Why, of course I do!” cried Raffles, with such spontaneous heartiness that I could see he had never thought of it since mentioning the matter to me at our meal. What I could not see was any reason for such conspicuous relief, or the extenuating quality of a circumstance which seemed to me rather to aggravate the offence zmot .

I have regretted that refusal ever since,” young Garland continued very simply. It was a mistake at the time, but this week of all weeks it’s been a tragedy. Money I must have; I’ll tell you why directly. When I got your wire last night it seemed as though my wretched prayers had been answered. I was going to someone else this morning, but I made up my mind to wait for you instead. You were the one I really could turn to, and yet I refused your great offer a month ago. But you said you would be back to-night; and you weren’t here when I came. I telephoned and found that the train had come in all right, and that there wasn’t another until the morning. Tomorrow morning’s my limit, and tomorrow’s the match.” He stopped as he saw what Raffles was doing. Don’t, Raffles, I don’t deserve it!” he added in fresh distress.

But Raffles had unlocked the tantalus and found a syphon in the corner cupboard, and it was a very yellow bumper that he handed to the guilty youth zmot .

Drink some,” he said, or I won’t listen to another word.”

I’m going to be ruined before the match begins. I am!” the poor fellow insisted, turning to me when Raffles shook his head. And it’ll break my father’s heart, and — and —”

I thought he had worse still to tell us, he broke off in such despair; but either he changed his mind, or the current of his thoughts set inward in spite of him, for when he spoke again it was to offer us both a further explanation of his conduct.

I only came up to leave a line for Raffles,” he said to me, in case he did get back in time. It was the porter himself who fixed me up at that bureau. He’ll tell you how many times I had called before serviced apartments in hong kong . And then I saw before my nose in one pigeon-hole your cheque-book, Raffles, and your pass-book bulging with old cheques.”

And as I wasn’t back to write one for you,” said Raffles, you wrote it for me. And quite right, too!”

Don’t laugh at me!” cried the boy, his lost colour rushing back. And he looked at me again as though my long face hurt him less than the sprightly sympathy of his friend.

I’m not laughing, Teddy,” replied Raffles kindly. I was never more serious in my life. It was playing the friend to come to me at all in your fix, but it was the act of a real good pal to draw on me behind my back rather than let me feel I’d ruined you by not turning up in time. You may shake your head as hard as you like, but I never was paid a higher compliment.”