not quite certain which. Then, proceeding to a chemist's shop, he purchased a roll of medical bandaging. With this he retired up a side street and proceeded to swathe his head and the greater part of his face, leaving only his eyes, nose and mouth visible. Drawing his cap carefully over the bandages, he returned to the highway, first having improvised the remainder of the bandaging into an informal sling for his left arm. Not even Mrs. Bindle herself would have recognized him, so complete was the disguise.

Ten minutes later he was at Audrey Mansions. No one was visible, and with great swiftness and dexterity he tried the duplicate keys in the open outer door. One fitted perfectly. Mounting to the third floor, he inserted the other in the door of No. 13. The lock turned easily. Quite satisfied, he replaced them in his pocket and rang the bell. There was no answer. He rang again, and a third time, but without result. “Does 'is own charin',” murmured Bindle laconically, and descended to the ground floor, where he rang the porter's bell, with the result that the keys were faithfully redeemed.

Bindle left the porter in a state of suppressed excitement over a circumstantial account of a terrible collision that had just taken place in the neighborhood between a motor-bus and a fire-engine, resulting in eleven deaths, including three firemen, whilst thirty people had been seriously injured, including six firemen. He himself had been on the front seat of the motor-bus and had escaped with a broken head and a badly cut hand.


PROFESSOR CONTI surveyed himself mournfully in the mirror as he undid the buckle of his ready-made evening-tie and placed it carefully in the green cardboard box upon the dressing-table. In these days a tie had to last the week through, aided by the application of French chalk to the salient folds and corners,

Professor Sylvanus Conti, who had been known to his mother, Mrs. Wilkins, as Willie, emphasized in feature and speech his Cockney origin. He was of medium height, with a sallow complexion—not the sallowness of the sun-baked plains of Italy, but rather that of Bermondsey or Bow.

He had been a brave little man in his fight with adverse conditions. Years before, chance had thrown across his path a doctor whose hypnotic powers had been his ruin. Tommy Wilkins had shown himself an apt pupil, and there opened out to his vision a great and glorious prospect. First he courted Science; but she had proved a fickle jade, and he was forced to become an entertainer, much against his inclination. In time the name of Professor Sylvanus Conti came to be known at most of the second-rate music-halls as “a good hypnotic turn”—to use the professional phraseology.

One consolation he had—he never descended to tricks. If he were unable to place a subject under control, he stated so frankly. He was scientific, and believed in his own powers as he believed in nothing else on earth. He had achieved some sort of success. It was not what he had hoped for; still, it was a living. It gave him food and raiment and a small bachelor flat—he was a bachelor, all self-made men are—in a spot that was Kensington, albeit West Kensington.

The Professor continued mechanically to prepare himself for the night. He oiled his dark hair, brushed his black moustache, donned his long nightshirt, and finally lit a cigarette. He was thinking deeply. His dark, cunning little eyes flashed angrily. A cynical smile played about the corners of his mouth, half hidden by the bristly black moustache.

Only that evening he had heard that his rival, “Mr. John Gibson, the English Mesmerist,” had secured a contract to appear at some syndicate halls that had hitherto engaged only him, Professor Conti. This man Gibson had been dogging Conti for months past. The barefaced effrontery of the fellow added fuel to the fire of his rival's anger. To use an English name for a hypnotic turn upon the English music-hall stage! He should have known that hypnotism, like the equestrian and dress-making arts, is Continental, without exception or qualification. Yet this man, “John Gibson, the English Mesmerist,” had dared to enter into competition with him, Professor Sylvanus Conti. Gibson descended to tricks that placed him beyond the pale of science. He had confederates who, as “gentlemen among the audience,” did weird and marvelous things, all to the glory of “The English Mesmerist.”

Still brooding upon a rather ominous future, the Professor wound his watch—a fine gold hunter that had been presented to him three years previously by “a few friends and admirers”—and placed it upon the small table by his bedside, then, carefully extinguishing his half-smoked cigarette, he got into bed. It was late, and he was tired. A sense of injustice was insufficient to keep him awake for long, and switching off the electric light, he was soon asleep.


FROM a dream in which he had just discomfited his rival, “The English Mesmerist,” by placing under control an elephant, Professor Conti awakened with a start. Intuitively he knew that there was someone else in the room. Lying perfectly still, he listened. Suddenly his blood froze with horror. A tiny disc of light played round the room and finally rested upon the small table beside him. A moment later he heard a faint sound as of two metallic substances coming into contact. Instinctively he knew it to be caused by his watch-chain touching against the candlestick.

He broke out into a cold sweat. Moist with fear, he reviewed the situation. A burglar was in the room. He was taking his—the Professor's—presentation watch and chain. The thought of losing these, his greatest treasures, awakened in his mind the realization that he must act, and act speedily. With a slow, deliberate movement, he worked his right hand up to the pillow, beneath which he always kept a revolver. It seemed an eternity before he felt the comforting touch of the cold metal. He withdrew the weapon with deliberate caution. The sound of someone tiptoeing about the room continued—soft, stealthy movements that, however, no longer possessed for him any terror. A fury of anger, a species of blood-lust had gripped him. Someone had dared to break into his flat. The situation became intolerable. With one swift movement he sat up, switched on the electric light, and cocked his revolver. An inarticulate sound, half cry, half grumble, came from the corner by the chest of drawers. The back of a head, looking curiously like a monkish crown, flashed into a face, white, unshaven and drawn, with terror in its eyes.

“Hands up, or I shoot! Up!” The Professor did not recognize his own voice. Suddenly he laughed. The ludicrous expression upon the sallow face of his visitor, the unnatural posture in which he crouched, his own triumphant sense of victory—it was all so ridiculous. He was quite calm and collected now, as if the discovery of a burglar in his bedroom were a thing of nightly occurrence. There seemed nothing strange in the situation. The things to be done presented themselves in a natural and logical sequence. He was conscious even of the dramatic possibilities of the situation.

“Turn round and face the wall, quick!” he rapped out. The sallow face vanished, and in its place reappeared the tonsured scalp. Carefully covering with his revolver the unfortunate Bindle, whose first effort at burglary seemed likely to end so disastrously, Professor Conti slipped out of bed and, without removing his eyes from his visitor's back, sidled toward a small chest at the other side of the room. This he opened, and from it took a pair of handcuffs, a property of his profession. With calm decision he ordered Bindle to lower his hands behind him. For one brief moment Bindle seemed to meditate resistance. He gave a swift look over his shoulder, but, seeing the determined look in the Professor's eyes and the glint of the revolver, he meekly complied. The handcuffs clicked and the Professor smiled grimly.

As he stood gazing at the wall, Bindle's mind was running on what Mrs. Bindle would say when she heard the news. Fate had treated him scurvily in directing him to a flat where a revolver and handcuffs seemed to be part of the necessary fittings. He fell to wondering what punishment novices at burglary generally received. He was awakened from his reverie and the contemplation of a particularly hideous wall-paper by a sharp command to turn round. He did so, and found himself faced by a ludicrous and curiously unheroic figure. Over his nightshirt his captor had drawn an overcoat with an astrachan collar and cuffs. Beneath the coat came a broad hem of white nightshirt, then two rather thin legs, terminating in a pair of red woollen bedroom slippers. Bindle grinned appreciatively at the spectacle. He was more at his ease now that the revolver had been laid aside.

“You're a burglar, and you're caught.” The Professor showed his yellow teeth as he made this pronouncement. Bindle grinned. “You'll get five years for this,” proceeded the Professor encouragingly.

“I was just wonderin' to myself,” responded Bindle imperturbably. “The luck's wi' you, guv'nor,” he added philosophically. “Fancy you 'avin' 'andcuffs as well as a revolver! Sort o' Scotland Yard, this 'ere little 'ole. 'Spose you get a touch o' nerves sometimes, an' like to be ready. Five years, you said. Three was my figure. P'raps you're right; it all depends on the old boy on the bench. Ever done time, sir?' he queried cheerfully.

Professor Conti was too intent upon an inspiration that had flashed upon him to listen to his visitor's remarks. Suddenly he saw in this the hand of Providence, and at that same moment Bindle saw upon the chest of drawers one of the Professor's cards bearing the inscription—

Professor Sylvvanus Conti,
Hypnotist and Mesmerist.
13, Audrey Mansions,
Queen's Club,
West Kensington,
London, W.

He turned from the contemplation of the card and found himself being regarded by his captor with great intentness. The ferret-like eyes of the Professor gazed into his as if desirous of piercing a hole through his brain. Bindle experienced a curious, dreamy sensation. Remembering the card he had just seen, he blinked self-consciously, licked his lips, grinned feebly, and then half closed his eyes. Professor Conti advanced deliberately, raised his hands slowly, passed them before the face of his victim, keeping his eyes fixed the while. Over the unprepossessing features of Bindle there came a vacant look, and over those of the Professor one of triumph. After a lengthy pause the Professor spoke.

“You are a burglar. Repeat it.”

“I am a burglar,” echoed Bindle in a toneless voice. The Professor continued:

“You sought to rob me, Professor Sylvanus Conti, of 13, Audrey Mansions, Queen's Club, West Kensington, by breaking into my flat at night.”

In the same expressionless voice Bindle repeated the Professor's words.

“Good!” murmured Conti. “Good! Now sit down.” Bindle complied, a ghost of a grin flitting momentarily across his face, as the Professor turned to reach a chair, which he placed immediately opposite to that on which Bindle sat and about two yards distant. With his eyes fixed, he commenced in a droning tone—

“You have entered my flat with the deliberate and cold-blooded intention of robbing, perhaps of murdering, me. It is my intention to write a note to the police, which you will yourself deliver, and wait until you are arrested. Now repeat what I have said.”

In a dull, mechanical voice, Bindle did as he was told. For a full minute the Professor gazed steadfastly into his victim's eyes, then, rising, he went to a small table and wrote the following note—

13, Audrey Mansion,
Queen's Club, W.,
September 15, 191—.

Dear Sir,—

The bearer of this letter is a burglar who has just broken into my flat to rob me. I have placed him under hypnotic control, and he will give himself up. You will please arrest him. I will 'phone in the morning.

Yours faithfully,
Sylvanus Conti,

Professor of Hypnotism and Mesmerism.

To the Superintendent,
The West Kensington Police Station, W.

Sealing and addressing the letter, the Professor then removed the handcuffs from Bindle's wrists, bade him rise, and gave him the envelope.

“You will now go and deliver this note,” said Conti, explaining with great distinctness the whereabouts of the police-station. Bindle was proceeding slowly towards the door, when the Professor called upon him to stop. He halted abruptly.

“Show me what you have in your pockets.”

Bindle complied, producing the presentation watch and chain, a gold scarf pin, a pair of gold sleeve links, one diamond and three gold studs and a diamond ring. For a moment the Professor pondered, then, as if coming to a sudden determination, he told Bindle to replace the articles in his pockets and dismissed him.

Having bolted the door, Professor Conti returned to his bedroom. For half an hour he sat in his nondescript costume, smoking cigarettes. He was thoroughly satisfied with the night's work. It had been ordained that his flat should be burgled, and he, Sylvanus Conti, professor of hypnotism and mesmerism, seizing his opportunity, had diverted to his own ends the august decrees of Providence. He pictured Mr. William Gibson reading the account of his triumph in the evening papers. He saw the headlines. He would inspire them. “Professor Conti's Master-stroke. A Burglar Hypnotized and Made to Proclaim His Own Guilt. A Great Triumph.” He saw it all. Not only would those come back who had forsaken him for “The English Mesmerist,” but others would want him. He saw himself a “star turn” at one of the West End halls. He saw many things—fame, fortune and a motor-car, and, in the far distance, the realization of his great ambition, a scientific career. In a way he was a little sorry for the burglar, the instrument of Providence.


WITH elaborate caution Bindle crept down the three flights of stairs that led to the street. Everything was quiet and dark. As he closed the outer door behind him, he heard a clock striking four. He stepped out briskly. He wanted to think, but, above all, he was hungry and thirsty. He began to whistle as a precaution against the attentions of the police. No one would suspect of being a burglar a man who was whistling at the top of his power. Once he stood still and laughed, slapped his knee, recommenced whistling, and continued on his way. Occasionally his hand would wander to the left-hand pocket of his coat, when, feeling the Professor's watch and chain and the note to the police, his face would irradiate joy. He must think, and, with Bindle, to think, it was necessary to remain still, which he dare not do for fear of arousing suspicion.

Presently he saw the lights of a coffee-stall, towards which he walked briskly. Over two sausages and some coffee he reviewed the situation, chaffed the proprietor, and treated to a meal the bedraggled remnants of what was once a woman, which he found hovering hungrily about the stall. When he eventually said “Good morning” to his host and guest, he had worked out his plan of campaign.

He walked in the direction of the police-station. Day was beginning to break. Seeing approaching a man who looked like a laborer, he quickened his pace to a run. As he came within a few yards of the man, he slackened his pace, then stopped abruptly.

“Where's the police-station, mate?” he inquired, panting as if with great exertion.

“The police-station?” repeated the man curiously. “Straight up the road, then third or fourth to the left, then—”

“Is it miles?” panted Bindle.

“'Bout 'arf a mile, not more. What's up, mate?” the man inquired.

“'Arf a mile, an' 'im bleeding to death! I got to fetch a doctor,” Bindle continued. Then, as if with sudden inspiration, he thrust Professor Conti's letter into the astonished man's hands.

“In the name of the law, I command you to deliver this letter! I'll go for a doctor. Quick—it's burglary! 'Ere's a bob for yer trouble.”

With that, Bindle sped back the way he had come, praying that no policeman might see him and give chase.

The man stood stupidly looking from the letter and the shilling in his hand to the retreating form of Bindle. After a moment's hesitation he pocketed the coin, and with a grumble in his throat and a fear in his heart if he disobey the law's command, he turned and slowly made his way to the police-station.


WHEN Professor Conti awakened on the morning of the burglary, he was horrified to find, from the medley of sounds without, produced by hooters and bells, that it was half-past eight. Jumping quickly out of bed, he shaved, washed and dressed with great expedition, and before half-past nine was in a telephone call-box ringing up the police. On learning that his note had been duly delivered, he smiled his satisfaction into the telephone mouthpiece. Fortunately he was known to the sergeant who answered him, having recently given his services at an entertainment organized by the local police. After some difficulty he arranged that the charge should be taken through the telephone, although a most irregular proceeding.

“He's givin' us a lot of trouble, sir—talking of having been given the note, and about a burglary and attempted murder,” volunteered the sergeant.

“Ha, ha, ha!' laughed the Professor.

“Ha, ha, ha!” echoed the sergeant, and they rang off.

In spite of his laugh, the Professor was a little puzzled by the sergeant's words. The man should still be under control. However, he reasoned, the fellow was caught, and he had other and more important things to occupy his mind. Hailing a passing taxi, he drove to the offices of The Evening Mail. Sending up his card with the words “Important News” written upon it, he gained immediate access to the editor. Within ten minutes the story of the hypnotized burglar was being dictated by the editor himself to relays of shorthand writers. The police had confirmed, on the telephone, the story of a man having given himself up, and the whole adventure was, in the argot of Fleet Street, “hot stuff.”

By half past eleven the papers were selling in the streets, and the Professor was on his way to the police-court. He had been told the case would not come on before twelve. As his taxi threaded its way jerkily westward, he caught glimpses of the placard of the noon edition of The Evening Mail, bearing such sensational lines as “The Hypnotized Burglar,” “Professor Conti and the Burglar,” “An Amazing Capture,” “Burglar Hypnotized.” He smiled pleasantly as he pictured his reception that evening, as an extra turn, at one of the big music-halls. He fell to speculating as to how much he should demand and to which manager he should offer his services. “The Napoleon of Mesmerists” was the title he had decided to adopt. Again the Professor smiled amiably as he thought of the three columns of description with headlines in The Evening Mail. He had indeed achieved success.


THE drowsy atmosphere of the West London Police Court oppressed even the prisoners. They came and heard and departed; protagonists for a few minutes in a drama, then oblivion. The magistrate was cross, the clerk husky and the police anxiously deferential, for one of their number had that morning been severely censured for being unable to discriminate between the effects upon the human frame of laudanum and whisky. Nobody was interested—there was nothing to be interested in—and there was less oxygen than usual in the court, as the magistrate had a cold. It was a miserable business, this detection and punishing of crime.

“Twenty shillings costs, seven days,” snuffled the presiding genius. A piece of human flotsam faced about and disappeared. Another name was called. The sergeant in charge of the new case cleared his throat. The magistrate lifted his handkerchief to his nose, the clerk removed his spectacles to wipe them, when something bounded into the dock, drawing up two other somethings behind it.

The magistrate paused, his handkerchief held to his nose, the clerk dropped his spectacles, the three reporters became eagerly alert—in short, the whole court awakened simultaneously from its apathy to the knowledge that this was a dramatic moment.

In the dock stood a medium-sized man with nondescript features, a thin black moustache, iron-gray hair and disheveled clothing. Each side of him stood a constable gripping an arm—they were the somethings that had followed him into the dock. For a moment the prisoner, who seemed to radiate indignation, looked about him, his breath coming in short, passionate sobs. The clerk stooped to pick up his glasses, the magistrate blew his nose violently to gain time, the reporters prepared to take notes. Then the storm burst.

“You shall pay for this, all of yer!” shouted the man in the dock, jerking his head forward to emphasize his words, his arms being firmly held straight to his sides. “Me a burglar—me, Jem Willins?” he sobbed.

“Silence in court!” droned the clerk, who, having found his glasses, now began to read the charge-sheet, detailing how the prisoner had burglariously entered No. 13, Audrey Mansions, Queen's Club, in the early hours of that morning. He was accustomed and indifferent to passionate protests from the dock.

The prisoner breathed heavily. The clerk was detailing how he had awakened the occupant of the premises by lifting his gold watch from the table beside the bed. At this juncture the prisoner burst out again.

“It's a lie, it's a lie, an' you all know it! It's a plot! I'm—I'm—” He became inarticulate, sobs of impotent rage shaking his whole body, and the tears streaming down his face.

At that moment Professor Sylvanus Conti entered the court, smiling and alert. He looked quickly toward the dock to see if his case had come on, and was relieved to find that his last night's visitor was not there. He feared being late. The magistrate cleared his throat and addressed the prisoner—

“You are harming your case by this exhibition. If a mistake has been made, you have nothing to fear; but if you continue these interruptions, I shall have to send you back to the cells while your case is heard.”

Turning to the officer in charge of the case, he inquired—

“Is the prosecutor present?”

The sergeant looked round, and, seeing Professor Conti, replied that he was.

“Let him be sworn,” ordered the magistrate.

To his intense astonishment, Professor Conti heard his name called. Thoroughly bewildered, he walked in the direction in which people seemed to expect him to walk. He took the oath, with his eyes fixed, as if he were fascinated, upon the pathetic figure in the dock. Suddenly he became aware that the man was addressing him.

“Did I do it—did I?” he asked brokenly.

“Silence in court!” called the clerk.

Suddenly the full horror of the situation dawned upon the Professor. He broke out in a cold sweat as he stood petrified in the witness-box. Somehow or other his plan had miscarried. He looked round him. Instinctively he thought of flight. He felt that he was the culprit, the passionate, eager creature in the dock his accuser.

“Am I the man?” he heard the prisoner persisting. “Am I?”

“N-no,” he faltered in a voice he would have sworn was not his own.

“You say that the prisoner is not the man who entered your flat during the early hours of this morning?” questioned the magistrate.

“No, sir, he is not,” replied Conti wearily, miserably. What had happened? Was he a failure?

“Please explain what happened,” ordered the magistrate. Conti did so. He told how he had been awakened, and how he conceived the idea of hypnotizing the burglar and making him give himself up to the police,

The prisoner was then sworn, and he related how he had been commanded, in the name of the law, to deliver the note at the police-station; how he had done so, and had been promptly arrested; how he had protested his innocence, but without result.

The Professor listened to the story in amazement, and to the subsequent remarks of the magistrate upon quack practices and police methods. He did not, however, realize the full horror of the catastrophe that had befallen him until five minutes after leaving the court, when he encountered a news-vendor displaying a placard of The Evening Mail bearing the words: “Professor Conti's Great Hypnotic Feat. Capture of a Burglar.” He then saw that he had lost his reputation, his belief in his own powers, his living and about fifty pounds' worth of property.

That evening Joseph Bindle sat at home in his favorite chair, reading with great relish The Evening Post's account of “The Great Hypnotic Fiasco.” Being at bitter enmity with The Evening Mail, the Post had given rein to its sense of the ludicrous. Puffing contentedly at a twopenny cigar, Bindle enjoyed to the full the story so ably presented; but nothing gave him so much pleasure as the magistrate's closing words. He read them for the fourth time—

“Professor Conti sought advertisement; he has got it. Unfortunately for him, he met a man cleverer than himself, one, too, who is something of a humorist.” (Bindle smiled appreciatively.) “The conduct of the police in this case is reprehensible to a degree, and they owe it to the public to bring the real culprit to justice.”

With great deliberation Bindle removed his cigar from his mouth, placed the forefinger of his right hand to the side of his nose and winked. Then he rose, put on his coat, and went out to fetch the supper beer.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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